Catherine once had a family bakery business in the Philippines. Rona worked in a garment factory and had a small farm and sold produce on the side. Fe had a Sari-sari– a small convenience store. Jeanette and her family ran a piggery. One by one, each of these businesses just weren’t enough to sustain their family’s needs. And some businesses collapsed under a weight of shattered dreams and broken promises.
|Fe explains a self reliance principle|
Now the sisters end up in Hong Kong as domestic workers, hoping to earn some money for their families back home.
Each of the sisters has a story to tell. Many have a heartache endured with businesses-gone bad or mounting debts.
But hope is rising as they discover and take part in the Church’s new Self Reliance courses. On Sundays, Elder Coffey and I oversee the self-reliance course called Starting and Growing Your Business.
The growing confidence in their faces each week is evidence of their mounting excitement to start again – this time with gospel values, sound business principles and a well-established family support system.
“Because of these principles,” said Eunice, “I decided to practice listening after prayer – I set aside time each morning to pray and listen.” She continued, “I think my life is changing, it is growing. I just pray every day I can continue with these assignments. I am very happy.”
Jessie saw firsthand how the principles taught can help her right now. The sisters were taught to keep an expense log to record income and expenses. “By following this assignment, I saw that my income and profit was nearly equal” said Jessie. “With a few simple changes I was able to see a 50% reduction in transportation fees. Now I have money to save!”
|Nyda Lyn studies with her self reliance classmates|
Each week the group of eager sisters stands and recites together, “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. “
“With faith in the Lord, we are working together to become self reliant.”
Rona worked in a garment factory back home in the Philippines. She also sold home-grown vegetables on the side for extra income. Then one day the factory closed. Rona joined the hundreds of thousands of women who are forced to leave their families behind with the hopes of making some money abroad. But the conditions are usually harsh, often with employers giving only meager food and allowing little sleep. And the debt keeps mounting as numerous criminal agency fees sink these sisters into ever further bondage.
But Rona has hope. “I know starting a business is quite hard but through prayers, hard work and perseverance I know I can do it with the right guidance of our dear Heavenly Father. Being in the self reliance program of this church is really a big help to a single mom like me.”
Jeanette sums up the feelings of the sisters:
"I'm so grateful for the self-reliance class - it helps me a lot to improve everything in my life. I am very confident of every decision that I make in my life because I know Heavenly Father is always there to support me."
Last Sunday this group of courageous women received their Business Course certificates of completion, which are issued by the LDS Business College, and are signed by President Thomas S. Monson and J. Laurence Richards, President of the LDS Business College. They were thrilled to receive a real certificate from a real college, and one signed by the prophet himself. The future is as bright as their dreams.