By Simple Homes
Simple Homes is our newest experiment in resurrection - taking abandoned houses and bringing them back to life, building a new world one house at a time.
Here’s how it works: we purchase an abandoned house for $15,000 and spend about $10,000 on renovations. Then we match it up with a neighbor who is ready to own his or her own home. We raise all the money so that we can finance it ourselves at 0% interest and 0% profit. The new homeowner pays $300 a month (about half of what most folks pay in rent) and in 10 years he or she owns the house. Our first home, 3228 Potter Street, is going to our neighbor and friend Miguel and his family.
Turning vacant houses into viable homes is one critical part of our holistic, integral work in combatting poverty and inequality and Simple Homes will be the vehicle for all things housing around here.
This summer, a class of 45 young women will graduate from Tirzah International’s sewing program. These women were accepted into the program because they have no other source of help in one of the world’s poorest nations.
They’ve seen family members killed during the genocide, they’ve been betrayed by parents and left to fend for themselves.
However, for the last ten months, they’ve learned that their lives are valuable and that they are precious to God. They’ve been fed a daily nutritious meal. They’ve been taught the Word of God. They’ve learned to sew - a practical skill that will help them to sustain themselves and their children.
Prior to their graduation, Tirzah International invites friends to donate funds so that a new sewing machine may be provided for each graduate. This way she can begin her new business the day she graduates, providing her own income and often hiring other young women to assist her.
JSAW has recently opened a new facility called Help Board Shop. We are looking to build a skate park in the facility and are in need of funds to purchase the materials.
Agape intends to build and maintain an aquaponics system that allows our ministry to raise high protein Tilapia fish and also deliver nutrient rich effluent water for growing vegetables. We will utilize the fish to enhance the protein component of the meals we serve the boys and girls we care for on our two campuses in Kisumu, Kenya. Additionally, the system will supply most of the vegetables we need to feed over 100 children.
Agape Children’s Ministry began rescuing street children 20 years ago with a simple purpose of sharing God’s love by providing these helpless, hopeless children with food, shelter, medical care, education, and vocational training. In a non-coercive way, we share the life-changing message of the Gospel with them because we know that as they experience His forgiveness in their lives, they can begin to forgive others for what has been done to them.
Agape currently maintains separate boys’ and girls’ campuses in Kisumu as well as a boys’ vocational training center in Matoso, Kenya. It is our plan to construct and operate this initial aquaponics system on the boys’ campus, our largest campus in Kisumu. Based upon its success, we envision developing systems on our other campuses as well.
While we take children off the streets and care for them on our campuses, our goal is to return and reintegrate them back into their families or extended families.
Many of you have been faithfully praying with us for the Lord to provide a property for the establishment of a local church and teaching, training and resource center. We thank you for those prayers, which were heard and were answered! In January of this year the Lord provided us with a property with 10 single family homes on it, 6 of which are occupied by foster parents caring for orphans, and a church/preschool building which we are operating the Naledi Christian Preschool and Sunday church services out of. The preschool is currently 32 3- and 4- year olds registered and has provided employment for five local women.
With a long-term home secure, we are now planning to expand the facilities used for the preschool, church, and teaching/training/resource center by adding a second, larger (2,000 sq. ft.) structure made largely out of cargo containers which will constitute the exterior load-bearing walls. Our hope is to have this second structure ready for use when the new school year starts in South Africa in January. We currently have two 6 meter cargo containers in South Africa which will make up one end wall. Plans are to receive a 12 meter container before year-end from our friends at Cargo Of Dreams, which will serve as the opposite load bearing wall and be built out to include the kitchen, bathrooms and a sickroom, and be filled with supplies and the roof trusses and roofing materials to cover the structure with.
Our Spring Chickens project is designed to supply the needed chicks for our new poultry operation in Togo. In 2007, we established Kalaveria Primary School just outside a rural farming community near Badoughbe, which is 45 minutes east of the capital city of Lome’.
Unfortunately, the farmers in the area find it difficult to pay school fees to cover the costs of the school. Thus, the school requires subsidies from the our ministry. Our model is to create projects that are self-sustaining, so to make the school sustainable we are building a poultry operation.
