PEER ServantsQuarterly

Partnering for EconomPartnering for Economic Empowerment and Renewal
Transforming Lives
Investor Edition June 2011
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In This Issue
Lydia Awards
Reciprocity 2011
Two Amazing Volunteers
Entrepreneur in Focus
Strengths of the Materially Poor
President's Update
Save the Date!

2011 Walk for Economic Empowerment

September 17, 2011 


October 1, 2011

Walk Where You Are  
Anytime prior to
 December 15, 2011

Register, create your own webpage, form teams and more at website
Quick Links

PEER Servants Logo - Investor Panel

Annual Lydia Awards Celebration Dinner   
July 23, 2011

Reciprocity 2011

July 24-August 3, 2011


Boston Walk for Economic Empowerment

September 17, 2011


Chicago Walk for Economic Empowerment

October 1, 2011


Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Prayer Requests
Praise to God for the transformation reflected in and through the lives of our 2011 Lydia Award nominees

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

Complete recovery for Adam Tarnowsky from the injuries sustained in the bus accident as he left Uganda

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV)


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

P.S. --
Doing anything Saturday evening, July 23?  if you're in the Boston area, join us for our Annual Lydia Awards Celebration.  Details below.
And the 2011 Lydia Award Winner is...
Kikielomo OluwasegunJoin us on Saturday, July 23, 6-9 pm at Westgate Church (100 Winter Street in Weston, MA) to find out!

The Annual Lydia Awards Celebration is one of the highlights each year, and 2011 will be the best Celebration yet.  How can we say that?  Because the Celebration is the lead-in event for our global microfinance conference, Reciprocity 2011, and reps from all of our ten microfinance partners from around the world will be here to celebrate with us!

Lydia was a remarkable entrepreneur Luke sites in Acts 16 who helped Paul and his companions as they passed through her area.  Church historians credit her with being a key person in planting the church in Europe.  We honor her each year by naming our entrepreneur of the year award after her.  Our microfinance partners have submitted 15 nominees for this year's award.  This Saturday (July 2), the three semifinalists will be announced.  You'll have a chance to read their stories and vote online for the one you think deserves the Lydia Award.  Join us for the Celebration on July 23 and you'll get another vote!

The Celebration will have food from around the world and a Silent Auction (including Red Sox tickets, vacation rentals, and much more).  There is no fee for the evening, but we will take our annual offering.

Can you join us?  Click here to RSVP and we will see you on the 23rd of July!
Reciprocity 2011 is Here!  
Reciprocity 2011 LogoWithin the month, Christian microfinance practitioners from around the globe will be converging on New England for Reciprocity 2011.  Collectively, they serve over 150,000 materially poor clients.  They will come for a time of training, encouragement, fellowship, and thanking God for the work He is doing to extend His Kingdom through their ministries.

This is the biggest event we have ever sponsored at PEER Servants and we are super excited that the big day is almost here.  We have seen God already at work in granting dozens of visas for conference delegates, raising up a number of corporate sponsors, and giving us a fantastic line up of speakers. 


Most of Reciprocity 2011 will be held at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center in Alton Bay, New Hampshire.  If you'd like to join us for one of the plenary sessions, you are very welcome! Click here or on the Reciprocity 2011 logo to go to the conference website.  Email us to let us know you're coming so that we can give you a proper welcome!  And PLEASE PRAY for the conference - that it will be a powerful time with God equipping all of us to return to our respective parts of the world and witness even greater evidence of transformation.      

Two Amazing Volunteers  
PEER Servants is virtually all volunteers!  The current team is pushing a hundred and if we were to list all that they were doing, you'd have a scroll of Biblical proportions!  We recently calculated that since PEER Servants' inception, our volunteers have given over 100,000 hours of volunteer time and donated or raised over $2.5 million to empower the materially poor.  They are willing to look for the footsteps of Jesus and committed to walk in them.

Given this, we hesitate to single out a couple of them, but when they amaze even us, we decided to do so in hopes that God would receive the glory for them.

Adam Tarnowsky

Meet Adam Tarnowsky.  Adam just returned from northern Uganda serving CAFECC, our microfinance partner serving hundreds of the materially poor there.  Adam did some great work in his three months with CAFECC.  He helped them launch their website and make some improvements in their general operations and risk management.  Adam fell in love with the northern Ugandan people, and they fell in love with him.

As Adam set out to depart northern Uganda and return to Kampala, the bus he was in had an accident.  Adam sustained life-threatening injuries and would have bled to death had it not been for the role played by Patrick Obiga, CAFECC Executive Director, and a Ugandan EMT who just happened to be at the accident scene and applied first aid before rushing Adam and Patrick almost 100 km to a Kampala hospital.  Emergency surgery was performed to treat several broken bones and deep cuts.  A few days later, Adam was able to return to Canada, where he has since found out the injuries are even worse than originally thought.  Despite the unexpected ending to his internship, Adam has remained in excellent spirits and hasn't regretted serving CAFECC for one second.

(If you'd like to read more of Adam's story, click here.  You'll also have an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation that will help Adam defray the significant extra expenses he incurred in getting back home.)

