Archives For Christ-centered

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By Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

While HOPE International works in a variety of locations around the world, many groups follow a similar 5W’s meeting structure. Adopted from HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), this simple structure ensures consistency, while also creating space for flexibility. Traveling with CCT savings group facilitators for the past four months, I’ve enjoyed experiencing the unique heart that Filipinos bring to their own culture of savings communities.

2:15 p.m. – After unsticking ourselves from the small motorcycle, the three of us—savings program regional coordinator, volunteer facilitator, and me—begin gingerly descending the sharp rocks, down to the edge of the sea. We pick our way through the narrow path of the fishing village, dodging crowing roosters and scampering children.

2:30 p.m. – We arrive just as the savings group’s treasurer squats down beside a rusty, peg-legged wooden table. I gratefully slip into a sliver of shade and look around at the houses perched precariously on wooden stilts that buckle on the rocks below. Tucked into the shadows beneath their homes, several savings group members sit, smiling back at me while waiting patiently for the meeting to start. Continue Reading…

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At HOPE International, we believe that true restoration happens as we heed Christ’s call to abide in Him. Through worship, prayer, and studying God’s Word, HOPE-network clients grow in their faith and find strength to tackle challenges in their lives.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

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Jeannette Miburo, HOPE Burundi Savings Member

“My spiritual life has been impacted in such a way that now I feel pushed to pray and work for God more than before. … Before, I was very poor, and I was not able to give offerings or tithes in the church. But when I joined the savings groups things changed. Now, I am able to bring offerings and tithes!” Continue Reading…

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By Jesse Casler, VP of Finance and Administration

At HOPE, we’re driven by the belief that our God is good and that He desires all people to know Him. This calls us to side with families that have been disenfranchised and overlooked as we share the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’re also driven by the people who carry out HOPE’s mission around the world. HOPE staff members are missionary bankers, human resource professionals, accountants, marketing specialists, administrators, and more who are deeply committed to investing in underserved families. It’s a joy and a privilege to serve alongside so many passionate, talented men and women who are a critical part of this work!

As we work in the world’s underserved communities, we want to see HOPE staff members become lifelong learners and problem solvers who flourish both in the workplace and at home. In the gospel of John, Jesus tells His disciples that He came so they might have life to the full. HOPE’s holistic staff development model encourages men and women to invite Christ into every part of their lives. As ambassadors of Christ, we believe that, regardless of specific roles—whether manager, intern, executive team member, or fellow—staff should be living in the fullness Christ promised.

At HOPE, we’ve chosen a staff development strategy, with the guidance of our friend Malcolm Webber and LeaderSource, which uses two simple frameworks: the 5C’s and RISE. Continue Reading…

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Hong Kong does not rest. Throngs of the city’s residents churn in and out of the subway system and up and down the expansive skyscrapers. It’s a city of bright lights amid remarkable natural beauty. The steel and glass stand in sharp contrast to the lush wooded hills surrounded by blue seas. Hong Kong is the world’s largest port city and a place that typifies the change in East Asia.

Just 50 years ago, Hong Kong stood on the brink of economic collapse. Today, nearly 10 percent of Hong Kong’s residents are millionaires, and it’s the world’s sixth-best place for entrepreneurship and opportunity. God is at work in Asia. South Korea is now second only to the United States in sending missionaries abroad. The Pew Research Center projects that by 2030, China will be home to the largest Christian population in the world.

Hong Kong’s story is mirrored across the Pacific Rim. In Seoul, Singapore, and Shanghai, the region has experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and growth of the Church. It’s this combination—the vibrant evangelical Church and the surge in financial prosperity—that has created just the right medium for our first international support office. We’re excited about this expansion for many reasons. Here are the top three: Continue Reading…

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Use your power. Ask them for whatever you want. You’ll be surprised at how eager they are to please you.

This, explained the instructor, was how we, six representative shopkeepers, were to deal with the other 120 participants in this 30-minute game meant to simulate the social and economic realities for millions of families who live in extreme poverty.

The setup was simple. An open conference room outfitted with plastic tarps, one per family unit, supplied with newspaper and a bucket of water and flour paste. To pay for rent, food, and perhaps health care, these families would make paper bags. These were then sold to shopkeepers like myself in units of 10.

While the setup was simple, the psychology of the game proved to be anything but. As shopkeepers, we were informed that in this game we held the power over the families. We were to pay little for their product. So little that most families couldn’t afford to pay their exorbitant rent at the end of the 10-minute “week.” We could yell and demand extra favors. Our job was not only to cheat, but also to systematically and emotionally oppress their will to do anything but hopelessly make more bags.

The simulation began with loud rock music. We walked between the frantic families, hunkered over ripped newspaper and paste, clapping and yelling at them: “Work faster!” The first family to approach me bowed respectfully and presented their 10 bags. I paid them well, compared to the next shopkeeper, and consoled myself that I wasn’t THAT bad.

But soon, to my surprise, I changed.

Continue Reading…

India launch

by Sarah Tan, HOPE Fellow

On the Fourth of July, a group of HOPE staff members and partners on the other side of the world gathered for a different kind of celebration—complete with cake and curry.

We were celebrating the launch of HOPE International’s third savings and credit association (SCA) partnership in India. After a week-long training, the participants, ranging from pastors to community leaders, stood misty eyed as they received their certificates.

The shared air of triumph and suppressed excitement was not hard to explain. When the week first started, the participants were reserved and skeptical. Most of them were from regions that have had a bad history with corrupt, government-led savings groups (called Self Help Groups) and were thus mistrustful of what HOPE’s savings program could offer.

However, as the week progressed, revealing a savings ministry specifically rooted in God’s Word and principles of trust (called the House of Principles), participants became increasingly engaged in discussion. They learned how savings groups have become a tool of reconciliation across HOPE’s global network as members meet together regularly, share God’s Word, and support one another—and they couldn’t wait to go back to their communities to start.

On the celebration night, the participants vied for a chance to share their testimonies:

Having been part of savings groups for 13 years … I came wondering what you could teach me. But now I see what the other groups had been missing—the House of Principles and focus on Christ.

Another participant grabbed the microphone.

Honestly, I thought I would stay only one day. … I had heard stories about corrupt savings groups in India. However, I realized how this ministry was different and could change lives. I am so excited to begin savings groups in my church and community.

Please join in us in praying for these leaders to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16) as they share the message of Christ’s love and reconciliation. Pray that the savings groups would be a powerful tool for physical and spiritual transformation in their communities.

 

Sarah

Sarah is a savings and credit association (SCA) program fellow with HOPE. She serves with HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), in the hopes of seeing holistic transformation among Filipino communities.