Our vision is to aid churches and individuals suffering from poverty in underdeveloped nations to become self-sufficient by providing training and loans to begin small businesses.
Peru and Mexico are characterized by high unemployment and underemployment with typical wages as low as 50 cents an hour. Many individuals can find only sporadic or part-time work. Families often live on $100 per month, living in shacks of cardboard, adobe, or scraps of wood. These structures are frequently lacking electricity and running water. With no heating, during the colder months, families are forced to huddle together on dirt floors under a few blankets. Some people are reduced to eating only beans and tortillas.
Poverty is also hindering the work of churches and the proclamation of the Gospel. With little money among the people, tithes are insufficient to cover the cash needed to pay expenses. Faced with a depressed economy and little support from their churches, pastors struggle to provide for their families while continuing to minister. Spiritual growth and evangelistic outreach become stymied by the pressing needs of survival.
Many missions agencies have responded to this dilemma by providing long-term support to native pastors and missionaries. They reason that nationals know the language and can be supported at a fraction of the cost of sending foreign missionaries. However, this approach creates an unhealthy long-term dependency, a jealousy among the people not receiving support, and discourages responsibility, initiative and dependence upon God alone for their provision. This hinders the establishment of self-sufficient indigenous churches.
We believe that a better solution is to help these individuals start small businesses. A business can be started for as little as $500-$2,000. As modest as these loans are, they are generally not available through traditional lending agencies. That is why a special fund is needed to provide loans, enabling the people to start small businesses. Successful small businesses benefit the communities, the churches and the pastors. As church members become entrepreneurs, they will be able to support their families, give jobs to others and tithe to their churches. Pastors with small businesses will have the economic means to persevere in their callings and provide for their families. As pastors work within the same economic conditions as the people, church members will identify with them and be more motivated to support their ministries. On the other hand, foreign support actually discourages national support.
How it works
Funds for the micro-loans will be supplied through donations. The amount of each loan, upon repayment, will not be paid back to the donors, but will go into a revolving fund and loaned out again to start more businesses. A loan administrative fee will also be charged for the purpose of helping to reimburse the time and costs of the local administrators who are overseeing these projects.
Loans will be administered by a team of local administrators in each area where loans are made. A payment schedule will be established for each loan with a term for repayment of 2-3 years. The local administrators will manage the fund, keep accounts and provide counsel for the loan applicants. Those receiving loans will receive training on sound business practice and godly stewardship from the local administrators and other co-workers.
Requirements for receiving a loan:
• Each applicant must have personal recommendations from those who can attest to their character, reliability, competence, and family life.
• Each applicant must submit a business plan which will include a cost and market analysis.
• The applicant must meet with the local administrators to demonstrate the possibilities of his business.
• If accepted, he or she must agree to be accountable to local administrators who will serve as advisors.