Regina’s Story: From Alone to A Loan

DSC_0256We meet Regina while she was cleaning onions on her mat in Wudo market. We sat down to talk with her about what God is doing in her life through the micro-finance ministry of Seed Effect in Kajo Keji, South Sudan. It turned out to be a little challenging – because she was so popular! It seemed like everyone in the market wanted to buy from Regina even though there were many other people selling similar vegetables.

When we asked Regina why she was so popular, she giggled and said, “Because I am so cheerful and happy!” There is no denying it, she is an extremely cheerful person and when asked she has no trouble giving the reason for her joy, “God fills her heart with love.”DSC_0234Regina grew up surrounded by conflict, losing members of her family to the conflict, and with what little they had they were just sustaining themselves with food. She wasn’t able to go to school as a child. Without any education, Regina was forced to work as a very low paid cleaner. She shared with us how she used to hate knowing that she wouldn’t have any food to take home to her family, and how helpless that made her feel. Not only was she unable to survive on the meager wages, but it was hard manual labor, with unpredictable and excruciatingly long hours. So much so that when she became pregnant with her twins she was forced to leave the job.

Regina found herself pregnant, jobless, with children to support, no business experience and no savings to fall back on. She said the word the best described this time for her was “Alone”.

DSC_0237She says God provided a way to her soon after that – and that way was a loan and education through Seed Effect. She heard of Seed Effect through people in the market, they told her she could start small, and grow, and have her own business. She wasn’t sure where to start, so she asked for a loan to start a small restaurant. As she grew to know the Lord, she saw how He had showed her love and provided mercy to her and provision that she couldn’t do on her own. Since she can’t read, the scripture shared by Seed Effect was her way to get to know the Lord.DSC_0257She also grew in her business knowledge through Seed Effect’s business seminars. With new found confidence, she took on a fabric business, and then transitioned to her current business selling produce and food items. Regina says one of her favorite business skills she has acquired from the seminars is time management. Specifically she learned that if she gets to the market early, and has her goods all set up and displayed, ready for customers as soon as the first one arrives, she gets more business. We got to encourage Regina with how we saw her living out Ephesians 5:15 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as the unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time” and being faithful with her business.

Regina wouldn’t let us leave without telling us one last time how thankful she is that through her business she is able to come home with something to put on the table for her family, and to pay for her children to attend school – all 7 of them!



This is the first in a short series of throwback posts, stories about our time in Africa a few months ago.

As we were looking back over the last 11 months and thinking about some of our favorite parts and most meaningful time, we kept coming back to the time we spent in South Sudan with Seed Effect. Reminiscing made me realize that I never shared many of the stories we captured from that incredible time. Part of our time in South Sudan was spent gathering stories for Seed Effect to be able to share about the work going on there and for supports to get a feel for what it’s like there. But it was such a powerful experience for us that I wanted to share them on our blog as well.


I came expecting neatly buttoned up stories of past hardship, then with God’s intervention through Seed Effect, a transformation, renewal and new hope. I had drawn up in my mind a neat beginning, middle and end, all tied up with a bow. And I was expecting to fill in these predetermined blanks with the client’s details.


But God had a different plan. Today when we went to hear stories, we didn’t go to a market where the clients had been with Seed Effect and experienced life change yet… instead, they were on their very first loan, just a month or two into it. To be honest, my first reaction was disappointment when I learned this. How am I supposed to get these triumphant stories, when there hasn’t been time for it yet?!?

But as I listened to Clements and Kenny talk about how they are learning to trust God, and how they want to grow their businesses. And as I got to encourage them with 1 Peter 5:10 “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” God reminded me that His establishing, restoring and strengthening of us isn’t a past tense story – it’s happening now, it’s ongoing.

God reminded me that none of our stories are finished. We are all in the midst, none of us complete. And how short sighted of me to think any of God’s stories of work in us are neatly packaged.

DSC_0280That’s what faith is about. I can hear Kenny talk about his carpentry shop and how he wants to invest in more timber so he can build for more people in the community, and while his life doesn’t look much different yet… than it did a month ago before the loan, I hear the hope in his voice. And I know it will be different because God is working in his life through Seed Effect sharing the word of God with him, through my prayers for him. We are all unfinished, but God who began the good work in us will bring it to completion.

Seed Effect comes alongside Kenny and Clements and dozens of other clients to wade through the messiness in the middle. And celebrates the small transformations along with way, with full faith that God is using it to bring glory to Himself and draw us closer to him. Because God promises that he will establish, restore and strengthen us through it.

DSC_2873The words of one of my favorite worship songs echo in my head as I reflect on today, “You’re not finished with me yet! You’re not finished with me yet! By your power, I can change, I can change, because you’re not finished with me yet!”