Namikango Mission

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Ryan and Justine Hayes

Aug 27, 2019

Mission of Hope. Justine, already in Nairobi, was assigned to help Ryan get settled in for his work. They got to know each other through emails back and forth before Ryan’s arrival. They found their friendship easy and enjoyable. Both saw substance and a deep faith in the other.They had meetings for coffee and discussions of the future. These turned into a Valentine’s Day proposal. They were married in April of 2012 and remained at Mission of Hope for another 18 months.

Ryan talked often with his brother Ben and Becca in Malawi. The conversation turned to the idea of Ryan and Justine joining them in Malawi, with the goal of Ryan starting a Village Savings and Loan(VSL) program among the churches and communities around Namikango Mission. They prayed about the Namikango invitation, and in 2013 decided to move to Malawi.

In just three and a half years, Ryan reports they have formed and are working with 125 small VSL groups, which include more than 2,400 Malawians, 78% of which are women. These groups have raised about $86,000 among themselves without additional help from the Missionor outside resources. These funds are used to provide small loans to members to address personal or family needs, farming, starting or expanding small businesses, and generally provide greater financial stability to people living at and below the poverty level – people who would not be able to get help from a major bank.

I had the privilege of attendinga VSL meeting where they sang songs, read Scripture, and then worked through a series of steps in the VSL program, i.e. paying back debts, buying shares, etc. A local leader ran the meeting with Namikango staff monitoring. It was obvious Ryan and his assistant Tankhani have done a great job training and establishing a workable financial model.

Justine has been extremely busy herself. She has taken her many talents, organizational skills, and drive, and folded them into raising a family. Ryan and Justine have three beautiful girls, Amelie (5), Lily (3),and Rylee (1½ ). Besides being a wife and mother to three, Justine home-schools her daughters and still finds time to actively engage in Namikango ministry and team matters. (I looked but didn’t see a superhero cape poking out from beneath her normal attire.)

Ryan and Justine have adapted easily to life in Malawi. They are relaxed, engaged, knowledgeable, and effective. They plan to continue serving at Namikango Mission for the near future. Personally,I am glad of that and am sure there’s a growing number of Malawians who are too.