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Though I continue to preach and teach regularly, one of our primary thrusts is microfinance. This outreach plays a vital part in our vision of "transformation through empowerment". Another way to say that would be "dominion through discipleship".
We had a number of factors to deal with in 2011: an election, which led to runaway inflation, which, of course, raises the cost of everything, making business and life in general more expensive. But praise God, we are still here and genuinely stronger than ever. We are projecting solid growth for 2012 and believe we will triple or quadruple the number of people we are able to help with loans and the business training that goes with the loans, which really amount to discipleship classes. I am particularly excited about one of our groups that is comprised of nearly 100 ministers.
In that group, our goal is to empower ministers and churches through BANCS Microfinance, believeing 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 new standard in the church. Then, hopefully, church members will strive for that same standard in their lives. This process of transforming lives and churches really does begin with changing the mindset of the pastors, which is why in our HCI meetings we feed them a steady diet of testimonies from their peers, who are successfully ministering and doing business to raise income for their family support.
We are ministering a holistic gospel that doesn't just say to the people: "be warmed and be filled" and then walk away. We are teaching them sound business principles and working "hands on" with them, showing them how to be warmed and be filled. Through discipleship and relationship, we are teaching them how to fish, so to speak, instead of just throwing them a fish or two. They are learning biblical principles of business that will help to sustain their families and their church families. As they learn and grow in their knowledge, they gain wisdom, which they can impart to the people they pastor. The microfinance with training we are offering these pastors has the potential, literally, to change the face of the nation. Those who take the principles, apply them and work hard are being elevated out of poverty, even in this economy. It's a testimony to God's faithfulness.
There are many marketplace opportunities in Africa. There is no limit to what the people can accomplish once their mindset changes from one of limitations and dependence to one of dignity and dominance. They take authority and dominion over poverty and break out of that cycle forever. That is our heart, to teach and train, to encourage and help establish. You can't put a price on a transformed life!
The Ugandan people have servants' hearts. This is evidenced by their willingness to go into remote areas to fast and pray for breakthroughs in the tribes in those areas--some of which are considered enemies--God is truly at work. We cannot fathom the eternal significance of their sacrifice.
Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. When you sow into the lives of people that are not in a position to pay you back, God Himself will reward you and repay you. On behalf of Vail and I and all the Ugandans whose lives are being impacted, we say thank you for your support.
You can get additional information on what Mike and Vail are doing by going to: www.mikecroslow.com.
An update from Bishop Robert Muhumuza, HCI Africa
We had our pastors meeting in September and a number of the pastors who had never attended turned up because of the upcoming crusade, which has involved many in planning. At the meeting we trained on the four pillars of HCI: Pastoral Care, Church Leadership and Development, Missions Mobilization and Financial Empowerment through Microfinance. We met at the Community Church of Faith in Uganda. The purpose of the meeting was to help pastors and leaders understand the vision of HCI. There were forty in attendance, five of whom were first time attendees.
We are teaching the pastors and leaders how to live successfully as ministers of the gospel. They have financial needs and they need training materials as well as Bible School training.
We have plans to do economic training, forming regional committees in different districts and holding seminars in different regions. We are visiting other African nations to introduce them to the vision of HCI. Currently we have been centering the microfinance loan opportunities on pastors in Jinja, but we plan to extend our reach to other towns of Uganda.
HCI Africa Photo Gallery