Gary Nielsen, Director of Donor Relations

Then there's Gary Nielsen.  What did Gary do in response to seeing firsthand the materal poverty in Moldova?  He returned to his native Columbus, gathered a few friends, and sponsored the Columbus Walk for Economic Empowerment on May 21.  Gary and his colleagues set a $10,000 goal for that Walk and they have almost reached it.  If you'd like to help them reach if not exceed their goal, click here to make a quick and secure online donation.  (Scroll to the bottom of the page if you'd like to give directly to Gary Nielsen's account.)


These are two stories.  With our PEER Servants volunteers, there are dozens more to tell!

Entrepreneur in Focus
Emily Sumudivila
Curtain/Pillowcase Manufacturer, Philippines
Emily Sumudivila with employee


Growing up in the midst of a difficult family environment and being widowed while still very young, Emily Sumudivila never dreamed God would use her past to build a successful business.  It was in her youth that Emily first learned to use a sewing machine. And she never stopped. She now has a profitable business selling curtains and pillowcases. Emily distributes her products to 20 wholesalers, employs 16 seamstresses, provides jobs for 3 family members and sells her products directly to the public.


Approximately 10 years ago, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), PEER Servants microfinance partner in the Philippines, provided Emily with her first loan of just under $100.  Emily's spiritual life was transformed as she became a follower of Christ through the ministry of CCT.  It was also the beginning of economic transformation for Emily and her family as successful repayment of that first loan qualified her for subsequently larger loans.  In all, Emily has secured 15 loans with CCT with her current loan exceeding $6,000. She has used the loans to purchase 18 sewing machines, a van to distribute products to more distant locations and even a small house.

Emily believes that God has blessed her, and she wants to bless others as a result of her love for Him. She now pays school fees for two children beyond her own.  She dreams of buying 10 more sewing machines to provide employment for 10 more families. She dreams even further of opening a factory where she can provide employment for 500 people. Emily thanks God for the remarkable journey on which He has taken her and the perseverance and drive from Him that are enabling her to be a blessing to many of the Filipino people.

PEER Servants honored Emily with 3rd place in the 2010 Lydia Awards.  The 2011 Lydia Awards will be announced the evening of July 23 (see first article above).  Join us to celebrate the stories of transformed lives like that of Emily. 


Strengths of the Materially Poor - Fearlessness
Perhaps before spending much time around the materially poor, you thought them to be fearful.  Often the world paints them as such.  As you walk hand-in-hand with the materially poor, what you often find is they are fearless.  And much more fearless than we tend to be.

This is particularly true of our materially poor brothers and sisters in Christ.  Just within PEER Servants, we have observed our Sudanese, Nigerian, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Ugandan, Moldovan, and Sri Lankan co-laborers act fearlessly in their resolve to make Jesus known at potentially great personal risk.  Some have been imprisoned.  Some have lost loved ones and even their own lives.  Many have lost possessions or been kept in a position where they could never accumulate any.

One of the most vivid examples of this was Easter 2005.  Some of us in PEER Servants celebrated Easter in the largest Anglican Church in Yei, Sudan.  Not one of the 700 in attendance were free from having a loved one killed or displaced in the 25-year civil war.  They remained fearless in the face of a force that was committed to annihilating them from the face of the earth.  And yet they stood to sing "Onward Christian soldiers" and "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross".  We, the PEER Servants contingent, questioned if we were really worthy of standing with such fearless brethren as these.

Why are the materially poor so fearless?  Perhaps it's because they obey Jesus when he said "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth" (Matthew 6:19a, NIV).  They don't stand a lot to lose materially.  And their lives have led them to live so intimately with and dependently on their Heavenly Father that they believe Jesus when he said "All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me." (Matthew 28:18b, NIV)  Not being fearful of what one may lose and fearing only God is what it takes to make one fearless.

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 you might suspect, I'm pretty excited about this summer!  The main reason I am is because I see this summer as very instrumental in allowing us to realize our vision - "to enable tens of thousands of the materially poor and non-poor to experience economic, social, and spiritual transformation."

Most people appreciate the "materially poor" part, and this summer will be one where we provide training opportunities for microfinance practitioners and raise loan capital like never before.  I am very excited about that.

But what gets me really excited is when we can complement all of that with the transformation of the materially non-poor. That's you and me!  God is raising up our brothers and sisters from around the world, some of whom will be here for Reciprocity 2011, to transform us!  I can't wait for our guests to arrive.  As we spend time with them and observe their lives, I hope we will learn from some of them how we can witness church growth like they have, how we can forgive as they have, and how we can persevere in our commitment to truly follow Jesus as they have.  I hope their presence will allow us to renew our minds and help lift the scales from our ears and eyes of what it really means to follow Jesus.  21st century North America is a very challenging time and place to see Jesus for who He was.  God knows that, and He has given us the gift of these brothers and sisters.  They, like the Apostle Paul, can say to us:  "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (I Corinthians 11:1 - NIV)

I hope you will make the time to come alongside these brothers and sisters as they come to New England for Reciprocity 2011.  You may not be able to join us for a week at Alton Bay, but you might be able to join us July 23 for the Annual Lydia Awards Celebration.  Many of you have opened your homes to host our guests as they come - thank you so much!  May their presence bless your home and your family. 

Thank you for partnering with us.

Serving together,