A Thanksgiving Gift from Five Talents

Good Monday morning.

talentED.jpg

Yesterday, churches around the world reflected on Matthew 25 and the Parable of the Talents.

Over the years, we've discovered a wealth of treasure in the Parable of the Talents. As we approach our 20th Anniversary, we've prepared a devotional guide to Matthew 25 featuring reflections from pastors and Christian leaders.

talentED is designed to help you recognize, develop, and use your talents for good. This guide to life, work, and ministry will help you grow your faith and is recommended for private study or use in small groups.

Click here to get your free copy of the book today.

This is our gift to you!

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are grateful for your support and partnership in ministry.

Yours truly,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA

Technology, Banking, and World Travel

Dear Friends,

Dale visits with Mother's Union members

Good Monday morning.

Wow. What a great trip to Kenya and London. Just arriving back in the US this morning.

Kenya includes some of Five Talents’ most technologically-advanced programs, using smart-phone banking, even in rural villages. Read more about it here.

And it was great to see our Five Talents UK office for the first time. Please take a look at their website.

We’re getting near the end of the tax year. We hope you will join us in stretching every dollar to help the wonderful entrepreneurs around the world who are doing so much for their communities. As always, if you want to make an online donation you can do so here.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679

Hello from Kenya: Announcing our New Website

It’s great to be back in Africa again. I lived in DR Congo from 1981 to 1986.

Dale with Ruth who manages a community bank established through assistance from Five Talents.

Dale with Ruth who manages a community bank established through assistance from Five Talents.

I’m travelling this week with our Five Talents partners who manage savings groups in Kenya. When I get home, I promise to send you more pictures and a report from the field.

In the meantime, please take a look at our new website at www.fivetalents.org It’s beautiful, with so many images of the faces of entrepreneurs who have started new businesses and can now provide for their families. It also explains more about our “new” savings-based approach (which is still evolving in some programs/countries) rather than a more traditional, credit-based approach that we used when Five Talents started.

 

 

Above: Members deposit savings during a group meeting in Thika, Kenya.

Above: Members deposit savings during a group meeting in Thika, Kenya.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org

Many Challenges; Many Opportunities

Do you sometimes feel the fatigue that I have felt recently surrounding the disasters of the last couple months? The hurricanes damaging Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The earthquake in Mexico. The mass shooting in Las Vegas. The wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The explosion of opioid addition. It’s a lot to absorb.

Recently, I was speaking for a group at a church about Five Talents. The same morning there was a compelling presentation from a local group that does a great job helping homeless and low-income families. I tried to think about how our audience would/could prioritize the things they heard from both our organizations: many challenges; many opportunities.

shepherd-group2.jpg

So, how should we prioritize? Should we support our neighbors nearby or expand our sense of who our Christian neighbors are? How did Paul challenge the early believers 2,000 years ago (the Corinthians, the Colossians, the Philippians, etc.) when he asked them to send money to people they had never seen in Jerusalem?

My wife, Lynn, and I try to look at the challenges a little differently. We feel the fatigue, too. We sense there are more challenges than we can address. But we would rather give up something else than to choose between helping our brothers and sisters close to home and our brothers and sisters around the world.

Learn more about what it means to walk with Five Talents.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org

Shared Experiences Around the World

Happy Monday to you.

This weekend I attended meetings as a board member for another non-profit organization that supports medical missions in struggling countries around the world. It was exciting to participate in another aspect of helping the poorest of the poor to improve their lives. I was struck by how we are all part the same journey, bringing God’s love in many ways to those who need it most, and enriching our own lives as we do. It is a privilege to do this through Five Talents, and my fellow board members congratulated me on my new position as Executive Director here.

words-we-share.jpg

During a time of sharing, we looked at the beginning of the gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Then we heard this read, much more poetically, in the Tshiluba language of the Kasai, where I used to work in DR Congo:

Ku tshibangidilu Dîyi divuaku, Dîyi divua ne Nzambi, ne Dîyi divua nzambi.

Try saying it out loud now. It’s a phonetic language, so just read what you see.

This exercise reminds me how interconnected we are. How those who love Five Talents and contribute to its support are joined in some way to people around the world participating in our programs. We say some of the same things. We feel many of the same things. We all want to provide for our families in the same way.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org

The Power of Community Savings

savings-group-deposit.jpg

Last week I admitted how I thought that micro-enterprises (small businesses) were all about micro-lending (mostly wealthy people lending money to poor people). But over the years, Five Talents has developed an extremely effective savings-group model. Five Talents helps the poor identify and develop their own resources.

So, if all the money used for loans is coming from the savings groups, then why does Five Talents need to raise money? We pay the salaries of regional trainers in each country who, in turn, train dozens of local volunteers who make the savings groups work. We also provide for the logistics of the trainers: cell phones; bicycles; etc.  The ability to leverage each dollar is tremendous. One trainer may be responsible for up to 50 savings groups, each with 10 to 25 participants. Then each participant who takes out a loan supports, on average, six or seven family members.

We also use some of the money we raise, of course, to “keep the lights on.” (Quite literally.) Our budget for utilities, rent, and the salaries of Five Talents staff around the world is extremely small, with very dedicated staff, often part time, and often working for this non-profit because they believe in what we can accomplish.

If you have any questions about how we are good stewards of your gifts, please let me know. And if you are interested in making a gift online, please click here.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org

Lessons in Microfinance

lessons.jpg

I was recently reading a daily reflection: "This day is all I have to work with. The past is over, and tomorrow is out of my reach. I will try to remember what a great gift this day can be and make full use of it." Indeed.

I was also thinking about what makes Five Talents effective. If I am going to devote my time (much of my current life) to this organization, I want to be sure I am making "full use of it."

I hear stories every week of mostly women who have saved as little as 50 cents a week to start a new business. By the time they get a $30-50 loan, they can buy a charcoal stove, farm tools, or other business assets. I used to think micro-finance was about rich folks in the US and Europe lending money to poor people.  Five Talents uses a “savings-group model” in which the poor save small amounts of money and lend money to each other. They have to make a “Shark Tank” sort of pitch to convince their neighbors in the savings group that their business plan is good enough to be one of the first plans to fund. Amazing. I’ve never had to do that. And because they are held accountable by their peers, repayment rates are almost 100%.

So, I am satisfied that this is time very well spent. It’s a time to try new things. As the reflection says, “Maybe just for today, I’ll try standing on my head to see if I like the view.”

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cell 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org

Is Hope Possible in South Sudan?

harun-school-kids.jpg

I don't always feel bright and happy on Monday mornings. But being involved with Five Talents is uplifting. I continue to learn many new things about people with courage, all over the world, who are doing things to make lives better. Both their own lives and those they love.

This week we had a great visit in Northern Virginia with Harun Mutuma, the director of our South Sudan programs. Harun lives with his family in Kenya (including four really cute kids) part of the year and travels much of the year to train coordinators for our savings groups in South Sudan. We can all feel excited to be part of this meaningful work. Thank you all for joining us in this journey.

Harun spoke here on the topic, Is Hope Possible in the World's Most Fragile State? Reflections from South Sudan.

The answer is, "Yes!" And it was great to hear Harun explain the specifics of how new entrepreneurs have been starting businesses and helping their families. The photo of Harun here is with one of the local coordinators and with some of the kids who now have uniforms so they can go to school. If you would like to see some delightful stories from South Sudan, please click here.

Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle
Executive Director, Five Talents USA
Cel 703-472-7679
www.FiveTalents.org