Luisa is an example of how a $100 loan and a chance conversation on a street corner can transform a life...
Selling Dumplings on the Street
Luisa first came to know World Concern through Aaron, a staff member in Bolivia, who purchased an empanada (dumpling filled with meat) from her each day as he waited for a ride to work.
Luisa survived by selling empanadas out of an old basket on the street. She was very poor. She had two children whose father had abandoned the family, and she had gone through a time of heavy drinking and depression. Now, Luisa was pregnant with the baby of her second husband, who had also left. Luisa confessed to Aaron that she felt God had forgotten her.
Loans from World Concern Microcredit Group
At Aaron's urging, Luisa became a member of a World Concern microcredit group, and invested her first loan of $100 in a small stove and other items for her sidewalk food business.
In only two weeks, she more than doubled her total sales. With her second loan, she was able to buy a table and a few chairs and she began selling food and refreshments in a tiny corner store.
With her third loan, she used the money to purchase pans, tablecloths, and other kitchen items. As she added to her business, she began to sell complete lunches. As Luisa phrased it, “I was accused of dreaming, but look, now my dreams are becoming a reality!”
Her husband Eddy returned to her about this time and saw how she had worked hard and developed her trade. Eddy decided he wanted to become a part of the same microcredit group and start his own business. Today, Luisa has a small restaurant, and Eddy has a cart out of which he sells hamburgers.
Their living conditions have improved, including a slightly larger house to accommodate their larger family. Through World Concern, they have an improved physical life and economic opportunity.
Luisa Needed More Than Financial Improvement
While Luisa's financial status was improving, she was struggling emotionally through dark times that stemmed from the pain of a broken life. The World Concern loan officer built a good relationship with her, and together they talked about Jesus Christ and Luisa began to place her trust in Him.
Time passed. Even though Luisa had come to trust in Jesus and realized that He cared for her and had not abandoned her, she could not avoid her feelings of self-pity and depression. Her relationship with her children was unhealthy, reflecting Luisa's own troubled childhood. The resentment and bitterness that lingered had a negative effect on almost all of her adult relationships. Luisa ended up hurting the people she really loved.
Transformation by Jesus
Last year, Luisa joined a Bible study with other loan recipients to reflect on the lessons of World Concern's book Biblical Values in the Marketplace. They discussed the various ways their lives were broken and separated from Jesus.
Now a committed member of a small discipleship group in her neighborhood, she is a different person, positive and optimistic.
After seeing the transformation that had taken place in Luisa's life, her husband Eddy began to attend a men's neighborhood discipleship group. God's touch on his life is now clearly evident.
This family is fully involved in the process of transformation; their change has involved economic empowerment, physical reconciliation, and spiritual and emotional growth. God used World Concern to reconcile to Himself this needy family in the midst of great need.
Life, Opportunity and Hope, and it all started with an empanada and a $100 loan.