Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ministry Updates - May 2013

Dear family, friends and fellow Kingdom workers

May was a month of many travels for us. When we returned to Rwanda, personally I have taken 22 flights all together over 40,000 miles, having attended two conferences and spoken on seven occasions. We are grateful for God's travel mercy because we have been kept safe and healthy throughout the journey.

Nonetheless, God was never idle but always at work. The following were the highlights of His work through us.:

1. UOB held its quarterly board meeting on May 30 and 31. UOB is blessed with godly and professional members of the board, who tirelessly work together in great fellowship and with independent thinking.

2. mHose, UOB's mobile banking platform, has picked up its pace of the launch. Now UOB has signed up 20 agents and more than 1,600 clients for mHose that is using mVISA transaction engine. As mVISA signs up more bank clients, its outreach will only grow faster. Along with mHose launch, UOB has been distributing UOB Grace cards to clients. So far almost 20,000 clients have received the cards. They will become an integral part of UOB's Client Service Points strategy.

3. UOB has finally signed a $650,000 grant agreement with International Finance Corporation (IFC) in May. This funding will be used to expand the mHose agent network.

4. Opportunity International Germany has been successful in obtaining approval for an Euro175,000 grant to UOB. This will be used to expand UOB's Education Finance program. Praise the Lord who provides all resources!

5. UOB signed an agreement with Opportunity International Canada Foundation to receive a local currency funding equivalent to USD538,000 in the form of convertible term deposit. This funding is from Master Card Foundation and will be used for rural savings, access points and agricultural finance. The convertible term deposit is a new form of funding we are trying for the first time, which is expected to help comply with the central bank's requirement on the loan to deposit ratio. I am grateful to God for OI Canada's open-minded willingness to help.

6. UOB has formed a task force to work on the bank's migration of its core banking system into T24 R10 model bank scheduled for August 2013. This task force is meeting regularly to clean up data and do the preparatory work prior to the migration. Once the migration is complete, UOB will strengthen its core banking service efficiency and security. Moreover, UOB will be ready for the cloud computing when it is implemented.

7. Jeffrey attended HOPE Leadership Summit in Lancaster PA. HOPE is one of UOB's shareholders and this was his fourth attendance. In addition to worship, praise, vision sharing, business discussion and fellowship, it was one of highlights to watch the Christian musical "Noah" at the Millennium Theater.

8. Jeffrey preached during the worship service at Jubilee Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and held a special session about Business as Mission and UOB ministry after the service. Moreover, I had the joy of fellowship with Pastor Steve and his wife Mona, another couple Insoo and Sarah Kang, and elders of the church.

9. Jeffrey taught a class for two whole day sessions at Institute for Biblical Community Development, Siloam Springs, AR. The class was a size of twenty people from 13 nations who were attending a generalist training session at the Center for Integral Mission. The topics that I taught were Good Steward's Financial Management and Holistic Transformational Development through Christian Micro Finance. It was a blessing to me.

10. Shalom Bible Study (SBS) resumed on May 31 after a six week break for us. But the SBS continued their meetings during our absence, which was a great encouragement to us. Two brothers have newly joined. For the next several months, we will study together the Book of Hebrews. May the study shape and mold us to be stronger and better prepared disciples of Jesus.

11. Kristin and I traveled to Ecuador for 12 days as part of our 30th anniversary celebration. The travel was filled with fascinating findings of the country's rich culture, beautiful colors, temperate climate and affordable cost of living. It was a time of rest and reflection also. We also had great joy of seeing our old friends in New York (both), Los Angeles (Kristin), Philadelphia (Jeffrey), Siloam Springs (Jeffrey). It is always encouraging and uplifting to fellowship with them.

12. Family News Update:  

  • Kristin and I had a reunion in New York with our younger daughter Joyce who has been serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal Africa for the past one year. The time was short but sweet. We plan to visit her in December this year. 
  • Amanda, our older daughter, separated from her service with US Air Force as captain in May. We celebrated God's faithful grace over her nine years of military life, including four years of study at the US Air Force Academy. She will follow her husband for a while until they settle down in Florida next year.
  • Jeffrey's father has shown significant improvements over the past few months. Praise the Lord!
  • Kristin's mother has continued deteriorating her health. When we visited her in New York, she did not recognize us. It was a sad moment but we prayed for God's transcending peace over her heart, mind and soul.

13. Prayer Requests:

  • Rwanda is still recovering from the adverse macroeconomic impact related to reduced or suspended foreign aid into the country. The aid started flowing in again but the impact is yet to be seen and felt. Meanwhile, it is the poor who suffer most. Please pray with us for quick and complete recovery.
  • Please pray for continued successful expansion of the client service point (CSP) strategy, including mHose and Grace cards. This would only enhance the client access to various financial services.
  • Please pray for continued expansion of holistic life improvement (HLI) training for clients through our field staff. The pace of training has expanded significantly from 2012 now to more than 23,000 clients getting the training a month. Also, pray for the fuller scale implementation of 5W for more effective standardization of group meeting methodology. 
  • Please pray for careful and considerate pilot testing on holistic community development (HCD) project in Rwamagana. We would need to work with many stakeholders and effective collaboration will be a must for successful implementation of WAHEHE (Water/Sanitation/Hygiene, Agriculture, Health, Education, Housing and Energy)
  • Please pray for thorough preparation to achieve seamless migration to T24 R10 model bank. This migration will be essential to take the bank to the next level.
  • Please pray for fruitful outcome of Edu Finance program and Agricultural Finance program, particularly in conjunction with DFID ifE grant and now OI Germany's support. 
  • Please pray for God's grace and mercy over our heart and mind so that we may not neglect our relational duties because of too many ministries. 
As always, we celebrate and rejoice with you in the good and faithful Lord who has been gracious to us with overflowing abundance. We greatly appreciate your standing with us through your prayer and support.

Gratefully in His service,

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, Rwanda 

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