Archives For Dominican Republic

Francia

by Annie Rose Ansley, HOPE Trips Liaison

It’s Thursday morning, and Francia walks down the dirt road to the building that serves as a church and elementary school in her community. The one-room building in Los Mella, Dominican Republic, is also the site of the repayment meetings for Francia’s community bank. This group of 15 women meets biweekly to worship God, learn business and life skills, and repay the small loans they receive through Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the D.R.

Francia didn’t know Jesus before joining her community bank several years ago. Now, she is responsible for leading her group in prayer, worship, and sharing the Word, and her strong faith clearly shines through. Despite being the most petite woman in her group, Francia stands tall and speaks with strength. She shares a personal testimony about answered prayer in her life—a time when she was robbed and, after fervent prayer, ultimately got back what had been stolen from her. Francia urges the women to trust God, and at one point she holds up her Bible and proclaims, “THIS is what’s real.”

Later on in the meeting, during the loan collection process, one bank member doesn’t have the money to repay her portion of the loan. Following the group solidarity model, the women have cross-guaranteed each other’s loans, meaning they are responsible to cover for the missing money. This is a vital element of community banks, building solidarity and providing clients access to loans even though they don’t have traditional collateral. But it can sometimes bring challenges. Today, for example, no one seems to have the extra money to pay the other woman’s amount.

Five minutes of hesitation pass, and a couple group members get frustrated. 10 minutes pass, and heated discussions break out. 15 minutes pass, and still no one volunteers. Suddenly, Francia stands up.

“Ladies, we need to pray.”

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By Annie Ansley, HOPE Trips Liaison, Dominican Republic

After almost a year living in the Dominican Republic, my husband and I have adjusted—for the most part—to the pace and style of life here. However, I still get frustrated when tasks that used to be simple in the U.S. are difficult, inconvenient, and time-consuming. I think it’s natural to make comparisons, but it’s almost certainly not helpful. So I wanted to realign my perspective by writing down a few things I’m thankful for in the D.R.: Continue Reading…

Miguelina Padilla

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. 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. We’re excited to share the story of Miguelina, this year’s honorable mention from Latin America!

On any given day, Miguelina Padilla’s home is a flurry of activity. She operates a busy hair salon and used clothing and shoe store, occupying the front of her home, while the church Miguelina and her husband started a few years ago meets on the side. The church also hosts community bank meetings for Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

A strong foundation

Having previously lost her home and business when the space her family rented was sold, Miguelina understands the value of stable home ownership. When the Padillas built their own home in 2008, they could not afford to install a roof, electricity, or a bathroom. But Miguelina dreamed of improving their home and reopening her hair salon, and she says Esperanza came at the right time. She used small loans to purchase salon products and equipment, declaring, “I’m going to work now, doing what I know how to do.”

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In this one-minute field report, Annie Ansley, field communications fellow, shares about the joy she saw in women as they worship together in a repayment meeting through Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

Clients

by Annie Ansley, Field Communications Fellow in the Dominican Republic

I am blessed to get the chance to interview clients almost every week, and what they share never fails to surprise or inspire me. They’ve already taught me more than I could ever learn from simply being in the office. One thing I like to find out is their favorite part of being a client of Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic. Incredibly, they hardly ever mention the money. Check out what clients told me they value most…

“The devotional”

Many say that learning about God is by far the most important feature of Esperanza: The group Bible studies, prayer, and praise songs have brought them closer to God or taught them a specific lesson.

Hearing about Abraham and Isaac, Miguelina was inspired to sacrifice her profits for her church. Hearing the story of the widow and the oil, Angela learned the importance of working diligently at her bakery. When Carolina went to her very first bank meeting, she was going through an economic crisis in her family. Her loan officer spoke on Psalm 37, which sparked Carolina’s desire to return to God and renew her trust in Him.

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Luis

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.

Luis has always considered himself an entrepreneur, selling construction materials while also working as a repairman and construction worker. One night, in a dream, his pastor challenged him, “Why don’t you start a business right in front of your house?” With his understanding of the materials needed for construction projects, Luis felt confirmed in his vision to open a hardware store. He would need startup capital, but he knew God would provide—He’d been faithful before.

Faithfulness and forgiveness

Luis grew up in a batey—a settlement of predominantly Haitian migrant laborers—working alongside his father in the sugar cane fields around San Pedro, Dominican Republic. When he was 6, his mother left their family. Often neglected by his father, Luis prayed fervently, “God, I need to leave. … Please help me.” At just 11 years old, Luis left to apprentice as a construction worker in a nearby town. He worked hard and learned to survive, but life changed completely when, as a young adult, he became a Christian. As his faith grew, he felt God calling him to find and forgive his father, now blind. Luis attributes this to Christ’s work in his life, saying, “It is God who allows us to forgive.”

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