Archives For Staff / Travels

by Colton Parks, Communications Fellow (HOPE Rwanda)

Everyone has their way of describing the unique times we find ourselves in today. For me, like many, the word is uncertain.

Uncertainty underlies my thoughts about job security, schools re-opening, the timeline for the virus spread to wane, the stock market, and a host of other facets of life I previously took for granted. I feel uncertain about what this pandemic means, and that feeling is present when I fall asleep, and it’s there when I wake up.

A few months ago, I was in a village called Mugina, visiting savings group members and hearing their stories. My third interview of the day was with a woman named Speciose. After greeting us, she guided us gently down a hill to her home, a small building nestled in the shadow of a much larger structure that was without a roof. The larger, open-air home stood empty, a shell of a house, exposed to the rain and wind. Almost a year before, a storm had pried off the entire roof and sent it flying, and the smaller house had served as a temporary shelter for Speciose and her husband ever since. Continue Reading…

by Robert Gonza, Quality Assurance Officer (HOPE Rwanda)

When I started working with HOPE Rwanda, I didn’t know if I believed in savings groups.

My job in quality assurance includes interacting with our field partner staff, training them about quality assurance processes like reporting documents, attending monthly mentoring meetings, and visiting and encouraging saving groups. I enjoyed my job and my team, but I was not always very sure how savings groups were transforming people’s lives.

Almost anyone you ask at HOPE Rwanda will be quick to share the statistics of how the saving groups are transforming lives—how many families we serve, how much they’ve saved, the number of cows, goats, and pigs they’ve purchased with their savings. Three years later, I now myself could share all these things. And I thought that the numbers were the most important things about these savings groups.

But I was wrong. They are about way more than just the savings, the number of loans, or those who attended the meeting—or pigs or cows. Continue Reading…

Traditions abound at Christmas time. Though each family celebration is unique, we wanted to offer a glimpse into how those served by the HOPE network around the world may be joining together with family, friends, and neighbors to rejoice in Christ’s arrival. We marvel at the beauty of so many countries and cultures celebrating the gift of Jesus’ birth and invite you to pause and reflect on the meaning behind your own familiar traditions. Continue Reading…

by Anna Hofmann, Writing and Research Intern (’19)

As a college student, having an internship feels mandatory. Maybe you’ve felt pressure to believe this at some point.

Internships can be beneficial and formative opportunities, whether you’re looking to gain experience within a certain field or if you’re simply looking to inform and direct career plans.

Here’s my experience: the deeper value of my HOPE internship was more than my day-to-day tasks. Continue Reading…

by Aspen Pflughoeft, HOPE Trips participant

How do you make your senior year of high school memorable? Perhaps an epic prank day? Senior skip day? Well, I was able to take a different approach: a HOPE trip to meet savings groups in Comas, Peru (pictured above), with my family. When we departed, I had two weeks of classes left. But my dad, who had been on a HOPE trip the previous fall, recognized the immense value in exposing me and my sisters to different languages and communities. Through ten days in Peru, I learned incredible lessons that, a year and a half later, have changed the way I live. Continue Reading…

by Jeff Rutt, Founder & Board Chair, HOPE International; Founder & CEO, Keystone Custom Homes

As a homebuilder by trade, I’ve been privileged to walk alongside thousands of families in the homeownership process. When I met Rosalie in the small city of Tagatay, Philippines—where I traveled to witness the work of HOPE’s partner, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT)—it wasn’t the first time I saw someone moved to tears by the idea of owning a home. But Rosalie’s tears were different. Continue Reading…