International (MNN) — There’s a saying that goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” That’s the principle behind FARMS International.
FARMS provides a loan program for Christian families in poverty and helps give them a jumpstart for a project, a small business, or to build up a better farm. Their programs also get clients more involved with the church through tithing.
“It enables the church, because one of our requirements is that [those we help are] believers…, a member of a church, and they’re willing to tithe to that church,” says FARMS’s Joe Richter.
“The whole process of this actually is a great way to disciple people and to show them how faithful God is when they’re faithful.”
As a result, there’s been incredible success through clients’ lives and growth in churches.
In Thailand, for example, several believers received loans from FARMS and started a coffee production. The business grew, and they were able to increase their tithing. As a result, their church was able to support a church-planting missionary in Myanmar.
“That’s really exciting to us that we’ve gone full circle where those who [we] are helping are also sending out missionaries and doing church planting work across borders,” Richter says.
Thailand is just one country where FARMS is making an impact. Loan programs extend into several other countries in Asia, two in Africa, Cuba, and Moldova. It’s easy enough to say FARMS’ reach expands across the map in a variety of diverse places.
Now the ministry has plans to expand into Ecuador.
“There are still many families and villages that are in poverty, and the churches have very little financial help…because the people are that poor,” Richter explains. “We feel FARMS has a real opportunity in Ecuador to help in those villages and in those village churches.”
In most situations that FARMS has seen, when a church doesn’t have an adequate amount of tithing, it’s hard for them to support a pastor. In Ecuador especially, a pastor might have to service a dozen churches because they can’t afford local pastors. Richter says, “This is not a healthy situation.”
So why doesn’t FARMS just give to these churches? Because they want to see the people as well as the church grow together spiritually and economically as a community.
But to see this new program come to life, FARMS needs your support and prayer.
“New programs like this need new funding from individuals that might have a heart for South America or for the Kichwa people in general.”
Want to see this program work out? Make a move! Contact FARMS.
Yes as a salvation Army Officer, working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I find your approach very relevant. We have a similar appraoch through faith based facilitation but loan incentive that boost the economical level of church’s members and at the same time the local Church is what we need to insert to our Faith facilitation approach.
The Salvation Army/DRC Kinshasa (+243 999 371 303)