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Just two hundred years ago, almost the entire world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today, less than 10 percent do. In the past 40 years alone, the percent of people living in extreme poverty has dropped by over 30 percentage points.

In my years of work in Christ-centered economic development, I have had the privilege of visiting places ranging from the small towns in Haiti to remote villages in northern Afghanistan. And I have come to realize that while poverty runs rampant in our world, the situation in so many communities is unquestionably getting better. The depth and complexities of poverty are not hopeless. The Church is on the move. Continue Reading…

by Elizabeth Dewes, Field Journalism Fellow (based in Zambia)

This summer, Zimbabweans witnessed their first major transition of political power since their 1980 independence from British and white minority rule. With the recent changes, economic uncertainty came to a head in September when tax increases on fuel triggered a series of exorbitant price hikes, on everything from gas to imported goods. I witnessed this unfolding crisis on my recent trip to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city, in November. Continue Reading…

Pat Mahin, Dean Solyntjes, Tom Radermacher and Craig Gustafson

After 25 years in healthcare administration, while in the U.S. Navy and civilian institutions, Pat Mahin retired—and then went to seminary. Near the end of his courses, in 2003, he took an independent study class, focusing on microfinance and traveling to Honduras to visit the work of Opportunity International. He remembers, “I just got very interested in the microenterprise model, how the money recirculates, how it creates support groups for entrepreneurs.” Continue Reading…

When Kafelini Daudi’s husband told her to take their children and go ahead of him to Ntcheu, a small village in rural Malawi, she assumed that he would meet them there. But he never did. Unable to locate him, Kafelini had no choice but to move forward. She needed to find a way to provide for her five children, even if they only ate one meal a day. She remembers, “I had no money.” Continue Reading…

By Blake Mankin, Houston Regional Representative

Since becoming a fundraiser for HOPE International nearly a year ago, I’ve learned that a core component of our fundraising philosophy is prioritizing relationships over transactions. The essence of this value is investing in people out of genuine love for them, not based on what they can do for us. And you don’t have to be a fundraiser or HOPE donor to have this Christ-like, missional ethic in your life.

Simply defined, a missional relationship is a partnership of equals—individuals teaming up to make an impact in the world as they spur each other on to be more like Christ. With this shared goal, our posture is one of invitation to those around us, offering each person the opportunity to dive deeper into who God is calling them to be.

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For 51 weeks of the year, the front lobby of Willowdale Chapel’s Kennett Square campus is an airy space with cozy chairs and a café. But one Sunday each December, the room transforms into the HOPE Market—a vibrant, bustling marketplace operated by the church’s youngest entrepreneurs.

The wooden tables where people usually chat over coffee instead display greeting cards and candles, wooden clocks and mini-marshmallow shooters, all handcrafted by the children at Willowdale. With each sale, the kids work toward paying back the small loan they received from the church to make their item. Once that’s done, they give their profits to HOPE International. Last year, all their work totaled up to being a significant gift of $5,000.

“Part of our church’s vision is to love the world that Jesus is working to restore, and we wanted our youth to really learn what that means and to be a part of it,” says Jodi Byrne, who serves as a children’s ministry pastor at Willowdale Chapel, a church network in southeastern Pennsylvania that partners with HOPE.

The kids are invited to explore the role they play in that restoration during the three months leading up to the HOPE Market.

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