PEER ServantsQuarterly

Partnering for EconomPartnering for Economic Empowerment and Renewal
Transforming Lives
Investor Edition  March 2009 
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In This Issue
From Manila to Mamelodi
Transformation Tracker
Entrepreneur in Focus
Make Mother's Day Special
Strengths of the Materially Poor
President's Update
Quick Links

PEER Servants Logo - Investor Panel

Summer Quarterly Training 
Saturday, June 13
Grace Chapel
Saturday, September 26
Wakefield, MA
Prayer Requests
Greater Transformation through Aloga (South Africa) and GSED (Nigeria)
Welcome to PEER Servants Quarterly News!  We thank God for your investment in us through your prayers and financial support.  We hope this provides you with a fresh, succinct update of the return on your investment!
With warm regards,
The PEER Servants Communications Team

From Manila to Mamelodi and Beyond  
What's PEER Servants' biggest initiative in 2009?  It's what we're calling STI -- the "Strategic Training Initiative".  It's really about a lot more than just training.  In fact, after a recent STI presentation, someone in the audience suggested a new name -- the "Strategic Transformation Initiative"!
What is STI?  It is a partnership between PEER Servants and our largest, most transformative microfinance partner - the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in the Philippines.  CCT has become a world class Christian MFI -- empowering 100,000+ materially poor clients in a manner that makes spiritual integration core to its services (with over 5,000 weekly Bible studies among those clients) and does so profitably.  In fact, profits from the microfinance work provide funding for other means of outreach - scholarships for children of the entrepreneurs, employment for street dwellers, and more.  Through CCT, God's Kingdom is coming to the people of the Philippines.
But it wasn't always that way - ten years ago, CCT was really struggling as a small, low repayment MFI.  So, CCT has lots to share with other PEER Servants' microfinance partners -- indigenous, autonomous MFIs that have a vision for significant impact in their respective countries, but have yet to fully realize their vision.  STI is an initiative to inspire, mentor, and train stakeholders of our existing microfinance partners through key CCT staff and board members in areas such as entrepreneur and community transformation, staff development, fundraising, and governance.  It is an initiative to put into place a strategic plan that will allow these MFIs to learn from CCT's experience and map out their own paths to becoming much more profitable, transformative organizations.
The first phase of the STI pilot took place in February as three CCT staff members traveled to Aloga Financial Services in South Africa (focusing on the township of Mamelodi) and Good Seed Enterprise Development in Nigeria.  The stakeholders of these South African and Nigerian MFIs were very impressed with what God had done in and through CCT and have started to identify and pursue the changes needed within their own programs to reach more clients and have a greater financial, social, and spiritual impact on those whom they do reach.  These stakeholders are now entering STI Phase Two to learn more about CCT through the case study method and to prepare to make the most of Phase Three -- a trip to the Philippines to see CCT's amazing work firsthand.  They will then return to their respective lands to finalize and enact their strategic plans.

