Archives For discipleship

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

A seven-week series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

The flight attendant came on the intercom announcing our final descent into Rwanda. Giving up on my attempt to nap, I began gathering my things in preparation for landing, ensuring that my seatback was in the upright position, my tray table stowed, and my carry-on under the seat in front of me. Fully prepared for landing, I noticed my row companion taking out his earbuds, so I began conversing with him for the first time. An eager short-term mission trip participant, this was his first visit to Rwanda.

“What brings you to Rwanda?” he asked.

“I work for a microenterprise development network called HOPE International,” I told him. “We have two programs here in Rwanda.”

Somewhat familiar with microfinance, he was intrigued, recalling prior reading about how access to small loans and a safe place to save can be transformational for families living in poverty. He’d even heard of HOPE. “What do you do for HOPE International?” he asked.

Despite knowing the reaction I often get when I describe my role, I risked honesty. “I’m the director of spiritual integration,” I told him.

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Fellow innovators and change-makers:

Innovation is hard.

It can be painful, surprising, unexpected, out of control, positive, negative, closely managed, loosely managed, frustrating, life-giving … this list goes on and on with seemingly contradictory adjectives. One thing that innovation is not is avoidable. Things change. As our world and technology continue to move faster and faster, we cannot avoid change for very long. Continue Reading…

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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