Loving our neighbors around the world: Zimbabwe
To the CFC family, thank you for your partnership with HOPE International. For many years you have prayed and financially supported HOPE’s mission “to invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities as we proclaim and live the Gospel.” As you may know, several of us HOPE employees attend CFC, including some who have gone to serve with HOPE overseas. We are grateful for our church’s intentionality in loving our neighbors here and across the global.
In the midst of Covid-19, prayer, which has always been a core value of HOPE, has become more focused and centered on the challenging experiences we’re seeing in the 16 countries we serve. But we’ve also seen some incredible stories of hope that inspire us and remind us that God is at work including 20 people- and counting- coming to faith in Jesus Christ through the outreach of our partner, Esperanza, in the Dominican Republic. Praise the Lord! (and you can read more encouraging stories here).
I’ll share one story that was particularly encouraging to me from Zimbabwe, a country that regularly makes headlines for its food shortages and growing levels of poverty. HOPE works through church partners in the country to establish savings group ministries where people can save, learn about Christ and support each other in good and hard times (here is a video that shares a story of one savings group member).
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, HOPE’s local leadership in Zimbabwe reached out to their church partners to discern needs. Thanks to God’s provision, HOPE was able to raise resources to pass on to these churches for relief work in their communities, including food distribution to those in need. In all the hardships that continue in Zimbabwe, I was inspired when I heard this story:
A group of children—ages 10-18—in a savings group with the HOPE Zimbabwe Anglican church partner demonstrated incredible creativity. “COVID-19 has caused our guardians to fail to provide for us as they would want to,” says 18-year-old Lorraine. So they started a market garden with the help of their church savings group facilitator.
Lorraine continues: “… Our flourishing garden has helped us to support our parents in this economic hardship. We have been able to save from the selling of our vegetables to the community and have managed to pay off our school fees and to buy stationery and school uniforms.”
Tom Rakabopa, training coordinator for HOPE Zimbabwe, shared about these children: “In this time of crisis when most are cowering and dejected, they rise up early to go and tend to their gardens and sell their produce to the community whilst taking all the precautionary measures against COVID-19. They have reiterated how this project has become their lifeline in this period. … This younger generation has blatantly refused to be put down by the pandemic. Their gardening efforts have secured their school fee payments as they anticipate schools reopening soon. Their savings group has continued to thrive and provide access to capital. Their endeavors have not only brought light to their lives but has lit glimmers of hope in the lives of many around them.”
Wow! Praise God for the ingenuity and hard work displayed by this group! May he continue to bless those with the ability to work and the resources to provide for their families.
If you’d like to learn more about this work, here are a few ways to engage:
Share with kids: If you are interested in sharing about global poverty with kids you know, this kid’s book shares a realistic, yet encouraging story of what life is like for a school-aged girl in Rwanda. I enjoy reading with my kids (and proceeds go to HOPE!). Here is a little trailer video for the book to enjoy.