Friday, November 18, 2011

7,000 English Bibles for Rwanda

UOB has agreed to work with an NGO in the US to distribute 7,000 English bibles to Rwandans. UOB has received the first batch of 1,000 bibles and on November 18th, we distributed 480 bibles to Gicumbi, a northern part of Rwanda.

Most of UOB clients cannot read nor speak English. But their children are learning in English at their schools. It is our desire to see these English bibles passed onto the children of our clients so that the Word of God may be spread to young generations of Rwanda.

UOB has approximately 40,000 borrowing clients. So it is not feasible to distribute the bibles to all. So we will distribute the bibles to each trust group's committee members. In Gicumbi alone, there are almost 3,000 clients and the committee members are approximately 480, hence 480 bibles. We distributed the first four bibles to the leaders of a group with whom we spent time discussing about how we can better serve them. This group was started in 2003 and has since been continuously increasing their activities.

One of the members mentioned that "UOB was the first institution that empowered women and we will never forget that." What an encouraging statement! We praise the Lord who has been at the center of all we have been doing. - Jeffrey

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HOPE International and Savings Circle...

On November 17th, we had an opportunity to visit one of the Savings Circle that HOPE International is helping to form and run in Rwanda. Savings Circle are informal groups where members gather together, save regularly and lend to other members. HOPE is working with Rwanda Anglican Churches in helping the poorest of the poor learn to save and borrow to increase their economic activities.

The Savings Circle that we visited was involved in growing coffee, raising pigs and chickens, growing vegetables etc. The members were 183 in total operating through 12 Circles under the leadership of Pastor John, who was joyous with a big smile all the time.

Through their enhanced economic activities, they are now building a new church building and a new home for the pastor, where the Savings Circle also meet. The meeting was with the leaders of Savings Circles and their president. They all were proud of the achievements with deep gratitude to God who has enabled them to start the savings and improve their basic life quality.

They had a request for considering a loan for them to buy a truck to transport their produce faster for a better value. Also we discussed about "Linkage" loans to help increase their economic activities. We prayed together for God's blessing and provision in their endeavor to eradicate the poverty. - Jeffrey

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sylvan used to be a security guard for the house where we are staying now. He was transferred to another house by the landlord, but a few months ago, he was let go when the tenant decided not to keep him.

He moved to our neighborhood staying with his friends. He has been doing some cleaning at our place and Kristin has arranged with other homes to use his cleaning services to help him earn money for his living.

But his heart was in riding the motor taxi. He has secured a riding license but he also had to secure a jacket and rent a motorcycle to do the business. Unfortunately he did not have sufficient resources. We wanted to be of service to him.

Now he is riding the motor taxi for a few days a week while he is still working as a janitor and a home assistant from time to time. He also has a sponsor for his secondary education.

One day, he has shown up on the motor taxi. He wanted to show us how he was doing it. We took a few photos. He was happy. He has regained dignity and become more hopeful than before. He is still poor by any standard even in Rwanda, but now he is hopeful that he will resume his study and he will be able to look forward to the future, one that empowers him to endure and persevere the present challenges in hope. He has been a blessing to us. - Jeffrey

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13, Sunday --- God's Glorious Riches

Today, November 13, 2011, I preached at Agape Korean Church in Rwanda. The second Sunday of every month is my turn.

The sermon was titled "God's Glorious Riches."

God provides for His people. When He provides, He is not stingy. He provides abundantly. His abundant provision is often overflowing. Based on scriptures, "my cup overflows", "barns will overflow", "my carts overflow", "my lips overflow with praises...", "overflowing joy" and "overflow with the expression of thanksgiving."

One observation from these scriptures is that the cup or container must be filled first before it can overflow. Thus, if the container is small, things can overflow more easily than when the container is big. In other words, the smaller the container, the easier the overflowing will be.

This container can be compared to one's own desire. If one's desire is big, it will be difficult for him or her to experience the overflowing until his or her desire is filled. On the other hand, if one's desire is kept small, he or she will be relatively easy to experience the overflow.

Let me explain this in another way.

Let us suppose there is certain quantity of substance to be put into one's container. If one's desire is big, he or she will feel that he or she is not filled, thus feeling he or she needs more. On the other hand, if one's desire is small, he or she may feel fully filled, thus overflowing the substance out of his or her heart.

