HOPE’s founder, Jeff Rutt, visited several of HOPE’s countries this summer with his daughter Leah. Below, he reflects on the experience.
Over the past several years, I have had the immense privilege of traveling with each of my children to visit HOPE’s work in person, giving them the opportunity to witness firsthand the transformation that takes place when the poor receive the capital they need to invest in their businesses. This past summer, my youngest daughter, Leah, and I traveled to Rwanda, Burundi, and Ukraine: three countries where we witnessed God at work in amazing ways.
In Burundi*, we met Anastasia, a client who first started out with a $50 loan. With that money, Anastasia bought 20 chairs, which she then rented out to people for their events. As she worked hard, saved, and continued taking out loans, she has expanded her inventory to include not only 200 chairs but also baskets, plates, a stereo system, and three wedding dresses in three different sizes. The innovation and determination she has shown is inspiring. Because of her increased profits, she has been able to adopt two girls whose parents were killed in the recent civil war. Anastasia dreams of sending these two girls to the university to get an education—thus continuing this transformation into future generations.
In Chaplino, Ukraine, we were part of a group volunteering at an English-teaching Bible camp hosted by the Tomorrow Clubs, a children’s ministry funded in part by the profits from HOPE Ukraine’s ministry. In our week there, we saw 43 kids trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. By the end of the week, the pastor of the local church was so excited with the potential of these camps that he started pleading with us to start a weekly Tomorrow Club in that town. His congregation was mainly composed of elderly individuals, and he envisioned the increased impact of his church if they were able to reach all these children and their parents. One of the members of our group was similarly excited by this vision, immediately donating the $500 needed to fund a Tomorrow Club.
Traveling with my daughter Leah, I was struck anew with how blessed I’ve been to have always had the opportunity to provide for my children. We met client after client expressing incredible gratitude because they are now able to provide for their children through their businesses, rather than relying on others. The dignity and the hope that we saw on their faces was beautiful, and I am so grateful for everyone who has partnered with HOPE, impacting entire communities through clients like Anastasia and initiatives like the Tomorrow Clubs.
*HOPE partners with Turame Community Bank in Burundi.