When I sat down with Missy Williams founder of Seed Effect, I was immediately captivated by Missy’s genuine, passionate faith, her incredible determination and her unbelievable courage. A mission trip to South Sudan changed the course of Missy Williams’ life and provided the seed of change that has given hope to one person at a time.
MISSY WILLIAM'S JOURNEY
In 2007, Missy and her husband David were given the opportunity to join e3 Partners on a mission trip to South Sudan. If someone had told Missy years ago that she would be going to South Sudan on a mission trip, she wouldn’t have believed them. Missy did not grow up going on mission trips, like her husband, so she had no idea what to anticipate. However, the Lord had been orchestrating and preparing them for this trip. Missy and David had just completed a 15-week class, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, which ignites a vision of mission work either globally or at home. They also had taken in a homeless mother and her son.
On the mission trip to South Sudan, Missy and David witnessed extreme poverty and a devastated nation. South Sudan, the newest nation in the world was birthed out of conflict. A 25-year civil war wreaked havoc on this nation, leaving 2.5 million dead and over 4 million displaced as refugees. But after a short period of relative peace, the world watched as the South seceded from the North to become an independent nation. With little infrastructure, lacking health care, and inadequate schools, life in South Sudan seemed overwhelming, but Missy was committed to the responsibility and privilege to share God’s truth. Missy and David were amazed by the South Sudan people’s desire to rebuild their country.
On the last night of the mission trip, the women they had been serving alongside, asked Missy and David to join them in their small hut. With the help of a translator, they made a small request not for a handout but for a tool that could change their lives and transform their village. They simply wanted a sewing machine. They wanted to make clothes so they could sell them at the local market. These women also wanted to teach other women to sew so they too could provide for their families. Missy and David knew that their investment could have a ripple effect.
Thus, the simple request of a sewing machine became the Seed Effect, an agent of change that can overcome poverty.
GETTING SEED EFFECT STARTED
With the help of e3 Partners, Missy and David started the idea of giving hope to and transforming the lives of hundreds of South Sudanese. They reached out to other organizations that were doing phenomenal microfinance work around the world. Missy and David wanted to simply facilitate the work of these organizations in South Sudan, never intending to start a new microfinance organization. But they kept hearing, “We can’t go there, but you should!” Investing in one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world was perceived as too risky and expensive.
Despite South Sudan’s instability, turmoil and conflict, Missy and David were determined to respond to the unmet needs and bring hope, opportunity, and empowerment to this war torn nation. With lots of prayer and support from their friends and family and newly established relationships with South Sudanese churches, Missy and David started Seed Effect in partnership with the local South Sudanese church.
In November 2009, Seed Effect issued its first loans to 19 hard-working women, empowering them to start businesses and invest in their dreams.
WHAT IS SEED EFFECT?
Seed Effect is a Christ-centered, nonprofit microfinance organization. Its mission is to plant the seeds that overcome poverty by providing access to microloans, education and spiritual discipleship in marginalized communities.
Through innovative programs and unique relationships, with local churches, Seed Effect combines economic empowerment with education and Christian discipleship, resulting in visible transformation.
The first Seed Effect site was launched in Kajo Keji, South Sudan, and the second site was opened in Nimule, South Sudan in February 2012. And most recently, Seed Effect opened a third branch in Yei, South Sudan in June 2015. Since then, Seed Effect has distributed more than $1,000,000 to 1,600 clients through over 3,100 small business loans. During that timeframe, Seed Effect has maintained a repayment rate of 99.75% as it promotes dignity, responsibility, and community amongst its clients.
THE SEED EFFECT HAS TWO ARMS: MICROFINANCE AND EDUCATION & DISCIPLESHIP
Microfinance is a tool that promotes economic development without creating dependency through the issuance of small loans to impoverished individuals. It’s a hand-up, not a handout. This tool enables the poor to break the cycle of physical poverty by providing collateral-free microloans and other financial services to support income-generating businesses. In this way, it empowers individuals to better provide for their families. With the repayment of each loan, the funds are then reissued as new loans, thereby having a multiplying ripple effect within the community. In an effort to effectively achieve its mission, Seed Effect employs a time-tested format of group lending microfinance methodology.
EDUCATION & DISCIPLESHIP:
Seed Effect’s “Credit with Education” utilizes the structure of weekly or monthly group meetings as a time to promote accountability, community, and discipleship. In addition to collecting loan repayments, group members meet with a Seed Effect Loan Officer in order to share prayer requests, discuss business issues, and provide general support for one another. Seed Effect also uses the relationships built through this model to promote discipleship in the marketplace. Additionally, it offers a customized curriculum that can be tailored to the specific needs of each group and taught monthly through their Seed Loan Program. The topics covered include:
- Business Management and Entrepreneurship Training
- Health and HIV / AIDS Education
- Well Sanitation Training
- Bible Study and Discipleship
- Donate or start your own fundraising campaign to help provide microloans, education, and spiritual discipleship to struggling families in South Sudan.
- Advocate for Seed Effect and the people of South Sudan by following them on social media or hosting a party to share the vision.
- Volunteer and Go to South Sudan with Seed Effect.
- Pray –especially for the team traveling to South Sudan August 2nd -12th. Pray for safe travels, safety, and for God to use them in amazing ways.
This beautiful video says it all. Seed Effect is an agent of change; it starts with a life, impacts a family, and transforms a community!