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There’s an interview question I like to ask: Have you always known you had these skills? Ladis Ramirez’s answer surprised me.

In September, I traveled to Paraguay to interview clients of HOPE’s newest microfinance partner, Diaconía. Sitting outside of a community center in Cevallos Cuesta, Paraguay, I heard the hum of chatting and laughter inside. Working on colorful clothing and accessories, over 40 women were attending a vocational course—part of Diaconía’s holistic model of development. Across from me, Ladis showed off a creamy-white sweater and intricately-designed sandals. Both humble and enthusiastic, her eyes shone as she described how she made each item. Continue Reading…

by Phil Smith, Director of Savings and Credit Association Programs

When you think about it, in our common vernacular, we use the word “hands” in so many different ways to describe the everyday events of our lives.

  • Ownership or responsibility: “I’ll leave it in your capable hands.”
  • Busy schedule: “My hands are full.”
  • Act of giving (sometimes with negative connotations): “We don’t want to just give a hand out.”
  • Protection from danger: “They didn’t lay a hand on them.”
  • Request for (or offer to) help “Could you give me a hand? I’ll give you a hand.”

Over the years, we’ve built up quite a vocabulary on our hands to communicate so much of, well, life! And looking to Scripture, there is the same—if not more—use of the word “hands” as a symbolic and literal descriptor of life.  Continue Reading…