Moldova (MNN) — Bees are helping churches in Moldova grow.
FARMS International began a honey bee project among their churches in Moldova. Honey production is a good option there since the economy is mostly agricultural. Even people in cities usually have a small plot.
One of the goals of the FARMS' honey project is to develop Christian families living in Moldova and to allow the family to stay together and support themselves. They receive a $500-$800 (U.S.) loan which enables them to buy 8-12 bee hives. Since honey is a rare and valuable commodity in Moldova, families are usually able to pay off the loan after the second round of honey production.
Three families are currently participating in the project. One is a mother and father with three children. The average yearly family income in Moldova is equivalent to $800-$1200 U.S. "This can triple or quadruple a family's income, so it's pretty substantial," said FARMS' Nathan McLaughlin.
With that extra money comes responsibility, though. "The main focus of what FARMS does is a component that we teach on stewardship and tithing. [Participants in] the honey
projects are actually required through the contract that they signed with the FARMS committee in Moldova to begin tithing 10% of that honey project back to the church," said
McLaughlin. "The tithing helps support their pastor, support the building, and support missionaries so that they're able to go out and share the Gospel."
Churches are definitely seeing the benefits of this project. One pastor described the effect it has had on people in Moldova. "We now have
churches that did not exist two years ago that are now growing in attendance and influence in each of their villages. Without the opportunity and training provided by FARMS, we wouldn't be where we are today," said McLaughlin.