[Top to bottom, left to right: UOB Gospel Singers leading the praise... all staff praising together... Six staff who are scheduled to get married receiving the "key to new life"... "UOB Day Banner" ... Gary Sheer delivering the message]
Every second Saturday of January and July, we hold the UOB Day. It is the day for all UOB staff to gather together to praise and pray to God, share thanksgiving and the bank's vision, mission and plans, and fellowship with colleagues for encouragement and edification.
On January 8th, we held it at La Palisse conference center. Approximately 200 people gathered. Every year, we select a theme for the year and it was "Shalom!" for 2011. Gary Sheer, a missionary from Colorado, was the guest speaker. He h
as been ministering in Rwanda for the past 30 years and his Kinyarwanda was absolutely fluent. Many staff said that his Kinyarwanda is even better than many Rwandans.
So he delivered a message about "Shalom" in Kinyarwanda.
Gary hit the nail right on the head.
He said that we do not become Christians just because we sing Christian songs. We should have "Shalom" (God's peace) in our hearts in relation to the creator God by repentance and confession of faith in the Lord. Also, we as a Christian micro finance bank should keep in mind the role to promote "Shalom" among ourselves as well as the clients. Our role to provide the money for the clients is not enough. We should facilitate "Shalom" among ourselves and clients. "Shalom" is a profound word. It implies sinlessness, unity, reconciliation, restoration, perfect harmony etc.
"Shalom" existed at the Garden of Eden. But it has been broken by the sin. God has provided us with the way to restore "Shalom" and it is Jesus Christ. With the gospel of Jesus, we may restore the broken "Shalom" to the harmony with God, self, others and the rest of the creation only through our faith and spiritual growth in Jesus. We will never have it perfectly, the way it was at the Garden of Eden in this life, but we trust that it will be made perfect again when the Lord returns and completes His Kingdom. Until then, "we should make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3)
I also shared the organizational "S.H.A.L.O.M." As an acronym, it represented "Scale up!, Harmonize!, Achieve! Optimize! and Maximize/minimize!" With the Lord's mercy, we will be able to achieve the sustainability (stop losing money) and to relieve the lending staff from handling cash in their credit activities in 2011.
[Beata receiving the gift from Eugenie and staff.... With Beata ..... Beata with all current and former team members]
One of the staff, Beata, declared her plan to retire and we had a small celebration. She was one of the founding members of UOB and has been working for the past 13 years. In the Eastern Province, UOB and Beata are the mirror image. Her former and current team members plus several other staff shared their farewell messages and gifts. It was wonderful to see one of the staff retire with an honor after long years of service.
We acknowledged those who have been promoted and have received different assignments. We also acknowledged those teams who have excelled in their transformation work on Process/Service Fit Test and in documenting "transformation stories."
I learned that UOB had 15 weddings and 23 babies in 2010. What a blessing to be part of God's plan to multiply and prosper! We also had six weddings coming up and we had a small celebration. Each bride or groom to be received a key necklace. I learned that the key was to open the door for a new life. One of the senior staff members prayed for them.
We all shared the excitement for what God has in store for us in 2011 in great anticipation. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey