|Mike and Vail Croslow|
Mike Croslow is a passionate advocate for world missions and a veteran missionary, having served twenty years on the field in East Africa. As founder of Abundant Life Ministries in Uganda, he focused on church planting, ministers training, and childrens ministry, primarily among the Busoga and Iteso tribes. Now, fully indigenous and under African leadership, Abundant Life Ministries has become a church-planting movement with over 40 churches in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya.
After moving back to the States in 2000, Mike served as International Director for Agape Missionary Alliance. In 2003, he helped found and establish Harvest Churches International (HCI), and served for three years as Executive Director and then as Coordinator for World Missions. During this eight-year period he helped raise over five million dollars for local church missions outreaches. Mike serves as Africa Director for HCI, building a network of churches and ministers across East And Central Africa.
Their goal of empowering ministers and churches through BANCS Microfinance is succeeding and moving forward. HCI plays a vital role in this outreach through the monthly meetings held in Jinja. They are strongly emphasizing that the key to helping their churches move out of poverty lies in helping each pastor and his family to move out of poverty, thus setting a standard in the church that church members will hopefully strive to attain. This process of transforming lives and churches really begins with changing the mindset of the pastors, which is why in the HCI meetings, they feed them a steady diet of testimonies from their peers, who are successfully ministering and doing business to raise income for their family support.
Mike's team has given over sixty loans to pastors so far. The average pastor in Uganda earns less than a dollar a day. Mike is not aware of any program such as they are offering being available anywhere else -- a microfinance bank teamed up with a ministers network (HCI Uganda) to help the pastors break out of poverty. This is genuinely significant in that they have added a practical element to the gospel message they preach that impacts the pastor, his family, and even their congregations. They belive that what happens to the pastor will "trickle down" to the church members, with the net result being a more greatly empowered church! Their goal is to see every pastor's income raised to at least $5.00 per day. (This would signify a dramatic increase for all of them, and raise their standard of living substantially.)
Remember, it's not just about the money. Mike and his team are providing the pastors with basic business skills training, coaching, and even on-site follow-up. They believe that when the pastors succeed, they also succeed. They want to give them a "hand up" instead of a hand out, which helps them break out of poverty once and for all. It's not just a goal or dream. It's reality, and it's happening in Uganda. The program is working and growing, and they believe over the next five years, by God's grace, they will be able to spread microfinance empowerment across the nation to impact hundreds, even thousands of churches.
It is of paramount importance that the old paradigm of looking to the western churches for funding be replaced with a new paradigm that is based on empowerment. This is at the heart of all their efforts. Until that change takes place in their understanding, the African pastors live in a world of limits and dependence. But once they "receive permission" and that mindset is broken, thrusting them forward toward the huge marketplace opportunities available in their nation, there is no limit to what they can accomplish. The testimonies help, and the the monthly meetings afford the opportunity to encourage and learn from one another.
There is also an amazing door of opportunity open in Nakipiripirit, the gateway to Karamoja, one of the few remaining "wild" areas in Africa (no electricy or paved roads and over 80% illiteracy). Mike's business and ministry partner, Joshua Lwere, has worked tirelessly to plant a church among the nomadic warriors, the Karamajong people. Mike's team is determined to have an integrated and holistic gospel that impacts them spiritually, physically and socioeconomically. They covet your prayers for the Karamajong people.
Thank you for your support, both in prayer and financially. The Croslows are supported 100% by the gifts of individuals like you. Every gift makes a difference. On behalf of Mike and Vail and the many Ugandans whose lives are being impacted by the work in Uganda, thank you.
Visit their website at www.mikecroslow.com