Nicaragua

Sister power.

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Silhan and Shirley are sisters — but they're also business partners. 

In fact, these two are now the backbone of a family business that stretches three generations. Silhan, 22, took a TOLI microloan last year to buy inventory for their small shop in rural Nicaragua. When our team visited earlier this month, it became clear this is a family affair.

Shirley, 23, is Silhan's gregarious partner. Her dad takes turns manning the counter. Her mom makes fresh nacatamales to sell in the shop. And her 105-year-old grandfather welcomes customers from the porch. 

"The purpose of our family is to be united always," Shirley told us. "It is a very unique opportunity for all of us."

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GENERATIONS:    Above, Shirley sits with her grandfather (center) and her father in front of their family store in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Below, Silhan and her son welcome Executive Director, Abigail McConnell, into her shop, built with the help of a TOLI microloan.

GENERATIONS: Above, Shirley sits with her grandfather (center) and her father in front of their family store in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Below, Silhan and her son welcome Executive Director, Abigail McConnell, into her shop, built with the help of a TOLI microloan.

And it was a good reminder that while TOLI microloans are granted to individuals, the whole household is impacted. In the sisters' case, that's 10 people under one roof — all living in the family home attached to the back of the shop.

The average household size for our clients in Nicaragua is 5.6 people (compared with 2.6 in the U.S.). That means that a $300 microloan doesn't just benefit one person but many more, and builds over time. Silhan and Shirley's children and younger siblings will have better nutrition as they grow because of the steadier income. Their parents and grandfather will have better medical care as they age. And Silhan and Shirley will build confidence, experience, and faith, as they make their household even stronger.

And strong households make strong communities. 

"I want to thank God for the opportunity he has given us to start this business," she told us before we said goodbye. "It's an achievement that is difficult but not impossible. Thank you so much for supporting us."


Snapshots from our recent visit

A team of eight traveled this month to visit our partner site in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. We left inspired, humbled, encouraged, and better able to pray for and serve our local partner ministry, Verbo Church. Ready to travel with us? Check out trip opportunities here.


How you can pray: 


> For Nicaragua: The country has been in turmoil since anti-government rallies erupted last spring. Please pray for reconciliation and peace, and for our clients to be able to overcome the economic challenges that come with this period of instability.
> For physical healing: We visited many clients and their families in Nicaragua this month, and almost everywhere we went we were led to pray for physical healing... for a client's son with cerebral palsy, a client paralyzed after a stray bullet hit his spine, for a client with heart problems. We continue to pray for healing and for improved access to medical care.
> For Verbo Church, our partner ministry in Puerto Cabezas. 
> For our social workers in Egypt, Kenya, and Nicaragua, as they serve, disciple, and encourage our entrepreneurs. You can meet them here.
> Praise God for our growing programs! Many new groups are being trained in Kenya and new sites are being formed in Egypt. 


Ready to take the next step?


> Travel with us. Meet inspiring clients like Silhan and Shirley in person. Details here.
> Become a monthly giver! Start here.
> Discover other ways to get involved here.
> Come 
to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering: April 9 from 12-1pm (at TOLI, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918)

New purpose, new leaders, new life

IN PICTURES: Look at what's new around the TOLI family


February was a busy month of new starts for our entrepreneurs and partners. From new clients to new learning opportunities to new savings groups, the TOLI family is on the move: learning, building, and influencing their communities to break the cycle of poverty, for good.  Here's a show-and-tell of just a few:  

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NEW PURPOSE: Candida, shown here with her three boys, took a $300 TOLI microloan to start a small pedicure business in Nicaragua. This month she told us she discovered the value of servanthood in her work because "I remember Jesus cleaning the feet of his disciples ... that makes me identify with him. That's tremendous." Candida's humble heart, creativity, and determination has paid off. She is now providing for her family independently and will pay off her loan next month. Way to go Candida!

