She was never voted “most likely to succeed” by her high school classmates. In fact, by the time she completed her high school education, Beth Wanjiru Ngugi was almost 22 years old. Her secondary education had been delayed due to her father’s death from cancer when she was 14. When a poor breadwinner dies in Kenya, that is often the end of his children’s hope for an education.
When Beth was 17, her mother also passed away. Now an orphaned teenager, Beth’s chances for success in life fell even further.
Beth moved in with an aunt and found whatever small jobs she could to pay for her school fees, and she slowly earned her high school diploma. After graduating, she found a low-paying job near Nairobi working for a foreigner who exported fresh vegetables.
Because she worked hard, after a year she was promoted to a supervisor’s position. Her employer, however, treated her very poorly, and she left that job to work as a supervisor for another vegetable exporter. He turned out to be a tyrant, so she quit after two years and took a job selling soap products on the streets and from door to door. She was the best salesperson among twenty others, but her so-called Christian employer never paid her. So she quit that job, too.
All of Beth’s bad employment experiences taught her some valuable lessons—and drove her to her knees. She sought the Lord and found Him at age 24.
Living with her older brother and having only four dollars to her name, she decided to work for herself instead of someone else. So she bought a few herbal products and began selling them on the streets. The Lord blessed her efforts and she gained confidence. Soon after, she applied for a $100 one-year loan from her pastor, a Heaven’s Family micro-banker. Beth did so well that she repaid her loan in four months and applied for a larger one—of $250—to expand her growing business. Beth repaid that loan in three months and applied for a third loan of $1,000 in order to open a shop to sell not just herbal products, but a variety of items.
We rarely allow our micro-bankers to make loans over $500, but in Beth’s case we made an exception, especially because of her good credit history—and knowing that she would employ other believers at her new shop. When I visited her in early June, that shop had been open for only two weeks, and sales were good. Beth is already making about five dollars in profits each day and intends to repay her third loan ahead of schedule.
But there is more good news. Beth is enrolled in a local two-year Bible college, studying biblical counseling. And she’s engaged to be married in November to a Christian young man, who is also a small-business owner.
Although at one time Beth would have been considered the “most UN-likely to succeed,” her life has become a testimony of God’s transforming power—and the potential that micro-loans have to economically lift poor believers. Part of Beth’s success is due to three loans—all of which were made possible by Heaven’s Family’s partners who put their love into action through our Micro-Loan Fund. Thank you!