As you know from my last post, I arrived back in the states 7 months ago. A lot has happened during that time and I can tell you now with certainty that God’s word is being fulfilled and I’m going back to Africa! About a week after I got back home, I met with one of my best friends and her dad to recap my DTS with them. At the end of our conversation, I said that I didn’t know what was next, but knew that I wanted to use my gifts and passions of serving and building relationships with people in a way that would add value to their lives. Her dad asked me a series of questions, and I provided him with a series of answers. Then he asked, “Have you ever thought about microfinance?” I responded, “No, I don’t even know what that is.” “Well, have you heard of it?” “Yes, but just the word microfinance. I think it’s small business loans or something?” “Oh, but it’s much more than that!” He proceeded to tell me more about it and as he was talking I began to think, “Hmm… this sounds like something that would fit with my vague idea of what I want to do.” He said he knew a girl about my age who started a type of microfinance organization known as micro-BAM, and would email her to see if he could set up a meeting for us. Over the next week, microfinance came up three different times in three different conversations. “WHAT?! This is weird,” I thought. I asked God if this was from Him. I sat on the idea for about a month, and finally went to look at the organization’s website. I noticed that the Executive Director went to my church, and attended the campus that I attend. Interesting… Coincidence? I think not. I prayed, “God, I feel like this is something that you’re leading me to. Why? I have no idea because I’m the least qualified for something like this. I don’t even know what it is. If this is from you, continue to open the doors. If it’s not from you and I’m way off on this one, please close the door and re-route me. But I think this is the way you’re telling me to go.” I messaged the person from my church and told him that I felt like microfinance was something the Lord was leading me to, that I didn’t know anything about it, but wanted to learn more, and asked if he would be willing to meet with me. I prayed, “Here I go, God. I’m doing my part, and the rest is in your hands.” I clicked send. A couple of hours later he responded and said he’d be delighted to meet with me. I was shocked! We met a couple of weeks later and he told me more about their organization, Videre. Videre equips local believers in Yendi, Northern Ghana with the perspective to use their businesses as a tool for community development and missions through a three-phase Micro-Business as Mission (Micro-BAM) Program. The three phases focus on 1) teaching biblical business principles, 2) creating viable business plans and Kingdom-impact strategies, and 3) implementing these strategies, often with the help of microfinance. Once participants graduate from the program, they are required to return to teach consecutive classes in their community to do the same. Videre seeks to build and grow Gospel-centered micro-businesses and foster entrepreneurial thinking that will change an economy from a grassroots level. He invited me to come on one of the trips to see what it looked like on the ground. I prayed about it and felt like it was right.
I’ll leave on August 9th with a team of six for Yendi. The length of the first phase is ten days, but I will stay in Yendi to meet and follow up with the entrepreneurs who have already graduated through the program. Another team will come for phase two at the end of September and I will return to the states with them on October 6th. Like most chapters in my life, I’ll open this one by saying that I have no idea where this will lead, but I do know that God has purpose in me being where I am and He’ll let me know what’s next when the time is right. In the meantime, I’ll praise Him for what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He will do, knowing that He is good and He is in charge of everything.
If you’re interested in learning how you can partner with Videre, whether by using the business skills the Lord has given you and assisting in a business training trip, or by prayerfully and/or financially supporting an entrepreneur in Ghana, let me know! There are still spots available for trips this fall and of course, there are always opportunities to give financially.