Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What a Summer!

Leslie/Todd:  As we head into the fall and already start to see the hint of color in the trees, we cannot help but look back and praise God for an amazing Summer of 2013!  We have tried to capture the summer in this 3x3 collage...

Starting upper left...

  • Box 1 - We kicked off the summer with our June 1 Boston Walk for Economic Empowerment.  It was a beautiful day and through it we have already raise over $30,000, 100% of which will go to extend more of the kingdom to the materially poor.  We love days like that!  It was a family affair, and for the third year in a row, our 6-year old grandson Joshua raised over $1,000.  He'd actually still like to get to $1,500+ - click here if you'd like to help him get there!  (Thank you!)
  • Box 2 - Days after the Boston Walk found Todd with a small PEER Servants team in the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa.  Our primary purpose of this trip as to provide consulting to Aloga, our South African microfinance partner, as they merge with another South African Christian MFI.  The merger has gone well and will allow Aloga to better serve the materially poor, like these clients "The Women of Integrity", a small cooperative of seamstresses Aloga helped form and support so that they could grow more effectively together.
  • Box 3 - From South Africa, Todd headed to Zambia's Western Province to work with CEMFIN, our Zambian microfinance partner.  Joined by a Charlotte-based PEER Servants volunteer, we had very encouraging meetings with CEMFIN that significantly strengthened their board, shown here, and put in place much stronger governance that will allow CEMFIN to grow and serve more of the materially poor.
  • Box 4 - The final stop of the June/July 24-day Africa trip was the very northwestern corner of Uganda - Arua to be exact.  Todd was joined here by 6 other PEER Servants volunteers as they served and were blessed by CAFECC, our Ugandan partner, in many ways.  It's at CAFECC that we have "Group to Group", a program that liaises groups of Uganda microfinance clients with peer groups in the United States to get to know other other better, pray for each other, and even get to meet each other, as happened here.  The Northern Ugandan people are some of the most hospitable on the planet and we learned so much from them of what it means to follow Jesus.
  • Middle Box 5 - A week back in Boston was followed by a 9-day mid-July trip to Sri Lanka for Todd.  Here we focused on risk management training for the staff of YGRO-HEED, our Sri Lankan microfinance partner.  YGRO-HEED has a fantastic, very dedicated staff that has allowed this partner to grow to 5 branches serving over 1,300 clients amidst tsunami, civil war, and more.  It is always a great blessing to be among them.
  • Box 6 - The end of July found the PEER Servants family at the home of our Board Chair, Dave Ryder, and his wife, Betsy, enjoying our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party.  We had a beautiful day, a great turnout, and a relaxing venue to say "thank you" to these super-inspiring, very dedicated PEER Servants volunteers who are so effectively experiencing and extending more of the kingdom of heaven to earth.
  • Box 7 - Early August found PEER Servants hosting the Annual Lydia Awards Celebration where Richard Candia, pictured here, and served by CAFECC/Uganda, received top honors.  Richard has started a cassava processing business (cassava is a staple food in the area) and, through it, employed over 10 women in his area.  He is now able to significantly increase his support to his church and the local youth program.  Our Lydia Awards Celebration may be our favorite night of the year in PEER Servants - this year's was probably our best event yet!
  • Box 8 - The morning after the Lydia Awards Celebration, Les and Todd were on a 6:30 am flight to Washington, DC to meet with the folks from CCT, our microfinance partner in the Philippines.  We were joined by many other North American organizations also supporting them for an Annual Forum wherein CCT CEO and Founder, Ate Ruth Callanta, gave us an update on where God is leading CCT.  Attending organizations also discussed how we can best collaborate to support CCT in their amazing work that is extending the kingdom to the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.
  • Box 9 - The morning after returning from Washington, DC, Todd headed to Cusco, Peru to work with Australian filmmakers as they created promotional videos for Kallarisunchis, our Peruvian microfinance partner.   Kallarisunchis is expanding beyond Cusco to better serve the rural indigenous populations, so Todd had the advetnure of going to some of the Andean mountain peaks in filming some of the Quechua clients involved in potato and avocado farming.  Australian filmmakers Tim and Kate Robinson volunteered their services and were wonderful to work with.  We can't wait to see the finished product!
While Todd traversed three continents, Les held down the fort at home and in the PEER Servants office.  It was a simply amazing summer as we got to see so much of what God is doing to extend His kingdom through our microfinance partners and their clients.  Thank you for partnering with us to make possible the business of extending a bit more of heaven to earth.

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