General Information resources
About Companion Synods
History of Companion Synods
Companion Synod Sunday
Southern Diocese (SD)
Leadership – SD
Areas of Mission – SD
Center for Agricultural Development
Companion Congregations – SD
Project Collaborators – SD
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile
Leadership - IELCH
Areas of Mission - IELCH
Companion Congregations - IELCH
Emerging Partnerships - IELCH
Bible Camp Ministry - IELCH
Project Collaborators - IELCH
Global Mission and Hunger
Peace Not Walls
Western Iowa Missions
Church of Damascus Road
South Sudanese Thanksgiving Lutheran
Feeding the Hungry in Iowa
Accompanying Our Neighbor
We write today to update you on both the status of CAD and to invite your participation in exciting future opportunities to accompany Tanzanian smallholder farmers! Not only accompany, but in such a way that affords them the DIGNITY of self-sustainability and self-determination in their lives! The same human dignity God’s aspires for all.
Future Opportunities Letter CAD/SACCOS info & Updates
Consider a Gift that Gives!
Christmas season is upon us and for many it is one of the happiest times of the year. It is the time of year when we gather together with family, friends, and co-workers to celebrate the Birth of the Savior and to enjoy one another. This is also a season and a time of giving gifts. The Magi brought gifts to Jesus and we, too, share gifts with one another at Christmas. Somehow the Magi knew what was on Jesus’ list and brought him, gold, frankincense, and Myrrh. How do we give someone a gift that is truly meaningful? I know for me there are times when gift-giving is difficult; well, truthfully, that is most of the time! Maybe it is because I am a man, or maybe I just don’t think about it enough, but giving meaningful gifts can be challenging. If you find it as difficult as I do, or if you are looking for an alternative, impactful gift to give this Christmas—or any time of year—let me suggest a financial donation to the Western Iowa Synod in support of the SACCOS program in Tanzania. A gift to a SACCOS is a life-giving gift which can keep on giving year after year!
SACCOS (Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies) are totally member-owned microfinancing groups for the poor that provide capital to the poor who have no access to formal bank credit. The SACCOS in Tanzania help smallholder famers, who tend to subsist on a few acres, or small village shop owners, with limited inventory, by providing needed capital through small, short-term loans of 6 to 9 months. Members save collectively and buy shares, lending their savings to one another for profit-motive loans, co-signing for one another, and holding one another accountable. Loan examples include the purchase of fertilizer and seed for farmers, or raw materials or inventory needs for village shop owners. Receiving these small loans, between $150 and $300, typically allows these businesses to flourish resulting in the ability to make a profit of 3-5 times their usual yearly net incomes! With said profit and incomes, they pay off their loans at a 99% repayment rate (compared to a 94% rate at most USA banks), while investing remaining money in better nutrition, living conditions, and education for their families, employing others in their communities and their enhanced farms and businesses, and increasing their annual church offerings! Once loans are repaid, the money can then be loaned out again toward continued member growth and/or lent to a new family. Another important outtake of this opportunity is the way in which it empowers the people to help themselves, gifting them with dignity whereby they have the opportunity and the freedom to support themselves and to help others do likewise. Now THAT is a powerful, meaningful gift! Think about giving a gift that will change the lives of one or more families this Christmas; give to help fund a SACCOS in Tanzania.
This year, my mother, Beverly Aalgaard, suggested our family find an alternative, meaningful, place to donate money rather than to exchange gifts as a family. We have chosen to donate to the Western Iowa Synod and its SACCOS program. We invite you and yours to consider doing likewise—this Christmas or any time of year—as we work to greatly impact the lives of many needy families in Tanzania, giving dignity to the poor and giving glory to God! Donate online by clicking the "Donate Now" button at the bottom of the page, scroll down to Companion Synod Projects, type in the amount and put SACCOS in the *blank to designate your offering to that specific area, or send your offering to the Western Iowa Synod with SACCOS in the memo and mail to 318 E 5th St., Storm Lake, IA 50588.
Blessings to you this Christmas Season!
In the name of Jesus, the Christ Child, Pr. Perry Aalgaard and family.
Contact Rev. Dr. Mike Kroona, Assistant to the Bishop, with any questions or needs you may have regarding the SACCOS program (firstname.lastname@example.org; 712-732-4968 Ext. 443).