Archives For discipleship

As part of our commitment to personal and corporate discipleship, staff members of HOPE International engage each month with a “Faith in Practice” theme. Our goal is to grow in the knowledge of that spiritual theme and live it out in our day-to-day lives. Recently, we studied our call to take Christ’s posture of hospitality in order to serve His people around the world.

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

I still remember the dread I felt at age 12 on my first day at a new school after my family had moved from North Carolina to Virginia. And I also remember the safety and relief I felt when Stash, a boy that would soon become my closest friend, invited me to join his friends at the lunch table.

I remember my fear of being taken advantage of by predatory market vendors when I first moved to Niger. And I also remember how Pastor Djibo would come by and offer to go with me to the market to make sure I got fair prices.

In my current work at HOPE, I am blessed with the opportunity to travel. Whether I’m driving from my home in Durham, NC, to HOPE’s office in Lancaster, PA, or flying to visit HOPE-network programs around the world, I’m regularly overwhelmed by the hospitality I experience. I can tell you every person who ever came to greet me at the airport instead of letting me take a taxi, every meal that I’ve had in someone else’s home while traveling, every couple that slept in their children’s room so that they could offer their guest the most comfortable bed, and every person who enthusiastically took me to all the touristy things in their city when they surely had something more important to do. Continue Reading…

At HOPE International, we partner with missionary-aligned microfinance institutions, ministries, and churches—equipping them with financial resources, tools, and expertise to reach the underserved in their communities. We do this because Christ-centered microfinance needs many workers. To impact people across the HOPE network, diversity helps us better operate in and impact the diverse world for the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul writes,“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” If the human body is working to accomplish a goal, it is necessary for the different parts of the body to work in unity. The eyes need to communicate with the hands to communicate with the nose. Similarly, if HOPE is working to provide financial services in an area and another like-minded organization is doing the same work, we are much more effective by combining our efforts and working in collaboration and unity. Continue Reading…

CCT Bible study

by Becca Spradlin, Microfinance Training and Quality Manager

Discipleship. Jesus called all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28:19. Yet while I saw others practicing discipleship, I wasn’t always sure how to start in my own life. Discipleship seemed like a formal, ambiguous process, easy to excuse away in the busyness of life. If I’m honest, I’ve found myself thinking, “I work for a Christ-centered microenterprise development organization—isn’t that enough?” Yet I knew it wasn’t.

Working with the network of programs and partner organizations at HOPE, I see how we encourage discipleship with our staff and clients, but I also believe it’s something God calls all Christians to do in our personal lives. But the barriers to beginning this process were pretty high until I visited CCT, our partner in the Philippines.

CCT training

CCT has prayerfully and sacrificially integrated discipleship into its operational model. Staff disciple staff. Staff disciple volunteers in the community who disciple others in the community. I got to see firsthand generations of disciples. I heard case after case of, “I was discipled by that woman and am discipling this other woman.”

It was inspiring, but practically, how do you begin discipling others or being discipled yourself? Below are 10 pieces of practical advice from seasoned CCT disciplers that apply to us living in the U.S. as much as it does to those living in the Philippines. Continue Reading…

Francoise

Join HOPE in celebrating the clients featured in this year’s gift catalog, men and women using the gifts God has placed in their hands—talents, dreams, and hard work—to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

Full of entrepreneurial spirit, Francoise and her husband of 11 years, Etienne, know the joy of giving back. Francoise owns a thriving business in Burundi, where she and her four employees create colorfully patterned clothes. “I know how to sew everything,” she exclaims, “but my favorite things to sew are dresses.”

Etienne, also in the textile business, runs a shop in the busy Kamenge Market that sells fabric, thread, and other sewing supplies to the community. Together, they’re raising their five children, aged 2-9, as well as helping care for Francoise’s younger siblings. Six years ago, the couple adopted a sixth child whose parents were unable to care for her.

But even so, Francoise and Etienne didn’t have a safe place to save their money, leaving them few options in the face of unexpected expenses. When Francoise first heard about savings groups in November 2012, she was immediately intrigued by their focus on helping people improve their own lives. She joined the savings group Rukundo, meaning love, and began saving between $1.50 and $3 a month.

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Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

It’s a question I’m asked often:

Aren’t you basically providing financial incentives to get people to convert to Christianity?

At HOPE, we’re passionate about combining two objectives some view as unrelated, even dangerous: 1) promoting sustainable poverty alleviation and 2) clearly inviting others to love and follow Jesus Christ. But at the same time, we are careful not to trick, mislead, or coerce anyone into making a false profession of faith for the simple reason that Jesus didn’t.

In John 6, Jesus is being chased around the Sea of Galilee by a large crowd. He’s healed terrible diseases, fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and taught with great authority. Things were going so well the crowd was planning to make Him king by force. In modern language, Jesus was a rock star.

What would you have been thinking if you were one of the disciples? “Surely this is the moment. You’ve got them eating out of your hands … literally! Use your power to make them follow you.”

But in one of the countless ways Jesus defies expectations, He doesn’t capitalize on His fame. Desiring true disciples over admiring crowds, He proclaims harder—even potentially offensive—teachings. The result?

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Each year, HOPE celebrates a client who demonstrates HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting the stories of this year’s honorable mentions and overall winner.

For Marilyn Ciprian, serving God as a businesswoman means dedicating each day—and each transaction—to the Lord. “May God bless this day and multiply things in accordance with His glory,” she writes each morning in her account book. Thus begins her search for opportunities to serve Christ as she opens her convenience store—appropriately named La Gran Comision or “The Great Commission”—in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic.

marilyn-01

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