April did not gain much improvement in Rwanda's macroeconomic situation. Nonetheless, a few signs if improvements have been noticed. We keep praying that our almighty God will intervene and show us a breakthrough. April was also the month of commemorating the breakout of the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994. The entire country went into a solemn mourning period, repeating the slogan of "Never Again." This year the slogan has changed to "Striving for Self-reliance."
|Huye Branch Grand Opening|
The following were the highlights.
1. In April, Jeffrey attended Opportunity International CEO Conference for Africa and Eastern Europe regions. At this conference, most of implementing members gave a 2-hour "deep dive" presentation and responded to questions coming from OI's global leadership. UOB received favorable remarks. Praise the Lord!
2. Jeffrey also made a day trip to Uganda to visit with OI Africa CEO and also with Opportunity Bank Uganda to learn about education and energy finance programs.
3. UOB held the grand opening ceremony for its Huye Branch. Like in the past, the grand opening ceremony drew much attention from the second largest city in Rwanda through ceremony itself and parades supported by a famous radio anchor Anita, motor taxi riders and roller blade riders.
|A Painting that portrays UOB's service for people|
4. Jeffrey had a follow up meeting with COOPAG leadership to explore more about its holistic community development project. COOPAG is a cooperative that has more than 1,000 members from 10 cells of a sector in Rwamagana District. We will focus on helping develop six aspects of non-financial services. These six aspects are called WAHEHE or water/sanitation/hygiene, agriculture, health, education, housing and energy. We hope to establish an exemplary case, when found successful, to be duplicated else where.
5. UOB has been distributing 500 Teacher's Bibles to local pastors in several Christian denominations. These Teacher's Bibles have been acquired through PEACE Plan of Saddleback Church of California. The response has been impressively positive and we may consider expanding the program.
|Teacher's Bible Distributed to Pastors|
6. UOB has begun to accelerate its implementation of Client Service Point (CSP) strategies. mHose roll-out is picking up the speed with more agents and clients are signing up. Our discussion with other banks for collaboration start getting traction.
7. The Gicumbi Nursery project that Kristin has been handling was almost completed in April. All the flooring work was completed, the supporting wall between the church and the nursery was erected, desks and chairs have been delivered. What is remaining is the water tank and gutters to the roof. These have been delivered and will be installed in May. During the summer, we expect to hold a vacation bible school and start operating the nursery from the fall semester. We praise the Lord for His guidance in this project.
8. Jeffrey led a meeting session with Rz Manna project team members. Rz Manna project is being handled by S. Korea's Handong Global University students (graduated and current) to establish a social enterprise in Rwanda as sponsored by KOICA.
9. Jeffrey attended the meetings of BDF Board and RSwitch Board. BDF is Rwanda's largest credit guaranty agency and RSwitch is Rwanda's national payment switch. Jeffrey chairs the board of BDF and serves as Vice Chair of the RSwitch board.
10 We have started our annual leave from April 19th. We have traveled to Denver for medical and dental check-up. Gratefully, both of us received a clean bill of health. Jeffrey preached on Mission Sunday at Logos Central Chapel and also gave a lecture about Business As Mission or BAM to the congregation members who were interested. Kristin also gave a progress report on the Gicumbi Nursery project.
11. Despite our absence, Shalom Bible Study continues their meetings. It is great encouragement to see young people strive to meet for spiritual growth and fellowship. SBS finished its study on "Lead Like Jesus" and when we return we will begin the journey of studying the Book of Hebrews most likely for the rest of this year.
|Celebrating the 30th Anniversary in Panama|
12. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in April. For this celebration, we have traveled to Panama and are now traveling to Ecuador. We are grateful for the Lord's grace by being at the center of and the third string of our relationship. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
13. We would like to request that you remember to pray for the following subjects:
- Please keep praying for Rwanda for the sake of the underprivileged people. Rwanda needs God's help in elbowing through the situations and the underprivileged people suffer most.
- Please pray for UOB's projects: operational performance, HLI expansion and 5W implementation, implementation of Client Service Point (CSP), migration to T24 R10 model bank and implementation of holistic community development (HCD).
- Please pray for continued blessing of the Lord on our mHose roll-out process. It is now at an accelerated phase of roll-out and we are preparing for the commercial launch with the general public.
- Please pray for continued scaling up of HLI training for clients. For the first quarter, the scaling up process has been accelerating and we desire to see the trend continue.
- Please pray that the Teacher's Bibles that we have been distributing will bear many fruits among Rwandan souls.
- Praise the Lord for significant improvements in the hearlth of Jeffrey's father, but Kristin's mother remains pretty much unchanged. Please pray that they may finish their remaining lives on earth well.
- Please pray that all our ministries will produce significant and lasting impact on the lives of people we serve.
Joyfully in His service,
Jeffrey and Kristin Lee, currently from Ecuador