God is not only accomplishing great work through EAPE. God is also using EAPE to spin off ministries and is using those ministries to accomplish further great work. This is why we see ourselves as a “Mustard Seed Conspiracy,” where, with your contributions, our small efforts grow into something truly greater than we could have imagined. Let me share two examples.
First, EAPE provided both the vision and the funding to start a unique graduate program at Eastern University. The program trains students to spiritually nurture small groups of poor people in developing countries and in urban America. People for the first time believe in themselves enough to become entrepreneurs. They develop the skills to start their own small businesses and cottage industries. Hundreds of our graduates have been carrying out that vision, and Eastern’s President, Dr. David Black, estimates that they have helped create as many as 250,000 jobs for needy people around the world. With some seed money and fundraising support from EAPE, one of these graduates, Brian Lehnen, co-founded the Village Enterprise Fund; a ministry that provides microloans to entrepreneurs in East Africa. He brought on board to work with him Jessica Jackley, who later developed a plan to enable those who want to help small business entrepreneurs to access startup capital to do so with contributions as small as $25.00. To date Jessica has raised and lent out over 300 million dollars (you read right!).
This is just one of the enormous “ripple effects” that are possible when you invest in EAPE’s network of innovative and visionary leaders. To paraphrase Paul, “We planted, your contributions watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
Wendy Ryan, another of my students from Eastern University, served for years as a journalist for the Baptist World Alliance, reporting on Baptist missionary work around the world. When nearing retirement, Wendy left her secure employment and made a commitment to become a missionary herself. She has since gone to South Africa where she started Evangeline Ministries. She trains needy African women how to use sewing machines to produce and sell clothing and pocket books. What these women produce is sold, providing them and Evangeline Ministries with income. Over the past few years this program has doubled in size and many of the women have become committed Christians. In addition, she has helped many of her students to set up their own tailoring businesses and has created jobs for still more South African women.
EAPE must do more to help pioneers and missionaries like Brian and Wendy, but we can’t do that without your help. So get behind EAPE with your generous giving and together we can support other innovative and visionary leaders who can serve Christ so effectively.