As Cecelia stepped inside the humble house made of soil bricks, the laughter of school children walking to fetch water in the distance echoed off the metal roof. The air was heavy with the smell of the neighbor’s hot coals cooking dinner outside. As sunlight swept in to the cement floor below, she beamed with pride. The Lord had truly blessed her, and now she could bless another. Her father-in-law would sleep comfortably in his new home.

Married with five children from Bungoma, Kenya, eight years ago Cecelia relied solely on her husband to provide for their young family. Living in poverty while trying to make ends meet, she felt hopeless.

In 2010, TLAfrica met Cecelia through our women empowerment program in her village and gave her a loan of $30 USD to start a small business. With a grateful heart, she opened a small grocery stand in her neighborhood selling tomatoes, onions, and seasonal fresh vegetables. Her small business earned $2-$5 a day – enough to help her husband provide for the family. Cecelia quickly paid back her original loan, and TLAfrica blessed her efforts with a further $50 USD to pursue her dreams.

Excited, Cecelia rented a small space and paid $7 USD rent per month to set up a restaurant. She employed three staff members and served an average of 200 customers for $7 USD profit each day. The restaurant specialized in tea, potatoes chips, and other local delicacies. Her regulars included school students and staff from a nearby supermarket who stopped by on their lunch hour. Work hours were long – 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. – but Cecelia was able to help pay for her family’s needs and save money at the same time. Sadly, the nearby supermarket closed, and Cecelia could no longer sustain the venture without a reliable customer base to rely on.

Forced to close doors at the restaurant, Cecelia trusted God and prayed for direction. She used her savings to build three, single-room houses on the family property. Her prayers and business savvy instincts paid off. She now rents two of the units and gifted her elderly father-in-law the third room as he could not afford decent housing for himself.

Growing her initial $30 loan to now purchasing a rental property, Cecelia is honored to give generously to another in need as many have done for her. Although it’s still a struggle to pay high school and college fees for two of her children, she thanks God and the donors who invested in her life for giving her family a bright future.

The rental property in Cecelia’s village might look like a simple structure with a cement floor and metal roof to anyone else, but to Cecelia, it is the solid evidence of a God who restores faith and gives hope in the most desperate circumstances.