Archives For Peru

by Aspen Pflughoeft, HOPE Trips participant

How do you make your senior year of high school memorable? Perhaps an epic prank day? Senior skip day? Well, I was able to take a different approach: a HOPE trip to meet savings groups in Comas, Peru (pictured above), with my family. When we departed, I had two weeks of classes left. But my dad, who had been on a HOPE trip the previous fall, recognized the immense value in exposing me and my sisters to different languages and communities. Through ten days in Peru, I learned incredible lessons that, a year and a half later, have changed the way I live. Continue Reading…

It wasn’t easy for Juvita Cerron to set foot in a church for her first savings group meeting in Comas, Peru. As an unmarried mother expecting her second child, she feared the group would be a place of judgment—but her drive to meet her children’s needs eclipsed her concern for what others might think. As the group welcomed her warmly, their response surprised Juvita: “Through joining a savings group, I found a community that loved me for who I was and reminded me that God loved me too.”

Juvita was still new to the group when her daughter was born three months prematurely. Her savings group embraced her fully, providing support and prayers for her family. After months of constant medical attention, her daughter, Julieta, was near death. Amid crisis, Juvita found new life in Jesus Christ, putting her trust in His faithfulness rather than the relationships or alcohol on which she once relied. Despite doctors’ warnings that her daughter might never fully recover, Juvita rejoices that the Lord miraculously healed her, and now, two years later, Julieta is strong and healthy.

Investing in dreams

Before becoming a mother, Juvita spent two years studying administration at the university level. When she withdrew from college to care for her first child, she had no income and relied entirely on support from her family and her son’s father. She didn’t know how to break the cycle of dependency and provide for her own children—though she longed to do so. Continue Reading…

On my recent trip to Peru, I met a woman who was struggling with a deep hurt. As I sat in her business, Luz (pictured on the right) shared with me and a few others how disappointed she was that she had never married or had children. Tears welled in her eyes as a friend held her close. Luz owns a costume shop in Lima, Peru, where she sells and rents costumes of all kinds, from recognizable Disney characters to traditional Peruvian icons. Her customers come to her shop to celebrate, but while she serves them, she’s filled with a sadness that struck at her core as a woman in Peruvian society.

Luz with Michelle, the program coordinator

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Recently, I was in Lima, Peru, visiting a savings and credit association (SCA) partnership launched nearly two years ago. For those building their knowledge in the field of microeconomic development, SCAs are small groups of people that meet regularly to hear a message of reconciliation, save small amounts of money, and live life together—the unique blending of a tiny credit union and a Sunday school class. Members learn about reconciliation available through Christ and how to save money toward a goal. In short, members are given the tools they need to feel hope again, hope for a better future. Here is a brief description of one such SCA group meeting I was able to attend on this trip.

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Comas is one of the many districts of Lima, located about 45 minutes north of the capital. Over the past few years, its population has doubled, as people from the surrounding areas come in search of work. In Comas, HOPE works with a local church partner, Iglesia Alianza Cristiana y Misionera (ACYM), which has started eight savings groups. The groups are mostly composed of entrepreneurs with small businesses they would like to expand. At the savings group meetings, the entrepreneurs learn financial and business strategies, discuss their plans for the future, study the Bible, and pray for each other. After several months, a savings group enters a second phase, and the members may then ask to take a loan from the group fund. Continue Reading…

Professional volunteer Lindsey in Peru

I have lived my life in comfort. I have always had enough to eat, a place to sleep, a way to get to where I need to go, a loving family. I have never wanted for anything vital for survival. The hardest decisions I have made to date are where I would like to go to college and which job I should accept. Probability would have indicated a life very different from the one I currently live. I am an outlier. I cannot ignore my location outside of the bell curve. How do I respond to this? More importantly, what is the work God has crafted me to do? Continue Reading…