“God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish” (Psalm 9:18).
Hope is like oxygen for the soul and one inspiring way that God is restoring hope around our campus is through savings groups. We have nearly 400 participants in these community-led groups and hope is being realized in unique ways. Following a very intentional training process sponsored by Hope International, Chaplain Shema is leading these groups to a new level of growth and influence in our neighborhood.
After joining the Hope Haven savings group two years ago, one of the members, Soline, began to experience dramatic changes in her life, physically, socially and spiritually. As a mother of seven, she works hard alongside her husband to take care of their family.
Reflecting on where she was before she joined the group, Soline said, “Two years ago, I was sitting in the front of our destroyed house. I saw a group of happy, joyful women passing by but I hid myself from them because of my dirty and torn clothes. I rushed inside to hide my embarrassment, but I was very curious to know what they were talking about. One of the ladies who knew me, told her friends about me and convinced them to come back and greet me. She came inside and found me and they started to tell me about the good things that are taking place in their savings group and encouraged me to join them. At first I resisted, but then finally agreed to join them. When I reached the group, they embraced me and gave me a warm welcome. They described how they were saving and then they prayed for me.”
Eventually, Soline joined this group and began to see her hope in life restored. She said that her fellow group members introduced her to Jesus, inviting her to church and teaching her how to read the Bible. Today, she says, “I am now close to God and know He is guiding my life.” Through her personal savings, and with loans from fellow savings group members, Soline started farming and set up a local grocery shop to sell various household items.
“I was very poor before I joined the savings group. I used to work in other people’s fields in order to eat. I literally owned nothing. Now we have plenty of food to eat and water is available at Hope Haven wells. We also have enough clean clothes to wear and my kids are in school. I even bought two cows (A Rwandan symbol of wealth) and rehabilitated our house.”
Soline’s hope has been restored! She says, “Now I am the leader for the group which I joined two years ago. I feel different by holding myself accountable and I hope to be among the first people to start a mini-supermarket within my area. I really want to reach out to the other women who are the way I used to be.”
God has restored hope in Soline’s life. Through her participation in the savings group and her personal growth with Jesus, Soline has renewed oxygen in her soul and has transformed her family’s future!