The Gemach Project has launched a pilot program in Gambia with the issuance of 13 loans. Please pray that we would have success in Gambia and that those receiving the loans would be blessed through these efforts. Gambia is the eleventh country in which we have given loans.
Last year four brothers in Kehancha, Kenya recognized the need for a book store in their area to provide books to the local schools. With a Gemach loan they were able to start that book store. Within 8 months they had completely paid back their loan. With those funds we have now made 5 new loans in Kehancha. Another example of Gemach loans not only helping individuals but also helping the community.
Today we made 27 new loans in the village of Koulbou, Niger. These loans were made to a group of single young women who want to start a dyeworks.
With these loans we have been blessed to make over 2,500 loans amounting to over $300,000. I remember trying to raise the funds to start the first group of loans. It took me over a year to raise $1,500. Once I realized that God would provide and I stepped back to allow him to do so, he has continually blessed us.
It will be amazing to see what God has in store for us next as we are getting more and more requests for larger groups of beneficiaries. I have no doubt that God will continue to amaze us and to provide. To His Glory.
The Gemach Project is pleased to announce that by God’s blessing we were able to make 18 new loans in the village of Pouantega.
Bless continue to pray for all Christians in Niger as they are undergoing a time of persecution. Ask for a blessing on these women as they start their new chance at a better life.
Despite their churches and homes being burned down earlier this month, our friends in Niger were told that we had funds for new loans they had requested but we knew that they were going through very difficult times and that we could wait to fund the loans. Their response was to send the funds and they would find the time to help the poor. As one pastor in Niger told us “The Gemach Project is the heart of our church”. Enabling them to reach those that they may not have an opportunity otherwise to reach. Therefore we have sent the funds and 22 new loans in Simiri, Niger have been made. We admire their faith and dedication.
We are pleased to let you know that 11 loans have been paid back in Khancha, Kenya. These loans were made last year and all have been paid back 100%. We have now passed those loans on to 11 new recipients in the area. Thanks to our coordinator, Silvanus, for his dedication and hard work.
Please pray for Magagi, our loan administrator in Niger. His church was attacked and burned this morning by Muslims. A man who has administered hundreds of interest free loans to Muslims so that they can get out of poverty. Many other churches have been burned in Niger this morning. He is safe physically. Please pray for him, his church, his family and all Christians in Niger.
We are pleased to learn that six loans in Rugarama, Uganda have been paid back and six new loans were made with these funds. Twenty-three loans were paid back in Bodol, Niger and twenty-five new loans have been made in this village. Six loans have been paid back in Fayre, Niger and seven new loans have been made. In all of these locations every single loan was paid back at 100% with no delinquencies. We continue to be blessed with upstanding administrators in these countries and we thank God for them. Please pray that we would have continued success throughout the new year. Thank you for all of your support over this last year.
In this post I will both summarize what we have shown as the benefits from The Gemach Project at the same time showing you what I consider being the most amazing benefit of all, the cost at which we are performing all of these benefits.
We have shown that we enable the poor to realize a monthly income, in many instances, of twice the national average while at the same time feeling a sense of self worth and accomplishment. Not of having received a handout but a sense of doing this on their own. A feeling of ownership and interest in what they are doing, of not being told what to do. Enabling them to provide food, educational and medical needs. We have increased the income of local churches so that they can expand. Their pastors can be freed up to spread the Gospel. The Gemach Project has opened doors for these pastors where they may not have been allowed. Those that have not been exposed to the Gospel are not only hearing it but seeing the actions of a God that loves them and provides for them. We have uplifted the communities by providing goods and services that may not have been available while bringing peace to communities and tribes that have not had peace for decades. And after seven cycles of loans we plan on providing things that the community need and can afford to maintain. We provide opportunities for US churches and donors to become involved. All this while honoring God’s word by not charging interest, helping the widows and orphans and forgiving our debts after seven years. While keeping God’s Word at the heart of what e are doing.
Before we look at our costs let’s look at what the costs are to other organizations. Save the children wants $25 a month to provide a child with two meals a day. Compassion International wants $35 a month to provide food, spiritual guidance and water to a child for a month. Samaritan’s Purse wants you to buy an animal thus dictating what they will do and not requiring repayment thus only affecting one family with your donation. Hope International gives loans and charges 20%-40% interest while we charge none. Other micro-lending institutions charge up to 80% interest. Some of these organizations may be good organizations and by all means if God has put it upon your heart to donate to them then you should always honor what God wants you t do. I have volunteered with Samaritans Purse and like what they do but as far as helping the poor in Africa I submit that we do a better job at a much lower rate that any of these organizations.
So let’s look at what it costs us to do all that we are doing. Throughout Africa it is costing us $64.70 to provide these services per family. This is a one time cost not a monthly cost. This provides these benefits for a life time not or a month. If we look at Niger and Benin where the majority of our loans are at the costs are even more amazing. In Benin it is costing us $9.16 per person per lifespan. In Niger it is costing us $6.61 per person per lifetime. These figures are based on the average number of children there are in each family per country. It does not take into account extended family members or orphans or other family members they are taking care of.
The Gemach Project gives 94% of all funds received directly to the poor. 5% of all funds go to the local in Africa administrators to cover costs such as printing and petrol. 1% of all funds are kept by The Gemach Project in the US to cover money wire fees, printer cartridges and other miscellaneous expenses. This enables us to provide information and photos of all those that you help with your donations. So as we go into this Christmas season I am sure some are thinking where you might give. Please consider The Gemach Projecct. I assure you it is money well spent.
There are three future benefits that I hope to see happen with The Gemach Project. The first two deal with those here in the US and the third with those in Africa.
With the US part of my vision is to provide an easy access for new churches to start working with global outreach. To introduce them to areas that need the gospel and to work with worthy pastors. Helping with Gemach loans will give them a chance to familiarize themselves with the area they want to work in and how to correctly help. Secondly I hope to one day be able to travel to Africa more and to take donors with me. That we they can have first hand knowledge of the good we are doing.
When we began this I felt that we not only needed to follow the instructions of God not to charge interest but to also honor the teachings in Leviticus about what is called the Jubilee. One of those teachings is that after seven years you forget debts owed to you. In keeping with that we will turn over funds to our local administrators in Africa after they have been used to fund seven cycles of loans. We just ask that they use the funds to expand God’s Kingdom and somehow benefit the local communities where the loans were given. One administrator told us that they will build a school in the village with the funds. He advised that most charities come in and build the school first but most fail as the village can not afford to pay a teacher. This way after their businesses are succeeding they will be able to hire the teacher. We have not gone through seven cycles in any of our areas but we are getting close. In Benin we have just issued our fifth cycle of loans in some areas.
Next post I will wrap this all us by looking at the most amazing benefit that we see from God’s blessing with The Gemach Project.