Each year County Line Church selects an international ministry partner to receive funds through the Joy to the World Offering. This year’s recipient is Global Disciples. In short, Global Disciples partners with pastors in the areas of discipleship training, leadership development, and small business development. You can learn more about this ministry on their website at globaldisciples.org.

Below is an excerpt taken from the “What’s In Your Hand?” book, published by Global Disciples. In the coming weeks we will share the stories of people who have experienced the “What’s In Your Hand?” training and running a business to support their families and churches.

When Etana came to the small business development training, directors of discipleship programs were not eligible for grant funds. Yet he enthusiastically participated in the training to maximize his ability to equip the church planters he trains. Today he says, “The knowledge I gained was more valuable than a grant.”

Though he wasn’t trained as a trainer, Etana didn’t let that stop him. He and the five church planters he had brought to the training began using everything they had learned to teach others. They soon trained forty-two church planters how to minister through business. All but four committed to starting businesses.

One common obstacle was start-up capital. So they formed a savings group with forty- four members. Each person brings $2 to the monthly meeting for forty-four months. Each month, one “winner” receives $44, while the other $44 goes into the group account. Members and non-members may then borrow from this account, with interest (2% and 10% respectively). After the 44 months, each person will have received a lump sum of $44 and is also entitled to another $44, plus a share of the interest collected. Members then choose to cash out or continue with the group.

Etana helped others start their businesses and his family started a small grocery. It struggled due to a lack of capital, however, and could barely be called a business.

When a woman from the congregation asked him “Why haven’t you started a real business?” he replied, “Start-up capital.”

“What kind of business do you want to start?” she asked.

“I’vedoneasurvey,”Etanasaid,“anditseems the major need of the community is a second private school. Government schools lack quality, and the one private school is too expensive. There is a need for a less expensive option.”

The woman researched the situation and agreed to help. She did not want equity in the business but provided a loan for the school’s start-up. Meeting in the church, the school grew to thirty children—but without a building, the community didn’t take it seriously.

However, after one term, Etana was so convinced of the school’s potential that he sold his maize and harvested the trees he had planted. Purchasing steel sheets, he cut timbers and built two classrooms. Parents saw this commitment to the school’s growth and registered their children. Now, 160 students attend pre-school and grades K-3. The school has two Muslim and two Christian teachers, and 50% of the students are Muslims. Etana hopes to add a grade each year until they educate Kindergarten through high school students.

The school now provides for Etana’s family. “All the knowledge—I got it from this training,” explains Etana, gratefully.

Update: In addition to administrating the school, Etana now works part-time as a Facilitator for Global Disciples.

To give towards the Joy to the World offering, you can do so online at the link provided below. Or, you can pick up an offering envelope at each entrance into the worship center. Thank you in advance for helping to strengthen the church in Ethiopia.

Online Giving Instructions
1. Click on this link: countylinechurch.org
2. Select the “Give Online” link which will re-direct you to a “push pay” page.
3. Fill out your information and select “Joy to the World” in the “Giving Type” drop down menu.

© County Line Church of God

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