Partnering for EconomPartnering for Economic Empowerment and Renewal
||September 2009 |
2009 Walk for Economic Empowerment
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
|Join Us for the 2009 Walk
Our 2009 Walk for Economic Empowerment is here! The Walk will take place in the Greater Boston (Wakefield) and DC/Baltimore (Ellicott City, MD) areas this Saturday, September 26. The Walk in Charlotte, NC will take place on Sunday, September 27 and the Walk in Columbus, OH the following Saturday, October 3. Check out the Walk for Economic Empowerment website
for all of the Walk information, to register for the Walk, or to make a donation to someone who is walking.
100% of the Walk proceeds go to provide loan capital at one of our ten microfinance partners. You can choose the microfinance partner for which you would like to walk from Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Moldova, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, South Asia, or the Philippines. In addition, you can direct the funds you raise to where they are most needed. Typical first loans in many of these countries start at $100-$200, so as the loans are repaid and made to more aspiring entrepreneurs, the amount you raise through the Walk could be used by God to bring transformation to many families.
We are particularly excited about this year's Walk since we are not only expanding the Walk to four locations, but being joined by two other excellent Christians organizations who serve the materially poor through microfinance -- World Relief and HOPE International.
If you are near one of the Walk sites, please join us for the Walk. It will take you just minutes to register online and get an e-mail out with a link for your friends and family to support you with a secure online contribution. The Walk offers you a great opportunity to bless the materially poor in Jesus' name. We hope to see you there!
If you are not near a Walk site or can't join us for the Walk, why not consider encouraging someone who is walking?
Just click here
and enter the name of the PEER Servants walker you'd like to support along with the donation amount, click "Donate Now", and you can give conveniently and securely online. We'll notify your supported walker and it will be a great encouragement to them! Thank you!
|Entrepreneur in Focus|
Chicken Breeder/Wholesaler, Nigeria
Meet Kikielomo Oluwasegun from Jos, Nigeria. Kikielomo received an initial loan of $75 from Good Seed Enterprise Development, PEER Servants' Nigerian microfinance partner, to grow her chicken breeding and wholesale business. She repaid that loan and received a number of successively larger loans to eventually receive her current loan of $2,000. She has grown her chicken breeding and wholesale business from 75 chicks to over 2,000 chicks. She specializes in getting the chicks to three weeks old when she then wholesales them to local farmers.
But what is most amazing about Kikielomo's business is that through it she supports Diamond Private School, a school she started to provide affordable and quality Christ-centered
education for 150 less-privileged children in a high density slum.
Given her commitment to improve the community, many farmers,
restaurants, and hotels are eager to do business with her.
Kikielomo has used the profits from her poultry
business to build a two-classroom block, buy books, and build desks.
She now employs 9 teachers at the school. The school is located in a
community where many of the parents cannot afford to send their
children to school and even if they could, the quality of education in
the government schools is very poor and Christian moral values are not
emphasized. Kikielomo is much more intent on giving these children a
solid academic and spiritual foundation than she is in benefiting
personally from her business success.
vision is for 7,000 chickens, thereby allowing her to build a bigger
and better school for the neighborhood children she loves so much. And
where will all of those 7,000 chickens live? Kikielomo is already
planning to turn her modest home into an expanded chicken coop - she
and her husband will move to take whatever steps are needed to use her
business as a means to bless her community.
Kikielomo received PEER Servants' 2009 Lydia Award, recognizing her as the top entrepreneur among our microfinance partners' clients. The Award, given in honor of Lydia, the businesswoman who assisted Paul and his missionary companions in Acts 16, carries with it a $2,000 grant that Kikielomo is investing in further growing her business.
|Strengths of the Materially Poor - Relationships
Leslie Engelsen spent almost seventeen years in Nigeria working with
women coming out of prostitution. Her life was enriched by the Nigerian people
beyond description. She recalls the following incident to capture just a little
bit of one of the greatest strengths of the materially poor - relationships.
"In a recent visit with our microfinance partner in Nigeria, Todd, my
husband, took a long road trip with Steven, one of the staff members of our
Nigerian partner. While he was gone, I stayed overnight with my good friend,
Lucy. Late that night, Todd and Steven had car trouble on a desolate road, and
Todd called to ask me for the phone number of our friend Musa who lived in that
town. As Todd was explaining their predicament, my cell phone battery died. I
didn't have time to give him Musa's number or get the phone number he was
calling from. I didn't have a charger with me for the phone so there was no way
to call them back.
Lucy knew that they were in a dangerous area, but confidently said, "No
problem. I'm sure we can borrow a charger that will work with your phone from
one of my neighbors." She began to name more than 10 people in her
neighborhood and tell me what kind of cell phone each one had. I was amazed
that not only could she name each neighbor, but she knew the type of phone each
one had and knew they wouldn't mind us knocking on their door so late at night.
Within three minutes, we had a charger and I called Todd back and gave him
Musa got up from bed and gladly came and stayed up most of the night to help
out the stranded motorists. That night I saw beautiful examples of community,
sharing, and people joyfully being inconvenienced. Recently an international
survey was carried out which reported that Nigeria has the highest percentage
of happy people on earth. Nigeria, with her struggling economy and frequent
shortages of electricity, water and fuel -- how could that be? Because people
know that they need each other. In Nigeria I learned that there is great joy in
relationships. That is true wealth."
At PEER Servants, we don't invest in the materially poor because we pity them or even because their material need is so great. We invest in them because they have great strengths and vision to transform their own communities. As we partner with and learn from them, we cannot help but be enriched ourselves.
As I write this, we are entering the final week preparing for our biggest fundraiser of the year - our Walk for Economic Empowerment. It's going to be a very demanding week and we would really appreciate your prayers.
Much as we call it a fundraiser, this Walk accomplishes far more. We will encourage walkers to make it a prayer walk wherein they can bring the needs of the materially poor to our common Father and ask Him to further extend His Kingdom among them. We realize it is a Walk to raise awareness about the materially poor, the effective tool microfinance can be to meet their needs, and the fact that followers of Jesus are taking the lead in empowering the materially poor. And this year, we even see it is a growing unity Walk wherein three different organizations -- World Relief, HOPE International, and PEER Servants - are walking together given our common desire to empower the materially poor in the name of Jesus.
But even if it was just a fundraiser, that would be fine with me. Having just returned from 17 days in Africa, I was reminded yet again that we live on a planet with two totally different worlds. Yes - we are struggling a bit in our part of the world, but what we identify as struggle extends beyond the wildest dreams of most of the materially poor. We must wake up to the fact that we all have an insatiable appetite for "more" and that, as we compare one generation to the next in our part of the world, we are becoming richer and richer and richer. That makes me rejoice in God's mercy, because it is only a merciful God who could in the same day hear the prayers of half of our world living on $2 or less a day and then hear most of our prayers.
The Walk for Economic Empowerment is one of my favorite days of the year. Why? Because it provides us opportunity to take some steps closer to our brothers and sisters in the rest of the world and provide them with opportunity.
God has prepared what I am certain are millions of Kikielomos (see the "Entrepreneur in Focus" article above) out there who will be far better than you or me or any international NGO at empowering their own communities if they are just given an opportunity to access capital and get basic business training. Funds that you could raise or donate through this year's Walk for Economic Empowerment may provide the opportunities to the Kikielomos of tomorrow.
Thank you for your ongoing support of this amazing opportunity to empower the materially poor.