“I was a slave!” he said, and everyone in our circle laughed. They had been taking turns sharing how their lives had been impacted by their recently received micro-loans. Kenyan pastor Elijah Muyekho continued to tell his story with vigor:
“I worked for a man who owned a rock quarry. I used a hammer and chisel all day long. My job was to break huge rocks and chisel them into rectangular blocks that are used to construct walls and buildings. On an average day, I made about a dollar.”
It certainly sounded like slave labor to me, and pastor Elijah looked the part. I began to imagine him, with his wiry frame, drawn face, and deep-set eyes, working for his taskmaster.
“But when I got my loan, I quit my job!” Everyone cheered him on. “I took the money and bought my own rock quarry! Now I employ two men. And I finally have time to be about the things of the kingdom of God, because God called me to serve Him, not some man!” We all broke into applause and whooped with approval. It was like an economic revival meeting.
I later visited pastor Elijah’s little rock quarry. Sure enough, two barefoot men with hammers and chisels were breaking large stones from a rock outcrop on a hill. Off to one side I could see the finished product—rows of rectangular blocks of stone.
I asked pastor Elijah about his two employees: “So, are those your slaves?” I wanted to find out if his micro-loan had corrupted him. He explained that when he was chiseling rock, he was paid the equivalent of 9 cents per linear foot of finished block. He was paying his employees, however, the highest rate around—about 12.5 cents per linear foot. He said that those wages attracted the best workers in the area. That made me feel better. He told me that he sells the blocks for 25 cents per linear foot. I spent some time telling him about the concept of profit sharing.
Everyone else in the circle that day, about 15 in all, had a similar story to tell. I was astounded, once again, to learn how a 6-month loan of $100 to $200 could so dramatically impact a person’s life for the better. All of them were top-notch believers, and because of their micro-loans and new businesses, time and profits were being pumped into God’s kingdom. May the revival continue!