Cambodia (MNN) — Cross-border gunfight between Thailand and Cambodia has created more unrest in the regions. This new wave of turbulence makes a new FARMS International program even more welcomed.
FARMS International is starting a new program in Cambodia this week to help guide Cambodians out of poverty. It will focus mainly on loan distribution to those who qualify.
"One of the great challenges of this program will be overcoming the mindset of dependency that has been instilled in the people," says FARMS Executive Director, Joseph Richter.
Cambodia has been a country of great unrest since the 1950's. Vietnam occupied Cambodia until the early 1990's and held many of Cambodia's citizens in camps, where the people learned to rely on someone else to provide their needs. Violence with Thailand will undoubtedly reignite dependent tendencies.
Although it will be difficult to break dependent habits, Richter is convinced the program will be extremely rewarding for Christians. "I think it's an opening right now to really show them that God's Word is true, that He can provide for them in any setting, that if they work hard they'll prosper and their churches will also prosper," says Richter.
An exciting aspect of the program is that the Cambodians have requested
it. "This program has been asked for by the people themselves, and so
this is a big step forward," notes Richter.
It is indeed a big step for the Cambodian people to be in favor of
self-sufficiency. Preparations for this project have been underway for
eight years but have not been implemented due to the people's apathetic
view toward independence. If this new desire to move forward remains,
the microloan project through FARMS should work beautifully.
The hope is that as believers receive loans, work to pay off those loans, and then make a profit, they will also begin to tithe and build up their churches. This presumably will offer a great deal of hope–and perhaps stability in the midst of turmoil–to Cambodian Christians.
Ultimately, FARMS is providing hope to the Cambodian people through the Gospel. "I really believe that the Gospel will be transformational for these people. The hope of those working there is that this program of giving small loans that have to be paid back will change their whole mindset."
Pray that the first recipients of these loans will be good examples to other believers of how this program can benefit the people and their church. Pray also that Cambodian Christians would not be deterred by calamity, but would stand firm in their Lord by serving Him with their hands.