Heaven's Family Magazine
October 2011 Issue

Bootlegger to Believer

The Micro-Loan Fund at Work in Kenya

Dick Samuels


Jane Ocheng with four of her six children

“If I kill myself, my grief will be over…but what will happen to my six children?”

After the death of Jane Ocheng’s husband, an emotional battle raged within her. The family’s sole breadwinner was gone, snatched from life by an unknown illness. Survival as a widow with six children in rural Kenya was a bleak prospect.

Jane’s love for her children ultimately won the battle. In desperation, however, she turned to the only way she knew how to earn money. Jane began to brew and sell bussa, an illegal alcoholic beverage.

It wasn’t long before the local police discovered her bootlegging activities. They promised to keep her bussa business a secret, however, if she would grant them certain “favors.” Although she did not know God, Jane feared His judgment…and AIDS. She refused their offer and shut down her distillery. Her meager income dropped to zero.

All she could do was cry.

It was then that a compassionate neighbor invited Jane to a church gathering that met in another neighbor’s house. Jane attended, and after hearing the gospel she put her complete trust in Jesus Christ. Her new spiritual family, although all very poor themselves, began to immediately reach out to her and help her with some food and money.

Not long after, Jane learned that a local pastor, John Omondi, was a Heaven’s Family-sponsored micro-banker. After he interviewed her, John decided to entrust her with a loan to help her start a small business selling firewood and charcoal. He lent her $62, and Jane opened her little shop in the local market.

God prospered Jane’s business, enabling her to provide food for her children and herself, as well as pay off her loan in six months. She then requested a second loan of $100 to expand her small business by sellng fruits and vegetables. Again, God blessed her efforts so that she was soon able to afford school fees for her children and enroll them once again in school. Jane paid off her second loan in one year. When she applied for a third loan of $250, John did not hesitate to give it to her because Jane had proved herself to be a faithful sister in Christ and a good businesswoman.


Jane with her charcoal business, at left, and recently added fruit and vegetable stand, at right

Today, Jane is not only self-sufficient, but she is also able to help those who are even less fortunate than her. She serves other widows like herself in her local house church, encouraging them to trust Jesus for everything. Jane is spreading her blessings!


Jane Ocheng’s story is an excellent example of the most effective means to help the poor escape their poverty. Rather than merely supporting poor brethren month after month, gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Micro-Loan Fund empower believers to lift themselves through their own labor according to God’s plan. Formerly impoverished brothers and sisters in Christ not only support themselves and their families, but they are also empowered to be the hands of Jesus as they reach out to their poor neighbors.

Help fund a micro-loan


This Month's Articles

Strategic Stewardship

Parting Shot: I Always Stay at the Best Hotels...

Actually, “hotels” in rural Kenya are tiny restaurants. The food at the Upendo Hotel was reported to be pretty good, but I didn’t have the stomach or the faith to give it a try. — David

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