— From our Executive Director —
Until a couple of years ago, if you mentioned the topic of Leadership to me, it's likely my eyes would’ve glazed over. Who’s got time for such lofty thoughts while you’re elbow-deep in the real world of packing lunchboxes, finding deals on soccer cleats, and minding everyone’s screen time?
Well, things have changed. I’ve changed. I’ve learned Leadership isn’t so lofty. Leadership is as real as the people you’re standing next to, and as down to earth as the tools in your hands. Leadership is influence, and everyone has influence.
TOLI has taught me much of this. Why does TOLI invest in people who seem to have nothing? Because even if you have ‘nothing’ you still have influence. The words you say, the actions you take, the choices you make, the help you share, all impact the world around you. If you are a person, you have influence. That means no one has ‘nothing.’
So while charities see people to be helped, TOLI sees leaders to be built.
Clients who start a small business with a microloan, take business training, and engage in intentional Christian discipleship through TOLI are influencing their communities in ways that will long outlive our program. They are becoming leaders. And that changes everything. For good.
And it’s my honor to introduce you to three of them. These are three women who've taught me more about leadership than any podcast, book, or conference.
BRENDA was the first TOLI client in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Once a struggling single mom, Brenda now runs a thriving small business. At a recent training, Brenda spoke to a room of 40, including TOLI clients, church leaders from around Nicaragua, and an American team from TOLI. “I want to tell everyone: Let’s learn to give back that little part of all that God gives us,” she said. Brenda is a motivator among the TOLI client community as she inspires, challenges, and brings people together. Brenda is a leader.
ANN is a grandmother in rural Kenya, who took a TOLI microloan to build her dairy cow business. A loyal member of a community savings group organized by our partner ministry, Comet House, we’ve seen Ann grasp the power of the TOLI program to transform lives. Because of Ann’s hard work and strategic vision, her daughter is now starting college — something Ann says would never have happened before she entered the program. Ann has paid off her loan, but is not done with TOLI. This month, she was selected to join the local TOLI Committee, where she will help recruit and train new clients and savings groups. Ann is a leader.
SOHER is a mother of two boys living in Garbage Village, a desperately poor area of Cairo, Egypt. Soher took a microloan years ago to buy a machine that recycles plastics and earns her steady income. Soher’s persistence and positivity has inspired many US TOLI Teams that have visited her over the years. And starting this month, she begins working for TOLI as an assistant to our Social Worker in her community, providing spiritual care and counseling of female clients in the area. Soher is a leader.
Brenda, Ann, and Soher are just three, but there are many more leaders being developed right now because of TOLI and our partner ministries. THANK YOU for investing in them by supporting our work. Through them, you are changing more lives than you'll ever know.
With gratitude and joy,
Q&A with a TOLI Traveler
Randy Scott: "TOLI is the 'real deal.'"
Sheer curiosity inspired Randy Scott to travel to Nicaragua to see TOLI in action last month. Scott, a longtime nonprofit consultant, successful executive, and most recently, a TOLI supporter, was blown away by the simple effectiveness of the TOLI model. “TOLI is the ‘real deal,'" he says. "It works, and lives are being changed. A mere $300 loan can really change lives and people are coming to Christ because of TOLI’s engagement.”
His biggest takeaway from the trip? “There is no single solution to solving world poverty,” he says. “As Jesus said, the poor will always be with us. It is easy to become overwhelmed by world poverty and do nothing. I think I now see that the ultimate solution is bringing the people to a believing faith in Jesus Christ so that they can enjoy spending eternity with Him where there is no pain, hunger, and worry. In the meantime, if each believer can engage with organizations like TOLI that provide the opportunity to build relationships with those in need so that we can then share Jesus with them, we can and will make a difference.”
Inspired? Take the next step.
> Come to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering on September 10 from 12-1pm at the TOLI office, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918.
> Be like Randy. Travel with us! Check out our trips coming in 2020.
> Help TOLI change lives by giving today. A simple $300 microloan can truly transform a life — and a family — forever.