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NEW COMMUNITY: If you came to last month's Prayer Gathering you already heard that our program in Kenya is multiplying. Here's a new Savings Group being assembled in the community of Kirubia, one of three new TOLI groups birthed this month. These groups will save together, learn business skills together, and be launchpads for our next round of microloan clients in Kenya. Shown here is Humphrey Kanga, founder and CEO of our partner ministry KCK, addressing the group.

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NEW LEADERS: A group of TOLI entrepreneurs in Nicaragua and TOLI Social Workers in Egypt were invited to attend the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) in February — a world-class conference equipping leaders worldwide — hosted by our partner ministries. Kudos to our partners VERBO Ministries in Nicaragua and Heliopolis Evangelical Church in Egypt for investing in these new leaders and believing with us that everyone has influence. 


Get your tickets to Come to the Table

Thursday, May 9 at 6pm at the Pinery, Colorado Springs

If you've ever wanted to share TOLI with a friend, or learn more about our work, this night is for you. You'll witness through the eyes of our clients how TOLI is helping families break the cycle of poverty and experience the love of Christ. It'll be a memorable, inspiring, and fun night. Don't miss it.

CLICK HERE (or on the image above) for details, to buy tickets, or to sponsor a table! Reserve early, seats are limited. 


Our Annual Report is in

Want a quick overview at what God did in and through TOLI in 2018? Check out our Annual Report, find it here, or just click the image. 


Time for you to jump in?

> Come to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering: March 12 from 12-1pm (at TOLI, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918)
> Get your tickets: May 9, 2019 for "Come to the Table" at the Pinery
> Become a monthly giver! Start here.
> Discover other ways to get involved here


What our clients want you to know

We love to tell stories about TOLI families. But it's really their own words that matter most.

You already know that TOLI grants microloans so families in poor communities can start their own small businesses. But did you know that our social workers meet with these entrepreneurs at least once a month? That means that throughout the whole term of the loan — 12 to 18 months — clients are listened to, encouraged, coached, supported, trained, and prayed for regularly by our faithful field staff.

The words our clients share with us show the impact of the TOLI program on real lives, on real families, in real time. We thought you'd like to hear from them yourself. 

"I have learnt to never underestimate myself. I am now believing in myself more, and the ability to achieve my dreams. I have been able to provide for my family comfortably."  —  REGINA , shop owner in Kenya

"I have learnt to never underestimate myself. I am now believing in myself more, and the ability to achieve my dreams. I have been able to provide for my family comfortably." REGINA, shop owner in Kenya

"I have been learning that business can be a great tool for the extension of the Kingdom of God. We are very happy. ... now we can dream more. Dreaming is sweet."  —  JOHN , goat breeder in India

"I have been learning that business can be a great tool for the extension of the Kingdom of God. We are very happy. ... now we can dream more. Dreaming is sweet." JOHN, goat breeder in India

"I stand by my mother to learn hairdressing from her. I love to work hard and know that I am helping. We work side by side."  —  MARIA , hairdresser's daughter in Egypt

"I stand by my mother to learn hairdressing from her. I love to work hard and know that I am helping. We work side by side." MARIA, hairdresser's daughter in Egypt

"I am now able to convince my family about having a big vision. My family is very focused nowadays. My thinking has changed, and I am very focused on my good project. I am now able to see far."  —  NANCY , dairy farmer in Kenya

"I am now able to convince my family about having a big vision. My family is very focused nowadays. My thinking has changed, and I am very focused on my good project. I am now able to see far." NANCY, dairy farmer in Kenya



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A delicious way to support TOLI

Acclaimed food truck GOLD STAR PIES and TOLI are partnering up in a sweet fundraising event! 

Come pay whatever you wish for a piece of pie and 100% of the money will fund TOLI microloans to our partners around the world. Our goal for the day is to raise $2,500, enough to fund 10 loans. And we're getting a little competitive too...

YOU COULD WIN A PRIVATE PIE TRUCK PARTY FOR 25... The person who pays the most for a slice of pie during the event wins a private pie truck party for 25 people! There will be swag, coffee, competition, pie, and tons of love. 

