For many years we have had helped provide micro loans to help poor Colombian Christians set up some sort of business by which they can support themselves. The loans normally are around five hundred dollars and are paid back through the recipient helping others to learn the trade or skill sets they have acquired. In this way the loan program has an ever widening effect in helping the church raise its standard of living. The program has been quite successful at making a significant difference in helping individual Christians improve their lot in life and to be able to contribute more to the Lord’s work through their tithes and offerings and through helping others.
Recently, as I spoke with one of the ladies who runs the deaf school here in Colombia, she mentioned that their graduates could not find jobs, as a high school diploma did not provide specific job skills that the deaf could use. As a result, she mentioned that most of their graduates remained dependent on their families to support them or were forced to take degrading and demeaning types of work as a means to eek out a subsistence living. In many cases they wound up in prostitution or criminal activity as desperation forced them to do what they so wanted to avoid.
That conversation moved me to try to think of a way to help, by providing some type of job skill or trade for the deaf Christians. The first idea I hit upon was to use some of our successful “graduates” of our micro loan program to help and include the deaf. We have one preacher who makes and sells silver jewelry as a means of supporting himself and his family. I spoke at length with him about the idea of expanding his business to include a training program for the deaf. He was excited about the idea as he considered it to be a ministry opportunity in conjunction with the deaf church.
As part of the trail project I provided a micro-loan to help him expand his business and begin moving towards that capability. While the entire project would be beyond our micro loan program, we felt we could take the first steps within that format. With the micro loan he will try to expand his business and begin to bring in the deaf in small numbers, teaching them to assemble the jewelry he already makes. They would earn a small salary by doing this work and they would be gaining valuable skills that will hopefully become the foundation for their own jewelry business in the near future.
This program, as many of our ministries, is always underfunded and we have far more requests for loans than the money available to fund them. In fact, this current micro loan we had to make out of our very limited and over stretched general fund. If you would like to be a part of the micro loan program in general or help with the micro loan for the deaf ministry and the jewelry enterprise, please make a special donation for this purpose by sending your designated offering to our forwarding agent. In the process you will bless a specific family that is struggling to escape poverty as they strive to serve the Lord. You will be blessed as well as you become God’s vehicle for blessing others.