Monday, May 09, 2005

May Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

I just got back from a trip to Santiago, Chile where Jack McDonald and I participated in a microfinance summit. It was a gathering of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), government programs, and private banks interested in furthering economic development in poor countries through the use of microfinance services. There is great hope that the spread of this economic development strategy will lead to great strides in poverty alleviation. Of course World Concern is a small player in the world of microfinance, but we do offer something that strictly development organizations do not consider; we offer a message of love and hope through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. While many secular organizations may consider this a non-essential, inefficient, or even invasive non-financial service, we have seen from experience that change has to begin from within a person and the best place to start is with the soul. Microfinancial services may provide the means to get out of poverty, but it does not provide the knowledge or the motivation. This is why World Concern is so insistent that our programs provide training in small business skills, Biblical values, and discipleship.

I am really excited about integrating several appropriate technology projects that have been developed by an agricultural missionary and World Concern colleague, Terry Waller, working here in Santa Cruz. Terry has developed an efficient and inexpensive way to drill water wells using locally available hardware and manual labor. You can see a description of this process at: Communities form water clubs and neighbors help each other drill wells 30 to 40 meters deep at a cost of only about $100 each. Before this method was developed, alternative methods using a motorized drilling rig cost about $1500 a well. Terry is also developing low-cost windmills, tractors, and other agricultural implements that the small peasant farmer can afford to purchase and that will allow him to compete in the same markets as the big industrialized farmers. Some of these are still in the testing phase of development, but have the potential to revolutionize small plot farming in Bolivia. Combining these new production techniques with microfinance services will give poor farmers (who now have a hard time feeding their families) an opportunity earn many times their current yearly wages.

In order to reach the many 1000s of rural poor residents in Bolivia and other Latin American countries we need to expand our program tremendously. Our current microcredit program has about 700 active clients. We need to expand this to 10,000 or more clients so that it can become economically self-sustainable (funded using interest earned from loans) and can have a spiritual and economic impact in many more struggling communities. In order to expand the microcredit program we need to increase the capital base from its current level of approximately $200,000 to ten times that much.

Vanessa and I greatly appreciate your faithful support of our personal ministry (and we are still a little short of our monthly budget), but if you would like to make a special contribution to the capital loan fund for the CAMS microcredit program, please let us know. I assure you that these funds, used on a rotating basis, and will help many peasant farmers to pull themselves out of poverty and will be an important means of sharing the gospel. If your church or civic organization would like to partner with CAMS to increase the microcredit loan portfolio, please let us know.

We will have a busy month in May with two birthdays (Nathaniel May 1st and Isaiah May 6th). Please pray for Nathaniel as he will be traveling back to the States in July where he will spend the year with his mom in Lexington, KY. And continue to remember our ministries and our personal spiritual growth in your prayers.

In His Grace,Danny

Mailing address:

Daniel and Vanessa Beams
World Concern
Parapeti #146 -- Casilla 3681
Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Office Telephone: 011 591 3336 3664
Home Telephone: 011 591 3352 9156

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