newsletter

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


The tools for a new start

Helping men build stronger families

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"Does TOLI only serve women?"

It's a question we get a lot. And yes, women do make up more than three-quarters of our clients. But when we can reach men in the communities where we work, it's incredibly impactful. Empowering husbands, fathers, and grandfathers is a powerful way to bring transformation to a community. 

Take Aziz as an example. Aziz was trained as a plumber but didn't get much work because he lacked the proper tools. He had little income and little hope. 

Then, nine months ago, Aziz took a TOLI loan of about $200 to buy the right tools and equipment. With his new tools, his plumbing skills, and the coaching of a TOLI social worker, Aziz now has burgeoning business. Jobs that used to take him three days now take only one. Today, he's able to work for himself, land bigger jobs, and increase his customer base as well as his income. 

Aziz isn't just building a business—he's building a family. Just a few months ago, because of his increased income, he told us, he was able to get married. He and his wife are now building a strong start to their household—thanks to Aziz's hard work, determination, and a TOLI microloan. 


Save the date: 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 below) for details, to buy tickets, or to sponsor a table! Reserve early, seats are limited. 


Strength in numbers—THANK YOU.

Your strong support in 2018 helped TOLI empower more husbands like Aziz (above). In fact, we impacted more families and resourced more partner ministries last year than ever before. Better yet, your generous support helped us start 2019 in a place of strength, ready for the ambitious plans God has put before us. 

Would you consider giving monthly this year? Choosing automatic monthly giving is a budget-friendly but powerful way to sustain TOLI all year long. Even small monthly gifts of $20, $30 or $50 add up to deeply impactful support. Click DONATE and choose "Monthly." Credit card or automatic bank transactions available.


The gift of 'WITH'

From our Executive Director


Stella grabbed my hand and led me down the red dirt road. She wanted to take me to her house — a tidy one-room flat she shares with her young son. Inside she showed me pictures of her siblings, the clothing inventory for her new business, and the journal she uses to record her monthly savings. We sat on her bed, and she shared with me her hopes, her struggles, and her dreams.  

We were new friends. I didn’t deserve to be taken by the hand and welcomed into her story like that. Being with Stella inside her home, inside her heart, felt like a gift.

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"Being able to provide for my family is the greatest joy I have," Stella told us this month. Pictured above, Stella and Abigail together in March 2018.

Turns out, it’s a gift I would receive again and again this year, as countless TOLI clients welcomed me in — to be with them in their homes, their businesses, their stories. This gift of WITH has been my favorite gift this year.

It’s this same gift of WITH that God gives us all at Christmas. The gift of Jesus, Emmanuel, "God with us." God gave us the gift of his son Jesus to be our rescue, to restore creation, and to reclaim us as the people he created us to be, by first coming to be with us.

That’s why WITH is essential to TOLI's mission. We come alongside people in vulnerable parts of the world, and work with them as they pursue God’s purpose, their own creative capacity, and their dreams for their communities.

In 2018, TOLI has grown in extraordinary ways:

  • partnering with 12 different local organizations around the world to bring microloans and the Gospel to more people and places than ever before

  • working with more than 550 clients this year—a 30% increase since January

  • our social workers walking with each client for at least 18 months, building relationships and opportunities to share Christ's love

  • gathering with each other on #TOLITuesday to pray monthly over the ministry, our staff, and our clients

God didn’t have to come be with us to save us—He could have done it from afar. He could have just done it for us. But he didn’t. He came in the flesh, through his own sacrifice, to be with us. Why?

Because God loves us. Because our rescue wasn’t just a job to do, but a love to share. Because you can’t have love if there is no with. That’s what I've learned this year. That’s what TOLI’s mission is all about. And that’s what we remember every Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who longs to grab each one of us by the hand to welcome us into His home, His heart, and—if we let him—even into His story.

With gratitude and joy, 

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Thank you for standing with us.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and generosity. Without you, Stella may not be where she is today: successfully providing for her son and siblings, discovering her God-given gifts, and growing in faith. There's still time to join in His work this year. Give a year-end gift and help us start 2019 in strength, together. 


Want to go deeper with TOLI?

> Come to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering: January 8 from 12-1pm (at TOLI, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918)
> Save the Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019 for our Big Event at the Pinery
> Discover other ways to get involved here


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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. 
 


 

February field reports

This month has been packed with progress at each of our field sites. Here's a country-by-country look at the work our partners have been doing: 


Meet Deepika Bara.  This month she signed to take a TOLI loan to purchase a sewing machine. With the support of our social worker Ashish Subba, Deepika is launching a new business that will enable her to provide income for her young family and new hope for a whole community.

