Hope International Scholarships Announced!

Ordinary Saints is pleased to announce a partnership with Hope International for 2013.  Ordinary Saints will be contributing scholarships to 3 interns who will be working in Africa in the area of micro-finance.

The first recipient is Joshua Chin.  Josh is from Toronto, Canada and is close to completing his Bachelor of Arts in Honors Business Administration from Western Ontario University. He has been the VP of Finance for the UNITY Charity at UWO since 2010 and has received several awards for community service at school. Here are some excerpts from Josh's application to Hope:

JoshChin"There exists a dire need for people with my skills (finance and accounting) throughout the world, as accountability, corruption, and proper stewardship are some of the major problems to which I can help address.  I feel led to obtain my CPA and then work for an organization like Hope International, which Peter Greer, President of Hope, alluded to in his address to college students at the 2012 Urbana Conference. To address the crisis of global poverty will require individuals to make meaningful contributions and I'm acting in faith that this is the step I have been called to take."

The 2nd student to receive a scholarship from Ordinary Saints towards their Hope International internship is John Maxwell.  John is from Houston, Texas, and will be receiving his MBA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014.  While completing his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Baylor University, John participated in a business school trip to Rwanda to study microfinance.   Here are some of John's thoughts on his upcoming internship:

Maxwell_John_-_picture"Before visiting Rwanda in 2009, I had my own ideas about what i would experience and how I would react.  I could not have been more wrong. Rwanda, a poor country by financial standards, was rich in spirit. I learned that we are really all just common human beings despite living in countries thousands of miles apart, and observed that we all have dignity that should be upheld in all circumstances.  Simply living life in our developed country and ignoring global poverty is unwise.  I want to serve those who are poor and help them realize more fulfilled lives."


The 3rd student working for Hope International and receiving a scholarship from Ordinary Saints is Charles Carroll, from Smyrna, Georgia.  Charles received his BS in Business Administration from Samford University in Alabama this past May.  While at Samford, Charles volunteered for SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) and organized financial literacy classes for youth. He also studied and practice microfinance through fundraising and micro loaning through KIVA.  Charles was a finance intern at the domestic office for Hope International last summer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  He assisted in the creation of the business/strategic plan for the new program in Burundi.  Here are some of Charles' thoughts from his application essay:

Carroll_Chase_-_picture_130_x_203"I have been on mission trips to Ecuador, organized service trips around Birmingham, Alabama, and researched different topics of poverty alleviation. I am a proponent of what Peter Greer and Phil Smith say in their book, The Poor Will Be Glad, "hand up not hand out."  Giving someone a job, making them self-sufficient, is better than giving them charity.  Creating a dependency crutch instead of self-sufficiency (the key to alleviating poverty)  is dangerous and will end up doing more harm than good.  Through all of my reading and experience, I strongly believe in the power of micro loans. I want to use my skills in business, accounting, computer science and organization/planning to advance the microfinance movement. I want to use entrepreneurship to change lives both physically and spiritually."

Congratulations to these outstanding candidates! We are excited to hear more from these folks as they go through their journey.  Look for more news from them coming soon.


 

A New Journey

In a little less than a month, I’m heading to North Africa for Ordinary Saints.  It’s a part of the world that I’ve never been to, but know there are great needs and a variety of organizations active and assisting in this part of the world.  There are astounding numbers of refugees, resulting from the political strife in Sudan and Somalia.  You can imagine the types of issues they face daily with over 120,000 people, mostly women and children, in a refugee camp.

I’ll be there for 8 days and plan to stay with some friends whom I’ve known for over 30 years.  They have lived there for around three years.  He is an irrigation specialist and works to help solve clean water issues along with working on a project to provide school supplies to the refugee camps.  Simple day to day things we might take for granted are daily challenges in their world.  I’ll have the opportunity to to see organizations working in areas like orphanages, microfinance, medical and other refugee assistance.  My goal is to connect with these organizations, seek out places where interns are needed and desired, and then to match an intern with some of these organizations.  I’m looking forward to the trip for many reasons, but mostly to continue the work that stays passionate in my heart and to help serve others in some capacity.  These trips help keep me grounded and grateful, plus they remind me to be generous to others, whether I am in Africa or Houston!

Ordinary Saints has also been connecting with an international organization that hosts interns in Rwanda & the Dominican Republic.  Hope International’s efforts are concentrated in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.  They work with folks who have limited access to lending institutions to help train and provide finance and savings which ultimately helps stimulate their economy and provide jobs.  Quite often, interns have a strong desire to serve but struggle with the financial support required to get them to the internship.  Ordinary Saints is working with Hope International to provide financial assistance to some of these great intern candidates.

So, it’s back to work for Ordinary Saints.  There’s work to be done – everywhere.  I’m excited about the days ahead and the small ways that we can make an impact.  I’ll look forward to sharing my journey to Ethiopia with each of you once I return.  Check our Facebook page - I'd like to give you daily updates if possible! In the meantime, I’d ask you each to think about some way that you can help someone else – either here at home or in another country.  Do something….no matter how big or small!

 

The Grand Scheme of Things...

It has been a little over a year since the death of Rachel Hamilton, Vice President of Ordinary Saints and maybe, just maybe, I am making some movement forward in our vision for the ministry program.   It would take a long time to share about the effect of Rachel's life and passing in my life-suffice to say that she was an incredible woman and servant of God!  Her work with Ordinary Saints had only begun yet she had touched many lives with her counseling and coaching of college-age and post-college students searching for mission and non-profit internships.  Her sudden illness and death (within 6 months) still doesn't make sense, therefore I can resonate and empathize with so many of you who have felt similar feelings with the loss of friends and family.  I have rarely talked about any of this with those of you who know me because it has been so hard to verbalize my thoughts.  Rachel, throughout her career in Christian service, connected with countless youth and adults and impacted their lives with justice and mercy (Micah 6:8) while walking humbly with her God.

After treading water for some time, I have been challenging myself to incorporate some new ideas within the scope of Ordinary Saints!   The vision of Disaster Response teams made up of college and post-college students keeps coming to me.  We are currently researching the creation of multiple teams that could be on-call to respond to domestic and international crises and hoping to introduce this concept at the Urbana 2012 Conference in St. Louis December 27-31. Further research that include a Global Response conference in Fort Worth during October, plus a trip to refugee camps in Ethiopia along the Sudanese and Eritrean borders in February will help crystalize the vision.  Another goal is to create and fund scholarships for internship openings with particular service partners around the world that would allow students the opportunity to explore careers in service and servanthood... Creative funding is in the works-keep us in your prayers!

It might be a proverbial drop in the bucket-the idea of throwing back a starfish or two into the ocean.  According to Jesus, it was doing the little things to the "least of these" that really jazzed God so that maybe, just maybe, we tap into the well-that spring that never runs dry-where we encounter the mysterious and grand scheme of the universe.  I'm on board again-how about you?

Greg Pennington

 
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