As I have mentioned in former updates, the church we partner with for orphans ministry has been burnt to the ground. The fire started because a woman left her children at home to look for work. She was member of the church and her husband had left her. After the children finished cooking, they left the charcoal from the fire burning. When the wind blew, fire spread, the children immediately ran to the church for help. There was one prayer warrior praying in the church overnight when they came. They cried to him, saying that a fire started. By then, there was nothing he could do to stop it. They grabbed what they could from the church and ran away…

 We visited Pastor Euclide and his family a day after the fire for consolation. He brought us to the ruins of the church and there was nothing left standing, except for a wall of rocks the orphans began to build right after the fire.

“Pastor, will we be meeting today?” the orphans asked.

“We have nowhere to meet,” Pastor Euclide replied.

The orphans began picking up all stones around the area to try and rebuild. . .  They didn’t care if they had a building or not. They wanted to meet for the Word of God and prayers.

After talking it over with Pastor and the church staff we have decided to do our first sustainability project in Congo and we are starting with that church. We created an immediate assistance budget of what they would need to build a simple structure with a tarp roof that can hold at 100 people which would be a little over $300. . . The cost to rebuild a proper building would be over $1,000 which is more than any of us have.  Our vision clearly states that it’s up to the local population to finance their own church buildings, but our goal is to create ways for them to be self-sustaining. So we are helping this church to create a small business.

We sat down to do some numbers to see which business would have the best rate of return and the most sustainable given little means. After some discussion it was decided that selling basic cooking necessities for most meals would have a quick turnover but yet also high profitability. Our plan goes like this, we have told them to inquire how much it costs to buy 20kgs of rice, maize, beans, flour; 5kgs of sugar and 20l of cooking oil. Then we asked several church members to go from street vendor to street vendor to inquire about how much a small amount might be such as .50kgs of rice, .25l of oil, etc. After completing the sampling and comparing the lowest and highest vendor prices, an average price can be determined.

Then this average price will be used to determine how much profit they should make off of each item. For example in just discussing we determined that beans could potentially produce a net profit of $8.00 and oil would produce $10.00 but a precise amount couldn’t be determined without going to the streets. So right now the ladies are going throughout the city to find the best prices for the initial purchase of items and then the best price they could resell for.

Monday or Tuesday we will be able to develop a more solidified business plan. But just in talking we estimated that they could net $60 a week from selling all of the items. This means every week they can sustainably make $60 a week to fund the ministry. Not only that, this employs some of the orphans and widows from the church who can make a little money. Considering the average person lives on a dollar a day, this is a pretty good alternative and they have a vested interest: the sustainability of the church and to slowly build on to the church.

We’ll let you know more details but as it stands the whole churches is getting pretty energized and are anxious to see how the church can develop a sustainable business to help fund the ministry. This is obviously going to be a bit of an investment for us, but some of our supporters took the initiative to ask us what they can do to help… Thanks to that initiative this church will be on the road to a sustainable income and employment of their widows and orphans. .  .

If anyone else would like to help contact sendtheroths@gmail.com :)

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Children playing with church leader on what was once their church.
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A family, homeless from the fire sits with all the possesions they own. 'We don't have any money and our bellies are hungry,' said the Mamma to us as we walked by to take photos.
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