Meet Discovering Light Dad: Gezahegne
June 11, 2014
A Tiger Near Shashamene
Last month, the Discovering Light mission team spent some quality time with a special father in Southern Ethiopia: Gezahegne. He is a savings group member in the village of Tsegagenet near the Shashamene district. His savings group is named “Nebro,” meaning tiger. The men of Nebro have been meeting for a year and are just beginning to take out loans for income generation. Recently, one member used 400 Birr to rent a plot of land to plant crops and another has opened a tea house.
Members are inspired by witnessing the success of other savings groups, motivating them to work harder. Additionally, several of the men have since given their lives to Jesus as a result of building relationships with the others in the group. In example, when one member took a loan and decided to not to repay, the group came alongside him and convinced him to be responsible. He subsequently repaid the loan. It is type of mutual accountability and trust that strengthens fathers’ character, while other activities improve their economic opportunities.
Gezahegne smiled a lot during our time with him. He was initially trained as the “Nebro” group facilitator but ended up also becoming a member after spending time with the others and seeing the tremendous benefits they were receiving.
“I love to take care of my [savings group] members,” he shared.
Gezahegne is also married to a beautiful woman named Tarqwa, and father to two little girls, ages 4 and 9. A carpenter by trade, he had a slightly higher economic standing than his group when they began. Regardless, he decided it was worth it to become a savings group member even if his role as facilitator meant he could not take out loans.
He believes fatherhood means caring for his family and being responsible for them. Being a savings group member has allowed him to purchase household goods and furniture—including a television!
His wife appreciates the impact it has made on their relationship: “[The group] has caused us to have a closeness and transparency as husband and wife.”
Fathers, families and savings groups are a high priority for Discovering Light. The countercultural experience savings groups offer provides tools to accomplish the near-universal desire of fathers to provide a full and bountiful life for their families. And this reflects the principles of thrift, creativity, trustworthiness, and generosity that characterizes the abundant life Jesus promises.