February 2012

Let us not grow weary… On July 31, 1834, 800,000 slaves were freed.

I am preparing to speak at an event at the University of Toronto in March.  It is suppose to be an inspirational speech about reaching out to a lost world in a business context.

I was thinking about a couple of key words I could use to define the character of The Lending Journey and The David Jonathan Project.  The two words that came to mind first were Risk and Perseverance.  Although there are many other words that come to mind these were first.

Here are some synonyms for the word Risk; danger, peril, jeopardy, hazard, gamble, chance and possibility.  Synonyms for perseverance are; persistence, grit, determination and stubbornness.

A proverb that came to mind was; “Let us not grow weary in doing good for at the right time, you (we) will reap a harvest if you (we) do not give up.”

For most of you who have followed up at The Lending Journey you will know many of our stories of risk and perseverance.  We always like to feature a story in our newsletters about one of our ladies who is really succeeding in the face of some very adverse circumstances.

Risk is a peril that we deal with daily mostly because of crime. Gangs, thugs and hooligans roam the streets and villages where we work.  Often the people who need our help the most don’t have the ability to get to us.  Whether it is because of lack of knowledge (they can’t read or write so they don’t know where to find us) or because of transportation (they don’t know how to get to us), often we go looking for those who need help.  Often we do this at our peril.

Associated with risk is the whole issue of collecting loans weekly.  I would love to tell our donors that everyone we lend money to in need is thankful and committed to repaying their loan.  Unfortunately this is not the case, there are many times we need to go into some pretty unsafe neighbourhoods trying to find people who have taken loans without any commitment to repaying.  A few months ago Eliett approached a woman who had refused to repay her loan, not because the woman didn’t have the money but because she didn’t feel like it.  Before the conversation was over Eliett had received a couple of blows to the face from this lady.

Perseverance; grit, determination, stubbornness.  I love these words, especially grit.  Success so often is determined by grit; hanging in there when everyone else has walked away, not throwing in the towel when you have been knocked down two or three times, continuing to believe that time and effort eventually will lead to success.  That is True Grit.   One of my heroes is William Wilberforce.  If you want to read a heroic book on risk and perseverance, read his story, the book  Amazing Grace.  Wilberforce fought for over twenty years to see slavery abolished.  When others around him through in the towel because the battle became too fierce, he rose to the challenge and persevered.   In 1833 an act was passed in the British Parliament to abolish slavery and on July 31, 1834 eight hundred thousand slaves were set free.  Here is how historian G.M. Trevelyan describes it, “On the last night of slavery the negroes in our West Indian islands went up on to the hill-tops to watch the sun rise, bringing them freedom as its first rays struck the waters.”

This is one thing I love about the staff and board members at The Lending Journey.  They “gots” the “stick-to-it” gift!  Whether it is Eliett getting a blow to the face in Managua or Paulina getting ambushed in Quito, or any other of the many trials we face as an organization, I am proud of our stick-to-it-ness.

Feb 2012

So today if you are reading this newsletter, and are feeling the heat of the battle, feeling a little or a lot beat up, try to remember the last part of the proverb.  It says, “if you (we) do not give up.  You can see that I have put in italics “we.”   Let someone journey the road of risk and perseverance with you.  Batman had Robin, The Loan Ranger had Tanto, The Green Hornet had Kato, Rocky had Micky… ok you get my drift.