International (MNN) — Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s mind, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” When FARMS International began in 1967, it had a straightforward strategy. Today, the Lord is expanding the ministry’s horizons.
“We’ve been focused on strengthening the global Church through small business revolving loan programs operated locally,” Executive Director Scott Clifton says.
Last year, “a new type of partnership developed. We feel like God put it right in front of us.”
Traditionally, FARMS began programs alongside local church partners in areas of extreme poverty. More about that here. While maintaining this approach, FARMS is also stepping into an advisory role, helping churches and individual believers improve or start new projects.
Both methods aim to empower impoverished churches, and each “focuses on sustainability,” Clifton says.
“Once someone raises their income level, that (empowerment) carries on indefinitely into the future without the need for outside support.”
First, a church in the United States sought help from FARMS for a partnering pastor in Uganda. “This church wanted it (their support) to be more sustainable long-term,” Clifton says.
Work began on a brand-new poultry project at the end of 2022. “The church had passion, desire, and funding to help this pastor in Uganda and his family. FARMS had the experience and expertise in business development, sending funds overseas, and so on,” Clifton says.
Then, another U.S. couple reached out to FARMS when the Lord put Belize on their hearts. “They wanted to participate in development in that country beyond a one-week short-term trip every year,” Clifton says.
“They started [asking themselves,] ‘what would it look like to positively impact the people of Belize for years to come?’ We conducted a vision event, and they gathered [dozens of Christian] leaders from around Belize.”
As church leaders expressed interest, the couple coordinated with FARMS to arrange a second meeting “to talk more specifically about what that (project) would look like,” Clifton says.
“That’s going to start rolling in 2023. We’re excited about what this next year holds for Belize.”
Wondering how to make the projects you support more sustainable? Connect with FARMS International here.
“It’s not just humanitarian [aid]; it’s not just raising income. It’s this focus on the Church that motivates many people to get involved,” Clifton says.
Header image courtesy of FARMS International.