Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ministry Updates - January 2012

Dear friends, family and fellow Kingdom workers,

January of each year is a slow month and it was not an exception in this January. On the other hand, this January kept us pretty busy receiving many visitors as well as closing the 2011 book and setting up new goals and objectives for 2012. The following are the highlights of our ministry in January

1. UOB received several visitors in January. Among them were a) Peter Greer, CEO and Dave Wasic, VP of Hope International, b) 4 global MBA students from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, (explained further below) c) Saang Keub Lee, an intern from S. Korea, d) Ji-young Rhee and David Kim, E3Empower from San Jose, California, (covered in the previous month update), e) Kristine and Sam, interns from Harvard College, f) 7 students from Handong University, S. Korea, (venture development with Rwandan students) and g) a medical and dental mission team of eight members from S. Korea.(explained further below)  They all were important guests to UOB and Rwanda.

2. Kristin had been involved in training economically disadvantaged 20 women in Kinyinya Church with sewing skills and English for the past eight months. In January, there was a graduation ceremony, as traditional in Rwanda for any training and education, at Kinyinya Church. Some dropped out but 16 graduated from the training program with 10 having passed the final test. These 10 have received sewing machines and have begun their commercial operations. We know it will take a while before they may be sustainable, but we rejoiced in the Lord that they finished the training and have made the first step towards self-sustainability.

3. Global MBA students from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School worked on designing an ideal mix of agents to serve UOB's clients in Gicumbi and Kiramuruzi through mobile banking platform. During their 3-week stay, a team of four students worked together with UOB staff on GIS mapping of client locations and prospective agent locations on Google Map, and on analyzing and recommending the best options. They were impressive with sharp analytic skills and excellent presentations. 

4. Kristin coordinated a medical and dental mission program for Hearts and Hands International, involving an eight-member team from S. Korea. They provides services in two villages in Gicumbi in cooperation with UOB and in two other places in Musanze. They also treated patients at S. Korean Embassy. It is noteworthy that UOB actively participated in this program and UOB clients received medical and dental services. We are considering providing this service for UOB clients in other areas throughout the year.

5. UOB's loan portfolio contracted to Rwf7.4 Billion from Rwf7.6 Billion, a month earlier, reflecting the slow seasonality and in light of the seasonal peak in December. Moreover, we saw substantial early payoffs in December, which caused a reduction in loan disbursements in January. The deposit balance remained pretty flat from December 31st 2011.

6. UOB's loan portfolio quality declined in January with PAR>30 days increasing to 1.43%. This hike in PAR>30 was due primarily to the failure of processing repayments of Rwf10M on time due to a connectivity problem in Rusizi and to a couple of MBLs that are waiting to be paid off.

7. For 2011, UOB achieved the operating self-sustainability and it is now official! For January 2012, it is too early to tell since the book has not been closed yet, but we expect it to be a slow month. The overall trend is on an up trend, however.

8. For the month of December, the number of clients who received at least one lesson of HLI training was 6,863. We desire to see this number grow significantly in 2012. 

9. UOB completed its in-house alpha testing for mobile and agent banking in December and part of January 2012. We will begin the beta testing with four groups in Kigali from the first week of February. This is an exciting development but we need your prayer support so that this pilot testing will go smoothly and we will learn as many lessons as possible to make our expected commercial launch seamless.

10. We held the UOB Day in January. We celebrated God Almighty with praises, prayers and preaching for who He is and what He has done in 2011! We have chosen the spiritual and management theme for 2012 at "IN CHRIST." It is such a rich theme that we plan to explore and learn about it throughout 2012. Of course, we use IN CHRIST as an acronym to help implement UOB's management objectives.   

11. Korean missionaries in Rwanda continued the monthly prayer fellowship and it was a blessing to us all. We hope to see this fellowship develop further to collaboration that will produce synergy for His Kingdom. 

12. Jeffrey continued serving God's people through preaching at UOB staff devotion and Agape Korean Church in Rwanda. He also led the weekly Shalom Bible Study, studying the Sermon on the Mount. It is a time of mutual blessing and spiritual growth.

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

      * Pray for the UOB's continuing holistic transformational development in Rwanda.
      * Pray for the scheduled beta pilot testing for mobile and agent banking in February.
      * Pray for a scaled-up progress in UOB's agricultural lending program.
      * Pray for successful visits of OI US, OI Canada and OI UK teams scheduled for February. 
      * Pray for God's wisdom and guidance in designing effective educational finance products
      * Pray for our children (Amanda + James, and Joyce) to learn 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 appreciate your partnership with us through your prayer and support!   

Joyfully IN CHRIST,

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, RWANDA,

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