Peru Parish Woodshop Project; by Brad Ball
From the very beginning of Peru Mission in 1998, the theme of our work has been to help plant churches and develop Christian communities that minister to all areas of society. Following Christ’s example, our hope is to see the Gospel proclaimed in the context of loving and practical diaconal efforts. As the churches developed, we observed that “relief” efforts were not sufficient. In order to properly address the needs of desperately poor communities in developing areas such as Trujillo, the Church must look for more sustainable, long-term approaches.
We began with permanent health clinics. The idea was to start them with donations and to organize them in such a way that the clinics could be self-sustaining with Peruvian staff. We are approaching our goal in the Wichanzao clinic but we still have a good bit of work before us.
Next came microfinancing. We established a program to make very small
loans to individual women who jointly guarantee the loans in groups of
5. This program has been a tremendous blessing and has quickly reached
self-sustanibility. We are still raising capital so that we can help
more women by expanding our loan portfolio, but the current level of
loan activity is already sufficient to generate enough income to
support the project.
Finally, we decided to address the need for men to
be trained and disciple so that they can provide for their families
economically and spiritually. That is where the Parish woodshop project
began. Our plan is to establish a training facility that teaches men
better carpentry techniques, business management skills, and Biblical
principles for business, family, and community.
Chris Bolton and I
wrote a detailed business plan that outlined how the project could
function profitably by marketing furniture and other products in the
States. After raising our initial funding needs, we began to set up the
shop in Trujillo and explore marketing possibilities.
In June and July,
Don Charlet (Zachary, LA) and Chris Horton (Knoxville, TN) spent three
weeks with us making our first round of furniture samples. During that
time, we tested our abilities in the shop and the different woods and
finishes. We feel great about the furniture we can make and the costs
associated with them. We also feel great about the young men in our
shop. Their carpentry skills are good and their desire for discipleship
is tremendous. It really looks like this project could be completely
self-sustaining by the Spring of 2009.
Based on the positive results of
our first production run and positive feedback from designers and
retailers in the States, we have decided to accelerate our business
plan. It now looks like we will be able to become completely
self-sustaining by producing a smaller amount of higher end furniture.
This is great news. Smaller production runs will allow us to focus more
on the men we are training and force us to invest heavily in their
training and development.
Now we need to raise $219,985 before the end of October in order to
produce furniture and sell it at the High Point furniture market in
April. This is a momentous time for the project. We feel very strongly
that this is the best approach and are eager to see how the Lord will
provide the funding.
In September, Chris Bolton, Don Charlet, and I will be in the States to
raise our last round of funding. We will start in Charlotte, NC on
September 3rd, then to Knoxville, TN on the 4th, Chattanooga on the
6th, Memphis on the 7th, Jackson, MS on the 8th, Dallas on the 9th, and
Austin from the 11th to the 14th.
Please pray that the Lord will
provide the funding we need to reach self-sustainability. If you know
of anybody that may be interested in donating, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.