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 […]Continue Reading...
Archives For prayer
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…
While living in Uganda as refugees following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Mariya, her husband, and their six children made a living by raising cattle. Years later, they decided to return to their home country of Rwanda and use the money they had saved to build a house and start a small farm. But their homecoming would not be an easy one.
“When we got here, we faced a lot of problems,” remembers Mariya. Her oldest son lost his leg in an accident while driving a motorcycle taxi, and her eldest daughter suffered from intestinal infections. Struggling to profit from their small farm, the family found that these additional medical expenses exacerbated their already vulnerable situation, draining them not just financially, but also physically and spiritually. Continue Reading…
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.”
by Claire Stewart, Executive Assistant
One year ago
I watched the clock as the seconds ticked by … 9:36 a.m. … 9:42 a.m. … 9:55 a.m. … Emerging from my cramped intern cubicle, I entered the conference room next door. Outside, the bustle of the city matched the nervous energy pulsing through my body.
Two sheets of paper lay on the table, covered in highlighting, arrows, and scribbles: “project management example,” “story of failure,” “phone skills,” “why I’m a good fit.” I spread the pages in front of me and situated myself facing away from the hallway. Straightened my blazer. Cleared my throat. Waited.
Finally, my phone rang. “This is it,” I thought. “BE PROFESSIONAL.”
“Hello, this is Claire.”
“Hi, Claire! This is Anna. How are you today?”
“I’m doing well. How are you?”
“I’m well! Hey—before we dive into my questions, may I pray for us?”
Oh yeah. Prayer. Asking God to enter into the decision process. Had I done that yet this morning? Of course I was approaching this opportunity prayerfully—but had I actually prayed? As Anna—who was about to interview me for a position at HOPE International—lifted up our conversation to the Lord, my tense shoulders relaxed and the anxious knot in my stomach loosened.
Little did I know this simple act was an informal initiation into a posture of prayer that is the core of HOPE’s workplace culture.
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…
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.