Archives For Philippines

By Malu Garcia, Savings Group Program Training Specialist (Philippines)

Several months ago, I joined a savings group that meets in an unusual location: a cemetery.

Since the 1980s, a growing number of people have chosen to live in the Cebu Chinese Cemetery—now totaling more than 100 families, some of whom have even given birth to their children in the cemetery. Some have transformed covered tombs into homes by hanging tarps for privacy—meaning that the gravestone serves as their table for meals and their bed at night. Others sleep on uncovered graves—no roof over their heads, no privacy, and no protection from animals. Some of the tombs are open, meaning that the relatives of the dead person have removed the bones and transferred them elsewhere. Near some of the oldest caskets, pieces of bone are littered on the surrounding area. The children run around these tombs as though they were in a playground. The young people and adults play cards over the tombs. I wondered where they take a bath, where their toilet is, where they wash their clothes.

To me, the heaviest part of their situation is that they expect to live out their entire lives in the cemetery. They have stopped dreaming of owning a proper home someday. But I believe that it is not God’s design for people to live with the dead; it is God’s design for people to be able to dream of more for their lives. He wants people and communities to flourish and experience Him.

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Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Andonie, this year’s winner of microfinance programs!

A member of the Mandaya tribe, one of nearly 200 indigenous people groups in the Philippines, Andonie Digaynon grew up in a culture where education wasn’t highly valued. Not only was the school a long, difficult walk from his rural home, but his family needed him to help earn money. As a result, Andonie dropped out of school after the second grade.

But Andonie hasn’t let his limited education hold him back. Continue Reading…

When I think about some of the most meaningful moments from Christmases past, it occurs to me that most of them involve music. Whether it be putting up garlands to the rich tones of the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, whispering the melody of “Silent Night” at the end of a Christmas Eve candlelight service, or cajoling my sister into playing duets from our old Christmas piano recitals, there’s something about music that can make even the simplest moment sacred, that can tell a story more powerfully than speech, that can bring splendor and wonder and awe and joy.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Lord wanted people to know about the birth of His son, He sent a choir.

This year, as Christmas nears, I’m expanding my holiday playlist. Friends from across the HOPE network took a moment to share the songs—both reverent and lighthearted—that they most enjoy, and their recommendations helped create this special HOPE Christmas playlist.

Please join me—and HOPE’s partners, clients, and staff around the world—in celebrating the coming of the Newborn King!

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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…

On May 23, Islamic State militants took control of Marawi, a Filipino city on the island of Mindanao. Over 500 people have been killed, and 300,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes to escape the occupation. Now months later, as violence continues in Mindanao, we ask that you join us in prayer for […]

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Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 […]

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