PEER ServantsQuarterly

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Transforming Lives
Investor Edition September 2010
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In This Issue
Walking to Empower the Materially Poor
Lydia Award Winner
Millionth Loan/Millionth Loan Dollar
Entrepreneur in Focus
Strengths of the Materially Poor
President's Update
Save the Date!

Reciprocity 2011

New Hampshire
July 24-August 2, 2011

Meet all of our microfinance partners from around the world

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Quick Links

PEER Servants Logo - Investor Panel

2010 Boston Walk for Economic Empowerment
September 25, 2010

2010 Tulsa Walk for Economic Empowerment
October 2, 2010

2010 Baltimore Walk for Economic Empowerment
October 9, 2010
"James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do."
Galatians 2:9-10 (NIV)

Prayer Requests
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

Walking to Empower the Materially Poor  
There are going to be some big steps taken over the next three Saturdays to empower the materially poor in Walk for Economic Empowermentthe name of Jesus!  It's time for our annual Walk for Economic Empowerment - and we need YOU to join in!

Boston (Wakefield, MA) kicks the 2010 Walks off this Saturday, September 25, followed by Tulsa on October 2 and Baltimore (Cockeysville, MD) on October 9.  Are those places or dates impossible for you to join in?  Then walk right where you are!  Let us know you're walking and we'll send you an official Walk T-Shirt in your size and desired color.  Do it!

Go to the Walk for Economic Empowerment website for everything you need - register online, pay the $20 registration fee, download a pledge sheet, and even send out an email to prospective supporters with a means to give securely online.  Within minutes you will have taken steps that provide opportunities for families around the world to generate their own income and then send their children to school, address health care needs, be able to access clean water, avoid the temptations that can lead to human trafficking, and be able to reach out to their own communities with the love of Jesus.  Helping them generate their own income is key to all of these issues.

Join with the many others who are choosing to take advantage of the great opportunity God has given us to join Him in empowering the materially poor whom He loves so much.   
Congratulations, Arul Rathi!  
Arul Rathi RajendramCongratulations to Arul Rathi Rajendram, our 2010 Lydia Award winner.  Arul Rathi has a very inspiring story of overcoming adversity -- a young widow in a war-torn land -- and now a mother raising livestock and sending her children to school while reaching out to other women in the community to encourage them to do the same.  How did she do it?  Very hard work, and gaining access to a series of small loans and basic business training from her local microfinance institution, PEER Servants' South Asian partner.  Click here to read more of Arul Rathi's story along with that of the two other Lydia Award semifinalists.
Millionth Loan/Millionth Loan Dollar  
PEER Servants partners with indigenous Christian microfinance institutions around the world -- some are large serving tens of thousands of clients, and some are small, serving dozens of clients (with plans to grow).  We rejoice with them when they achieve certain milestones and two of our partners -- the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) and Good Seed Enterprise Development (GSED) -- recently did that.

Flag of the PhilippinesCCT is by far our largest partner.  They currently serve over 100,000 clients who are saving with CCT, and the majority of them have current loans.  Earlier this year, CCT made their one millionth loan!  What an amazing work of transformation CCT is doing among the very materially poor in the Philippines.

Flag of NigeriaGSED is a more typical partner -- serving a few hundred clients.  They are in a very challenging environment in central Nigeria and have had Muslim-Christian conflict break out many times since their inception.  Many of their clients have lost everything - some more than once.  So, for them to have recently loaned out their one millionth dollar is very commendable!  One million dollars invested among the materially poor of central Nigeria!  As a result, there are children getting an education, widows generating income for their families, and missionaries being sent to those who are not yet followers of Jesus.

CCT has very generously offered to be a place where our smaller partners like GSED can come and learn from them in how they grew to be the high-impact organization they are.  The GSED Executive Director and Senior Loan Officer were in the Philippines in August, sponsored by PEER Servants, to see with their own eyes the amazing work of CCT and return to Nigeria with the commitment and insight to manage GSED to become a similarly high-impact organization.

May God soon bring the day when GSED, through the influence of CCT and the PEER Servants network (which includes you!), is celebrating not only their one millionth loan dollar, but their one millionth loan as well!
Entrepreneur in Focus
Adedapo Jerry
Boutique Owner, Nigeria
Jeremiah at work in his clothing boutique
Adedapo Jerry

A portion of the million dollars that Good Seed Enterprise Development (GSED) has loaned out (see the previous article) has gone into the very capable hands of Adedapo Jerry -- or the name he prefers, Jeremiah.  Jeremiah came to GSED with a dream.  He had seen people do business.  He knew he could do it just as well as them.  He lacked one thing - capital, and no one was willing to give it to him.

