Circle of Hope – Our Dreams of Expansion
In December of 2020, the Circle of Hope made its first trip to the town of Quniceo in the state of Michoacan—four hours south of Guadalajara—as part of an integrated church planting strategy to reach and train the Purepecha, an indigenous people group. The goal is to plant a new church, Breath of Life, in the nearby town of Paracho and establish the community development ministry of Circle of Hope. Once a suitable office is found in Paracho, the church and Circle of Hope will begin to offer Bible studies, spiritual counselling, legal aid, and job skills training for home micro-businesses.
A great challenge for Circle of Hope will be to identify and then train women in this distant city who will become workshop leaders and future leaders of the ministry. Workshops being considered for this area are focused on meeting the needs of the women in this indigenous community, relieving the poverty and illiteracy so that the gospel can bring hope and dignity.
Workshops under consideration include:
- Literacy and GED-Type Programs—In this area and in many parts of Mexico, many women are taken out of school after fifth grade to work, either in the home or as helpers in other homes or to begin the process of learning their indigenous crafts and selling them in the city square. Boys are allowed to continue their education, which causes a great inequality in education, jobs, and pay. This situation is more prevalent in indigenous communities.
- Sewing—In this community, the women create tapestries and clothing made of intricate stitching designs, and it can take up to six months to finish one skirt. Each design tells a story of their beliefs and traditions, which are usually syncretistic in nature, including many gods. The Circle of Hope sewing workshop would include techniques known to the women but would be presented in a different medium, possibly through a type of quilt-making workshop where women would learn how to make coverings for beds. The designs in each square would be biblical, telling the God-story instead of the animistic symbols and gods with which they are accustomed.
- Artisan Jewelry—This would give each woman a new skill and an outlet to earn money, either by selling their finished products along with their typical indigenous crafts or making bracelets for the Circle of Hope ministries around the world as we distribute bracelets to churches and ministries in the Alliance world.
- Basic Health Care Instruction—This is a vital element of the indigenous and rural Circle of Hope, providing basic training for mothers with an emphasis on nutrition for young children. This instruction will depend on the support from outside sources such as short-term medical teams.
- Computer Skills—Our focus would be on school-age girls and single mothers. Circle of Hope would be willing to launch into this area given the lack of employment opportunities for young women. We believe that with the provision of stable Internet, we can dedicate one room permanently to computer access as we develop a micro-business for women at the center focusing on skills in database entry and graphics arts design.
Alliance Women is committed to prayer and financial support for the Circle of Hope ministry in Mexico. We have set a goal to raise $16,600 for this vital ministry to women. To participate, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.