Microfinance through Kiva update #2

Every fall I seem to write about my micro loans through Kiva. This is my third update even though it’s numbered two, had I an idea I would update every now and then I would have used numbers in the first. At present, I only have one loan outstanding and it is almost paid back. I have withdrawn my last $25 and when the last bit is paid back I will donate it to Kiva. While last year I was nearly certain that the three failed loans wouldn’t affect my loaning, it has. I have a sadness when I try to think all the loans I funded, all 6, and why I couldn’t fund more, because the partner organization took the money from the lendees and decided not to return it to the lenders. I was totally prepared for hardship on the part of the lendee and the inability to return the funds. It never occurred to me that I would face dishonesty and lose my investment. It wasn’t hundreds of dollars, it was just enough that I was unable to reinvest without dumping more into the program. I admit, I liked seeing how many people my $100 dollars helped. The first 3 people I picked resulted from 2007 in loss in 2009, yet I continued. I added $25 more to my account and helped 3 more groups, one in 2008 and two in 2009. The last one from 2009 is almost paid off but I need a break.

As a family, we have always been generous with the resources we are given, but as time goes on we find ourselves looking more at our neighbors. We have chosen to support our local food bank and other charities. I still have a heart for those in need worldwide which is why one of the charities I still support is Mully Children’s Family, a Kenyan family caring for Kenyan children in need.

A Review: eat, pray, love

by Elizabeth Gilbert
reading guide

a summary
After a divorce and rebound love, Liz took a year off of life to journey across Italy, India, and Indonesia as she struggled to write this book and bring peace and balance to her life. Without much planning, Liz spent almost four months in each country making friends, finding herself, her purpose and a peaceful coexistence with life. She shared her studies in the Hindu faith as well as other spiritual insights as she travels. While in Italy, a new friend shared his view of each person, each city having a word. He shared

Microfinance through Kiva UPDATE #1

I last wrote about Kiva over a year ago and I have an update to my loans. As indicated in my earlier posts, I have only loaned to individuals in Kenyan. After visiting Kenya in 2007 and seeing firsthand the poverty, I couldn’t help but help. I started with three loans and when Kiva let us reloan monies before the entire loan was paid back, I kicked in a bit more money and added one new loan in Sept 2008 and another in April 2009. Last year we received word that due to political unrest in Kenya, my three original loans might not get paid back and if they were paid back the the payments would be late. This year those three loans were officially declared defaulted. From what I can tell, my three people were paying back the loans but the field partner organization was not forwarding the monies received back to Kiva. I find this sad and a bit concerning. Kiva will continue to try to recover funds from the field partner, but no new loans will be dispersed to through that field partner. Just over 40% loans were paid back before the loans defaulted. I don’t think this experience will prevent me from making future loans. The loan from Sept 2008 was paid back completely. I currently have only one loan funded, it is also from Kenya and more than half of the monies have been repaid with no problems foreseen. In seven weeks I’ll have enough in my account to relend to a new person and I probably will. I may even add some extra in as it will be the Christmas season and our family contributes to charities instead of Christmas gifts. I always donate a portion to Kiva.



Book Club & The Shack

I was unable to attend this month’s meeting so I cannot comment on what was discussed. I was a bit disappointed. A few people couldn’t meet last week so it was moved to tonight, but it was my day in GR. I’m not going to do a summary or review as comprehensive as the first book. I am unsure about the next meeting as I haven’t gotten the book from the library yet. I ordered it over a month ago and it still hasn’t arrived. If it arrives in time for me to read it, I’ll try to attend, if not, maybe it’s a sign *giggle*

My thoughts:
Several years before reading the book, I am able to recall the fuss generated by this book because of how the author chose to portray the Trinity, God as Father, God as Son and God as Holy Spirit. Many were encouraged to avoid the book, denounce it, and more. I didn’t store the title of the book in my head, only the supposed problems with it. In the Spring of 2008 this book was recommended to me by a friend, but I was chastised again not to read it for the theology, as if I am not a critical thinker. I was told it had an interesting message about forgiveness that I might find helpful. I read it and enjoyed the theology as well as the story. Sometimes being outside of the box is a good thing. I’m not going to preach sermons from it, nor will I probably put into practice much of the book, but the author certainly presented some interesting arguments for changing thought patterns.

