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.
Coming to faith.
Turame, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Burundi, began this year with a day of prayer attended by about 400 people. That day, 40 individuals gave their lives to Christ. On July 4, several months later, a woman named Goreth came to Turame’s office and shared that she had been thinking of giving her life to Christ ever since. Staff members prayed with her, and Goreth accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
The beauty of community.
In Kibungo, Rwanda, Adidas Ntakirutinka (pictured above) had begun a savings group for himself and other community members with disabilities a year before coronavirus lockdowns. Though they weren’t able to help each other financially during the pandemic, group members still found ways to support one another. To help Adidas—who cannot walk—members of his savings group walked over 20 miles, leaving their community at 4 a.m. and returning at 6 p.m., to get Adidas medications he required from the nearest hospital.
Lucinda Empressa first joined the Center for Community Transformation, HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, in 2004. A mother of 12, Lucinda holds a full-time job at a cannery, co-pastors three churches alongside her husband, and operates a piggery. She also helps members of the Badjao people group—a disenfranchised indigenous group—learn to read and write. “By God’s grace, we were able to build a boarding house during the pandemic,” she says. She hopes to build more, as the income would enable her to serve full-time in her various ministries.
Though HOPE East Asia staff cannot openly share the Gospel with those they serve, they can display God’s love by meeting practical needs. One entrepreneur, recently widowed with a young son, did not know how to cook. When coronavirus lockdowns were at their most stringent, he was unable to take his son to restaurants as he normally would have. Over the phone, his loan officer taught him to cook and later blessed the man and his son with a home-cooked meal.
New opportunities to share the Good News.
Peru has been one of the hardest-hit countries within the HOPE network. Pastors in Comas, the city served by HOPE’s church partner, have banded together to lead daily devotions online. A 2.5-hour prayer meeting earlier this summer drew over 1,000 participants. Lisset Rojas de Avellaneda, program manager of the savings group program, says, “We have many opportunities to continue sharing the Gospel, and that is something that fills our hearts and encourages us to keep going.”
Amid a challenging season, thank you for pausing to rejoice with us. And stay tuned for part two! Believe it or not, we couldn’t contain all the goodness of 2020 to just one post.
We invite you to be a part of what God is doing in bringing good news amid the hardships of this year by making a contribution today.