By the time we reached Rigoberto’s home, the sun had set, and I was feeling wiped out. Traveling to homes, through markets, and up the surrounding hills of Comas, Peru, we’d had two full days of meeting incredible savings group members connected to Comas CMA Church, HOPE’s partner in Peru. But stepping into Rigoberto’s home, I immediately felt soothed.

Part of it was probably because Rigoberto (pictured above) reminded me of my own dad: Both of them have a gentleness about them, and both have served as teachers for decades. Another piece was the warm greeting we received from Rigoberto and the members of his family—two daughters, his mother, sister, brother, and one grandchild—who welcomed us and invited us to sit with them to talk.

At first glance, they seemed like a close, happy family—but as we talked, Rigoberto shared that this hadn’t always been their reality.

Continue Reading…

Carrole Moussengue

2020 was the most challenging year in HOPE International’s 23-year history. Although we felt the strain of the pandemic on HOPE’s operations, the hardest part was witnessing many of the men and women we serve endure illness, loss of life, overwhelmed health care systems, shortages, halted businesses, and falling income.

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) across the HOPE network rallied to assist struggling entrepreneurs, but with markets closed and commerce grinding to a halt, the outlook was grim for both MFIs and those we serve. We began to see a chain reaction play out across our network’s operations:

COVID-19 hits, mandated lockdowns instated, businesses close and/or sales decrease, household income lost, loan repayments missed

But today, we’re excited to report that we’re seeing encouraging signs of recovery in HOPE-network microfinance institutions. We celebrate these because they indicate not only that our operations are returning to health but—even more importantly—that the families we serve are seeing their lives stabilize. Thanks be to God! Continue Reading…

Serghei with quails

Although the soldiers guarding the Moldovan city of Stefan Voda were effectively crushing 26-year-old Serghei Rusu’s business, he knew they hadn’t asked for the difficult job of limiting the coronavirus’s spread. What may have been best for public health certainly wasn’t best for his business, but Serghei found a way to live out Jesus’ commands, blessing those he might have seen as enemies. Continue Reading…

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV)

What is compassion fatigue?

The American Institute of Stress defines compassion fatigue, or empathy fatigue, as “the emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events.” It most often affects individuals who are continuously empathizing with those they serve. And in the wake of a pandemic, it seems to apply to many of us as we see and experience needs in our communities and around the world. Continue Reading…

Melody Murray

We recently sat down with Melody Murray, one of the newest members of HOPE’s board of directors, to discuss what she learned over a lifetime of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and advocacy. Hers is a story only God could write—influenced by a little red produce wagon, “orphans” whose parents were very much alive, and a cold call from the Dalai Lama.

Q: You’ve been described as a “serial entrepreneur.” Tell us about the first business you launched (childhood lemonade stands included).

A: Both my parents had farming backgrounds. When I was about 3 years old, they bought a house in the Kansas City suburbs that had a lot right next to it and turned it into a little farm. We had a huge vegetable garden. A few years later, my mom told me that I could sell what was left of our harvest after she kept what she wanted for our family. I remember thinking that was just phenomenal, that I could take a little seed and put it in the ground, and it would produce something I could sell to make money.

I started snapping and bagging green beans, and I would add as much value to the product as I could. I knew if I made them look good, then I could sell them for more money. I put them in my little red wagon, went down the street, and the first day I made $44. As a 6-year-old, that was a big deal! Continue Reading…

Pediatrician Olga Hoi examines a baby

In 2017, a Politico article titled “In Ukraine, health care is free (except when it’s not),” lamented the state of Ukraine’s “underfunded, corrupt, and inaccessible” health care system. Since then, reforms attempting to address these limitations have empowered private doctors to compete with state clinics for public funding, enhancing quality of care and patient choice.

In 2020, as the importance of health care reached a new pinnacle, HOPE Ukraine received a loan application from Olga Hoi, a young doctor who had founded her own clinic after years of service as a pediatrician in a Ukrainian state hospital. Continue Reading…