Micro-enterprise spurs revival in 10/40 Window

By September 20, 2010

10/40 Window (MNN) — The 10/40 Window contains some of the most dangerous countries for Christians to live in. It is this hostility toward believers, however, that makes it one of the most necessary places for ministry.

The 10/40 Window is a geographical term used for an area of the world that includes Northern Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Many of the nations in it are either predominantly Muslim, or just regions where Christians are a minority. There is a deep need for the Gospel in this area, and FARMS International is responding.

"We are looking at starting two new programs in the 10/40 Window, and actually a majority of our programs are in the 10/40 Window," says Nathan McLaughlin with FARMS.

FARMS programs in this persecution-prone region are not perhaps the most likely tools for ministry, but they have proven to be extremely effective in the spread of the Gospel.

FARMS' main prerogative is to create micro-enterprise programs that allow believers to start businesses that they would otherwise never have the means to begin. In many countries in the 10/40 Window, Christians have a hard time starting and maintaining businesses because they are often ostracized and discriminated against in their cultures. FARMS provides them with what they need to survive and make their own income.

Once believers have gotten help from FARMS, they are equipped with a good or service to provide for those around them. "Now being able to provide that good or service, it becomes something that people–that would otherwise maybe be hostile to them–[need]. They need that water from the water pump or they need that crop," explains McLaughlin. "As that is provided, that discrimination begins to fall by the wayside because you're viewed more as an equal."

As believers gain equality and credibility in their society, they are able to more freely share their faith, and eventually lead people who may never otherwise have listened to Christ.

McLaughlin gives one example of this occurring in the 10/40 Window. A few years ago, FARMS helped a few Christians build water pumps to provide water for a rice farming community. The Christians were rejected by Muslim neighbors, who had actually martyred a few of the believers. During a drought, however, the wells of the Muslims dried up. They went to the Christians for help.

The believers gladly provided them with water. When they gave the Muslims the bill, the Muslims were astounded at the low price the Christians had charged. The Muslims testified that it was much more fair than the prices that even their Muslim brothers charged them for water. The Christians' generosity sparked an interest in Christ. In no time, a revival spread across the land, and church growth shot up, all as a result of a micro-enterprise project.

McLaughlin says FARMS has heard stories like this time and time again. As FARMS equips Christians with the resources they need to gain respect in their communities, more and more people are coming to Christ.

FARMS is starting two new projects in the 10/40 Window. If you'd like to help with these or any others that FARMS is involved with, visit their Web site at www.farmsinternational.com.

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