PEER ServantsQuarterly

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Transforming Lives
Investor Edition June 2010
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In This Issue
Vote for the 2010 Lydia Award
Looking Up in Peru and Uganda
Entrepreneur in Focus
Strengths of the Materially Poor
President's Update

Save the Date!

2010 Walk for Economic Empowerment

Saturday, 9/25/2010
Registration: 9-11 am

Saturday, 10/9/2010
Registration: 10-11 am

More details coming!

Quick Links

PEER Servants Logo - Investor Panel

 Lydia Award Celebration
Saturday, 7/24/10
6:30 - 9:00 pm
22 Butterfield Road, Lexington, MA
2010 Boston Walk for Economic Empowerment
September 25, 2010

2010 Baltimore Walk for Economic Empowerment
October 9, 2010

"One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us."
Acts 16:14-15 (NIV)

Prayer Requests

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Jim Elliot

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

Vote for the 2010 Lydia Award  
PEER Servants' microfinance partners serve some pretty impressive entrepreneurs!  Every year we try to recognize some of the best of them with our annual Lydia Awards.  Our Lydia Award Committee has chosen 2010 Lydia Award Semifinaliststhe semifinalists and now we need you to help us choose the finalist!  Click here to read their full stories and vote online through 4 pm on Saturday, July 24. Then, if you are in the Boston area, plan to join us for our Lydia Award Celebration from 6:30 - 9:00 pm the evening of Saturday, July 24 at 22 Butterfield Road in Lexington, MA.  It will be a fun evening featuring the food from the countries of our semifinalists, the stories of these semifinalists, the announcement of the 2010 Lydia Award winner, and more!  There is a $25 ticket price for the evening - click here to purchase your tickets online.
Looking Up in Peru and Uganda  
Our April to June visits to our microfinance partners brought us to Peru and Uganda.  We were very impressed with the progress both microfinance partners are making and the potential both have to have even greater impact for extending God's Kingdom.

Peru:  Kallarisunchis ("to begin" in Quechua, the local language), our Peruvian microfinance partner, became sustainable (meaning they covered all of their operational expenses through the interest and fees charged on their loans) in 2009.
A promising micro-entrepreneur in Cusco, Peru
Peruvian Fruit Seller
Now they are focused on program expansion to have a greater impact for the Kingdom.  They are planning to expand to serve at least 1,000 clients within the next 3-5 years
.  They are learning from our other microfinance partners how to expand successfully and how to have a greater spiritual impact on their clients.  How exciting it is to see Peruvians serving Peruvians so well!  We know Jesus is being glorified through their work.

Kallarisunchis is already allocating a portion of their
Peruvian Children's Program
Children in Peru's Program
profits from their microlending to provide educational services and Bible lessons for the children of their clients.  They invested $1,000 in the program in 2009 and plan to invest more each year as the microfinance program expands in the years ahead.  Kallarisunchis has a strong commitment to the families and communities of their clients.  May God bless them richly as they focus on growth and making further improvements to their program.

Uganda:  Northern Uganda has been all-too-familiar with war and the evil that man can do.  CAFECC (Christian Action for Empowering Church and Community), PEER Servants' Ugandan microfinance partner, is committed to serving the materially poor of northern Uganda in the name of Jesus to help them achieve all that God has envisioned for them to achieve.

Late last year, the CAFECC board hired Patrick Obija to become their accountant and acting director.  Patrick
Jimmy Lumago, Mambo Charles, Patrick Obija
CAFECC/Uganda Staff
joined CAFECC's two very competent and committed loan officers, Mambo Charles and Jimmy Lumago, and together they have been witnessing nothing short of a very impressive turnaround.  In the second quarter, CAFECC covered approximately 75% of their operating expenses through the interest and fees charged on their loans.  They are focused on greater growth in clients served through the remainder of the year.  We thank God for the work He is doing to extend more of His Kingdom in northern Uganda in and through Patrick, Mambo, and Jimmy.

Sustainable, transformational microfinance is not easy -- 90% of microfinance institutions (MFIs) never become sustainable, and many of those that do give up on being highly transformational because they view it as too expensive.  PEER Servants is committed to working with our indigenous, Christian microfinance partners to establish sustainable, transformational MFIs.  Thank you for your support and being such an integral part of our team.
Entrepreneur in Focus
Rhodora Estante
Variety Store Owner, Philippines
Rhodora at work in her variety store
Rhodora Estante, CCT Community Partner

"Boundless energy and enthusiasm" is how people describe Rhodora Estante, one of the microfinance clients served by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), PEER Servants' microfinance partner in the Philippines.  Rhodora lives with her two children in a densely populated area of Manila.  Years ago she was going door-to-door selling small things from a very small inventory.  Because door-to-door sales were not profitable, she took a $60 loan from CCT.  She repaid that loan, received business training, and has experienced significant growth.

