by Sarah Tan, HOPE Fellow
On the Fourth of July, a group of HOPE staff members and partners on the other side of the world gathered for a different kind of celebration—complete with cake and curry.
We were celebrating the launch of HOPE International’s third savings and credit association (SCA) partnership in India. After a week-long training, the participants, ranging from pastors to community leaders, stood misty eyed as they received their certificates.
The shared air of triumph and suppressed excitement was not hard to explain. When the week first started, the participants were reserved and skeptical. Most of them were from regions that have had a bad history with corrupt, government-led savings groups (called Self Help Groups) and were thus mistrustful of what HOPE’s savings program could offer.
However, as the week progressed, revealing a savings ministry specifically rooted in God’s Word and principles of trust (called the House of Principles), participants became increasingly engaged in discussion. They learned how savings groups have become a tool of reconciliation across HOPE’s global network as members meet together regularly, share God’s Word, and support one another—and they couldn’t wait to go back to their communities to start.
On the celebration night, the participants vied for a chance to share their testimonies:
Having been part of savings groups for 13 years … I came wondering what you could teach me. But now I see what the other groups had been missing—the House of Principles and focus on Christ.
Another participant grabbed the microphone.
Honestly, I thought I would stay only one day. … I had heard stories about corrupt savings groups in India. However, I realized how this ministry was different and could change lives. I am so excited to begin savings groups in my church and community.
Please join in us in praying for these leaders to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16) as they share the message of Christ’s love and reconciliation. Pray that the savings groups would be a powerful tool for physical and spiritual transformation in their communities.
Sarah is a savings and credit association (SCA) program fellow with HOPE. She serves with HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), in the hopes of seeing holistic transformation among Filipino communities.