We have secured two hectares of land adjacent to the school and are just finishing up the poultry barn. We have introduced a drip irrigation system to help with the crops and will be digging three water wells complete with new hand pumps. We are also planting corn and other vegetables on the land and have successfully harvested one season of crops.
The poultry operation and growing of crops will be manned by the school faculty and the students. The poultry operation will allow the children to learn animal husbandry, irrigation, and better farming methods, along with getting their products to market. The school will receive 100% of the profits and the children will learn the skills needed to provide for their families when they are adults.
In 2013, Youth Missions International wants to increase our ministry's ability to train more of our nation's youth and young adults in evangelistic ministry.
We have the opportunity to create a video series with the topics Training Ground uses in its summer program. This would meet the need of additional revenue and impact.
LTi invests heavily in various forms of “burnout prevention” serving those in full time Christian ministry work (pastors and ministry leaders) all over the country (and occasionally in Eastern Europe). The stats on full-time ministry people who crash and burn, struggle with ongoing discouragement or depression, leave the ministry within 5 years of seminary, etc. are staggering and we are endeavoring to reverse those stats. We are convinced that these are soul level issues and, ironically, we find that the soul is the most neglected aspect of the Christian leader’s life – usually because they are so focused on caring for the souls of others and it feels like selfishness to care for their own (this is a well crafted and effective lie of the enemy). The video below captures a taste of LTi’s ministry in 2012:
The Simple Way is going to create another beautiful mural in Kensington. We believe in healing and transformation and so we are committed to painting and planting in our neighborhood as we PRACTICE RESURRECTION!
The Simple Way, is a web of subversive friends, conspiring to spread the vision of “Loving God, Loving People, and Following Jesus” in our neighborhoods and in our world. We are committed to the restoration of families, neighborhoods, and our planet. We have always been active in areas of advocacy and justice, such as combating the criminalization of homelessness (anti-homeless legislation) and gun violence.
But something happened on June 20th, 2007 at 4:30AM, that changed the trajectory of our work in Kensington. We woke to a 7 alarm fire, being fearlessly fought by over 170 firefighters - one of the worst fires our neighborhood has ever seen. This was an historic turning point for our organization, when that neglected, city-owned factory caught on fire and burned down a block of our neighborhood, displacing over 100 families.
Since then, it has been our dream to restore the land burnt by the fire, where the factory used to be, and after 5 long years, we now have access to this city owned land! We have had success stabilizing families who lost their homes, we have restored nearly a dozen abandoned houses, and created community gardens on 5 formerly vacant, trash-strewn lots.
By E4 Project
One of our ministry partners in Gabon is Bon Samaritan - a ministry that serves widows and marginalized women. E4 Project has served with this ministry in several ways. We have led training for the women to start businesses in beading, sewing, soap making, baking and agriculture. We have also provided seed money to the ministry so that they can build and provide kiosks for the women, as well as seed money for the women to start their businesses. Since E4 Project started serving alongside Bon Samaritan about two years ago, we have trained over 100 women. We have provided funds for about 8 kiosks that have been built and are now impacting over 70 women and their children by providing income for families who had nothing before finding Bon Samaritan and the Church.
In the Republic of Moldova, PEER Servants partners with Invest-Credit, a local microfinance institution whose mission is to provide financial services with a commitment to excellence that will make a difference in client’s lives.
Moldova is considered the poorest country in Europe and has struggled both economically and politically since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Migration is one of the most severe problems Moldova faces, with estimates ranging from one-quarter to one-third of the working age population living abroad. According to the International Organization of Migration, one-third of these are believed to be living abroad illegally.
Though the country is blessed with fertile soils and bountiful harvests of fruits and vegetables, the strained economy has led many to seek higher income in other countries. The effects of migration are widespread. Families are torn apart; one or both parents will move abroad and leave their children with relatives. Communities have lost the invigorating energy of young adults. Invest-Credit, however, believes that the people of Moldova are its greatest resource, a more fertile ground for transformation and growth than even the rich soil.
With 58% of Moldovans living in rural areas, Invest-Credit developed a unique initiative, a mobile microfinance office, to reach individuals in rural areas who would not otherwise have access to microfinance services. Through the mobile office, Invest-Credit had been able to serve three villages. With the support of a Giving of Life grant, they would be able to expand outreach to more communities.