Lending program helps build up the church overseas

By December 11, 2006

USA (MNN) — While it’s called Farms International that’s not really their focus anymore, says it’s President Joe Richter.

Historically it began as an approach to help Christian farmers around the world, but now we’ve changed in many ways to help with small businesses and entrepreneurial type projects,” says Richter.

That help is through $300 to $600 loans that help Christian families out of poverty. There’s a reason they only offer the loans to Christian families. “Part of our programs requires that individual families tithe to their local church out of the profits of their project. The reason we take this approach is we feel the church is God’s plan to bless that local community whether it be through evangelism or mercy ministries in that community.”

Richter says Farms is working in 12 countries today, many of them creative access nations. “We’re in a key position to reach into areas that some missionaries can’t operate. And so, we’ve had a unique opportunity here to be able to strengthen the local church, even without the presence of a missionary from the west.”

According to Richter, the program is working. “These Christian families as they prosper and as they give to their church they become very creative in their outreach of evangelism and we’ve seen several instances where they have done cross border evangelism and ministry training into neighboring countries that are even more hostile than the one’s they’re in.”

However, funding is needed to help start loan programs to help the local church be more self-sustaining. “$30 a month can easily fund a family loan. Over a couple of years you would actually be helping three families.”

Tomorrow we’ll tell you how this type of support keeps children out of the sex trade.

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