Posts Tagged ‘mentoring’

Losing God’s Money

money

Losing money always feels bad to me. So you might think losing God’s money would feel worse. Here’s what happened.

Back before Future Hope Africa had a bank account in the US or one in DR Congo that we could transfer money to, the only option we had was Western Union. I would go to the grocery store in Maryland straight to the Customer Service desk as my kids wandered frozen foods within sight. I filled out paperwork, produced ID, signed a register, double checked spellings and sent funds. Normally a smooth process.

One time, though, way back in 2012 I was traveling with my family when it was time to send money to Bukavu. Instead of sending money from the usual grocery store I sent money from my parents’ hometown grocery in Kentucky. Only one person was trained for this task, and that store didn’t have as much paperwork. No big deal, I thought–till the money went missing.

Back in Maryland I got the news from our education center in Bukavu. The money wasn’t on the system in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). After lots of hold time on several phone calls I was told I would have to take it up with the office of origin. After many months we were finally back in Kentucky, and the only thing to be done locally was to check the confirmation number. They did and said I’d have to speak with Western Union directly. I tried that again but got no where.

Was God’s money lost? Would the students in Congo never benefit from these funds gone astray?

This was God’s money, not mine. I focused on that and wasn’t as upset after a little while. It’s not like God didn’t know what happened. He knew exactly where that $1000 was. I did my part; gave back to him with open hands. Also, I did what I could to rectify the problem, and then I was forced to leave the rest to him. God was in control then just as he is now.

Fast forward to 2015.We had moved away from Maryland to Holland. After our USPS forwarding order expired, I received a letter. A class action suit was under way against Western Union. It seems lots of people had lost money on transfers about the same time I did. Login online to participate if you wanted to join the suit. I signed up and waited…and waited.

After a while, I figured the settlement wasn’t coming. Or they took out lawyers’ fees and nothing was left. Either way, it was still God’s grand.

In January, the board of Future Hope Africa had our first meeting of 2017. It was time to discuss increasing the monthly amount we send to Bukavu. We’d been sending what we could to pay our staff at the education center. It was a modest amount, but we were beginning to lose good teachers because they couldn’t quite support their families on the amount we were sending. After much prayer (and researching fair wages in Congo) we decided to step out on faith and raise the staff pay. Knowing we needed more monthly donors to sustain the salaries, we got to work on that. But by the end of February we looked at the budget and could see future deficits. We still can, but in the meantime we are praying. We are directly soliciting in places where we are legally allowed to do so. We remind ourselves that the education project is God’s project. From beginning to end, He is our provider. From board to Bintu, from 501(c)(3) status to setting up bank accounts, everything moves or happens by God’s hand.

We do our part. Then we wait upon the Lord.

And sometimes He reminds us how sovereign He is by meeting our needs today with funds that went astray 5 years ago. The truth is we serve an awesome God. A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through the mail and noticed an envelope with a return address I did not recognize. When I opened it, do you know what was inside?  The $1000 plus the $65 transfer fee. Money that could not have come at a better time. God’s timing is best. God’s mysterious ways are unfathomable. God’s almighty authority is over every part of the world, including money transfers.

– Kristin

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From Student to Teacher

moses

Moses Cito Kajiramugabi

Moïse (Moses in English) is one of the teachers at our Future Hope Africa Education Center in Bukavu, DRC. He first came to the Center when he was in high school, for help with his studies and to participate in our Princes Club, now called the Young Leaders Club*.

He graduated from high school with very good grades and was offered an opportunity to go to Kinshasa (the capital city of DR Congo). After much thought and prayer he decided instead to stay in Bukavu and work with us at the Center. His passion is to help younger ones with their school work.

Moses is 20 years old and among the youngest of 11 children in his family. His father has recently become ill so staying in Bukavu has also meant he’s available to help care for him. His father and mother currently have no employment, so working at FHA came as a great blessing for him and his family. Moses joined our staff in September and is one of 4 teachers tutoring students during our Homework School.

Moses is a deep thinker and has written the following piece for our blog. Thank you, Moses!

 

Home in Bukavu for Christmas and New Year

 

“For Christians, Christmas does not mean only the day of his birth, but rather the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ in our hearts. Christmas is not only a day of celebration for children, but it is the day when we remember the love of God for humanity.”

When the pastor said this, I felt more comforted. Because, I had done research on the meaning of Christmas and what it should represent for the world.

Here are the results of my research: The word Christmas does not even exist in the Bible. Noël is Christmas in French; it is a Christian feast day instituted in 368 AD. It was established by the fathers of the church, they said. If we relate to the biblical calendar, Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. This date was just a pagan feast day celebrated once a year, at night, in the midst of winter, at the peaks of the mountains to worship Saturn. They worshiped in the middle of four candles. During this pagan cult celebration there were four things:

– debts were forgiven and forgotten,

– captives were freed,

– slaves were emancipated,

– and the condemned to death were pardoned.

The celebration of Christmas on this day of the 25th of December, gathered around this feast the pagans and the Christians.

I found these results quite interesting …

In Bukavu, Christmas and New Year are two very important events. And this observation I have made since when I was still very young. Back then, we were even more interested because we were expecting new clothes and gifts from our parents. Unlike those in Europe, we were not told about Santa Claus. The idea of Santa Claus develops only in certain families, but it is not popular here.

One week before Christmas, almost all the shopping points of the city, and the markets are filled with new clothing and decorative articles (flowers, Christmas trees) and in this festive atmosphere, all the parents of the middle class strive to buy beautiful clothes and beautiful shoes their children  in order to see them in Sunday clothes. Those who are more fortunate organize holidays and take their children to foreign countries to spend the holidays. And the less fortunate are just satisfied to find a better meal than what they usually have.

