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From the Business as Mission Network to HOPE International and the Dominican Republic- The Squires

HOPE International, a faith-based microenterprise organization, frequently coordinates Vision Trips to several of its operating locations, allowing participants to see and experience microfinance firsthand. What follows is a testimonial of how we heard about a recent HOPE Vision Trip on the Business as Mission Network and ended up going to the Dominican Republic led by Chris Horst and Micah Crist.

We are constantly looking for expressions of profitable enterprise that meet needs and are integrated with a mission purpose. Our interest in microenterprise has only continued to grow over the past few years, and we wanted to see firsthand what books and stories could not tell.

The brief trip's activities included:
- meeting with several loan recipients/entrepreneurs
- visiting local entrepreneurs' businesses
- hearing about how lives are being changed through small loans of $50-$500
- participating in a local bank meeting
- understanding how the Gospel is interwoven into the microlending approach
- asking lots of questions about how microlending works and why it is so successful in lifting the poor out of poverty

José the wheelbarrow maker was one entrepreneur we visited. José's business began as a small, self-run shop many years ago. He has received several small loans from Esperanza (HOPE’s local partner in the DR) to purchase tools and other equipment. With the loans, José's wheelbarrow business has expanded production by 10x and has created several local jobs, employing three young men to help make the wheelbarrows. José is the first to tout the quality of his products; it was amazing to hear him speak with such pride about his wheelbarrows. The loans provided to José have had an incremental impact on the local community by creating jobs and bringing financial wellbeing to the area. These loans have also given José great purpose, a God-given characteristic of any person's labor. This capital would have been very difficult to come by without the aid of a microlending institution like Esperanza.

Our experience in the Dominican Republic was both enlightening and encouraging. It is outstanding to see the poor of this world being lifted out of the cycle of poverty and being transformed by Jesus. Microenterprise that seeks to bring the Gospel to its beneficiaries is one of the best expressions of business and missions that we have seen.

Our top 5 reasons why microenterprise development is a notable BAM opportunity
1. The developing world's poor can have access to capital that they would not have otherwise.
2. Parents can provide for their families, keeping young children in schools to receive education.
3. Financial resources are continually used and re-used as loans are repaid.
4. It's a long-term solution to a long-existing economic crisis.
5. The Gospel can be shared through local relationships that are built on trust.

Thanks to the Business as Mission Network for connecting us with this opportunity.

Greg and Carrie Squires have international and domestic ministry experience with Campus Crusade for Christ and are currently working in business development on California's central coast. They have been married for almost two years and have a lifelong goal of meeting people's physical and spiritual needs through profitable enterprise for the growth of God's Kingdom. A 5-part detailed recap of this trip can be found on the Squires' blog

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posted by Justin Forman | 4.15.2008 - 7:00 AM


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