As we reflect on the ups and downs in 2020—especially the global pandemic that will push 150 million more people into extreme poverty —it’s easy to feel hopeless.
But then, I hear stories from the field about struggling families starting businesses, kids going to school, and communities finding Hope. Often, when the darkness seems overwhelming, God works through faithful friends like you to overcome the darkness with Jesus’ light!
In 2021, we have a bold goal—to chip away at the insurmountable boulder of extreme poverty until it’s gone—through our new Impact program! Through Impact, you can join in the fight against extreme poverty by supporting projects that provide impoverished families with opportunities to start, build, and grow sustainable businesses.
Check out these amazing stories of Hope and transformation from 2020!
We pray that this update will bring you great Hope and joy, knowing that God is using you to transform the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
In Paulette, an area located in northeastern Haiti, 64% of the people regularly drink contaminated water. So, the local church, assisted by the Bright Hope staff in Haiti, worked together to build a water purification system on the church’s property that would transform the brackish (salty) water into pure water.
The church is now purifying contaminated water and selling the clean, safe water to the community from a kiosk on the church property. Because of this new purification system, about 1,900 people in Paulette are now getting clean water at a reasonable cost.
“Thank you!” said 68-year-old Louis Marc as he tasted clean, delicious water—for the first time in his life. Louis had lived as a farmer in Paulette growing nuts, beans, and corn to provide for his wife had six children. And it was Louis’ responsibility to get enough water for his large family each day.
He would normally get salty water from a well or catch dirty rainwater. If those didn’t work, he would have to ride a horse eight hours round trip to find water. And he would make that trek twice a week.
But thanks to the water purification system in Paulette, Louis and his family enjoyed fresh, safe water for the very first time! And he doesn’t have to spend 16 hours each week to get it!
Louis thanks God for preserving his family for all those years of drinking contaminated water. Now, he is confident he will live longer because he can drink clean water!
Having lost his parents at a young age, Samuel Eluk found it hard to adjust to life. He dropped out of school halfway through elementary school and began taking care of himself. He felt utterly alone and hopeless.
At the age of twenty, Samuel met Maureen, also an orphan, and together they decided to make a home. Even though Samuel worked hard, they never had enough food for their growing family.
Then, one day some friends invited Samuel to attend Bright Hope’s Family Empowerment training. But he didn’t expect the training to change his whole future…
Samuel received seeds to plant and learned how to care for and sell his crops.
“Many organizations used to give us food, blankets, and sometimes money. Then they took pictures and left. So, I thought this was one of those moments. I wanted to get food for at least a few days so I could rest from my hustle for food. But after the training, I felt energized to desire more for myself and my family.”
During the training, Samuel received seeds to plant and learned how to care for and sell his crops. This knowledge helped Samuel and Maureen to yield a large first harvest.
“We didn’t just receive training, but the tools to give us a good start. Ever since I started working closely with my wife, our corn and soybean yields have been so good. From our first season’s harvest, we were able to buy two oxen, which we are now hiring out to other farmers. We do not have to worry about school fees anymore.”
Samuel and Maureen dream of building a better house for their family. They also plan to buy two more oxen to expand their business. They have purchased two and a half acres of land using the profit from last season’s harvest. They expect to harvest more than 2,200 pounds from their diversified crops, which will continue to meet their growing family’s needs.
“Our children were almost running away! Life was so hard. Getting water to bathe or wash our clothes was not easy. No one was certain of a meal in the evening.”
These words from Elizabeth Lokhopon, a single mother living in the village of Natoot, capture the desperation of her fellow community members. After the death of her husband, Elizabeth was left alone to raise her five kids. Elizabeth could not find steady income because she never had a chance to receive an education. So, she made a meager living by burning and selling charcoal, making brooms, and weaving palm leaves. But it wasn’t enough to sustain her large family.
“My own children are five, but I also have two children from my late sister. They all depend on me for food, clothing, and school fees. Life has been full of struggle!”
Thankfully, Elizabeth was selected to serve as a farmer in the Natoot Farm project. With a lot of training and hard work,the Natoot Farm has answered her prayers.
“If God hadn’t brought the farm and provided water, our lives would have been terrible! With my earnings from my first tomato harvest, I opened a small shop and stocked it with sugar, spaghetti, and cooking oil to enable those who live here to buy from my shop. That is one of the many transformations the farm has brought to our lives. With God’s help, I believe that this farm will continue to transform our lives and our future!”
The Christian Farmer’s Association (CFA) works through local churches in Zambia to provide agriculturally-based, economic-development programs, loans, and training to help subsistence farmers increase their incomes and grow their farming businesses. The CFA has been successful in transforming struggling farmers into thriving agriculture entrepreneurs.
George is a one of the many CFA success stories. Like all who participate in the Christian Farmer’s Association, he received in-depth training and agricultural loans to get his farming enterprise off to a good start.
George learned in his CFA training that goat manure would boost his crops’ success. So, he strategically built a house for his five goats so that their urine and dung would fall into a composting area.
Several times each week, George collects organic materials and places them under the goat house. After several weeks, the organic material mixes with the goat droppings and creates an enriched compost pile. Then, George adds this free, nutrient-rich compost to his vegetable fields. George’s five goats have transformed his agricultural practice!
Thanks to the excellent training he received in the CFA and his own innovation, George is now one of Bright Hope’s top producing vegetable farmers in Zambia. We thank God for His blessing on the CFA program and are hopeful that it will continue to help subsistence farms in Zambia increase their livelihoods!
A Bright Hope church partner in Oruro, Bolivia wanted to serve their community and share God’s love during the pandemic. They submitted a small project proposal to deliver food from house to house, and they received funding to proceed.
First, they delivered food baskets to families with children enrolled in the Bright Hope supported Children’s Care Center. The parents who received food baskets told the church about elderly and disabled people in the area who also needed food.
On one of those visits, they met Lucas Illanes, a friendly, cheerful 82-year-old man. Lucas was so thankful for the food they brought him because the financial assistance he’d received from the government was running out. Although he has children and siblings, they had not contacted him during the quarantine, so he did not know if they were healthy. With all of this anxiety weighing on his heart, the church visit turned out to be God’s perfect timing.
Lucas listened carefully to the gospel message and immediately accepted Christ. The group encouraged him to visit the church when the quarantine was over, but Lucas insisted on going to church the next day!
True to his word, Lucas and two of his neighbors showed up at the church the very next day, and the pastor came and prayed with them. Lucas and his neighbors broke the quarantine rules to get there, but as he said himself, “Yesterday, they brought me physical food; but what I need most is spiritual food! I am very hungry to meet Jesus, and I could not wait.”
The Bright Hope Promise
Bright Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) charity, and a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. We have been engaging the local church around the world for more than 45 years in the global fight against extreme poverty in their communities. We are committed to helping the extreme poor with the most effective and efficient methods, and we promise to treat every penny donated as if God, Himself, gave it to us.