Monday, October 1, 2012

Ministry Updates - September 2012

Time of Worship at OIN Global Leadership Conference
Dear family, friends and fellow Kingdom workers

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Glory and honor be to Him and Him alone!

As we have just finished the month of September, three quarters of the year 2012 have passed away now into the past. September was another month that compels me to praise and honor our gracious Lord for what He has done, beyond our expectation and imagination.

The following were highlights:

1. Kristin and I had a privilege of participating in the Opportunity International Global Leadership Conference that took place at Keble College, Oxford University, U.K. The conference was themed as "Blueprint for the Future." As the theme indicates, Global Microfinance Operations (GMO) CEO presented a strategic blueprint for the next few years. It was encouraging and a blessing to meet/see many colleagues from around the world, who have been responding to and are partaking God's calling for serving the poor. 

2. Kristin and I also took advantage of visiting this great historical education city by visiting some colleges. Also, God has blessed us with an opportunity to see a long-time friend and fellow Christian couple who are serving the Lord at Oxford Center for Mission Studies: Drs. Julie and Wonsuk Ma. Both are faculties and Wonsuk is Executive Director. The late John Stott was one of the founding and contribution members of OCMS and we shared our direct and indirect experiences about this great godly man.

3. UOB held the regular board meeting in September. The board reviewed the second quarter performance and praised God for His overflowing grace in all fronts.

4. UOB held six focus group meetings with approximately 160 clients to collect feedback on four new products that UOB has been designing to serve the needs of clients better. The products are: Home Improvement Loans, Emergency Loans, Secondary Student Loans and Premier Life Insurance. Based on these feedback, we plan to gradually introduce new products over the next six months. May the Lord bless these products to benefit Rwandan clients!

5. UOB received a Social Audit from Planet Rating in September. This audit was commissioned by Oxfam Novib that has lent UOB a medium term loan to finance UOB's growing lending activities. This Social Audit findings and recommendations will help UOB improve its social performance management.

6. UOB submitted an Expression of Interest for grant funding to DFID (Department of Finance for International Development - UK). Also, UOB submitted a Concept Note for grant funding to Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR). We are waiting for the result from two other British development agencies to which UOB submitted grant funding proposals. We pray for God's favor in these proposals, but we are not concerned at all. We are confident that our God provide whatever we need whether through these development agencies or not. So we can remain in peace whether they are approved or not. Meanwhile, we seek your intercession until the result comes out.

With Drs. Julie and Wonsuk Ma at Christ Church
7. UOB started an operation at its new Ngoma Branch. Ngoma is a district in Eastern Province. From this office, we expect to serve the growing needs of clients in Ngoma and Kirehe districts. UOB is also working on opening its Huye Branch (Southern Province) and Gisozi Minibranch in Kigali City. Also, UOB has opened two new credit offices in Southern Province, thus making its total number of offices now reach 44. Moreover, UOB will soon start signing up its client service agents in Eastern Province. We target to establish at least 60 agents by the year-end. These expanding client service points will only help serve our clients better and more conveniently.

8. UOB has been developing a new credit scoring method (named B-CAT or Business Credit Assessment Tool) that will be used for Micro Business Loans. With the technical assistance received from Triple Jump, this effort started with the market research and product design. With the development of this tool, procedural manual development and staff training are scheduled for October. After expected implementation in October, we will run a pilot test for six months after which we will hold an evaluation for refinement.

9. UOB registered another month of growth in its lending and deposits. The loan portfolio increased 3% to Rwf10.3 Billion and a slight increase in client number to 42,592. PAR>30 remained strong at 1.27%, although showing a slight increase from the previous month-end.

10. Jeffrey has continued his preaching and teaching ministries at UOB, Agape Korean Church and Shalom Bible Study. It is a wonderful honor to be used for these ministries. 

11. Kristin has committed to helping build two classrooms at a church-led nursery to induce little children from the streets to classrooms from early age. She has started offering to others the opportunities to participate in this effort. Please see the blog post  for additional information.

12. We have the following prayer requests. Please pray for us whenever you remember us in your prayer time:
  • For God's continued guidance in developing the mobile banking solutions in a timely manner for a timely launch in November
  • For God's provision of wisdom in designing the road maps in implementing IFC TA funding
  • For God's provision of discernment in analyzing, assessing and deciding on human resources cases, including frauds so that our decisions may be godly and edifying
  • For God's guidance in designing and implementing four new products in a way that benefits Rwandans reflecting the focus group feedback.
  • For God's conviction to all staff about UOB's mission, vision and core values so that our transformation efforts may be apparent and evident in all we do.
  • For God's mercy upon our aging parents to finish their lives on earth in joy, hope and love.
  • For God's grace upon our two daughters who are in service for different purposes in Africa so that they may serve as if they work for the Lord and they may clearly see the path that the Lord has prepared for them. (Amanda has now returned to the U.S. after successful mission in Africa. Praise the Lord!)
  • For God's continued illumination to us to be able to understand God's Word clearly so that we may preach, teach, coach and lead many people who have been bestowed upon us to serve.  
  • For God's favor in raising all necessary funding to help complete the construction of class rooms for a nursery.
Thank you all for standing with us in prayer for this wonderful privilege of serving "the least of His brethren" in Rwanda (Matthew 25:40)

Gratefully in His service,

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee in Rwanda 


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