Normally, people are willing and able to share with others to the extent of the overflow and to be thankful to the extent the overflow.

Christians should make conscious efforts to reducing the desire under all circumstances. That is how we could be thankful always more often than not.

Regardless of the size of our containers, however, God's glorious riches can fill and overflow all our containers combined because His glorious riches are far greater and more than anyone can ever imagine.

First, Philippians 4:19 says that He will meet all our needs abundantly according to His glorious riches. All our needs could be tremendous but God's glorious riches will be more than enough to meet and exceed.

Second, God's glorious riches not only provide for our physical needs, but also provide for the "things above", as commanded of Christians according to Colossians 3:1,2. They are made available through God's grace and in Christ. (Ephesians 2:6,7)

That is why someone said that God's GRACE stands for "God's Riches At Christ's Expense." I think it makes perfect sense.

How do you experience God's glorious riches, then?

Let us try to find the answers from Ephesians 3:14-19. This passage suggest three ways:

1. "through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in our inner being, we may be strengthened." The presence and work of the Holy Spirit make it possible for us to experience the glorious riches. The Holy Spirit provides us with the channel to God's power and His riches.

2. "Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith." Christ's indwelling signifies His reigning over our lives and our submission to His authority. This is made possible only when we have genuine faith, not necessarily the faith that saves but the faith that sanctifies. Then, we can fully experience His glorious riches.

3. "we may have power by being deeply rooted and established in love." We also can experience God's glorious riches when we are full of love that has been manifest in our lives, which we do not deserve. Love embraces everything and represents the essence of all riches that are made available by God. We should be deeply rooted in this love.

May we all fully experience and enjoy these glorious riches through the power of the Holy Spirit, genuine submission to the authority of Christ and being deeply rooted in love that encompasses everything! - Jeffrey

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, Thursday...Korean Missionary Fellowship

From last month, Korean missionaries in Rwanda started a monthly fellowship gathering. We gather together to fellowship over a potluck dinner and through prayer.

There are six families in Rwanda and each family's ministry is quite different from each other. Someone does church planting, another focuses on pastoral training and bible distribution, another carries out mercy ministry through medical and dental services, another gets involved in community development, another plans for agricultural project and education. We need each other's support and encouragement. It has been a blessing to all of us.

Not only Korean missionaries in Rwanda but also some missionaries in other countries have also joined the fellowship. One missionary from Kenya is in the process of setting up a branch for its pastoral teaching school branch. Another missionary who is now in the Philippines is planning to relocate to Rwanda after his 10-year ministry in the country. I have also received a phone call from a missionary who is now in Burundi and is planning to relocate to Rwanda.

It it my prayer that this gathering will develop into a fellowship that builds up each other through prayer and caring. May the Lord keep us in unity and under His gracious care! - Jeffrey

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Bible Study on "Sermon on the Mount"

On November 4th, Shalom Bible Study began a new bible study on "Sermon on the Mount." It will take at least 5 months to study the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of the Gospel according to Matthew.

[Missionary Koh is not in the photo, taking this photo.]

A total of 11 people have begun the study. Our group has a diverse age group from teens to 50's. After a split in August, SBS has grown again to 11. It is God's grace that we continue growing in number of people who desire to learn more about the Word and God's will. May God's faithfulness and goodness continue to prevail upon us and our group over the next 5 months or so.

The Sermon on the Mount was the first public message that Jesus delivered to His disciples to be different, as the citizens of His Kingdom, from the worldly people. May we learn and live godly lives through which His gospel message may be spread to others! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BRD Loan $1 million Signed...

On November 1st, UOB signed a $1 million worth local currency loan agreement with Rwanda Development Bank (BRD). BRD is Rwanda's development bank that provides funding for the sectors commercial banks are not willing to support without risk mitigation, such as education, agricultural, micro finance and development projects. This is the first formal event that we have sealed off after UOB signed an MOU with BRD in 2009.

This loan will be used to help expand UOB's micro credit programs. It has taken quite a long time, but it has finally been signed.

God has been gracious to UOB in funding. UOB has now secured all funding required for the whole year 2012 even before the year begins. It is significant because we are projecting a growth of $5.6 million in 2012. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ministry Update - October 2011...

