We 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.”Regina 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”.
She 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.She 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!