Home » What does faith have to do with poverty? These three stories tell us.

What does faith have to do with poverty? These three stories tell us.

Jocelyn breaking out of poverty in Philippines

How deepening a relationship with Jesus empowers families to break out of poverty

At HOPE International, we believe that without Christ, none of us can be truly free from poverty. One of our great joys is seeing people come to know Christ and experience the abundant life He offers.

Today, we’re celebrating the stories of Alphonse, Dominga, and Jocelyn, three people served by HOPE who have experienced spiritual transformation and poverty’s grip loosening. From learning how to pray to sharing the joy of salvation with family to finding hope for the future, these stories illustrate how God is at work—and why sharing the love of Jesus remains integral to our approach to alleviating poverty.

Alphonse Nsengumuremyi: learning to pray

Before taking out a loan from Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, Alphonse says he didn’t have the capital he needed to expand his family’s small business of selling cooking oil. Without enough income, he struggled to pay school fees for his children.

What does faith have to do with poverty? These three stories tell us.

Alphonse in his shop

“When my fellow church members told me about free financial literacy trainings, I was amazed,” Alphonse says. “It was the only financial institution that serves the underserved, especially women.”

With access to a $116 (U.S.) group loan from Urwego, Alphonse was equipped to expand his small business. As his business has grown, he’s used his increased income and savings to build rental houses and hire workers, uplifting his community.

“We used to be believers but not strong believers. We’d go to church like the rest of the people, but we had not accepted Jesus as our personal Savior,” he recalls. “After joining Urwego Bank, we would pray and worship during the group’s weekly meetings. Since then, I got to know who God really is. I then became a strong believer.”

He adds, “This has taught me how to love and serve people. In addition, I got to know God and how to pray. Before, we never used to pray, but now, I can pray on a regular basis with my family.”

Dominga de la Cruz Rodriguez: faith in action

Dominga and her cleaning business

Esperanza International, our microfinance institution in the Dominican Republic, provided Dominga with a loan of $250 (U.S.) to expand her cleaning business. Yet it wasn’t a financial transaction but a relationship that opened space for Dominga to hear about Christ.

During a meeting with her loan officer, Dominga heard the Gospel and committed her life to Jesus. She now considers herself an evangelist, spreading the joy of her salvation. After sharing her faith with her family, two of them also came to know Jesus.

Her dreams for the future? Dominga wants to keep telling others about the good news of Christ, invest in her business, and help develop her community gain access to clean water and transportation.

Jocelyn Bona: a story of overcoming

Jocelyn breaking out of poverty in Philippines

Jocelyn and her mobile snack store

Fifteen years ago, Jocelyn was without a job, struggled with addiction, and lacked hope in her life.

Then, her friends invited her to get a meal served by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s microfinance and savings groups partner in the Philippines. “They said, ‘There, you’ll be able to eat, and you’ll hear the Word of God—your life will change,’” she recalls. And that’s what happened.

Jocelyn later joined a savings group and, during weekly meetings, began to study the Bible with fellow group members.

I heard about change, perseverance, and love.

Jocelyn still faces challenges—she doesn’t yet have permanent housing and her children are living with other family members—but by saving just 200 pesos ($3.55 U.S.) each week, Jocelyn opened a snack store. She now uses her income to buy necessities and sends funds to help pay for her daughter’s college tuition.

“It is really good when you hear the Word of God; it changes your life,” says Jocelyn.

“The future is beautiful. Because I learned that there’s hope in my life.”

Intentional discipleship can transform lives

As these stories illustrate, the love of God is powerful—so mighty that it brings hope, revitalizes relationships, and changes outlooks on life. This is why spiritual integration remains essential to our approach to alleviating poverty.

To learn more about HOPE’s commitment to holistic transformation—addressing the spiritual, personal, social, and material causes of poverty—visit https://www.hopeinternational.org/what-we-do.



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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