by Joanne Viola, treasurer of The Lulu Tree

“Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry-as-dust religion.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

I read this quote several years ago and it has remained with me. True ministry is first and foremost concerned for the souls of people but must go further. True religion must provide ways to overcome the conditions and situations which drain the life from their souls, robbing them of hope that their children will have a better future.

Our African friends work hard – often from before the rising of the sun and long after the sun has set. They seek to provide food, shelter, and a basic education for their children.

“Giving is no simple matter, not if giving is to be ultimately redemptive.” – Robert D. Lupton

Sharing the good news of the Gospel will always be foremost, but The Lulu Tree is dedicated to doing more. Our desire is for full redemption – body, soul and spirit.

Microloans are one way we offer hope.

“Microloans at modest interest rates counteract the exploitation of loan sharks and enable the poorest of the culture to take small, steady steps toward economic health.” – Robert D. Lupton

By providing a small investment into the work and businesses of men and women, our goal is to help them earn income, so they are able to sufficiently provide for their own families through their own labor.

These microloans are not a hand out, but rather a hand up out of their poverty, their hopelessness, and exploitation.

In recent months, we have had such wonderful reports from those who have been the recipients of loans.

Mr. Kaziro Ronald was one of the first to receive a loan in February. He invested his money into a banana plantation which is a little larger than a half acre. His gardens have been thriving and he is most grateful to God for the provision of this loan.

Mr. Ronald in his banana plantation.

Pastor Anthony, a new pastor in Uganda, recently reported that his pig gave birth to twelve piglets. He used his microloan to purchase animal feed, thus assuring better nutrition for his pig and a fruitful birth.

Pastor Anthony’s new additions!

In Sierra Leone, fifty women from the Wesleyan church in Madina Town participated in a workshop about the program and then received microloans of $23.00 each. We are anticipating all that God is going to do in and through these women, their businesses, and for their community.

This beautiful woman is a South Sudanese refugee, expressing gratitude for her microloan.

As our brothers and sisters invest their monies and efforts, let’s lift them up, asking God to bless their land and the work of their hands.

To our Father and Lord,

“You take care of the earth and water it,

making it rich and fertile.

The river of God has plenty of water;

it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.

You drench the plowed ground with rain,

melting the clods and leveling the ridges.

You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;

even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,

and the hillsides blossom with joy.

The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,

and the valleys are carpeted with grain.

They all shout and sing for joy!”

(Psalm 65:9-13 NLT)

And all the people said, “Amen!”

You can read more about our microloan program HERE.

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