PEER ServantsQuarterly

Partnering for EconomPartnering for Economic Empowerment and Renewal
Transforming Lives
Investor Edition December 2010
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In This Issue
2010 - Challenging Start, Encouraging Finish
What PEER Servants Volunteers Do
Christmas Gift Giving to Empower the Materially Poor
Join Us for Reciprocity 2011
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

Check out the website
Quick Links

PEER Servants Logo - Investor Panel

Last Donation Date to Receive 2010 Receipt
December 31, 2010

Concert for Economic Empowerment
March/April 2011

2011 Celebration Dinner
May 7, 2011
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them."
Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)

Prayer Requests
Strong Year-end Giving to Provide Greater Access to Opportunity Among the Materially Poor in 2011

Wisdom as We Work with Our Microfinance Partners to Complete Our 2011 Partnership Plans

An Amazing Reciprocity 2011 Conference Where God's Presence with Us Sends All Conference Attendees Back to their Respective Homes Eager and Equipped to Better Empower the Materially Poor

Welcome to PEER Servants Quarterly News and Merry Christmas to you.  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

P.S. -- Just a friendly reminder that if you would like to receive a 2010 tax-deductible receipt for your year-end donation, please make certain to have the donation postmarked or give online by December 31, 2010.  Thank you!

2010 - Challenging Start, Encouraging Finish
2010 kicked off like no year in recent memory -- a devastating earthquake in Haiti, Muslim-Christian riots killing thousands in Central Nigeria, and floods claiming lives and businesses in the mountains of Peru.  These events took place on the doorsteps of our Haitian, Nigerian, and Peruvian microfinance partners.  The events stretched our microfinance partners to do all they could to respond while knowing we had to turn to God to intervene.

Looking back now almost twelve months later, we have seen the hand of God intervene.  In each of these three cases, our microfinance partner was able to respond in a manner that encouraged and empowered hundreds if not thousands of their clients in the name of Jesus.  There is still much to do in Haiti and complete peace has yet to return to Central Nigeria, but what has been done is evident that God worked through our microfinance partners, PEER Servants, and donors like you to sustain and bless His people.

In these last three months of 2010, PEER Servants has witnessed firsthand very encouraging results from our microfinance partners.  Our Moldovan partner has weathered the storm of the worldwide economic crisis and is witnessing high-quality growth in their impact.  Our South Asian partner is now serving approximately one thousand active clients who have experienced a year of peace following a 25+ year civil war.  Our Filipino partner continues to serve 100,000+ micro-entrepreneurs while using the profits of their operations to empower street dwellers, be it by providing housing to homeless families, vocational education to homeless male teenagers, or boarding school education to homeless children.

We started 2010 burdened by what many of our close brothers and sisters in Christ were experiencing.  We are ending 2010 very encouraged by the response that has already taken place, and our next steps as we enter 2011.  Thank you for standing with us with your prayers and financial support.  
What PEER Servants Volunteers Do  
So what exactly does a PEER Servants volunteer do?  This newsletter's limited space and your limited time don't allow a complete answer to that question, but here are three recent examples.

Scott PurcellScott Purcell, a CFO living in Eugene, Oregon, traveled with seven other PEER Servants volunteers to Moldova to visit Invest Credit in October 2010.  Scott reviews the monthly financial reports submitted by Invest Credit and has monthly calls with key staff to review the reports and discuss the general financial position of the microfinance institution.  His October trip was his first to Moldova, so meeting the staff in person, further discussing Invest Credit's current and future financial position, and visiting the entrepreneurs served by Invest Credit were very important.  In addition, Scott led the PEER Servants team in hosting a staff retreat for all of Invest Credit geared to encourage and strengthen each staff member.  He used a layover in Munich, Germany on his way to Moldova to purchase the remaining parts needed to make Invest Credit's new mobile office (a van that works as an office, complete with computer, printer, internet access, and comfortable seats)  operational.  Now Invest Credit can use their new mobile office to serve hundreds of the rural materially poor in Moldova.

