Nepal (MNN) — As the global food
crisis becomes more widely felt, Nepal's government is restricting exports of
daily food items, including rice. Rising prices are a major concern for a
country where most people live on less than a dollar a day.
In addition to scarcity, hoarding has begun. Many food aid programs are beginning to worry about cutbacks in the assistance they can give.
A third of the population is at risk if food prices continue their track. FARMS International's Joseph
Richter says, "There's no famine
right now, but the inflation rate in Nepal has skyrocketed. People there are finding it very difficult to
cope with their usual income sources. What they've reported is that these
financial constraints are also affecting the churches, and I would suppose, the
FARMS is working with three mission
organizations in an effort to strengthen believers economically and spiritually. The team uses interest-free loans
(micro-enterprise) and biblical stewardship training which will allow these
Christians to generate an income. That
money not only takes care of the daily needs of their family, but the tithing that
occurs will also support their local church.
Christians in more than twelve ethnic groups will
be impacted by these FARMS programs. They cover agricultural and animal husbandry, small business, and cottage industry.
FARMS likely will be responding
with more micro-enterprise projects in the area. Regarding their primary purpose, Richter says: "The local church is really God's plan for community
development and community outreach. When a church is strong, we see a real
strong grassroots impact on the community that's really targeted to those that
are the most needy in the community."
There is a young and growing church within
Nepal, and it is slowly maturing. Pray that the loan committees
will provide the necessary leadership and decision-making skills for the continued
success of programs. Pray, too, for continued success for the loan recipients as
they provide an example for others to follow.