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This post was originally shared in 2019 and was updated and re-published in December 2022.

Traditions abound at Christmas time. Though each family celebration is unique, we wanted to offer a glimpse into how those served by the HOPE network around the world may be joining together with family, friends, and neighbors to rejoice in Christ’s arrival. We marvel at the beauty of so many countries and cultures celebrating the gift of Jesus’ birth and invite you to pause and reflect on the meaning behind your own familiar traditions.

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by Ricot St. Paulin, HOPE Haiti country director

My fellow Haitians are a resilient people. Their strength to face and recover from any type of challenge is exceptional. But when it comes to institutions or organizations at a global level, there is none more resilient than the Church.

Jesus declared, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). The early Church believers were united and shared a common vision. They had great fellowship, devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles, and had everything in common (Acts 2:41 – 42).

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Lina Feria never imagined that her small business selling homemade snacks could grow into a flourishing general store. Yet her story testifies that God can use small loans and persistence to transform a business and a whole family. 

Building a business brick by brick 

When Lina first decided to become a member of The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s partner in the Philippines, she was selling traditional rice cake snacks (called kakanin) that she made at home. 

Although she was not a Christian then, Lina joined CCT because she was curious about their Bible studies. As she got to know staff members and read the Word, she slowly began to learn more about God and eventually gave her life to Him.  

It wasn’t long before Lina found herself looking into CCT’s financial services, too. In 1998, Lina took her first loan to support her small business. With a second loan, she expanded her inventory to include frozen products—which proved very popular with her customers. As her confidence grew, Lina continued to take out loans to expand her business into a general store with many offerings for her neighborhood.  

Freedom to be flexible 

When her community’s needs shifted, Lina switched up her business strategy and diversify her inventory.  

Subsequent loans and training from CCT equipped her to build a physical store; add fishing supplies; and begin selling motor parts, generators, gallons of purified drinking water, and chickens to sell eggs.  

“Materially, the Lord has given us so much,” Lina shares. “I am no longer peddling.”  

Today, Lina has bold dreams for the future. She and her husband are renting their current store building, but one day they hope to buy land and build a store of their own.  

Whether those HOPE serves are diversifying inventory, raising livestock, tailoring clothes, or growing crops, we’ve seen the kind of transformation that is possible when men and women use their gifts and talents to provide for their families. 

In this year’s Gifts of HOPE catalog, we’ve highlighted some of the poverty-fighting tools used most commonly by entrepreneurs and farmers that HOPE serves. You can purchase these items symbolically in honor of friends and loved ones as a Christmas gift! 

We invite you to join hands with remarkable men and women like Lina through a Gift of HOPE this Christmas season.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

At HOPE International, we celebrate the generosity that’s unleashed on Giving Tuesday! But with so many causes and groups to give to, we know it can be hard to know which to choose.

If you’re looking for ways to give this year, we’ve put together a list of four international and two U.S.-based organizations that we’ve had the privilege of getting to know and would recommend to you.

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by Chris Horst, chief advancement officer 

For reasons outlined in more detail on my personal blog last month, I’ll be stepping back from my current leadership role at HOPE International into a part-time role in January 2023. This transition was made for positive family reasons and the desire to decrease travel and be more present with my family during this stage. 

My transition means that two of my colleagues will be stepping into more senior leadership positions. For more than a decade, I have worked closely alongside both Dan Williams (pictured above in black) and Erika Quaile (pictured above in pink). They have both proven to be exceptional leaders of their respective teams. But even more significantly, I’m impressed with who they are as people. I am thrilled that they will be promoted to vice presidents and fully confident in their ability to move HOPE’s mission forward.  

Dan and Erika embody the best of HOPE’s culture, and we are inspired by how they follow Jesus. They desire to grow, learn, wrestle with their own shortcomings, and serve others—their families, churches, communities, and colleagues.  

It has been a joy and privilege to manage Erika and Dan, and I’m thrilled to share more about their unique qualifications for the roles they’ll be stepping into in the new year.
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A woman smiles on a balcony overlooking a valley

HOPE International is launching a new savings group program in Tanzania! And Anna Makundi recently joined us as the country director, with the task of forming a new team and bringing on new church partners. We’re grateful for her pioneering spirit and willingness to set the foundation to serve more people through savings groups.

Born and raised in Tanzania, Anna holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Victoria University of Wellington and has extensive international development experience with several prominent nonprofits. Anna lives with her husband and their three sons in Arusha, a city in northeast Tanzania. 

Recently, Anna sat down with us to share her thoughts on why HOPE is launching in Tanzania, her dreams for HOPE’s impact in local communities, and how we can pray for her growing team.  Continue Reading…