Thursday, June 21, 2007

FaithWorks Project "first"

Most "firsts" in life are moments to remember. People's "first kiss" is often reminisced about in ways that resemble folklore. The drama of the "first date" is the stuff of legend. We remember our "firsts" for some reason. When something begins for the first time, the images and memories are seared into our brain as if to put a chronological stake in the ground. We mark time as the shudder of our mind opens to let all the light in. Images are imprinted deep into our soul.

Well, Dave, Scott and I came upon a HUGE "first" last night. The moment was big, but it was a bit like Bethlehem. The actual event was of monumental importance, but it took place in relative obscurity. The only witnesses were Dave's wife Mel, my wife Missy and some Doritos which were staring at us from the kitchen table.

Last night FaithWorks Project officially gave out our first loan through Kiva. A wife and mother of three was posted on the Kiva website needing $1000 to help her small business sell smoked fish and other food items. She is from Togo, a small West African country next to Ghana. She needed someone to loan her that money so that her business could thrive and so her kids could continue to have food on the table. Her bio noted that she has been diligent in repaying small loans in the past.

So after doing some background reading on her life, FaithWorks Project loaned her the whole $1000. She is the first of what we hope will be an entire network of global entrepreneurs who will be funded and empowered by FaithWorks Project. And we won't soon forget our first. Her name is Eya Benyo.

Can you picture Eya? This mother of three walks to her bank in early July hoping that she will be loaned the money. Have you ever been turned down for a loan? The disappointment can be heartbreaking. And this loan isn't for a new car or a nice house. This loan is for the survival of her family and her source of income.

So she hopes. She hopes that someone who doesn't know her and has never met her will, out of the generosity and compassion of their heart, loan her money. What she doesn't realize is that a group of audacious Christians in the U.S. have started something called FaithWorks Project. And that FaithWorks is picking up her hope where she left off. What she doesn't realize is that people from all over the U.S. will be giving to FaithWorks Project so that when she walks through the doors of that bank, her hope is realized.

Can you see Eya? She's just been told that she will get the loan. She's just been told that all $1000 has been provided. Can you see the smile on her face, the skip in her step and the fullness of life? Can you hear the clap of her hands and her shout for joy? Can you feel how poverty has just changed into empowerment? I can. And it makes me all the more passionate about what we are doing at FaithWorks Project.

Thank you Eya Benyo! At first, I thought I was helping you change your life. I realize now that you are changing mine.

To read more about Eya, go here.
To hear a 3 min. 45 sec. blurb about FaithWorks Project, click here.
To donate to FaithWorks Project, go here.


At 4:11 PM, Blogger CM said...


At 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a sweet "first" indeed. I am so grateful to you and Scott for letting me be part of FaithWorks. Keep up the good work!
-Dave R.

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

This is great. Really cool.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

congratulations mark!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Everyone look for up and coming fundraisers with FaithWorks Project. I think the next one will be a partnership with Chick-fil-a. We really want to give out another life-changing loan, but it takes money to do it.

Also, coming soon, a new and improved website where you will be able to donate via paypal and such online.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Mark said...

We will have our first fundraiser on August 22nd from 5-9pm at the Nottingham Square Chick-Fil-a. We are celebrating our first loan to our first business owner, Eya Benyo.

Its pretty simple. Just come and bring friends to eat at that Chick-fil-a between 5-9pm and FaithWorks Project will get a small portion of the profits for that night.

Its a great deal. You purchase and eat good food and FaithWorks Project gets a donation from Chick-fil-a.

We will also have a raffle that night on a fun prize. Some come out and bring as many people as possible. The more food that is purchased, the more money we raise, and the more money can be given out to change lives! Come be a part of this awesome work.


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