As we learned the reason why each of Pastor Banda’s kids entered the orphanage, one thing was clear. Poverty and abuse lie at the heart of these fragmented families. If our goal is to unite orphans in families, we have to address poverty.

Giving Wisely? by Jonathan Martin really streamlined our giving strategy. Martin biblically asserts the RAISE principles:

Relationship first:

Building trust over time without any money involved; working toward a reciprocal relationship. If you are writing a check to an organization in which you have no personal, face-to-face relationship, you’re missing out on the depth of sharing struggles and joy with the worker on the ground.

Accountability:

Who is this person in submission to for her finances? Walk with God? Purity? Submission to godly authority is a must.

Indigenous Sustainability:

Can this work continue after the Westerner or Western money is gone? If the answer is no, invest elsewhere.

Equity:

Does this ministry elevate the recipient to a financial level unattainable to others in their community? This will result in isolation and further dependency, so give elsewhere.

IMG_9635Following these principles, we dreamed alongside our friend Mabel, widow and mom of 5. She wanted to be a teacher, but even after 7 needed years of education, she would not be able to support her family on a teacher’s salary. Choice number two was business.

We believe in a holistic model of orphan prevention. Relationships are more powerful than money. Based on current school and uniform fees, we would need to give $6,102 to Mabel to get her 5 kids through school for the next 18 years, OR we could empower her dream of owning a business with a micro-loan of $360. We chose the latter! Although we could have given her $6,102 from generous donors or even our own savings, we think it is more generous to empower her to stand on her own. We are walking alongside her in this business, not just giving the loan but helping her through challenges and discipling her to love and live like Jesus. This requires a lot of time and sacrifice, but it is SO much more rewarding. Life transformation and empowering others is sustainable. Handouts are not.

We helped Mabel officially launch her Salaula business February 28, selling bales of used clothing on Market Street in Ng’ombe! We discussed a business plan with a budget to repay the loan in 15 months and be completely self-sufficient! She is faithfully depositing the sales money every day and keeping good sales records. Mabel has brought in 25 to 50% more daily sales than our target; we are so proud! God is faithful.

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Now that we have more time to network, we look forward to partnering with other great organizations working toward Christian Community Development. We hope this income generating project with Mabel will be the first of many success stories of keeping families together! While Gabriel, Esperanza, Joshua, Arnold and Ethel are single orphans, they are not in an institution, they are attending a wonderful school, getting top medical treatment, and on the path to a great future with a mom who can provide for them! Thank you for partnering with us to strengthen families to care for orphans! We are incredibly full of joy to do what we do.

I’ll end with a note from a friend in northern Zambia:

“I ask that we reconsider orphan care in terms of PREVENTING orphans by tackling poverty; divesting funds away from the institutional model and into community development, be it educational resources, water and sanitation, housing solutions, etc, – basically trying to eliminate the triggers that send families down that path of relinquishing their kids. This has to look different in an urban setting vs. rural.”

-Bethany Colvin, Christian Community Development worker at Goshen Farm, Zambia

With great expectation from a Great God,
Andrea + Daniel, Joisah, Ella, Zuri + Zion

We finally got some of our Christmas packages from the U.S.! Let the 12 days of Christmas begin…in March, lol! Thanks Gramma Judy and Joyce!

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