New FARMS programs support church growth in poor areas.

By June 19, 2019

Int’l (MNN) – Small loans are paying off for Christian families partnering with FARMS International. And their success means more programs.

What does a new FARMS program mean?

FARMS International strengthens local churches by offering interest-free loans to impoverished believers and their families. These loans help people establish a livelihood that can be self-supported, whether through agriculture or through small business. FARMS also encourages families to support local churches and give back to hurting communities.

Scott Clifton, Executive Director of FARMS International, explains that they follow a model that has some similarities to a multiplication model of church planting.

“When we say a new program, that means there is a separate committee that there wasn’t before. [It is made up] of local volunteers that oversee the operations of the program. That means there are three new committees in these three new locations. Sometimes it’s a completely new committee and sometimes it’s born out of an existing program and they are multiplying to form two committees where there was only one previously.”

Philippines

This model is working. In the Philippines, believers decided to put a second committee in place.

“There is knowledge that has been passed from the one committee to the new committee. There is a committee member that served on that former committee. That’s a very cool story of multiplication. They see the value in having a program like FARMS there and they want to see it increase.”

(Header photo and Farmer in the Philippines courtesy of FARMS International)

Traditionally, FARMS projects in the Philippines centered around agriculture. However, FARMS sees a growing need in urban environments, so they are moving into Manila. The team hopes to offer loans for small businesses.

For example, one pioneer entrepreneur is a pastor who operates a t-shirt business. He designs, prints, and sells his shirts. His loan will help that business grow and eventually his profits will help support his business and others.

As the team grows and more people give back, they can support new small business owners.

Bangladesh

Like in the Philippines, the new committee in Bangladesh hails from a previous FARMS group. They saw as-of-yet unexplored ways to help their community and proactively brought their idea for a new group to FARMS leadership.

FARMS approved the new initiative. Now, the group heads up a pilot program that operates out of their ministry center. They teach poor young people literacy skills to help them make prudent financial decisions and understand land and work contracts.

Cuba

(Dividends from small businesses used to fix a church vehicle in Cuba. Photo courtesy of FARMS International)

Unlike India and Bangladesh, the new group in Cuba is not tied to a previous FARMS team. Instead, the new group will start with just a few members who are primarily working in agriculture.

Pressing Needs

Clifton compares these new programs to new life that pops up in spring. They are fragile in the beginning, but as the programs grow, they become more sturdy. More members mean more stable groups.

As these new groups start, Clifton asks for two things:

Prayer

Pray that God would bless the work of the Christian families receiving the loans. Pray that they would use their loans wisely and seek God’s guidance in their decisions and as they reach out to their neighbors. Please also pray that God would direct FARMS leadership to families and churches that are serious about giving back to the kingdom of God and reaching their communities for Christ.

Financial Support

FARMS relies on donors. Clifton says, “It does cost money to fund programs. So, if people feel compelled to give financially, it would allow for programs like these to increase. It would also allow for other programs to be considered. There’s always more places that I’m in conversation with people about opportunities. There’s always more opportunities than we can pursue. If people are compelled to give financially that would be a great help as well.”

FARMS is a non-profit model They exist because of generous donors who believe in their mission. Consider supporting FARMS financially today.

Visit FARMSInternational.com to learn more.

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