Earlier this year, a temporary shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 restricted the grocery and grill business that Jofrey Mbema (pictured) owns in the Republic of Congo. With his income suddenly and unexpectedly cut, Jofrey’s greatest concern was how to provide for his family. But he also wondered how he’d manage to repay the business loan he’d taken through HOPE Congo. Continue Reading…
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2020 has been a year of bad news: coronavirus … dust storms … wildfires … financial shocks … the list goes on.
And yet, despite the real hardships many are facing, we are confident that God is still moving, He is still in control, and He alone deserves our praise. As David exhorts, “Sing praises to the Lord! … Tell among the peoples his deeds!” (Psalm 9:11 ESV).
Today we’re singing God’s praise as we celebrate glimpses of His goodness in the HOPE network throughout 2020. Continue Reading…
Going to prison marked the beginning of Emmanuel Chamango’s openness to God’s transforming power.
Emmanual describes his former self as someone who avoided hard work, choosing to steal or rely on others to provide for his family. Emmanuel’s imprisonment humbled him. “What led me to come here?” he pondered. “Is it the person who reported me to the police [for illegally farming land he didn’t own], or was it God?” A visiting pastor preached on forgiveness, and Emmanuel took the message to heart. He remembers praying as he never had before. “Slowly I started changing, and that’s when I started loving God.”
In recent months, COVID-19 has severely disrupted economies and markets. In this climate, we’re seeing executives from huge corporations—like Spotify, Whole Foods, Panera, and United Airlines—lead their companies to pivot, adapting their business model in ways that ensure short-term survival and create new avenues for future development.
At HOPE, we’re seeing the same business savvy shown by execs of multi-million-dollar corporations carried out by the entrepreneurs and savings groups we serve around the world—but with fewer resources and more challenging circumstances. Here are a few stories of women and men in the HOPE network demonstrating their resilience, tenacity, and entrepreneurial innovation, as they pivot their businesses to adapt to the new economic landscape shaped by the coronavirus:
When I heard that a whole generation of economic progress could be lost because of COVID-19, what might have been an abstract concept felt personal.
Like kids across the country, my first grader, Addi, spent this spring learning from home. One assignment had her interviewing a family member, and she chose her grandpa: my dad. She carefully printed questions in her notebook—using her best phonetic spelling—and as FaceTime connected, I settled in to hear the stories I remember hearing as a child: my dad and his brothers chasing each other across farm fields, dad knocking an aggressive farm goose senseless in self-defense, his exasperated mother shooing six boys out of her kitchen with a rolling pin—or whatever else was handy.
Addi and I giggled over several of these same stories, but hearing them as an adult, many were tinged with a sadness and struggle I hadn’t remembered. Like when my dad told Addi about his family’s two-seater outhouse, how the brothers competed to be first in line for a weekly bath so the tub water would still be clean, how glasses of water turned to ice on bedside tables in the wintertime, how his parents saved every bit of extra money to buy each boy a second-hand bicycle one Christmas, how they rarely visited a doctor, and how his parents buried their only daughter and a son before their fifth birthdays.
It dawned on me: Not in a faraway country or too long ago, my dad grew up in poverty. Continue Reading…