Archives For spiritual integration

As part of our commitment to personal and corporate discipleship, staff members of HOPE International engage each month with a “Faith in Practice” theme. Our goal is to grow in the knowledge of that spiritual theme and live it out in our day-to-day lives. Recently, we studied our call to take Christ’s posture of hospitality in order to serve His people around the world.

By Dan Williams, Director of Spiritual Integration

I still remember the dread I felt at age 12 on my first day at a new school after my family had moved from North Carolina to Virginia. And I also remember the safety and relief I felt when Stash, a boy that would soon become my closest friend, invited me to join his friends at the lunch table.

I remember my fear of being taken advantage of by predatory market vendors when I first moved to Niger. And I also remember how Pastor Djibo would come by and offer to go with me to the market to make sure I got fair prices.

In my current work at HOPE, I am blessed with the opportunity to travel. Whether I’m driving from my home in Durham, NC, to HOPE’s office in Lancaster, PA, or flying to visit HOPE-network programs around the world, I’m regularly overwhelmed by the hospitality I experience. I can tell you every person who ever came to greet me at the airport instead of letting me take a taxi, every meal that I’ve had in someone else’s home while traveling, every couple that slept in their children’s room so that they could offer their guest the most comfortable bed, and every person who enthusiastically took me to all the touristy things in their city when they surely had something more important to do. Continue Reading…

By Jesse Casler, VP of Finance and Administration

At HOPE, we’re driven by the belief that our God is good and that He desires all people to know Him. This calls us to side with families that have been disenfranchised and overlooked as we share the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’re also driven by the people who carry out HOPE’s mission around the world. HOPE staff members are missionary bankers, human resource professionals, accountants, marketing specialists, administrators, and more who are deeply committed to investing in underserved families. It’s a joy and a privilege to serve alongside so many passionate, talented men and women who are a critical part of this work!

As we work in the world’s underserved communities, we want to see HOPE staff members become lifelong learners and problem solvers who flourish both in the workplace and at home. In the gospel of John, Jesus tells His disciples that He came so they might have life to the full. HOPE’s holistic staff development model encourages men and women to invite Christ into every part of their lives. As ambassadors of Christ, we believe that, regardless of specific roles—whether manager, intern, executive team member, or fellow—staff should be living in the fullness Christ promised.

At HOPE, we’ve chosen a staff development strategy, with the guidance of our friend Malcolm Webber and LeaderSource, which uses two simple frameworks: the 5C’s and RISE. Continue Reading…

In this one-minute field report, Annie Ansley, field communications fellow, shares about the joy she saw in women as they worship together in a repayment meeting through Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

by Phil Smith, Director of Savings and Credit Association Programs

When you think about it, in our common vernacular, we use the word “hands” in so many different ways to describe the everyday events of our lives.

  • Ownership or responsibility: “I’ll leave it in your capable hands.”
  • Busy schedule: “My hands are full.”
  • Act of giving (sometimes with negative connotations): “We don’t want to just give a hand out.”
  • Protection from danger: “They didn’t lay a hand on them.”
  • Request for (or offer to) help “Could you give me a hand? I’ll give you a hand.”

Over the years, we’ve built up quite a vocabulary on our hands to communicate so much of, well, life! And looking to Scripture, there is the same—if not more—use of the word “hands” as a symbolic and literal descriptor of life.  Continue Reading…

Use your power. Ask them for whatever you want. You’ll be surprised at how eager they are to please you.

This, explained the instructor, was how we, six representative shopkeepers, were to deal with the other 120 participants in this 30-minute game meant to simulate the social and economic realities for millions of families who live in extreme poverty.

The setup was simple. An open conference room outfitted with plastic tarps, one per family unit, supplied with newspaper and a bucket of water and flour paste. To pay for rent, food, and perhaps health care, these families would make paper bags. These were then sold to shopkeepers like myself in units of 10.

While the setup was simple, the psychology of the game proved to be anything but. As shopkeepers, we were informed that in this game we held the power over the families. We were to pay little for their product. So little that most families couldn’t afford to pay their exorbitant rent at the end of the 10-minute “week.” We could yell and demand extra favors. Our job was not only to cheat, but also to systematically and emotionally oppress their will to do anything but hopelessly make more bags.

The simulation began with loud rock music. We walked between the frantic families, hunkered over ripped newspaper and paste, clapping and yelling at them: “Work faster!” The first family to approach me bowed respectfully and presented their 10 bags. I paid them well, compared to the next shopkeeper, and consoled myself that I wasn’t THAT bad.

But soon, to my surprise, I changed.

Continue Reading…

Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

It happens all the time. I have the privilege of meeting someone new, and some version of the following conversation occurs.

Me: “Hi, my name is Matthew.”
New Friend: “Hi, Matthew, my name is _______________.” Various types of small talk take place, inevitably leading to: “What do you do for a living?”
Me: “I serve as director of spiritual integration at HOPE International.”
New Friend: Brow furrows, eyes begin to squint, and head tilts a few degrees to the left (I’m not sure why it’s usually left). “Um, so what does that actually mean?”

With few exceptions, introducing the concept of spiritual integration (S.I.) at HOPE to someone new to the organization elicits both confusion and curiosity. This is understandable, since “spiritual integration” is not a department or function in most organizations. Additionally, our western culture naturally divides life into sacred vs. secular activities or physical vs. spiritual realities. This makes the idea of spiritual integration somewhat foreign and potentially counter-intuitive.

Continue Reading…