Archives For India

HOPE is blessed to work closely with U.S.-based churches like Life.Church to help families flourish around the world. Since 2012, Life.Church has partnered with HOPE through prayer, financial giving, and sharing HOPE’s 100 Days of Hope devotional with thousands through their YouVersion app. HOPE and Life.Church also work together to share the Gospel and reduce vulnerability to human trafficking in Central India. In 2016, representatives from five Life.Church campuses witnessed firsthand how Indian savings group members are together building financial stability and overcoming isolation and lack of awareness.

Jeff Galley, Life.Church’s central group leader for LifeGroups and missions, shares more about the evolution of their missions strategy and what he learned in India about desperation, dignity, and the growth of the Church.

Read more about the incredible Indian families Jeff met in his blog post here

Life.church 2

Jeff Galley serves as central group leader for LifeGroups and missions at Life.Church in Oklahoma City, OK. He and a team from Life.Church recently traveled to India to visit HOPE’s local partner, who is helping to equip churches and underserved communities through savings groups, and to visit Tearfund. In this blog excerpt, he shares about the people he met and what he learned from them about human trafficking. Read the full post on his blog.

Observers estimate there are more than 20 million slaves in India and that one new person is trafficked into slavery every 10 minutes. Some slaves are forced to do manual labor as a house servant or doing hard, backbreaking labor. Some are forced into prostitution. Trafficking isn’t just a problem in India. It’s a global issue, even in my own city.

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IMG_5839 reading

Two years ago, I sat in a small classroom in western India, women crowding around me on mats on the floor. While I couldn’t understand a word of the songs they were singing, their joy in worshipping together was evident. After worship, their leader, Nirmitee*, taught the group from a passage in the Bible.

Because I was there to gather stories, the women shared changes they’ve seen in their lives since they began saving money together: family members released from alcoholism, women freed from the trap of moneylenders, community strengthened through meeting regularly with one another. As the women shared, Nirmitee encouraged and affirmed them, adding details and clearly caring for each member.

Nirmitee’s interaction with her group was evidence of the emphasis HOPE’s local partner places on discipleship at every level—with staff, volunteers, and clients.

Her example also reminds me of some of my favorite verses in the Bible, where Jesus “had compassion on” those around Him. I love that the God of the universe felt compassion—and that this compassion led to action. Immediately following these words, we see Jesus feeding the hungry, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and teaching the shepherdless.

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Prerna

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.

In rural villages throughout western India, families like Prerna’s* eke out a living as day laborers, farming someone else’s land or doing heavy manual labor. “My husband and I both aren’t educated,” Prerna shares, “so the only job he could get was carrying sacks of grain.” With the irregular availability of work, the couple didn’t always have enough to provide for their family.

But Prerna had bigger dreams for her four daughters and one son. She wanted them to receive the education she and her husband hadn’t—giving them opportunities to create a better future.

When she heard that HOPE’s local partner was training groups of women to save their own money, Prerna was skeptical. In a culture where women traditionally stay at home, Prerna was uncertain whether saving such a small amount would really help her family. But she agreed to join and started setting aside $2 a month.

As Prerna’s group met regularly to save money, they also prayed for each other, studied God’s Word, and fellowshipped. “Whenever we do anything,” Prerna says, “we always pray first and give it to the Lord, and the rest happens according to His plan.” As they witnessed healing and other answered prayers in their own lives, they started praying for their neighbors and sharing the Gospel with them.

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Hannah Enck

by Hanna Ruth, Minnesota Regional Representative

When someone asks, “What does HOPE International do?” I respond with the basics: We provide discipleship, business training, savings services, and small loans to empower men and women to break the cycle of poverty and find hope in Christ.

What’s a bit more complicated to understand, yet also important, is that HOPE is a network of microenterprise development organizations. For example, one of HOPE’s partners in India works with local churches to provide basic savings services to over 15,000 members, while also building clean water wells, freeing hundreds of women and children from the arduous task of walking miles every day to fetch water.

HOPE partnerships like this have enabled both HOPE and our field partners to contribute strengths and maximize impact in a community. The local organization intimately understands the needs of their community, and HOPE provides expertise in implementing savings, lending, and spiritual integration, which are so important to helping families move forward and escape extreme poverty.

savings group

Turn the spotlight to our passionate supporters. Earlier this year, I met Hannah Enck, a determined 16-year-old from Minnesota, who spent nearly two years saving $3,000 of her hard-earned money to help build a well in India through HOPE’s partner. 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.