Jeremiah was wrong.  He didn't do business just as well as the others -- he did it better.  He now has three clothing boutiques, employs five people to work in them, and makes a profit approaching a thousand dollars every month!  GSED has provided seven loans totaling over $10,000 to help Jeremiah grow the business, and Jeremiah hasn't missed one repayment.  He grew the business with hard work, innovation, staying in touch with what his clients wanted, keeping costs low, and having access to capital when he needed it, thanks to donors like you.

Jeremiah successfully managed huge risks along his path to success.  His main shop is located in the center of a central Nigerian city that has had many Muslim-Christian conflicts in recent years - the mere rumor of another shuts down all of the businesses.  What did Jeremiah do?  He opened his two other shops in safer parts of the city.  They can continue to operate even when the main shop has to be closed down for security reasons. 

You might think Jeremiah was "living large" given his success.  It has enabled him to start building a modest house for his wife and two children and he now has an older, used vehicle to help cut transportation costs.  But Jeremiah's commitment to follow Jesus has led him to also investing generously in extending God's Kingdom.  That includes not only tithing and extra offerings to his local church, but even funding the construction of a small bridge in his locality and helping university students cover the costs of their education.

Much like the Jeremiah of the Bible, God could see this Jeremiah while he was yet in the womb.  God could see all that He dreamed this Jeremiah could become and how He would bless others through him.  There seem to be a few more chapters in this Jeremiah's story that are soon to be realized as we all come together to empower him.

Strengths of the Materially Poor - Generosity
Emily Sumudivila
Blessed to be a blessing

Emily Sumudivila
Perhaps you followed our 2010 Lydia Awards voting pretty closely this year.  Every year the Lydia Awards seem to be getting more and more impressive -- this year was no exception.

If you did follow the Lydia Awards, you may recall that Emily Sumudivila, a curtain and pillowcase maker from the Philippines, was one of our three semifinalists.  Emily was nothing short of amazing.  Widowed at a young age, she overcame that and established a business that employs 19+ people and wholesales through another 20+ distributors.  Through her ties to The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), PEER Servants microfinance partner in the Philippines, she also came to hear about and know more of Jesus and His love for her.  She decided to become a follower of Jesus.

In a very competitive Lydia Award year, as impressive as Emily was, she finished third in the Lydia Award voting.  With the 3rd place prize came a $500 grant to go towards building her business.  And build her business Emily did - adding two sewing machines and doing some van repair.  But Emily didn't want to spend all of the money on herself or her business - she wanted to share it with others.  So then came the request back to PEER Servants - "could I use a portion of these funds to tithe to my church, provide a love gift for two widows in the church, and throw a party for the other CCT clients in my fellowship group?"

There have been many times when we at PEER Servants are left speechless when we look at the lives of these microfinance clients - Emily had done it again.  Certainly she had every reason to spend all of the $500 on her business, but she wanted to bless others more directly through it.  God is raising up the Emily's of our world to bless many for His glory.

Generosity 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 
"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do."
Galatians 2:10 (NIV)
That's a pretty amazing verse.  James, John, and Peter were commissioning Paul to bring the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles, and remembering the poor is what they focused on with their "all we ask"?!  Why?
I ask myself that question all the time.  And in my years of trying to answer it, I have concluded the following:
  • God loves the poor:  Don't get me wrong - he loves those of us who are the non-poor as well.  But Jesus Himself said in his personal mission statement that He was anointed to preach good news to the poor (Luke 4:18).  And the Lord spoke through Jeremiah to say that what it means to know God was to defend the cause of the poor and needy (Jeremiah 22:16).  The rich may enter the Kingdom, but it will be difficult because we often refuse to let go of what we own and really commit to following Jesus.
  • The poor are strategic to extending His Kingdom:  You know the story - Jesus is at the temple watching people bring their offerings.  Some bring a lot, but he singles out the very poor woman who brings two very small copper coins (see Mark 12:41-44).  Why?  Because this woman had a very high Kingdom ROA (return on assets - or what God had given her).  She gave all she had for the Kingdom.  Many of our materially poor brothers and sisters in Christ are doing the same thing out of their love for Jesus - you've read about some of them in this newsletter.  The materially poor are extremely generous to God and to their neighbor.  Jesus is still looking for high Kingdom ROA people.  If you want to increase your own personal Kingdom ROA, invest in the materially poor.
  • The poor enrich us:  We live in such a material world that we equate being rich with having a lot materially.  Yet many of the happiest, truly content people I know are those who may have very little materially.  They have cultivated a richness in life that is based on an intimate relationship with God, a commitment to really care for and love their neighbor, and a peace that all they need will be provided for.  They rejoice when their needs are met and refrain from chasing after their wants.  Many of us in PEER Servants have been enriched by coming closer to them. May your life be blessed in like manner.
Thank you for remembering the poor.
Serving together,