Dave LeachDave Leach, an IT Consultant living in Maynard, Massachusetts, traveled to South Asia to visit our local partner in early November 2010.  The South Asian partner held their first ever countrywide staff retreat, something now possible given the end of the 25+-year civil war, and Dave was the main speaker.  He led the staff in mapping out what they do and identifying how they can do it better, especially as it relates to gathering and sharing information.  He also completed a demo of microfinance loan tracking software that was very attractive to the South Asian microfinance institution.  He is now taking the next steps to help our South Asian partner implement the software that will allow them to more efficiently reach thousands of additional clients.

Julie DillardJulie Dillard of Ipswich, Massachusetts just completed her Masters at Gordon-Conwell Seminary.  In mid-November 2010, she traveled with eight other PEER Servants volunteers to the Philippines to see the amazing work of The Center for Community Transformation (CCT).  While there, she completed the research phase of a case study on how CCT integrates a strong and effective spiritual component into virtually everything they do.  Now back in New England, Julie will write the case study and it will be used by PEER Servants' much smaller microfinance partners to learn of new ways they can more effectively combine word and deed through Christian microfinance.

Every PEER Servants volunteer prays and raises funds for our microfinance partners, but hopefully through the stories of Scott, Dave, and Julie, you have come to a better understanding of what additional functions PEER Servants volunteers do, and perhaps envisioned a place for you to join us as a volunteer in 2011!
Christmas Gift Giving to Empower the Materially Poor
Online Micro-Loan CatalogStill have a person or two on your list that you can't imagine what to buy them?  Why not honor that person with a micro-loan to an entrepreneur in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, or Latin America?  PEER Servants offers you two ways to make such a gift.
  • Visit our Online Micro-Loan Catalog and honor your friend with a gift of virtually any amount.  Choose the country and the amount of the loan and then send an e-card to the gift recipient letting them know a micro-loan has been given in their name.
  • Visit Alternative Gift's International "My Shopping List for the World" where you can provide a micro-loan for our Nigerian microfinance partner or one of a number of other organizations and causes supported by Alternative Gifts International.
Both of these options offer you a gift that will mean a lot to your friend while also being a gift that keeps on giving as the loans are repaid and then loaned out again.  Thank you for your thoughtful gift-giving this Christmas!
Join Us for Reciprocity 2011
Reciprocity 2011 LogoDo you or your church want to get further involved in empowering the materially poor through a microfinance partnership?  Would you like just to learn more about microfinance?  If so, you have a great opportunity for such in the Summer of 2011 at Reciprocity 2011, the global gathering of PEER Servants' microfinance partners, volunteers, and donors.

We'll combine fantastic speakers, spiritual encouragement, great training in microfinance, wonderful fellowship, and a beautiful environment on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee to make Reciprocity 2011 an event that could change your life and will certainly never be forgotten.  Come rub shoulders with microfinance practitioners from around the world.  There will be something for the entire family as programs are structured for children, teenagers, and adults.  Check out the Reciprocity 2011 website for complete details.  Contact us with any questions you may have.

We hope you'll join us for a fantastic time at Reciprocity 2011!
Entrepreneur in Focus
Tatiana Ivan Saga
Fabric Store Owner, Moldova
Tatiana, Moldovan Fabric Store Owner
Tatiana at work in her fabric store

"I would never want to do anything else," stated Tatiana Ivan Saga, fabric store owner in Chisinau, Moldova.  Tatiana couldn't always say that.  Now that she was owning and operating her own fabric shop, she could.

Back in 1995, Tatiana was very frustrated.  She had been educated as a teacher, but teacher salaries were so low in Moldova that she couldn't support herself, let alone her family, on the salary.  That same year she became a follower of Jesus and she heard a sermon that amazed her - the God of the universe cared about her so much that He would meet her every need if she would only come to Him and ask.  Tatiana decided to take God up on the offer.

