A New Beginning: Open for Business after 50 Years

By Steve Rehner MFM Director of Ministry Latin America/Caribbean

Steve and Hazel
Steve and Hazel.

I have joined a prestigious club that takes decades to get into. Pam and I were at the hospital to welcome our new granddaughter, Hazel, born to Kathleen and Daniel, our son. This birth launches the new parents on a totally new adventure they have dreamed about with no previous experience.

Over the past decade you have read in the ACTION magazine that we are working in the Caribbean which has been isolated and economically suffered for about 50 years. The average wage for an entry-level worker is only about $20-$25 per month. However, the Holy Spirit has brought many thousands to faith in Jesus Christ.

Men for Missions works on the island through the Samaritan Project (SP). It partners with churches to provide leadership training, family issues, budgeting, and Small Business Development (SBD).

David Shatto teaching.
A class session with David Shatto teaching.

The SP works in 10 training centers across the country. In the cities partnerships are developed with various churches. The director regularly travels to the cities to lead training.

The SBD includes distribution of $300-$500 small grants to help people launch microenterprises. It is a great joy to give people a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.” With this seed money, families are able to start a business which allows them to provide for their families, help others in their community, and increase their giving.

All who receive financial assistance are required to pay back the grant, creating a revolving fund which blesses others. We add a 10 percent administration/training fee to help defray some of the cost of ongoing training and support.

Mark Murray, Steve Rehner, Dave Shatto
From left: Mark Murray, Steve Rehner, Dave Shatto.

Last month Dave Shatto, Mark Murray, and I were in the Caribbean teaching a fourday course on SBD. Leaders from the SP and those applying for a SP grant attended. We encourage them that all we do, including a family business, should glorify Him.

Until about five years ago, it was illegal to own a business. So, for nearly 50 years, no one has experienced or watched any one run a business. Business creativity has been stifled for five decades, which is a scary proposition to think about.

We shared from our experience and encouraged them to believe they could be successful.

The participants in the Small Business Development training class.
The participants in the Small Business Development training class.

My son and his wife are beginning the parenting adventure. They don’t have all of the answers but will figure it out along the way. Hopefully, they will learn and be encouraged from our example and suggestions.

Similarly, families in the Caribbean, when given the opportunity to start a micro-business, will be encouraged from others who have done it before. They were pleased to know, if they make a mistake or two, it is okay. A little coaching and mentoring can go a long way, but they will have to trust the Lord each step of the way.

Alexis Jimenes receiving diploma from Mark Murray and Dave Shatto.
Alexis Jimenes receiving diploma from Mark Murray and Dave Shatto.

Let’s continue to pray that God will provide for these folks who are facing economic difficulties. They love the Lord and are hardworking Christian brothers and sisters who need a “fishing pole” so they can fish themselves—not be hand fed. I am grateful MFM shares my passion to economically and spiritually help them. We are moving forward to offer more grants.

To cover each grant, including training and administration, it costs an average of $575. The cost of each center over a three-year period is $5,208, including trainings and grants. If you would like to invest in starting a small business in the Caribbean, you may give to Project #408093.

If you have any questions about the Samaritan Project, or want more details, contact me, srehner@gmail.com.

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