by Luke Harbaugh, HOPE Church Representative

It’s tempting to idealize a life of isolation. The fiction of total independence, full autonomy, and little to no social accountability can sound appealing. However, Genesis 2:18 reminds us “it is not good for a man to be alone,” and we also learn from Genesis that God created us to function as social creatures, living in relationship with Him and in community with others. When we embrace a life of isolation, we are denying a key piece of our design as humans, but when we embrace community, we come alive more fully.

I got to personally witness the healing power of community when I visited Ishaan and his sister Darsha in South Asia last year.* Ishaan used to live a pretty normal life—he was funny, kind, and well-liked by those who knew him. But one day he started to get sick—and this sickness went beyond physical symptoms. His personality seemed to change.

He stopped eating, and he would barely drink. There were also violent outbursts and anger. Where he once used kind words, there was now profanity and insults. He would cry out randomly, and he would snarl and flail wildly. Completely out of character, Ishaan also stopped working. Continue Reading…

When families are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, life becomes about survival. Focused on providing for their daily needs, individuals have little mental or physical bandwidth to serve those around them.

At HOPE International, we dream of seeing HOPE-network clients empowered to be agents of transformation in their own communities. These five clients exemplify what it means to love your neighbor.

Continue Reading…

Like owning a home in the U.S., buying a plot of land in rural Rwanda is a major investment. Not all families can afford the purchase and will instead work on others’ land. But with their own plot, farming families can grow their own food, earn more on the sale of crops, and leave an inheritance for their children.

Odette and her family owned a plot of land years ago, but due to unforeseen medical expenses, they had to sell it. Without a safety net for emergencies, she and her husband struggled to provide for their four young children. Odette often felt alone in her poverty, isolated from those around her. Continue Reading…

As a retailer in a local market near Jeanthon II, Haiti, Manoucheka Joseph puts in a long day. At 6 a.m., she packs a black rolling suitcase with her wares—sandals, children’s clothing, and drinks—hails a taxi, and makes her way to the bustling market. She spends the day tending to her stall and helping customers find items, and doesn’t return home until 6 p.m.

Even though Manoucheka was involved with the church in her community, her busy days away from home kept her from getting to know her neighbors. “I didn’t have any friends,” she relates.

Manoucheka also worried about not having enough income to save for unexpected emergencies that might arise—not only for herself but for her 8-year-old son. “Life was difficult,” she recalls. “We earn 100 gourdes, and we spend 100 gourdes. We just live one day at a time, with no hope for the future. So, […] if there’s an emergency situation, how are we going to face it?”

Then, this past February, Manoucheka decided to join Gwoup Epay Debora, the Deborah Savings Group that had started at her church. Continue Reading…

Before her graduation in August from Florida International University, Aisha Arias was a part of her campus chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Through InterVarsity, she attended the Urbana missions conference, where HOPE International had a stand. Aisha recalls, “I became intrigued with doing missions with finance, so I checked out HOPE’s website and saw they were offering an internship that suited my interests.” Continue Reading…

In 2017, through our blog, we’ve shared a few of the stories of the men and women we serve worldwide, along with insights into our work and the communities where we serve. We hope that you’ve been encouraged, challenged, and inspired in your own life to grow in faith and service to the Kingdom. In case you missed any of these popular blog posts, here are the most-read posts from 2017. Continue Reading…