Dear friends, family and fellow Kingdom workers,

The month of October was a little slow in UOB activities due mainly to the seasonality, but we still had a lot of excitements going. Here are the highlights

1. Jeffrey attended the Opportunity International CEO Conference in Franshhoek, S. Africa.: It was an important strategic meeting, clarifying the vision, mission and triple bottom lines that OI Network is pursuing under the new leadership of OI Network and GMO (Global Microfinance Operations). We praised the Lord together, particularly on how God has been blessing UOB and its clients for the first nine months of 2011.

2. Shalom Bible Study (SBS) completed the study on the Book of Acts in October. It has been a 10-month long journey. We praise the Lord for His grace poured upon us through the study. SBS will study the Sermon on the Mount for the next several months.

3. Korean missionaries in Rwanda started their monthly fellowship and prayer meeting in October. We trust that we may edify and encourage each other through these meetings.

4. Jeffrey organized a training seminar on "Rwandan Culture" for Koreans. Gary Scheer, a 30 + year long missionary from the U.S. was the speaker and 30 people benefited from Gary's insightful views on Rwandan culture.

5. Jeffrey received several groups of visitors, including 23 IFC delegates under its Corporate Leadership Program, 26 Rice University MBA students. We pray that what God is doing through UOB are also transforming the visitors to have a better and more clear perspective on the underprivileged people in the developing nations.
6. Jeffrey had an opportunity to meet Mats Tunehag, a Swidish expert on Business As Mission (BAM) along with a few other Kingdom businessmen, including Tom Philipps, a long-time friend and supporter of UOB. It was an exciting and encouraging time to meet them and share common world views on God's grand salvation plan, particularly on BAM. May God advance His Kingdom through many BAMs particularly in the hostile strategic frontiers for world mission.

7. As of October 31st, UOB's loan portfolio reached almost Rwf7.0 billion or US$11.6 million, slightly higher than September 30th. Honestly, we anticipated a slight decline in October due mainly to the seasonality. Despite our little faith, however, God has shown His good will and power through the last minute spurt beyond our imagination. During the month, the portfolio balance dropped by as much as Rwf500 million. God's amazing grace is abundant and we honor Him!

8. UOB's outreach also continued to expand with its borrowing clients totaling 39,427. This was attributed also to God's grace that enabled our staff to make an effective outreach.

9. We continued our preparation to offer the third-party remittance services, including Western Union, Money Gram and RIA This will enhance UOB's product offering, in addition to the US dollar, wire transfer services and FX services that have been launched recently.

10. Meanwhile, PAR (Portfolio At Risk) > 30 days remained strong at 0.72%, well below 1%. This is marvelous!

11. We provided a 3-day credit training for 20 young people on micro business lending (MBL). 10 people will be selected out of this group to attend an intermediate level of credit training to be held in November. This is to prepare our staff to be able to handle our clients who desire to graduate to individual loans from group loans.

12. A group of four graduate students from Johns Hopkins University will be working with UOB on a project related to agent banking. We had the first telephone conference in October and they will work off site until January when they will be on site for three weeks to produce a white paper proposing an effective implementation plan on agent banking. We look forward to working with them. Also we are in contact with St. Mary University in California and George Washington University students on different projects.

12. The Kininya sewing project that Kristin is handling continues to progress well. 20 women are now making more complex products. It has been six months since the projected started, but at their request we agreed to extend the training period for two more months.

13. Jeffrey continued serving God's saints through preaching at UOB staff devotion and Agape Korean Church in Rwanda under establishment.

14. We have the following Prayer Requests: Please...

* Pray for the UOB's continuing holistic transformational development through Christian micro finance in Rwanda.
* Pray for the scheduled pilot testing for mobile and agent banking in December
* Pray for a scaled-up progress in UOB's agricultural lending program.
* Pray for God's wisdom and guidance in designing effective educational finance products that will benefit many students in Rwanda
* Pray for our children (Amanda + James, and Joyce) who are still trying to figure out what God has in store for their lives on earth.
* Pray for God's peacefulness in the heart of Kristin's mom during her last days of life on earth

We thank you for standing with us in our ministry through prayer and support.

Humbly and gratefully in His service,

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, RWANDA,