Soon thereafter Tatiana was contacted by a woman selling cloth in the Chisinau market.  The woman asked Tatiana to fill in for her.  Tatiana did, and she found the job she loved.  In the years that followed, Tatiana was eventually able to start her own fabric store business.  To grow her business, she needed access to something that was very hard to come by in Moldova, especially for a woman -- credit.


Tatiana heard about Invest Credit.  She applied and was approved for a loan.  She was very pleased with the terms -- a competitive interest rate, an appropriate amount of time to repay the loan, training on how to run a business, and all offered by Christian staff who really cared about Tatiana.  She repaid the first loan and has since qualified for successively larger loans.  She has been able to significantly grow her business, purchase additional space in the market from which she can sell, and hire two additional employees.  She takes good care of her clients, and they speak of Tatiana being honest and compassionate.

It doesn't take long being around Tatiana at her fabric store to appreciate how much she loves her work and running her business and how difficult it would be to imagine her doing anything else!
Strengths of the Materially Poor - Joy
We could never count the times that we at PEER Servants have met someone materially poor who, to us, had every reason not to be full of joy, and yet experiences and reflects deep and authentic joy.  This is especially true if that someone is a follower of Jesus.

Consider Mercy from Nigeria.  Mercy had been so abused that she no longer talked.  She was pregnant and, given her mental and emotional state at the time, had no idea what a baby was.  A group of Nigerian followers of Jesus reached out to Mercy and started loving her.  One day as they sang, Mercy started to clap.  In the days that followed, she started to speak.  Eventually, Mercy not only fully regained her social functions and mental and emotional well-being, but she decided to become a follower of Jesus.  If you were to meet Mercy today, you would meet a wife and mother who is full of joy and bringing great joy into the lives of others.  Mercy knows how to show and share her joy -- if you were to visit her after being away for a while, Mercy would greet you by literally running to you and leaping into your arms!  She is a wonderful example of a woman who has chosen joy despite a past that tried to rob her of any joy.

Joy is just one of many strengths of many of the materially poor.  It comes from a perspective that values and treasures what one has as opposed to coveting what one doesn't have.  It is a particularly relevant strength of the materially poor to celebrate as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our great Giver of Joy.  As we replace our material 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
As impressive as microfinance is at empowering the recipient of an income generating loan, what impresses me even more is what happens next.  In other words, what happens through the micro-entrepreneur to bless the community in which they live, or what happens through the microfinance institution to bless those who may never receive a micro-loan.
2010 was a year full of travel for me and on virtually every trip I saw evidence of community transformation taking place through the micro-entrepreneurs or the microfinance institutions.  There are children in an urban slum in Nigeria receiving a high-quality Christian education because a young woman took a micro-loan and succeeded at business.  There are villagers in a war-torn nation in South Asia that have their first paved side street because a young woman took a micro-loan and succeeded at business.  There are former street dwellers in the Philippines who now have housing and are receiving excellent education because a Christian MFI generated profit that is redeeming the lives of the poorest of the poor.

This is all really, really exciting and it's why I am investing my life in Christian microfinance.  I know nothing more powerful at really empowering the materially poor.  If we can help the materially poor generate their own income, they can address the myriad other challenges they face - be it education, health care, clean water, housing, or human trafficking.  At PEER Servants we are privileged to partner with nine indigenous Christian microfinance institutions that all want to grow and have a much greater impact on their respective communities.  We are committed to continuing to partner with them and become a more significant source of funding and technical support on their path to having greater impact.

We need you to join us through your prayers and financial support.  Thank you for how you are already doing that.  As you consider your year-end 2010 giving, please be assured that we will use your funding to the best of our ability in 2011 to partner with the Holy Spirit in effecting even greater evidence of transformation in the individual lives of the materially poor and their respective communities.

Thank you for partnering with us.

Serving together,