So much has happened since returning from my trip to America at the end of August: God has been moving, His kingdom is being expanded and Lydia’s Mission is growing!
A new (to me at least) Bukkie:
A used pickup truck, called a bukkie (sounds like bucky) here in South Africa, was purchased for the ministry. This is a vital next step in order to help transport the workers for the sewing project and to help transport food and firewood to the 5 feeding sites. Access to this type of reliable transportation is often taken for granted in the USA, but is not as easy to come by in Africa. It has been an answered prayer and God has been using this vehicle for good work. Before the bukkie was purchased, it would take over an hour for the women in the sewing project to walk to my house for work. It’s quiet a distance off the main
road and many of the women have stated that they feel so valued and loved by getting a ride to work. The women would have the same long walk home after a full day of work before the bukkie was purchased. It has definitely helped with the expansion of the ministry.
Since returning from America I have been able to expand the number of women in the sewing project because of the continued strong demand for the stuffed animals. It’s exciting to help women, who were in very difficult life situations and hopeless, to help themselves. The joy and hop
returning to their face is priceless when I’ve gone to their houses and offer them a job that they know can change their financial future. The Sewing project now has 9 women employed full-time where they receive a salary, a hot meal for lunch and tea/coffee. I have officially turned my living and dining room into the sewing
room for Lydia’s Market. I was blessed to find some second-hand metal selves and bookshelves in order to help with storage space for what now looks like a whole zoo of stuffed animals. I was also able, with donor’s help, to purchase 4 additional sewing machines and I’m so grateful for that generosity. My house has become a community full of prayer, worship songs, laughter and fun conversations when the women are working. God is good!
Two new bible study discipleship groups have been started as well. Lydia’s Circle: Sewing happens on Monday afternoons and is meant to help meet the spiritual needs of the women involved in the sewing project. Many of these
women are already believers and God is using this time to deepen their relationships with Him and their fellow sisters in Christ.
The second new group is called Lydia’s Circle: 2nd Generation is also very exciting.
It is the first new group led by one of the women in the Lydia’s Circle: Farm Village. When I started these groups my hope, dream and prayer was not to just have a weekly bible study for women in the community, but to strive for the model Christ created with the disciples. Mentor them, teach them, develop them and then challenge them to go out and make their own disciples. Matthew 28: 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” With that in mind I have been coaching a few key women from my groups who have the potential to start and lead their own group. A woman named Zethu has emerged as a new leader and we launched Lydia’s Circle: 2nd Generation ministering to the Farm Village youth. I will be working alongside Zethu for the next few months, coaching her on how to lead then she will take over the group and make it her own! I’ve so excited to see how God is going to continue to move here in eManzana!
Lydia’s Micro-Business Loans
I have begun to create small business loans for some of the women in my different groups. These are small loans that help to jumpstart a business. I have come alongside each woman, talked through the basics of business and savings, and have developed a process to identify and interview loan candidates to prove that the micro-loan program can work here in South Africa. The expectation is that the women will pay back the loans in full over a period of time that we agree will allow them to get their new business up and running. From sewing machines to supplies to make and sell French fries, God has been using these loans to help provide for families and to make a difference in their lives. My goal in 2018 is to expand this program in Lydia’s Mission, as funds are available from product sales.