In 2007, Chris Horst, the current Vice President of Development at Hope International, was sent to Romania for work. In chapel on Tuesday, Horst recalled walking past people begging on the side of the road every day while in Romania.
He told of one man in particular: a blind man who had lost both his legs and who now sat every day in the snow beside the road, dependent on the mercy of those who passed by. Horst remembers the man’s desperation and his own feeling of helplessness. What could he do to help this man?
Hope International works to help people in similar situations all over the world by focusing on three key components: Christ, Community, and Craft. First, Hope International communicates to those in need that God loves them, that God created them in His image, that Christ died for them, and that God has given them specific gifts and abilities.
Next, Hope International connects these people to others in poverty in their area. Hope International focuses not on what people need, but on what they have, and how they can utilize their assets in order to become self-sufficient. Finally, Hope International helps people to find dignified work. Hope International believes that doing dignified, honorable work gives a person a sense of worth and purpose.
Hope International came into contact with a blind man named Alfonse who lives in Rwanda a few years ago. Because of his blindness, Alfonse was unable to work and felt so ashamed that he didn’t want to leave his house.
Hope International shared the hope of God’s love with Alfonse and connected him with a group of 10 other blind men and women in Rwanda.
Hope International helped this group form a savings and credit association. Each member of the group saved 13 cents each week, which they pooled together and share with each other.
This group also participates in biblical training together each week. The group eventually earned enough money to buy seeds and livestock to support themselves. They also make baskets, mats, and soccer balls to sell in the community. Hope International gave these people the ability to become self-sufficient and dignified.
“We are no longer defined as being disabled or beggars, Alfonse said.
Hope International sees the importance of affirming the humanity of all people, which can be done through actions as simple as looking someone in the eye or offering a smile. Hope International also believes in the importance of affirming the dignity of craft. Although Hope International gives small loans to those in need, Hope International does not give handouts.
Hope International encourages people in need to find dignified work and to become self-sufficient. Finally, Hope International is committed to the service of those in need because they feel called to follow Jesus to society’s most vulnerable places.
In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind. Throughout this passage, we see the transformation of a man’s life. Not only does this man gain the ability to see, but he also gains equality and dignity in society.
His outlook shifts from one of shame to one of worth. Although Hope International does not have the ability to restore sight, they help those in poverty achieve a sense of equality and self-worth.