Home » One year in the field: stories worth sharing

One year in the field: stories worth sharing

by Lori Oberholtzer, Field Communications Manager

Communication Fellows

One year, one camera, and one fiery passion. That’s all it took for Mara, Drake, and Joanne to say “YES!”

At HOPE, we want to capture stories of Christ’s transformative love from the field and share those stories with you. Enter Mara, Drake, and Joanne, HOPE’s first three field communications fellows! Their mission (which they chose to accept) is to listen to, document, and share the stories of the clients we serve—so others can hear about the life-changing, transformative power of Christ-centered microenterprise development.

Before sharing the stories they’ve collected, we want to introduce our fellows. (Fellow is just a fancy word for long-term volunteer.)

Mara is a learner of life and lover of all things creative and adventurous:


  • Currently in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
  • Studied French and graphic design at McDaniel College
  • Aside from alleviating poverty, Mara is passionate about fighting the injustice of human trafficking.
  • One country she’d love to visit is New Zealand, home of grassy valleys and boiling tar pits. If she could explore with anyone, it would be hands down her older sister!


Drake is a pretty rad guy. He tweets like a champ, is deeply Texan, and knows what he likes (check out his favorite meal):


  • Living in Zimbabwe for a year
  • Studied business marketing at Dallas Baptist University
  • Drake wants to make a difference in the world and believes that physical poverty isn’t the only need: Spiritual poverty runs deep too.
  • If he could eat only one meal for the rest of his life, it would be rack of lamb, grilled asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes.


Joanne is passionately proactive in all her endeavors. She’s a violin enthusiast (since age 3!), cat lover, and world traveler:


  • Currently resides in Rwanda
  • Studied communications at Thomas Edison State College and received her Master of Arts in intercultural studies from Columbia International University
  • Plans to learn French this year, adding to her current repertoire of Spanish and Mandarin Chinese
  • Her personal experience seeing the never-ending cycle of aid has propelled her to seek a more sustainable approach to poverty alleviation.


We’re grateful for the passion our fellows have to serve God and respond to His call to serve those in poverty with their marketing and communications skills! They’d love to hear from you, so keep checking in for updates on their time in the field. If you could see yourself in a similar role, check out more details about our field communications fellowship here. We’d love to have you join the team!




As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered economic development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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