On the festivals’ eve, the public places are beautifully adorned with flowers and with Christmas lights. An intense circulation of pedestrians and vehicles is noticeable until late at night. At the same time, in the outskirts of the city, some young people spend the night under the stars and take pleasure in “palavering” (chatting) around a fire that they often light with tires throughout the night.

Alas, for many people, generally unbelievers, it is an opportunity to wander here and there during the night, visit nightclubs and drink too much, and to commit various other disorders.

Unfortunately, after all these pleasures, wounds and sometimes death follow.

Christians, on the other hand, gather in their different assemblies to praise and worship the Eternal God for the passage from one year to another.

For the Congolese, the crossing toward year 2017 was especially valuable. We were seized with a certain fear because of the political riots that could have taken place on December 19, 2016. God in his mercy protected us and now we have arrived successfully in 2017. All the churches were invaded by songs of joy.

All those who live on Congo territory had a good reason to glorify our God for his protection this year. After Sunday worship, everyone went to spend the rest of his party with his family gathered around a table filled with everything the family would be able to afford for the celebration.

In my family, my grandparents, my brothers-in-law, my parents, my brothers and sisters, my cousins and nieces, my uncles and aunts, all in fraternity, we shared the same meal. We talked about our personal experiences last year. And at the end of the ceremony, we wished each other the best wishes and shared the gifts.

The Christmas celebration is not an opportunity to wallow in sins. One is not obliged to put oneself in situations of distress to celebrate a great feast at all costs and beyond possibilities.

Thus, God’s children should avoid getting into debt to have a celebration above their financial level.

Indeed, for us Christians, it is Christmas every day because we have to remember the great deeds of God every day as if Christ is born in our hearts.

Moses Cito Kajiramugabi

*Our Young Leaders Club is a club for young men to meet and discuss the way young men should behave, how to be useful to their families and community, and to discuss  entrepreneurial projects. We have a similar club for young ladies called the Princess Club. Our club teachings are based on Biblical principles.

The Swedish Winter Challenge

A Letter From Bintu:

Dear all,

I have been back (in Bukavu) for a couple weeks now and after resting some, unpacking and getting back into my routine here, I thought that I could take some time to give you all an overall report for the SWC (Swedish Winter Challenge).

Bintu in Sweden

Bintu at the Challenge

 

About the Swedish Winter Challenge,

The program was called : The Facilitative Leadership Development (FLD)

1. The MBCI ( Mentor and Business Coaches International) Partnering Transformation, the organized conference went for 4 days and then we took the last day before our departure to close and wrap up the training. During the training we followed a theoretical book and led in some practice exercises and role-play in the process. A mentor came from South Africa and two from Australia and with them, our Swedish mentors about 5 or 6 of them, were leading the teams.

This was a very good mentorship training – the MBCI way -. Their particularity is that they base the training on Biblical Principles. Jesus being the first and the best of all mentors. The movement started in Australia by a couple that we met on Skype on our last day of training; and now they have mentors all over the world, but until now, none in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).

This year was the second Conference organized in this way. And the (organizer) from

Swedish Winter Challenge

MCBI Swedish Winter Challenge

Sweden, Jenny Jacobson, had a strong wish to have somebody from Congo this year. Someone told her … so many negative things about Congo … so for her it was an answer from GOD and a miracle that I was able to go.

2. A business exposure and match-making – the investment opportunities
In this second part of the program, we were paired with some Swedish businessmen/Entrepreneurs. I personally was partnered with an important furniture reseller. He took me and a Namibian fellow SWC participant to visit a Plastic bag and Recycling factory and also a wood working factory.

It was very interesting to interview these people and hear about their journey, their ups and downs and the way they always managed to succeed.

With the whole group we went to an Apple and Strawberry plantation and juice factory. Then we visited a milk cow farm and a tree-house hotel…

Very interesting to see how the Swedish people managed to adapt to the rough winters. Thus the Winter Challenge in the Conference title.

3. Short presentations of our organisations / businesses
In this part of the challenge, we were given the opportunity to talk about what our business is about. This is where I talked about the work we are doing for the Community. Nothing business investors would be interested in, in terms of financial benefit, but our trainers were proud of all of our speeches, and of mine in particular, since I did not have the same kind of business to sell, but I managed to talk very boldly about it.

What I gained from this experience

As far as the MBCI is concerned, I really got some value added and I am praying that I will be enabled to pursue the training. And for the business match-making part, I wish I was more of a businesswoman to benefit from the investments and partnership, but I have a different call … But I think that I got some great ideas that can serve others / mentees for instance …

As far as the business exposure and investment possibility are concerned, I still don’t know what our limits are for FHA (Future Hope Africa) to do something like that to assure self-funding. That could also be a route to explore for partnership with the Swedish investors… or not.

In fact, when I came back and heard about how much infectious problems some people are having here from the waters we are using, I rethought about the iCATUS project to train us how to capture the rain waters and make it a business for someone we want to empower (We will add more information about this later).

And above all that are all the new relationships I/we got from this experience …. Experience we can keep even outside the SWC. Now I have brothers and sisters in Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia and even in Sweden that I did not know before this trip and that now know about FHA and what we are doing.

I distributed more than 50 business cards and got about a dozen.

The first thing I am planning to do is to do a (presentation) of my experience to the staff members (at the Center in Bukavu). From there, we will see how it goes.
Thanks to all,
And blessings,
Bintu