Get Pie. Give Hope. // Downtown COS Food Truck event
WHEN:
Sunday Nov. 11, 10-2pm
WHERE: 302 E. Platte Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (corner of Platte and Weber, in front of The Cupcake Girls)

Many thanks to our fabulous sponsor, Gold Star Pies, which serves up award-winning sweet pies all over Colorado Springs and is owned by baker-entrepreneur Heather Briggs. We are honored to partner with you! 


Come meet, greet, and pray with one of our Kenyan partners

We're thrilled to host Humphrey Kanga, founder and director of KCK Ministries in Kenya and a key TOLI program partner. Come meet him and pray with us at the next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering. You'll hear from Humphrey, as well as stories and specific prayer requests from our field staff for individual clients and their families. And then together we'll pray for them, by name. Please join us!

#TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering // 2nd Tuesday of each month
When:
Nov. 13, 12pm-1pm
Where: 5785 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

If you have questions, or would prefer to join us by phone to pray, please email Linda Hood, our TOLI Prayer Coordinator. 

Humphrey Kanga (right) with TOLI Founder Emad Yassa (left) and Executive Director Abigail McConnell (center) visiting a client's business in Kenya.

Humphrey Kanga (right) with TOLI Founder Emad Yassa (left) and Executive Director Abigail McConnell (center) visiting a client's business in Kenya.


The ABCs of hope

In the spirit of back-to-school, and because many of you are just getting to know us, here's a handy primer on some TOLI basics. 

A is for ALLEVIATING POVERTY. We work to truly alleviate poverty—for good—in a way that's dignified, lasting, and sustainable. We break the cycle of dependency and hopelessness that traditional charity often enables.
B is for BUSINESS-BASED SOLUTIONS. Rather than giving handouts, we offer a hand up in the form of microloans and small business training, so poor families can start their own income-earning businesses. 
C is for CHRIST-CENTERED TRANSFORMATION. Poverty isn't just about dollars and cents, it's also about hearts and minds. So we work holistically, investing in the God-given creative capacity of every person, while pointing to Jesus Christ as the one true source of abundance and eternal freedom.

... THEN MULTIPLY
Our revolving loan model creates a cycle of hope that's transforming the lives of individuals, families, and whole villages in a sustainable way. Here's how it works:

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By the numbers
In 15 different communities in five countries around the world, TOLI is reaching poor families with these ABCs. Right now we have more than 400 clients in our program, with nearly 2000 who've benefitted from a TOLI loan since we began in 2004. The average microloan value is about $250, which clients use to buy the tools or supplies needed to start their business. Our social workers then stay in relationship with the client over the course of the loan offering both business and spiritual support. 



STAR STUDENTS
Meet a few of our newest clients! Each recently took a TOLI loan to build a small business or took part in our small business training classes. These classes teach the basics of entrepreneurship, including subjects like building a business plan, marketing, record keeping, budgeting, saving, and more—all from a Biblically-based framework. 

In Nicaragua, Sedy (center) took a loan this month to build her sewing business. Her new business will help her care for her elderly mother (left) and her grandchildren.

In Nicaragua, Sedy (center) took a loan this month to build her sewing business. Her new business will help her care for her elderly mother (left) and her grandchildren.

Mary, in Kenya, has invested in inventory for her small general shop.

Mary, in Kenya, has invested in inventory for her small general shop.

Last weekend, these new clients in India took part in our business training class.

Last weekend, these new clients in India took part in our business training class.


FIELD TRIPS

Egypt and Albania: Next week, a team of leaders and volunteers from the US will travel to our sites in Egypt and Albania. Please pray for this team as they go encourage clients and partners in the field— Dick and Mary Frieg, Wendi Lord, Steve and Linda Hood, Abigail McConnell, and Emad Yassa. 

2019 Field Trips: Teams are forming now for 2019! Find out more about joining us on a Vision Trip or Medical Mission Trip in the coming year here:


Come pray with us

Please join us for our monthly Prayer Gathering. We have a beautiful new office space where we gather and we're so excited to share it with you!

