The End of Unemployment. [HOPE.]

“I wondered if the American church was like well-mannered nice-talkers, sitting in a living room sipping coffee, talking about choir practice, while the world burns down outside our windows. While the richest people on earth pray to get richer, the rest of the world begs for intervention with their faces pressed to the window, watching us drink our coffee, unruffled by their suffering.” –Jen Hatmaker

My Albany job search started with a whiteboard, a LinkedIn profile [still can’t talk about it] and one very large glass of Spanish white wine. My darkest days were spent perusing want ads on CraigsList, and channeling my inner Nancy Drew in an effort to determine if the alleged jobs I was looking at would result in actual employment, or me getting chopped up into a thousand tiny pieces and scattered about the woods.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. [But let’s be real: mostly the worst.]

As I considered what sort of thing I wanted to invest my life in, one of my favorite challenges from Paul David Tripp resounded over and over again in my heart:

“We are called to put flesh and bones on who Christ is, and what he came to do.” 

The common thread of Jesus’ miracles during his time on earth was that they were all restorative. Jesus walked into the midst of a really broken world, and it broke him. He looked at a world where people were hungry and sick—and it wasn’t at all what he’d intended. And so, Jesus began to restore pieces of the brokenness. Our compassionate God looked at hungry people, and fed them. He saw a lame man helplessly lying on a mat, and he told him to get up and walk. He walked by a blind man anxiously holding his hand out for a small coin, and healed his eyes. And as Jesus restored what had been broken, he put the gospel on brilliant, irrefutable display.

The idea of putting the gospel on display for the world’s most broken makes my heart beat faster. In places where poverty crushes and hunger gnaws, the idea of a good God can become muddied. It’s why I wrote this a couple of months ago:

“To whom much has been given, much is required. Those who are free must advocate for those who are not, or I fear that we will look nothing like the Jesus that we claim to follow. Those who have been given a voice must speak for those who have none, because freedom rings hollow when the bell tolls for a precious, privileged few. It is our solemn responsibility and sacred privilege to intercede for the broken, and to beg God to move for the orphan, the trafficked, the homeless, the hungry.  We must beg God for justice and then fight for it with our lives. Over the past several months, God has been breaking my heart with the idea that we do not get to call a world full of hurting people our “brothers and sisters” as long as we do nothing. Not when we’d never allow our biological brothers and sisters to go hungry…” –Let Freedom [Really] Ring

In a world where 1.3 billion people are desperately trying to survive on less than a dollar a day, it’s easy to see how so much of the brokenness that we see stems from the bitter roots of rampant poverty. If these are the people that break God’s heart, they must break ours as well.

Enter HOPE. HOPE is a Christian microfinance organization that goes into the world’s very hardest countries—places where generations of poverty have trapped families in a cycle that feels unbreakable—and they offer hard working people a chance to lift themselves out of poverty. Through loans as small as $100.00, people that want to work hard are given a chance to build a business that will allow them the dignity of  providing for themselves and their families. Check this out:

Yes. YES YES YES.

I am unspeakably thrilled  to share that starting October 1rst, I’m going to be joining HOPE as a regional representative in the New England area! Y’all, I get to spend my time telling stories like the one you just saw, and giving people in the US a chance to be a part of ending global poverty by investing in the dreams of the poor. Did you know you could get paid to be a storyteller? It was never a good thing when my Mama called me a storyteller when I was a little girl, and all I have to say now is THIS SURE SHOWS HER.

I’m deeply thankful for the chance to get to be a part of this. What a gracious gift!

Comments

  1. Amazing!!! That’s fantastic to hear :) congrats!!

  2. Yea!!!

  3. Ashley, this is wonderful news, and such a clear confirmation of the provision Jesus gives. It is so good that he provides for your needs by giving you the opportunity to help Him provide for others. I always have a tender spot in my heart for the story tellers, and I am as proud as your Mama is that you have learned to tell your stories with such grace and vivacity.

    • If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past six months, it’s that Jesus does not always give us what we want, but always gives us exactly what we need. I’m thankful that this time, the two bled together. :) Thanks for teaching me to be a storyteller!

  4. Hooray! Praise Jesus! We on the seacoast of New Hampshire just north of Boston so when you say New England I hope we encounter your ministry!

  5. Yayyyy!!!!

  6. Congratulations! My friend Phil Smith works at HQ in Lancaster with Hope as well. It was nice to hear you found a position for such a great group!

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