As the pandemic continues and countries begin to open back up, our work in each base is looking different every week. However, we are blessed to continue finding ways to serve God in the communities to bring light and hope. Today’s story comes from our Microfinance Site in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.
At the beginning of the year, the Microfinance site had lots of dreams and plans to see women’s businesses grow. But 2020 happened. And plans changed. And what we least imagined was that we would still be struggling with the pandemic today.
In March, soon after COVID began, we had to cancel our business training activities and couldn’t continue regular bank meetings. We had NO idea at first how to continue ministering. Thankfully, we already had WhatsApp groups to communicate to our associates, and we decided to try and use Zoom to have virtual bank meetings. At our first bank meeting, only three women “showed up,” which felt a little disappointing to us, but God had other plans. As we shared and talked, two of the three bank associates decided to give their lives to Jesus. RIGHT THERE via Zoom. It was a reminder that when God calls us, not even COVID can stop him from fulfilling his plans. It was so exciting; God knew how much we needed to see something like that to encourage us in our work during this time.
Throughout the following months, we enjoyed “gathering” together via a screen and being able to share and pray together. In May, we had the opportunity to deliver food to vulnerable families in need. In one particular case, we stopped by Ramona’s house just to say hi with no plans to deliver food. But since we had an extra bag, we gave one to her, and she began to cry. She told us that she had been praying for help because she didn’t have money left to eat that month. With God, we don’t believe in coincidences. We believe in purpose. She wasn’t in our plan or on our food delivery list, but God had her on his list.
And it hasn’t just been Ramona. We have continued to see God change our plans for His. We have walked with several women who are being abused, marriages that are on the brink of divorce, and a mom who is suffering from taking on her children’s debt.
It sounds contradictory, but in this challenging time of crisis, we have seen the fruits of the many years of financial classes that we have given. Associates have not stopped saving even if the amount is minimal; most businesses are still standing and have a renewed spirit of entrepreneurship. Kimberly, one of our associates who has her own beauty salon, even formed a group to petition the authorities to allow salons to reopen safely so that she and others wouldn’t lose their businesses.
In August, we began face-to-face meetings again with the necessary protocols and social distancing. Many of our associates told us they were worried we would never reopen and thanked God in their prayers for the opportunity to meet once again.
Please continue to pray that God would give us wisdom at the Microfinance site to lead us where he wants. This year hasn’t been easy, but we know God’s plan is better than our own.