(MNN) — Senegal is
recognized as one of the more stable countries in Africa,
a model democracy. In spite of this,
poverty is widespread and unemployment high–two key factors that plague
neighboring countries, often ending in instability.
FARMS International's Nathan McLaughlin describes how
they're addressing the issue. "The Senegal FARMS program is a program we
started about three years ago, and we are working with a number of
churches in Dakar–the capital city, and the second city is Rufisque."
They provide micro-enterprise loans to needy families. Once a businessman gets a loan, he can get
started on his own business. The stipulation is that he also tithes to his
local church to support the pastor, hence freeing him up to do more outreach.
The key, says McLaughlin, is the connection with the local
church. "What we want is a healthy
family that is able to take care of itself, but also a family that is tithing
to their church. We believe that the best evangelism can take place when a
church is healthy and able to take care of itself."
They're excited because the churches are making good inroads
and witnessing to a large Sunni Muslim population there–even some outreach to
the tribal areas of Senegal.
McLaughlin says with their help, believers are emboldened.
"The Christians there face some tremendous challenges, but they are really
rising to the occasion and are really quite fearless in their spreading of the
Pray for the Senegalese Christian community. It's not so much prayer for protection from
persecution as it is that the church maintain their vision.