Rhodora's faithful repayment of her loan allowed her to qualify for successively larger loans.  It enabled her to go from her door-to-door sales to a variety store (pictured right).  Then she took a loan to purchase two pedicabs -- bicycles with sidecars which are a very popular means of transportation in the bustling city of Manila.  Her income has increased manifold and she can now provide employment for two pedicab drivers.

As a mother and business owner, Rhodora is very busy, but she still finds time to
Boundless energy and enthusiasm!
Rhodora Estante
serve her community.  She attracts other business owners to the CCT microfinance program and helps organize them into weekly fellowship groups where they encourage each other in their work, study the Bible together, and provide support for each other in times of crisis.  Rhodora has helped start five such fellowship groups with over 20 women in each group -- that's 100+ women she has positively impacted for the Kingdom!  She remains very committed to see each member of the five groups be successful in their businesses, faithful in providing for their families, and growing in their love and service to God.

Perhaps now you have a better understanding of the source for her "boundless energy and enthusiasm"!

Strengths of the Materially Poor - Industrious
Some of the 150 students served by Kikielomo Oluwasegun
Diamond Private School Students
She runs a chicken breeding business and a fish farm.  She manages a school for 150 students.  She is wife, mother, and daughter.  Active in church and community.  Making things work when things don't work.  No Costcos or Walmarts around for one-stop shopping.  No car or reliable, affordable fuel to get to them even if they were there.  And some call her lazy.

The materially poor are amazingly industrious people. They have to be - their survival depends on it.  They don't have most of the modern conveniences to work "smart" so they have to work "hard".  And the vast majority of them work very hard.  What they generally lack is not an industrious spirit - what they most often lack is opportunity.

And look what can happen when they have access to opportunity.  The description in the first paragraph was of one woman in Nigeria - Kikielomo Oluwasegun, our 2009 Lydia Award winner.  She has taken her industriousness and used it to bless countless people.  She may not yet be materially rich by the world's standard, but her daily hard work will match that of any of those on the world's richest or most successful people's list.

An industrious spirit is just one of many strengths of the materially poor.  As we replace our financial lenses with Biblical lenses, we come to see anew and appreciate just how much God has given the materially poor and why partnering with them is so strategic in extending His Kingdom.

Todd EngelsenPresident's Update 
You are going to be hearing more and more about "Building Upon Our Foundation" at PEER Servants.  We are excited about what God has already done in and through us, but we know there is much more to be done.  We want to see much more of His Kingdom extended into our world in ways that empower and respect the individuals being served.  We work only through partnerships at PEER Servants, so much of this work will continue to be done by our microfinance partners throughout the world, but we know we have to build the PEER Servants organization if we are going to be able to sustain and expand our impact.
One of the areas we have identified for growth is full-time staff.  We want to add three key staff positions in the coming years to better serve our microfinance partners, our volunteers, and our donors.  We have designed an innovative hybrid compensation model that provides some base salary for our staff while requiring them to raise the remainder of their support.  It fits our current needs well.  We need visionary donors like you to invest in this growth to allow us to better support existing staff (our total outlay for three full-time staff members' salaries and benefits has never exceeded $42,000/year -- that's the sum total for all three staff!) and attract much-needed future staff.  We will always remain a primarily volunteer organization and always remain an organization that provides only modest staff compensation packages, but we do need to become an organization that does heed the Biblical command "the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:14, NIV).
What can you do to help us in this part  of "Building Upon Our Foundation"?  Please consider providing recurring support to one of the following:
  • Staff Salary Account:  These funds are summed quarterly and distributed to our employees.  If you would rather not choose an individual staff member, this is your best option.  This is also the best option if you want to help us grow to be able to hire future staff members.
  • Individual Employee Account:  Choose one of our current individual staff members to support.  Jesse Ratichek is serving as a technical consultant to our African microfinance partners.  Linda Olofernes is serving as my part-time assistant in a very critical role.  And I have the privilege of trying to manage PEER Servants in a manner that will bring God glory through all we do.
How do you actually give?  Just send your recurring check made out to "PEER Servants" to PEER Servants, PO Box 258, Woburn, MA  01801.  Enclose a slip of paper that states "Staff Salary Account" or the name of the individual staff member you would like to support.  You'll receive a tax-deductible receipt and our deepest gratitude as we continue "Building Upon Our Foundation".

Thank you for your prayer and financial support.  I say this a lot but I always mean it - you are an integral part of our team and we never stop thanking God for you!
Serving together,