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I just love this family!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We knew this family when we lived in Barrie ON about 7 1/2 years ago. They have a little girl a few months younger than Samantha and after we left Barrie they had another beautiful girl. Just over a year ago they moved their family to Ghana to do a short term mission there. I love reading their blog. I am so often inspired by their love for their work, their realness in adjusting to the culture, their family life, the people they meet and so much more!

This post they wrote touched my heart. It talks about hope, reality and making a future for those that really didn't think this was possible. I hope you feel as inspired and touched as I do after reading this!!!

The $6,000 Question
by Loreli

I�ll be asking for money in this post.

Don�t think I haven�t wanted to before now. There was that time about 4 months into our term and I thought I couldn�t live without air-con and I asked J-M if I could puhleez express my desperation on the blog so that maybe our most kind-hearted readers would purchase one for us and save us from our never-ending misery already. An hour later, I apologized from my outburst. I felt much better after a cold shower, thank you for suggesting that.

Then there was the time that I wanted to buy the entire souvenir market. I needed to send everyone our love back home in the form of a wooden sculpture or their own African outfit or calabash lamp or beaded curtains or... J-M reminded me that we�re missionaries on a missionary stipend. There is no room in our budget for Ridiculous Ideas. Our supporters would surely understand. Supporters, if you don�t understand, you know who to blame.

This time it�s not about me, so J-M said yes.

You�ve heard me talk often about the women's microfinance ministry. I�m really excited about this ministry because I can already see it working.

Just tonight I bought oranges from a woman who, at the beginning of the year, was in desperate straits financially. This evening she was peeling oranges and they were selling like hot cakes. She was happy to show me how well business was going. A business she couldn't start without a loan.

Another lady has gone through one loan cycle successfully and is applying for another. She has built up her clientele at her hairdressing business and now plans to get training for new techniques in braiding and rasta. She offered to add a weave to mine. She said she might even take a class on braiding �rubber hair,� as she took my hair in her hand to confirm that it�s as plastic as she thinks.

My favourite story to tell is a lady who used to ask me for money each time I saw her. Her husband had abandoned her and she had no money to buy food for her small twin boys. She can't read or write and thought she was unemployable. She joined our starter loan program. She is now selling flip flops and faithfully makes her payments. It's the Ghanaian way to say "God bless you" when you receive something from somebody. It's quite telling that each time she hands in her loan payment, she's the one who says, "God bless you." She is so grateful for this chance to work and breakaway from her poverty.

I have more stories, but I'll stop here for fear of losing you. And if you're still reading this post after the first line, then I'm an idiot for giving you another reason to stop.

Currently, the candidates for the loan are collecting compulsory savings. Each person who wants to receive a loan must show that they will work for it. Their payments start before the loan does. They contribute a minimum of $1 per week. This seems like nothing, but for many it is a sacrifice when they're having trouble making ends meet at home.

As it stands, the group as a whole must collect a minimum amount of money in order to receive a loan from the local bank. The group will get the loan, and the women�s ministry will divide it up and give it out to each member who qualifies. Unfortunately, this means that the group will be bound by the terms of the bank and it will take a long time for them to build up their own capital. This is where our request comes in.

I talked to Mama Fredericka, Pastor Charles� wife and organizer of the microfinance ministry, about how much we need to lend out to the 30 people who are coming to the meetings and to be clear of any obligations to the bank. She advised that 6,000 Ghana cedis would do the job. The average loan will be 200 Ghana cedis each. The Canadian equivalent is approximately $6,350, which works out to $210-ish for each woman (which happens to be a lot less Canadian than when I used to live there due to recent worldwide economic developments).

I can't help but think that this can be raised easily. Elmvale Community Church inspired us when they responded immediately and generously to this need. (Read more about it here.)

Here's the appeal: If you are able and willing to contribute to this ministry, please make your donations to:

Barrie Free Methodist Church
284 Cundles Road East
Barrie, ON L4M 6L1
Attn: Debbie Jensen

Please write �Ghana Microfinance� on the re line of your cheque or in a note so that the accounting staff at the church will know how to direct it. You will receive a tax receipt for your donation, which may very well be the clincher for some of you (*wink*).

If you are interested, but have more questions, please feel free to e-mail me at cockrams [at] bfmc [dot] org.

I�ll be putting a thingamajig on the bottom of the site so that we can keep track of donations to the ministry. We have high hopes that you will join us in our efforts and celebrate with us in our victories!

God bless you!

"At the present time, your plenty will supply their need..." (2 Corinthians 8:14)

  1. Anonymous Loreli said:

    And this family just loves you! How kind of you to post this on your blog!

    The real reason I came over here, though, is to tell you that we're thinking about you and Pernell right now. I read the news of your miscarriage on his site. I can't know the grief you're feeling, but I can pray for your peace and comfort that only God can provide. We're sending all our love out to you.

    Love, Loreli

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