Archives For SCA

Group

by Chris McCurdy, Former Field Communications Fellow in Zambia

Throughout the course of my time in Zambia, the word that best describes this ministry is “enthusiastic.” Everyone involved with the new Zambia savings and credit association (SCA) ministry is doing their part to advance the Kingdom. This excitement extends from the head office in the capital city of Lusaka all the way to each SCA member within the rural communities we serve. I would like to share just a few short stories of the different types of transformation we’ve seen over the last few months.

Spiritually: Mwilu Sharon

Mwilu

Since joining her savings group, Mwilu shared with me that she has felt a powerful conviction to give back to God, because before it had been difficult to tithe the little she had. She told me:

God is the giver and the help. He is my refuge and is always there for me.

Mwilu said that the spiritual discipline of tithing has been challenging but also rewarding. When she first joined the group, she was only able to save two shares. However, after a few Sundays of tithing, she noticed her cosmetic business was seeing growth and contributed more to her savings group. In just three months’ time, Mwilu went from two shares to five. She gives God the full glory for each increase and shared that her group has been a huge blessing. “When we come, we sing and share devotions. I have a bigger community now.” Continue Reading…

HOPE Malawi staff

by Sylvie Somerville, Former Program Manager, HOPE Malawi

A myth of HOPE expat work is that we spend every day interacting with clients, drinking from the hose of transformation stories you can find all over this blog.

Instead, I spent about one day a month in the field with the savings group members HOPE Malawi serves. I cherished these times of watching and listening to the unique ways people save, build businesses, and discuss the changes in their lives and communities.

My two years in Malawi, however, were filled with ongoing stories from those I did get to watch every day—partner and office staff. God is moving through HOPE and through our church partners to change lives at every level! I cannot think of a single person I’ve been privileged to spend my daily HOPE life with who doesn’t have a beautiful story of spiritual and economic transformation. I’ll cherish these stories and relationships above all else that I experienced in this lovely country.

 

Gertrude

Getrude (left) is the most ambitious Malawian girl I’ve met. In addition to her duties mentoring 27 church volunteers, coaching groups during share-outs of their savings, analyzing reports, and writing member stories, she purchased a refrigerator using her own share-out from our staff savings group. At only 23 years old, her plans are underway to open a small restaurant in town. She wakes up at 4 a.m. most mornings, eager to not waste a single minute seeking God and His purpose for her life. Her prayer life and ability to disciple others have blossomed in her last two years with HOPE.

 

Trevor

Trevor hit one of the lowest points in his life right before joining HOPE as a regional field coordinator through his church. Nearly burnt out with the emotionally taxing duties of pastoral care in a broken and disunified denomination, he was questioning God’s purposes and ready to quit. The peace and unity the savings ministry has brought his denomination have also brought new life and meaning in Trevor’s life. Continue Reading…

India launch

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

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.

Since launching in July of this year, HOPE’s newest savings program in Malawi has grown to serve over 500 members. Anna Haggard, executive writing assistant, is in Malawi gathering stories from the new program. For more from Anna, follow the @HOPEstaff Twitter account.

Mary Moses

“Without education, no one goes far.” -Mary Moses, group member who saved to send her nine children to school

Marita John

“I have learned to take life as it comes. I am guided and protected by God.” -Marita John, member of the savings group “Love”

Continue Reading…

Erin and Nirmitee

As a writer on HOPE’s communications staff, I came to India searching for one particular story. It went something like this: Lower-caste woman grows up feeling worthless, with no hope for a better future. Through our partner, she learns she is created in God’s image and comes to know Christ. With her newfound hope, she saves money in a group, starts a small business, and is freed from the usurious interest rates of moneylenders.

Now, all those things are happening in BIG ways here in India. In every group we visited, women said they feel free because they have options besides moneylenders. I witnessed joy and laughter and dignity. One woman I met (am I allowed to have favorites?) told me that now their group wants to “win the world.” She then told me they would come to the U.S. to show me how it’s done.

But I was here to help script a video, and I wanted to find that perfect story in quotable sound bites. I needed a simple, uncomplicated narrative of change that would fit into the 3-4 minutes we were allotted to grab attention from busy viewers.

Continue Reading…

On my recent trip to Peru, I met a woman who was struggling with a deep hurt. As I sat in her business, Luz (pictured on the right) shared with me and a few others how disappointed she was that she had never married or had children. Tears welled in her eyes as a friend held her close. Luz owns a costume shop in Lima, Peru, where she sells and rents costumes of all kinds, from recognizable Disney characters to traditional Peruvian icons. Her customers come to her shop to celebrate, but while she serves them, she’s filled with a sadness that struck at her core as a woman in Peruvian society.

Luz with Michelle, the program coordinator

Continue Reading…