Maybe you’re looking around at all that is happening right now and are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. All our lives have changed dramatically, and you can imagine the impact that this season has had on the most vulnerable around the world. We want you to know that there is hope. The ways of Jesus are transforming lives today, and change is happening in even the hardest-hit communities around the world.

In many places, necessity is tearing down long-standing barriers, and because of your generosity, leaders are being empowered to find creative solutions. Here’s a story showing exactly that from leaders Caleb and Jessica - serving in the Middle East. 

'When we first moved into this community - one thing that was obvious was the tremendous need for stable employment. We were entering into a country where 40 thousand jobs a year are needed, but only 20 thousand are being created.

Some people are able to a get college education - but even in those cases, it is normal for a person to wait as long as 5-7 years before finding an entry-level position in their field. People here have also tried to create their own income, selling products and services themselves, but governmental restrictions on startup businesses have prevented most people from even getting started.

You can imagine the effect that has on the people here - working every day and getting stuck because there aren’t opportunities to build something better or use the skills they have developed.

When COVID hit the country, the situation got even worse. Businesses closed, opportunities disappeared, and families were left fighting to support themselves without a way forward. 
The team here has been working to begin an entrepreneurial training center that would equip locals with the skills they need to start their own business. That center would also open opportunities to share our spiritual lives with others - something that in this area can be difficult or dangerous. Even though the project is exciting, we’ve been held back by complicated “red tape” that all businesses face just trying to get started.But that changed in the midst of COVID. Because of economic pressure, the government removed restrictions - making starting a business possible for almost anyone who is willing to learn how.  We decided to launch early with an online event where community members could learn basic business skills - and over 30 locals signed up for that first call! Since then, several are already forming businesses and creating profit.

For Sarah, this training meant she could start providing for her family. When we first met, she told us that she was a college graduate and had been looking for work for almost 7 years. She had a great mind for business but was struggling because she didn't have the experience she needed.

With that basic training, she was able to get started. We started talking about Jesus together, and it was great to see Sarah get excited about the skills and identity God has given her. Her business is growing, and now she is able to provide for her family - but it doesn’t end there.  As she connected with our team and other locals, she realized that this kind of training could be the beginning of something bigger. She told us:

“I always thought of a business as a way to make money, but now I can see how this could impact the whole community… I want to be part of that.”

What Sarah understood in that moment was that when people work together - when needs are matched with the strengths of the community - transformation can begin. In our community here in the Middle East - that transformation is beginning today because of you. Lasting change is happening economically as businesses start, physically as families find purpose in their work, and spiritually as people encounter Jesus for the first time. - Thank you."

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