Archives For prayer

Francia

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.”

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Prayer at HOPE

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.

Today

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Clients

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…

“The devotional”

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.

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Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

You could feel the excitement in Roger’s voice.

“I think this might be the one. Significant leadership in a multinational bank—check. CPA license—check. Speaks the local language and English—check. Active in his church—check.” Everyone silently wondered, “Did we finally find the needle in the haystack?”

The position in question was CEO of one of our African microfinance institutions, and we felt the heat to get this role filled ASAP. The program needed leadership. The Central Bank required a technically savvy CEO. HR wanted closure. Everyone wanted him to be the right fit.

And then someone asked,

Does he have a demonstrated passion for making disciples and guiding our spiritual integration efforts?

Aside from our personal connection with Christ, there is nothing more critical to fulfilling our mission than hiring the right staff. Each new team member either deepens our Christ-centeredness or distracts, dilutes, and discourages it. This is especially true of leaders but applies to every role from top to bottom.

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Praying in Congo

Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration


This week, I’ve our spiritual integration associate, to address a key element of our efforts to keep Christ central: prayer.


“We can’t do this alone.” As I sat around the table discussing discipleship strategies with field leaders whom I deeply respect, I could not escape this thought. Despite all the practical experience and cultural understanding in the room, despite all the studying of best practices, it was evident that we are not capable of bringing about transformation out of our own strength or knowledge. We are completely dependent on the Lord’s love, wisdom, and transforming power.

We are on a journey here at HOPE. A journey closer into the heart of God as we encounter Him more deeply. A journey to become an increasingly prayerful organization, often learning from our clients themselves what it means to truly live dependent on the Lord day by day.

As we go to our Father in prayer, we always want to reflect the following heart of prayer:

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This April marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which claimed the lives of approximately 800,000 Rwandan men, women, and children. We join our brothers and sisters in mourning the traumatic events of those weeks, and as we witness reconciliation through our partner programs there, we thank God that brokenness is not the end of the story.

Please join us in praying for Rwanda in these six specific ways.

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Join us in praying that God heals their wounds, guards them from bitterness, and causes them to flourish even in the midst of deep pain. Pray that, instead of reliving the terror of those violent months, they would remember God’s deliverance and “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). Pray that those who lost loved ones would be comforted in fresh ways this year.

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As they are once again reminded of the atrocities they committed, ask God to restore each one and soften their hearts. Pray that they would choose to embrace God’s forgiveness and move forward in obedience to God with full assurance of His love and acceptance.

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Lift up the women and children who lost husbands and parents in the violence. Pray also for women who contracted HIV/AIDS through sexual violence in that period and for children who have been orphaned by the disease. Pray that they will experience God’s provision and the healing power of Christ’s love.

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Pray that in each of Rwanda’s communities, the Church would be known as an instrument of peace, a champion of truth, and a protector of the defenseless. Pastor Joseph, one of HOPE’s partners in Gasharu, shares, “Even though we went through that traumatic experience, our people strongly believe that there is hope. There is hope that God is healing people’s hearts. And I’ve seen that our people have a sense of unity among themselves.”

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Praise God for the ministry of savings groups in Rwanda, and ask Him to continue using them to bring about profound change. As savings facilitator Christine Vuguziga explains, many people joined savings groups to improve their difficult financial situations, “but they also deeply needed community, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The Church believed that God would work through these small savings groups. And He has.” Watch “A Hope That Saves” to hear testimonies of this change.


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Thank God for rebuilding the nation in so many ways, and pray that the country’s leaders would promote equality, harmony, and justice for all people. Pray that the next generation of Rwandans would no longer see themselves in terms of ethnic differences, and ask God to renew each community in powerful ways.

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If you’d like to join with us in prayer more regularly, sign up for our monthly prayer update at www.hopeinternational.org/pray.