This story is quite fictional, but the story seems real at times, too real. The author gives the reader a few opportunities to rationalize how the most fantastic of the events could have been less that accurate. I choose to read it as written, trying to take the fictional main character, Mack, and his close friend, Willie, at their word.

Mack experiences a great loss in his life which in turn leads to a gread sadness that he seems unable to overcome. While his wife has a strong faith in God, Mack’s life experiences have left him feeling rather distant. He receives an invitation that seems to indicate that God would like to meet with him. This is his journey to find God.

Some online guides for The Shack by William Young (spoilers possible):
Guide 1
Guide 2


Captivating: A Partial Review

WARNING: My opinion is expressed in this post quite strongly. If you are hoping for a glowing review, navigate away quickly.

A friend and I have been reading Captivating by Eldredge’s and working through the guided journal of the same title. I have seen mixed reviews, those in support strongly support and the critical reviews are divisively so. I will admit to clouding my judgment by reading reviews on both sides and deciding that I may not agree with many of the ideas presented, but I am trying to be humble enough to allow God to show me truths despite my preconceived notions. How’s that for a disclaimer?

Chapters one and two have made my brain hurt. I must report that if I hadn’t spent good money on these books, the first two chapters would have caused me to burn the books. I’m not a fan of censorship, usually. The small fire from the books could have kept me entertained for a while, especially if I tore out pages on and a time. I am thankful that I waited, not because the book has magically turned wonderful, but rather because chapter three has visibly more truth than the first two.

I should point out what little information I could learn of John Eldredge was discouraging. I wondered if he had special training to allow him to interpret the Bible, maybe he is a theologian, a scholar, something, anything, a Phd. in something worthwhile, alas. It turns out he attend a Christian college of sorts and majored in counseling. Where on the website of said college, one reads that it is the Christian’s responsibility to spread the truth of the free market system. No wonder the world despises Christians.

So, his vast amount of experience on how God designed women to be is as a result of counseling women, women who feel they are somehow broken. Women who pay a man to tell them how they are broken and how to be less broken. I’m sure he knows a thing or two about identifying behaviors that are emotionally/physically unhealthy, but really, how ignorant do I look? Why are women, intelligent women, falling for this nonsense from him and his wife? Are we that fallen that we need a stranger to stroke our ego and tell us that our desires are valid and right? If so, Christianity many not be the theology for you. God, by means of the Bible and Holy Spirit, tells us quite clearly we are sinful and fallen. His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. His desire for us is to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not the emotional need to be beautiful or participate in a grand adventure. He provides a way for us to be right, but it is not declaring that we are beautiful and must participate in a grand adventure to be validated. With the exception of a pithy prayer at the beginning of the guided journal, Jesus the Messiah is not mentioned and God only slightly. It’s all about the woman’s emotional experience. And how about open ended questions, ever hear of them? Yes or no questions do not stimulate discussion or thought. Grrr. Stay tuned for more in subsequent weeks.


Microfinance through Kiva

I joined Kiva.org Apr 11, 2007, after watching a special featuring microfinance on PBS. Kiva provides a way for lenders to meet entrepreneurs based on a variety of criteria: country, gender and/or type of work. I believe that it took a few days for Kiva to have enough entrepreneurs for all of us to fund, after all a PBS special has a wider audience than anticipated . When searching for loans to fund, I decided that where possible, I would fund women in Kenya. I later revised that plan to fund both men and women in Kenya, much needs to be done to encourage all Kenyans to find employment and funding half the population was a bit short-sighted. When I first joined, loans were funded completely and lenders waited until full repayment of loans were made before using the monies again. Basically, repayments sat in limbo in either Kiva’s account or the Kiva’s partner’s account. Two days ago, Kiva changed the policy and now immediately places repaid monies into lender accounts. I happily discovered a little over $27US in my account and a Kenyan man desiring a loan. So my account is happily empty again.

Anyone can create an account on their own or I can send an invite. I have no idea what an invite gets me, except a statistic on one of my pages and a nifty email sent out in my name:

I wanted to let you know about Kiva , a non-profit that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world.

You choose who to lend to – whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq – and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It’s a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.

