Archives For Staff / Travels

There’s an interview question I like to ask: Have you always known you had these skills? Ladis Ramirez’s answer surprised me.

In September, I traveled to Paraguay to interview clients of HOPE’s newest microfinance partner, Diaconía. Sitting outside of a community center in Cevallos Cuesta, Paraguay, I heard the hum of chatting and laughter inside. Working on colorful clothing and accessories, over 40 women were attending a vocational course—part of Diaconía’s holistic model of development. Across from me, Ladis showed off a creamy-white sweater and intricately-designed sandals. Both humble and enthusiastic, her eyes shone as she described how she made each item. Continue Reading…

By Maddie Conley, Social Media Intern

Each year, HOPE International receives hundreds of applicants for our summer internship program. Those accepted work alongside HOPE staff in a variety of departments doing work that has an impact across the globe. This past summer, 11 interns joined the HOPE team in Lancaster, PA. Some commuted no more than 30 minutes from home, while others left family and friends in other states. Continue Reading…

By Roger Morgan, Africa Regional Director

It was in September 2017 that I, along with HOPE’s senior management team, recommended to the board of directors that we close operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As one of the world’s most difficult places to do business, HOPE DRC’s history had been fraught with challenges. Since launching in 2004, we had faced numerous environmental, political, and operational hurdles. With HOPE’s desire to serve underserved places, we remained committed to working in DRC, even when so many organizations could not. But after more than a decade of combating challenge after challenge, we recognized that the program had stagnated, unable to grow in the increasing tumultuous environment and creating ongoing risk for other HOPE-network programs.

We could not provide a plan for improvement; we made the difficult decision to close.

Continue Reading…

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

As we continue to dive into God’s requirements of us in Micah 6:8, let’s look at what it means to love mercy.

Driving home late from work one night in Haiti, I had a terrible motorcycle accident … involving a cow. The most severe of my injuries were compound open fractures to my left forearm—meaning that a surgeon in Florida had to repair it with two plates, 13 screws, and remove something that “looked like cow fur” lodged in my wound. Continue Reading…

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

A seven-week series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

As we dive into God’s requirements of us in Micah 6:8, let’s start by looking at what it means to act justly.

My first job with HOPE was split living in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As I regularly traveled across the island of Hispaniola, I got quite familiar with the border crossing between the two neighboring countries.

On one trip, I got stopped at the Dominican border because I had overstayed my tourist visa. I was pulled into a small room that had a single desk staffed by a lone Dominican officer, and a line of people, entirely Haitian, who had also overstayed their visas. I watched as each person negotiated the fine they would have to pay to exit the country, noting that each person paid different fines. Without any definitive scale, the reasons behind our varying fines were based on arbitrary reasons. One person paid more simply because the officer deemed his passport was too dirty. When I received my own fine, I realized that I paid less than every Haitian before me.

Continue Reading…

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

A seven-week series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

The flight attendant came on the intercom announcing our final descent into Rwanda. Giving up on my attempt to nap, I began gathering my things in preparation for landing, ensuring that my seatback was in the upright position, my tray table stowed, and my carry-on under the seat in front of me. Fully prepared for landing, I noticed my row companion taking out his earbuds, so I began conversing with him for the first time. An eager short-term mission trip participant, this was his first visit to Rwanda.

“What brings you to Rwanda?” he asked.

“I work for a microenterprise development network called HOPE International,” I told him. “We have two programs here in Rwanda.”

Somewhat familiar with microfinance, he was intrigued, recalling prior reading about how access to small loans and a safe place to save can be transformational for families living in poverty. He’d even heard of HOPE. “What do you do for HOPE International?” he asked.

Despite knowing the reaction I often get when I describe my role, I risked honesty. “I’m the director of spiritual integration,” I told him.

Continue Reading…