|Yesterday I was able to visit the Vermeers in Chicago and finally was able to meet Sahil!|
Since there is no-one really stepping in during my two months to take my place, I'm trying to get as much done as I can ahead of time. Unfortunately, my list is growing longer rather than shorter and I'm starting to compromise on certain aspects of my leave, but I'm trying to make it a clean break. There are a number of important initiatives that will be taking place during those two months:
|Todd DeKryger (left) and Malcolm DeKryger (right)|
- will be receiving a volunteer CPA/IT consultant for four weeks (from July 17-August 19) to work with the management team at LEAD and help to build capacity;
- LEAD's capital project campaign for their new office building continues - we are at $195,000 out of the $250,000 needed - almost there!
- Partners Worldwide has approved a new position of a partnership manager for Liberia, to help with some of the work there, so we will be posting that position in the next week or so and collecting resumes while I am on leave
- The LEAD research farm is continuing to grow - we recently had 14 piglets added to the farm; the staff were trained in grasscutter farming (groundhogs) and hope to start that soon; we hope to build a field school at the farm soon, to be able to train farmers right on site - that campaign will kick off in July (more details soon:-); we also hope to start our palm kernel processing at the farm in order to support the feed needs of the pigs
- A new partner with the work of pigs is Malcolm DeKryger from DeMotte Indiana, who oversees multiple farms with a total of 300,000 hogs. I had a chance to see it and it was pretty amazing. He is planning a trip to Liberia in October with his brother Todd, who is the Integrated Pest Management specialist who visited Liberia last November. We are excited about these new subject matter experts who are joining our work!
- It looks very likely that Hopeline Institute will be approved for a significant amount of loan funds for the middle market initiative through Partners Worldwide to give loans to their stronger SMEs. As our approach with businesses is through four strategic components (training, mentoring, access to capital, and advocacy), the access to capital component has been the weakest for this partnership, so we are very thankful that these businesses will now be able to increase their capacity through loans.
- Emerging Entrepreneurs - Hopeline Institute has identified a gap for business owners who want to expand their micro-business (often a business run to put food on the table) to the SME level (a serious business that seeks to grow and expand), and have started a program to try to bridge that gap. They are calling it “Emerging Entrepreneurs” and have tailored their training to fit this group, as well as working with current SMEs to mentor these emerging entrepreneurs.
- Prayer partners – We have had an exciting report from our partner affiliate in Canada, who has been working to find prayer partners for every business owner that is going through training with Hopeline. These prayer partners pray along with each lesson that the business owner is receiving and communicate directly with the business owner for prayer requests via email. We have begun to hear some pretty amazing stories of blessings emerging from these prayer partners, on both sides of the ocean! And some of these prayer partners are beginning to be mentors for the business owners in Ghana.
- Dea has returned back to his home after a 21 month unexpected absence. He is rejoicing to be back in his homeland, with his wife and children, and praising God for his life and health. For more info, please go to his Caring Bridge website: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dealieu
- Dea now begins the work of reorganizing the organization that he leads in Danané (called ACLCP) after his extended absence. Loans have continued to go out to members in his absence but there have not been any trainings. The political violence that occurred in his absence also had an impact on the ministry and the area, so there is some important work to be done.
- Jos continues to be troubled by unrest and violence. We continue to pray for peace there and for wisdom on the part of the leadership who are working for peace with the Boko Haram
- The work of Water Wins and PCEN (the two affiliates in Nigeria) continue to go well, with business trainings, wells being drilled, and community development. We continue to pray for Jeremiah Yongo, as he negotiates this work in an area of great stress, where peace is measured in days.