Meet Deepika Bara. This month she signed to take a TOLI loan to purchase a sewing machine. With the support of our social worker Ashish Subba, Deepika is launching a new business that will enable her to provide income for her young family and new hope for a whole community.

India: new clients and new hope

While political unrest slowed our efforts in the Duars region of India last year, we're happy to report that we now have 16 brand new clients in this region. Their businesses range from tailoring to a car repair shop to a chicken farm. 

PRAY: For for these new clients as well as our social worker Ashish Subba, as he guides them in their budding businesses. Pray also for Board Member Lisa Hallock as she prepares to make a site visit in April in conjunction with First Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs. The team will make sites visits as well as run a small business training course in the area.  


Nicaragua: building a stellar team

Our social workers, like Junior, above, are crucial to the success of our work, and they wear many hats: mentor, coach, loan officer, and discipler. 

Our social workers, like Junior, above, are crucial to the success of our work, and they wear many hats: mentor, coach, loan officer, and discipler. 

Meet Junior, our new social worker in Puerto Cabezas, who will work with clients here. He is a translator (speaks English, Miskito, Spanish), plays drums in worship, and preaches in the local church when needed. His personal ministry includes jail ministry and he has a calling for evangelism to recovering addicts. He loves to play and coach baseball and he has a wife, 4 kids, and 6 grandkids. We're so excited to have Junior onboard!

While our partner committee in Puerto Cabezas is busy receiving loan applications, Junior is conducting interviews with applicants at their homes. By next month, the first TOLI loans will be granted. 

PRAY: For the Lord to direct our committee and field staff here as they learn the ropes of our program. That TOLI would become a catalyst for economic and spiritual transformation in this community. 


Egypt: multiplying through partnership

Our new social worker Mario (center) with the Pastor Amir and Abd el Massieh of Haggana church outside of Cairo. 

Our new social worker Mario (center) with the Pastor Amir and Abd el Massieh of Haggana church outside of Cairo. 

Our new partnership with Heliopolis Evangelical Church is producing amazing fruit. Through their missions program and a group of core volunteers, the TOLI microloan program is being planted in several new sites around Cairo. Heliopolis is becoming a hub for TOLI in Egypt, allowing us to multiply in coordination with their church-planting efforts as well as streamline our program in Egypt overall. 

PRAY: For founder Emad Yassa who's traveling to Egypt this week to work with our TOLI committee there, make field visits, as well as evaluate a possible new partnership in Jordan. Pray that God would allow TOLI to be a tool for these budding churches to effectively reach, serve and minister to their communities. 


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Kenya: strengthening savings groups

Our clients in Mai-A-Ihii, Kenya, are all part of a peer-led savings group (SACCO), where members pool their resources and act as an informal bank. For these women, financial services — such as savings accounts or loans — would otherwise be out of reach. It's exciting to see how the savings group and our microloan program are working in tandem, helping women save, grow enterprise, and support each other. From March 12-19, a group of TOLI leaders from the US and Egypt will be in Kenya to hold a small business training course for these women, as well as continue developing our second site in Chuka, Central Kenya.

Pray: For the upcoming small business training course in Mai-i-Ihii in March. 

 

>> Our Kenya program is growing fast! Can you help? Please consider a gift to support our expanding program:


Albania: creating a tool for ministry

A recent long-distance Albania team meeting. 

A recent long-distance Albania team meeting. 

We are encouraged by the zeal of the young church in Korce, Albania, to serve the poor in their community and share the Gospel with neighbors. Our partners here are eager to use TOLI as a vehicle for ministry, and Pastor Plator, social worker Niko, and US friends Beth and Bill Bennett are working hard developing our program here. 

Pray: For the committee in Korce as they work through local red tape as we set up our site here, and for Beth and Bill as they travel back to Albania after a month-long hiatus in the States. 


Get involved

3 ways you can join our work

1. GIVE MONTHLY.  By making an easy, affordable automatic donation each month you will support hard-working entrepreneurs and help sustain our work in a powerful way! Sign up here. 

2. REQUEST A SPEAKER. Are you in the Colorado Springs area and have a small group, Bible Study, missions committee, neighborhood group or business association that would be interested in hearing more about TOLI's work? We'd love to share! Contact us to request a speaker.  

3. GIVE YOUR BIRTHDAY AWAY! Holding a birthday fundraiser on Facebook is a fun and easy way to support us financially and raise awarenesss. Click here to find out how!