We are constantly amazed at what God is doing in the Ministry of WFA. Through sacrificial giving of our donors, we were able to train 17 women this March of 2019. We gave loans to 10 women and the remaining 7 will receive their loans in May. 4 out of 10 were new and were ushered to WFA by Mary N. and Mary K. I collect many success stories each time I go for my mission trips. This January, I was privileged to see tremendous change in our women. Let me tell you about Regina first.
Regina is a young mother of 2. She is married and a devout Roman Catholic Christian. Regina is a high school graduate who has also taken a Secretarial course. After graduation, she got a job in the city, but the salary she was given was so little that she hardly had enough to eat.
Regina had to come up with a way of sustaining herself. She was always talented in making crocheted articles, selling some of her pieces to her fellow coworkers. She soon realized that she could make decent money crocheting that would enable her to meet her essential needs. She quit her job in the city to pursue her crocheting passion. When she came to WFA, she already had a tiny stand at the marketplace. She was given our business training and given a loan of Ksh.10,000 (that’s $!00. Sounds like so much more in shillings, doesn’t it?) She bought yarn and other raw materials and soon her small stand became so colorful. Regina by nature is a very hard working woman, crocheting every chance she gets. After her chores at home, she crotches until late at night. Her hard work has paid off. Her business expanded so much that she needed a more spacious place. She found a place in the city and when I (Rose) visited her I was amazed at how many colorful items she had displayed and the many customers it was attracting. The demands of her customers required Regina to recruit other women with similar passions for crocheting. She provides the new women with the materials they need, giving them instructions and compensating them for their work!
Regina hopes to expand her business in the very near future where she can have a larger space with even more women working for her. She has made profound progress in her leadership skills. She is leading women from her group in different ways: she is the group’s treasurer and she shares the Word of God to the other members as well. The leaders of WFA have recognized Regina’s leadership skills and soon she could be one of our liaisons.
It has become very important for the success of the Women of Faith Alliance endeavor for the women in Kenya to become more self sufficient. Rose decided to share with the women in a meeting what she had in mind. In past trips she had always brought along a supply of LuoPads for distribution that friends and volunteers of Gain and WFA in America had assembled for the women. This trip Rose brought along ready-cut LuoPad kits from Gain. Jemima had gathered some women who were willing to make them and their finished product was impressive! They were given the wooden patterns and discussed with each other where they could get the raw materials to make their own. Even though plastic snaps were something that weren’t found, the women decided to use the metal sew-on snaps that they had. Elizabeth, one of these partners, enjoyed making them and said that customers were asking if she made enough for them to buy. To show the hearts of these women, one even suggested that they make LuoPads to give to the female inmates. This development is very exciting. Do you have some ideas for small businesses these women might feel called to? Send a message to Rose and share your thoughts.
Another exciting development with these business-minded women was the way they took to setting up savings accounts. Thank you Lord! Watch for that development in the next Journal entry.
After a good night’s sleep, Rose couldn’t wait to meet with her liaisons. Her first meetings for the day began with the reports of the three liaisons, Jemima, Mary Njogu, and Mary Kagunda. A lot of responsibility for the success of the WFA mission of giving loans of hope rests on the shoulders of these liaisons and their ability to unite, encourage and have meetings with their partners. The women who have received loans and training in business have all signed promises to repay their initial loans and attend regular meetings. Six of the partners had paid their loans in full and were patiently waiting to receive their next loans. Rose held a meeting inviting them and 4 new partners newly trained who all received their loans for 2019.
Jemima reported no problem with meetings and her partners were honoring their scheduled loan repayments.
Mary Njogu’s partners were struggling with attending regular meetings but some paid up their balances when they heard Rose was coming.
Mary Kagunda got new partners to replenish the groups to five partners each
Rose held another meeting where she invited the partners who had received loans but hadn’t honored their pledges. Rose reminded them of the forms they had signed years ago and told them what was expected of them. The partners were remorseful and admitted that they had neglected going to the meetings where they would have been held accountable and receive encouragement from others. The rest of the day ended with great worship, singing songs and sharing. One woman said that she will be a guest of honor at a fundraiser that will be held to raise money for the High School fees for the two children of Beatrice, a widow and partner of WFA. This testimony moved Beatrice to tears as she couldn’t stop sobbing and praising God.
We praise God along with Beatrice and Rose as we get a taste of the spiritual and emotional transformation that is going on through Women of Faith. It’s so much more than just loans and business transactions. It’s hope through Christ in a life changing way.
Rose made a return trip to Kenya on January 6, 2019 to encourage, train and bless her leaders and partners in the ministry over there. She traveled the 19 hours with the Spirit as her travel companion, arriving late at night on January 6. Her family and driver let her sleep the rest of the night hours with them and then traveled the trip to the WFA house in the morning. Jemima, one of the 3 liaisons, had prepared for Rose’s arrival and had the house all clean and everything in place. What a blessing this house/office has been to WFA, serving as sleeping quarters for guests, an apartment for property caretakers, an office and a large room that serves for classes and meetings. After a whirlwind day of meeting with the leaders, Rose happily closed her eyes to sleep in “the WFA house” with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, her protector, provider and reason for living.
Mary is a single mother of one, who lost both parents in the years 2005 and 2007 consequently. She was the third of four girls. The older two sisters were married before their parents’ deaths. Mary was left to care for her youngest sister. Though she had finished high school, she was not employed. When she came to us, Mary had a stock of clothes in a plastic bag where she walked around selling them in the neighborhood.
When she received her first loan, she bought and kept chickens. She was able to sell two trays of eggs every week. She said that her life changed and they were able to put food on the table without strain. Mary continued saving money from the eggs until she had enough to buy a sheep. The sheep she purchased was pregnant and she gave birth to a female sheep. Mary still has chickens and sheep but with the loan she received after the business course, she plans to start selling cosmetic products. She hopes to grow her business to a point where she can employ not only her sister but her neighbors as well.
Lucy is married with a large family. Both Lucy and her husband are Christians and very hardworking but they are unemployed. They live in a one-bedroom apartment and their chickens live in the patio area. They depend on working in other people’s homes or fields. With her first loan, Lucy kept range chickens, which helped to meet their basic needs. Though she struggled, she was able to pay back her loan. Lucy still has her chickens and she sells 2 trays of eggs every week. With her new loan, she plans to sell second-hand clothing. She hopes to start with few clothes and grow her business, to a point where she can employ her family members.
Beatrice was widowed at an early age. Her husband left her with nothing to live on. Being a committed Christian, Beatrice learned to trust in God at an early age of her widowhood. She states that God became her only source of help. She was unable to complete High School, so finding employment was difficult, yet she had to make ends meet for both her children and herself. She has three children ages 10-14 years old. She has been selling vegetables since she came to us in 2014. With her new loan, she plans to start growing vegetables of different kinds. She rented a property that has water she can use to irrigate her crops. Beatrice hopes, by adding a variety of vegetables, she can increase her profits and get a faster return.