Please keep in mind a couple of things: these loans are interest free from us and the lender assumes all responsibility for loss. Some interest is paid by the loanee to the field partner, but not to us as lenders. Kiva has a very low default rate because entrepreneurs are interviewed and selected on a very rigid criteria by trusted field partners, but it does happen. Of the four individuals I have loaned to, all belong to one of two field partners. Both organizations have a 0% default rate, but do have a higher delinquency rate. I believe this is because last November there was significant unrest in Kenya. All Kenyan lenders received a notice that due to the political instability of the region, loans were likely not to be repaid. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs were able to recover from their losses and continue their businesses. I cared very little about the loss of the monies, I desperately hoped they would recover and continue to provide for themselves and their families. If a lendee is unable to repay the loan, the monies are gone.

This graphic is a comparison of one of the field partner lenders in comparison to all Kiva field partners.


In which I purchase too many books

for cheap. Yes, yes, the correct word is inexpensive, but it doesn’t make sense in context. One of my favorite new/used bookstores was having a great sale today. At first Patty and I thought maybe we would share a bag, the sale was fill a bag for $5. After about 30 minutes, we realized we were each going to need a bag. I found many interesting treasures. In the daylight tomorrow, I am going to try to remember to artfully arrange my books and grab a photo. In another area I found and turned down The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights (I think I may already have this one), a very cool NIV Study Bible (but if it’s still there next time) and a really old and worn Bible that would have made some great scanned textures-the end pages showed interesting wear, as did several pages but $60 seriously? for a water-damaged, mold infested, well worn book. A few finds that I have been looking for and managed to make it into my bag: a book of Henrik Ibsen plays, some silly little books with pithy sayings that may be useful in scrapbooks, and a few catechism books. I also found a book that apparently will guide me in using Harry Potter to teach young adult fiction. I will most likely never need to do that, but the book screamed to be placed in the bag, as one of the last books before the bag was impossibly full.


big ticket rock

Of the four stages: indie, main, worship, and rock, I will admit to not spending much time at this stage, but I link so that should I need or want to listen to something it will be easily found.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heathmcnease
  • http://www.joywhitlock.com/
  • http://www.esterlyn.com/
  • http://www.myspace.com/worthdyingformusic
  • http://www.disciplerocks.com/
  • http://www.stellarkart.com/
  • http://www.hawknelson.com/
  • http://www.nailpointmusic.com/
  • http://www.agsilver.com/
  • http://www.wavorly.com/
  • http://www.krystalmeyers.com/
  • http://www.fireflightrock.com/ Iamunbreakable.com
  • http://www.needtobreathe.net/
  • http://www.redmusiconline.com/


big ticket worship

Of the four stages: indie, main, worship, and rock,the Worship Stage had several well known artists as well as a few new-to-me ones with a focus more on worship than entertaining. I spent a lot of time in this venue.

  • http://www.jeremyhornmusic.com/ & http://www.bigticketfestival.com/artists.cfm?artistid=135
  • http://www.meredithandrews.com/
  • Warren Barfield ~ only songs on big ticket http://www.bigticketfestival.com/artists.cfm?artistid=86
  • http://www.brandonheath.net/
  • http://www.markharrisonline.com/
  • http://www.myspace.com/alisaturner ~ not so much-nope
  • http://www.myspace.com/markwhiteband
  • http://www.33milesonline.com/
  • http://www.ayieshawoods.com/
  • http://www.aaronshust.com/


big ticket main

Of the four stages: indie, main, worship, and rock,the Big Ticket main stage is home to more widely known artists and winners of the previous year’s indie recognition. Again, this is a bookmark of all the artists from this summer with a short critique of my thoughts. I am not linking them yet, I don’t know how much return traffic to this site I want as a result of a random visit back.

  • http://www.myspace.com/everlife ~ good music, talked too much between songs
  • http://www.mikefarrismusic.net/ ~ gospel, jazz sound
  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=7996847
  • http://www.leelandonline.com/
  • http://www.matthewwest.com/
  • http://www.davidcrowderband.com/
  • http://www.newsboys.com/
  • http://www.myspace.com/andystefanicband
  • http://www.redumbrella.net/
  • http://www.sevenglory.com/
  • http://www.newsongonline.com/
  • http://www.barlowgirl.com/
  • http://www.kutless.com/
  • http://www.tobymac.com/