Welcome friends and readers to my web page!

Welcome friends and readers to my web page!

I write sweet and inspirational romances and romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, Simon and Schuster, Howard Books, and Tule Publishing Group. I love to interact with readers daily on Facebook and Instagram.
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Apr 8, 2013

Being a Samaritan

Two summers ago my family traveled to the Ukraine to help Samaritan Ministries Ukraine.  We spent a week with the kind and welcoming people and with Peace Corps volunteer Ben Fresquez.  We were impressed with Ben and his passion for giving.  Here's a letter from Ben on the work he and Samaritan Ministries Ukraine is doing.

April 7, 2013
     My name is Ben Fresquez and I am a Peace Corps volunteer working with Samaritan Ministries in Ukraine. I have been living in Ukraine for nearly two years and have had the greatest experience of my life. As a community development volunteer, I have the opportunity to work in many different areas, both within the Pulin community and throughout the country.
   One of these includes my interest and passion for business. In this regard, I have been working with SMU Director, Alex Brzhezytskyy on our regional Social Enterprise Development program centralized in the Zhytomyrska Oblast. Working with the SMU micro-financing program and watching the businesses grow in the short years I have been here, has been so completely fulfilling and inspiring.
   I recently spent an interesting day working with Ivan Prokopchuk on his farm last week in the village of Skolobiv. Ivan is a small agricultural business owner who specializes in dairy and meat production. Two years ago, Ivan received his first SMU business loan of $5,000 needed to purchase equipment to prepare land for his operation. Once repayment was complete in the summer of last year, he then received a second loan to grow the operation and boost production. Ivan now operates a large farming operation of pigs, sheep, poultry, and over 100 cattle! It is amazing to see how much growth and success that can be achieved through something as simple as a loan.

     In Ukraine, aspiring business owners face many obstacles in starting their businesses and contributing to the local economy. Businesses find it exceedingly difficult to develop their operation due to the high interest rates chrged by banks, and the challenges of getting the initial capital. According to research statistics, Ukraine’s small and medium businesses contribute only around 10–15 percent of GDP, which pales in comparison to the U.S. (50.7) and Canada (54.2) percent contribution. For many Ukrainian business owners, securing bank loans can prove to be impossible for most. It is difficult to find good credit conditions that will allow borrowers to pay the principal on a loan, while at the same time generating sufficient income.
    SMU micro-financing program offers short-term, low-interest rates (approximately 8-10 percent per annum) as compared to 25-40 percent offered by banks. Our program is focused on building strong, trusting and robust relationships with clients by teaching people how to operate their business more efficiently, write a business plan, and market their products or services. We offer the necessary training, follow-up, and feedback for optimum success. The interest, which is sometimes paid back in-kind, is used to help sustain the Samaritan ministry, while the principle is returned to the general fund to make it available to another person or family. In this way, the program is revolving and self-sustaining.
    Ivan’s success would not have been possible without the support from the SMU micro-loan. Over the last year, Ivan has been able to successfully grow his business and become a lead supplier of dairy and meat in the region. He is one of the largest suppliers for Рудь "Rud", one of Zhytomyr’s top ice-cream companies! Nothing is sweeter than that!

On the behalf of SMU
Ben Fresquez
You can support SMU by making your checks payable to Good Samaritan Ministries or Amigo Relief Missions and sending to the following addresses:


Good Samaritan Ministries
C/O Donald N. Miller
12814 NW Bishop Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124


Amigo Relief Missions
C/O Dennis Scraba
23 Donnely Terrace
Sherwood Park, AB
T8H 2B3

Mark your check "Zhitomir"

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