Christmas is fast approaching. While so many of us are fortunate enough to find presents under our Christmas tree, many folks around the world are scrambling each day just to find water, food, education and shelter. Through Believe.com’s campaign, “Operation Appreciation,” we’re focusing on six Christian organizations that work tirelessly to physically and spiritually spread God’s provision to meet the needs of His children.
Let’s take a look today at HOPE International, a Christian charity that focuses on equipping impoverished people with the tools they need to sustain themselves.
What They Do
Business Basics for the Poor: Based in 17 countries, HOPE International practices a holistic approach to poverty alleviation by providing impoverished people with sound business training based in biblical Truth. Equipping the needy with a safe place to save and small loans, HOPE enables individuals to build businesses and break free from physical poverty. Clients find that their increased income enables them to provide more nutritious and regular meals as well as improved housing and education for their children.
HOPE isn’t concerned only with physical poverty, however. Christ-following loan officers share the hope of the Gospel in the context of relationships, ministering to spiritual poverty as well.
One of the main sources of strength and support that HOPE provides is fellowship for other Christian entrepreneurs.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them - Matthew 18:20
The outreach also provides safe money lending. HOPE teaches people how to set up investing groups to borrow money from each other. This supports them financially to start businesses and help their families, as well as protects them from traditional money lenders which can sometimes charge up to 150 percent interest.
If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest - Exodus 22:25
Francoise (a seamstress) and her husband, Etienne (a textile shop owner) would never have the joy of a thriving business had it not been for HOPE. Having five children and one adopted child, Francoise joined a HOPE-inspired savings group Rakundo - meaning love - and began saving between $1.50 and $3 a month to support her five children.
After less than a year, Francoise began saving between $3.50 and $14 each month. She took out a $200 loan from her group to purchase an electric sewing machine - which is used to produce dresses much more quickly than the foot-powered machines she had been using. The loan also helps her to stock up on fabric, thread and other supplies.
In addition to financial stability, Francoise appreciates the discipleship and community she has found within her group.
Leaders at HOPE
Leaders at HOPE, such as CEO Peter Greer, are quick to point out their Uncharity Platform.
“HOPE is challenging the Church to think about extreme poverty alleviation differently,” Greer told Believe.com. “Rather than supplying charity, which is not a dignified and not a sustainable solution, we encourage people to invest in the dreams of the poor by enabling them to harness the gifts God has provided so they can provide for their families.”
Donating to HOPE: Gifts for Your Friends and Family This Season
You can support HOPE by purchasing items in their alternate gift catalog. Rather than receiving traditional gifts, the recipient will receive an e-card or printed card which shows items purchased in their names.
Donations, such as $20, will provide fabric and thread for entrepreneurs like Francoise. Other business owners are highlighted as well, where you can choose from a variety of options to support them.
More HOPE and Encouragement for You
In addition to their general website, check out CEO Peter Greer’s blog www.peterkgreer.com. An engaging and vibrant speaker, Greer is co-author of The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good and The Poor Will Be Glad. His next title, Mission Drift, will be released in January 2014. Look for a review of it at Believe.com in February!
Don’t forget to bookmark Believe.com’s main Operation Appreciation page here, which has more information on our holiday charity campaign, as well as links to all six organizations will feature. Thank you in advance for prayerfully considering donating.
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