STI Team in South Africa

Aloga Financial Services and Good Seed Enterprise Development are the first microfinance partners to participate in STI.  CCT and PEER Servants look forward to working with many more of our microfinance partners in the years ahead to help them fully realize their vision -- to become sustainable, highly transformative agents for ushering in more of God's Kingdom to their respective lands.
Transformation Tracker 
Here are some exciting recent results from our microfinance partners...
  • Moldova/Invest Credit:  In February, the Invest Credit team surpassed $2 million in loans made since program inception.
  • South Asia:  Our South Asian microfinance partner made more than 1,000 loans in 2008 despite the civil war that is destabilizing their country.
  • Nigeria/Good Seed Enterprise Development:  GSED became operationally sustainable in 2008 -- generating more revenues from their loans than they incurred in operating expenses.
Isiaka Musa, Fashion Designer and Tailor, NigeriaEntrepreneur in Focus 
Isiaka Musa
Fashion Designer and Tailor, Nigeria 
In November 2007, Isiaka Musa started his tailoring business with the dream to be a top quality producer of traditional African fashions and corporate attire for office workers.  He employed five people, but because there were frequent power outages in his part of Nigeria, the business really struggled.
Isiaka turned to Good Seed Enterprise Development, PEER Servants Nigerian microfinance partner, to get a loan which he used to buy a generator to provide consistent electricity.  This led to tremendous business growth and customer satisfaction because their work could be delivered when due.
With this growth, Isiaka hired additional staff and with each new person he took time to train them in the values of quality and integrity in business.  He monitored the service provided to make certain that customers were completely satisfied.  He tried to show his customers and his staff that when you serve Christ, you show it not only through your words, but your actions, and that includes performing your job well.
After repaying the first loan, Isiaka went back to Good Seed Enterprise Development for a second loan to buy industrial machines to further improve his company's efficiency and quality.  In less than one year, Isiaka's business grew to the point of employing thirteen people.  Isiaka hopes and trusts in God that there is more business growth to come.  Now he dreams bigger dreams of someday selling his African fashions on the international market.
Susan Cabangcala, Balut Retailer, PhilippinesGive a Very Special Mother's Day Gift 
Wondering what you can give your mother, wife, sister, or friend this year to honor her on Mother's Day?  Why not the gift of a micro-loan to help a materially poor family in the developing world?
PEER Servants offers you a very easy means to do this with our Online Micro-Loan Gift Catalog.  In minutes, you can select the country you want your micro-loan gift sent to and have an electronic card sent to the mothers on your list letting them know a gift towards a micro-loan has been made in their name.  If you prefer to receive a paper card that you could then send to these mothers, you can choose to do so for a small additional fee.
PEER Servants will send you a tax-deductible receipt for your gift(s) and a real big "thank you" on behalf of the mothers around our world for whom and through whom you could make this year a very special Mother's Day.
Strengths of the Materially Poor - Faith
Lilly Storom, Flydah Mdhluli, and Claudine MashianeFebruary 14 was a great day in Mamelodi, South Africa, and it wasn't just because it was Valentines Day.  It was the day Lilly Storom (far left in picture) was being honored by Aloga Financial Services as a 2008 Lydia Award recipient, making her one of the top entrepreneurs among the thousands who received loans from PEER Servants microfinance partners.
As Lilly accepted her award, she spoke eloquently and passionately about what had contributed to her success -- more than anything else, it was her faith.  Faith that God had created her to be a blessing to others.  Faith that by establishing one of the best daycares in Mamelodi, she could reach not only the children with the great news that God loves them, but their parents as well.  Faith that she could get through the many dark days and be a means through which God would receive the glory for what He had done in and through her.
And Lilly wasn't the only one speaking of faith that day.  Flydah Mdhluli (middle in picture), 2004 Lydia Award winner, gave a motivational speech to the attendees as well.  She, too, spoke of her faith in God and that her amazing success of today was fueled by faith.  Claudine Mashiane (far right), 2007 Lydia Award winner, made it unanimous.
For those of us in the materially rich world, sometimes it is very difficult to live by faith because we come to rely on things more than God.  The materially poor stand ready to be our professors in faith.  Faith is just one more strength of many of the materially poor.
Todd EngelsenPresident's Update 
If you stick around PEER Servants for even a little while, you hear one word spoken and hopefully lived out a lot -- reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the belief that God gave each of us something to enrich and strengthen the other.  It means that we first look to be transformed and receive from others around the world what God has given them to help us be transformed before or at least as we go to be an agent of transformation in the lives of others.  Reciprocity may be our most distinctive core value as a Christian microfinance organization and it is what God has used to allow us to enter into a depth of relationship with our microfinance partners that enables us to bring more of His Kingdom to earth.
As much as we have talked about and tried to live out reciprocity for years, it may never have been so clearly carved into the woodwork of our operations until this Strategic Training Initiative (read the lead article above).  I wish you could observe how God has raised up our Filipino microfinance partners to strengthen and enrich us.  Our faith and our ability to effectively train others in microfinance are now much stronger because of them.
And God has used far more than the Filipinos to strengthen us.  We have learned how to better forgive through our South African partners, to better withstand persecution through our Vietnamese partners, to better live out our sacrificial commitment to missions through our Nigerian partners.  I could go on and on.
God uses each of us to strengthen the other as we all keep our eyes fixed and lives focused on Jesus.  As we enter this season of Lent and prepare to celebrate the resurrection, let us rejoice and take full advantage of the gift He has given us in each other.
Have a very blessed Easter!
Serving together,