With specific and up-to-the-minute prayer requests submitted directly from our field staff, each month we lift up clients, social workers, our ministry partners in different countries, and the entire TOLI family of supporters. It's a powerful time and a great way to support TOLI. Please join us!

#TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering // 2nd Tuesday of each month
When:
 September 11, 12pm-1pm
Where: 5785 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

If you have questions, or would prefer to join us by phone to pray, please email Linda Hood, our TOLI Prayer Coordinator. 
 


 

Nicaragua crisis: the good news and the bad news

Brenda, left, gives a thumbs up at her new snack bar business. 

Brenda, left, gives a thumbs up at her new snack bar business. 

For Brenda, the past three months have been life-changing— for her personally and for her country of Nicaragua. 

In April, Brenda took a TOLI loan to start her own small business, at the same time protests broke out in the capital city of Managua, sparking violence and unrest that continues to escalate. 

Despite the deteriorating situation she's watched unfold in her country, Brenda remains determined to build a new future for herself and her family.

"In the midst of adversity," Brenda says, "we have to maintain a positive attitude and make a difference by creating new ideas, opening doors for new purposes." 

Business is swift at Brenda's new snack bar, and the income is already making a difference in her life. She's learning small business skills, as well as biblical principles that are helping her, as she says, "improve my relationship with God, and be able to share the gospel with my children."

We're grateful for Brenda's determination and hope, but we're also concerned about the situation in Nicaragua. While most of the unrest has happened hours away from our partners in Puerto Cabezas, the unrest is spreading, as are the economic impacts. Road blockades and insecurity mean the normally safe highways are not open to deliveries of goods and services. Prices are spiking and resources are becoming scarce. While Brenda and our other clients are hopeful, there is a real vulnerability and uncertainty ahead. 

Because of this, we're adding a special opportunity to give in support of our Nicaragua program. By giving to our Nicaragua fund, you can help us best serve our partners in Puerto Cabezas during what we pray is a short season of turmoil. To help, click the button below and select the designation "Nicaragua." 

And, of course, please pray for peace in Nicaragua, for safety for our friends at VERBO Ministries in Puerto Cabezas, and for a resolution to this crisis.

THE GOOD NEWS: In just three months, Brenda's busy snack bar is booming. And she's proud to tell us what she's learning through TOLI's program. "By improving communication and working as a team," she reports, "I have stimulated my family a lot in terms of economic, social and spiritual growth."

THE GOOD NEWS: In just three months, Brenda's busy snack bar is booming. And she's proud to tell us what she's learning through TOLI's program. "By improving communication and working as a team," she reports, "I have stimulated my family a lot in terms of economic, social and spiritual growth."

THE BAD NEWS: For the past three months,  a police crackdown on civilians  protesting Nicaragua's government have led to hundreds of deaths, charges of human rights violations, and an economy at a total standstill. (Photo Credit: BBC News)

THE BAD NEWS: For the past three months, a police crackdown on civilians protesting Nicaragua's government have led to hundreds of deaths, charges of human rights violations, and an economy at a total standstill. (Photo Credit: BBC News)


Updates from our other sites

KENYA

— Here's a prayer request from Social Worker Lucy in Mai-I-Ihii, whose clients have experienced an unusual amount of loss, grief and challenge lately: "Pray for us to have wisdom from above, words of encouragement always while we visit these women. This month’s visits have had a fair share of low moments and sad stories, but with God’s grace we’ve been able to encourage the women."


INDIA

— Praise God for new wheels! Thanks to a special gift, our social worker Ashish will now have a motorbike to help him better serve clients in remote areas. Please pray that God will help him reach more clients around the Duars region.

EGYPT

— Praise God for growth. TOLI is multiplying quickly in Egypt — 3 new sites in just the last two months. Please pray for wisdom and provision for these new TOLI clients, for our volunteers through Heliopolis Evangelical Church, Cairo, and for our social workers. 

TOLI BOARD NEWS

— Please welcome Dick Frieg as TOLI's newest board member! Dick's rich background in missions through Cru, a long career in operations with David C Cook, and experience as a current small business owner make him an incredible addition to our team. 


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