On Thursday, May 17, Burundi will hold a referendum to amend its national constitution. Given the country’s recent history of challenges, along with an overall economic slowdown, we invite you to join us in praying Psalm 91 over Burundi: Continue Reading…
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On Tuesday, October 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the southwestern region of the country. According to the United Nations and CNN, the disaster has killed over 300 people and displaced some 350,000 people, leaving many Haitians to face the worst humanitarian crisis since the earthquake six years ago.
We praise God that our local staff are safe, but we know hundreds of thousands of Haitians will once again face the complete loss of their homes and livelihoods to a natural disaster. As Christ-followers, we want to be known for running to those who are hurting, vulnerable, and in need of help.
HOPE Haiti works with local church partners to serve over 6,000 active savings group members who benefit from training, fellowship, and discipleship that empowers them to provide for their families and communities. In this way, Haitian entrepreneurs not only access financial services like a safe place to save, they also build solidarity with one another and learn about God’s love.
We invite you to pray in the following ways:
- Pray for southwest Haiti, including Miragoane, one of the areas where HOPE works. Pray for the relief efforts, particularly as the hurricane destroyed a bridge on the main road that goes West, cutting off access to aid for that area.
- Pray for protection against outbreaks of diseases like cholera, which severely impacted the population after the 2010 earthquake.
- Pray for the 200 savings group members who have been significantly affected. Pray for their safety and resilience in the face of any loss they may have experienced. Pray that the long-term development efforts of HOPE and other organizations would not be hampered.
- Pray for the long-term recovery of the area. A major long-term concern is the complete loss of gardens in these areas, as food is already scarce.
We also invite you to consider how you can help bring immediate and much-needed assistance to Haitian families suffering in the wake of this hurricane. Two organizations with immediate disaster relief experience and a commitment to working with local churches are World Relief and Samaritan’s Purse.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the people of Haiti.
by Jean de Dieu Bizimana, Country Director, HOPE Burundi
On May 13, while I was in Lancaster, PA, for HOPE’s annual Leadership Summit, we received news of an attempted coup in Burundi. Though the coup failed, it was further evidence of the growing crisis in our country, where unrest and violence have become part of life in Bujumbura, the capital city, since late April, when our president announced he was running for a third term.
As the turmoil has dragged on, businesses and schools have closed, disrupting normal operations in our already fragile economy. Some HOPE Burundi staff members have gone to Rwanda for safety, part of the over 100,000 people who’ve fled the country.
In this atmosphere of uncertainty, I praise God that He is our constant, true source of hope. We say with the psalmist, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
I invite you to join me in praying for the people of Burundi, especially HOPE staff, church partners, and clients:
- Pray for peace. Pray that God moves in the hearts of the nation’s leaders to act in the best interests of the people of Burundi. Pray that peace prevails and that we find a resolution to this conflict that truly helps our country move forward.
- Pray for clients. With thousands leaving the country and many businesses closed, our clients—who rely on their businesses to support their families—are facing severe disruptions to their livelihoods.
- Pray for staff. Pray that God protects them as they travel to support and encourage volunteers and savings group members.
- Praise God for the solidarity of savings groups. In rural areas, savings groups have continued to meet, finding a source of solidarity and fellowship amid uncertainty and fear. Pray that they continue to find hope in times of prayer and worship.
Jean de Dieu has led HOPE Burundi’s savings and credit association (SCA) program since it started in 2012. Prior to assuming his current role, Jean de Dieu was actively involved in HOPE’s network as a board member of Turame Community Finance, HOPE’s partner in Burundi. He and his wife are blessed with three children.
When I traveled to Ukraine last January, I was unprepared for several things. The first was the below-zero temperatures, as the country experienced its coldest winter in years. When I arrived bundled in the warmest clothes I owned, I was roundly scolded by our local staff for not listening to their advice to bring warm clothing—as they loaned me something more suitable.
The other surprise came more gradually as I talked with staff and clients and realized the impact of widespread corruption and fraud on people’s perceptions of the future. That the government and its laws would actively obstruct its citizens was expected, a given, and it changed the way people spoke about their dreams.
When I talked with Oksana, for example, she proudly told me of how she had used HOPE’s loans to successfully expand her small market stall selling coffee and tea. She now had two stalls and employed one person, and she’d used her profits to send her daughter to college and make improvements to her home.
But when I asked her about the future, she said she’d have to move to another country in order to fulfill her dream of opening a small coffee shop. Ukraine’s current economic and political situation, she explained, would make opening her own shop nearly impossible.
I’ve been thinking of this lately as I read about the protests in Ukraine over the government’s decision not to sign an agreement with the European Union. HOPE has a long history in Ukraine—it’s where we first started distributing loans 16 years ago. We’ve seen men and women exhibit ingenuity, determination, and hard work as they seek to provide for their families despite the corruption and uncertainty.