Aja's Story

This is one of a series of posts written by Jaime Garcia, a young missionary who we have partnered with for some work in Thailand.

Within the congested city center of Chiang Rai, Thailand, resided a young boy named Aja. Throughout his meaningless childhood, he worked as a service station boy. Many like him, were well acquainted with the oppression and dangers of being a pump boy. Corporate gas stations usurped hundreds of young, uneducated boys to become pump helpers. Aja’s bare necessities were barely met by the measly wage. A decade later, he found himself still slaving at the station. His desolate future began to etch painfully into his soul. The vanity of the whole affair created an acute sensation of meaninglessness. He despaired, and longed for something, anything at all, other than endlessly rushing petrol into drivers’ vehicles. His heart was sick, yet his mind was brimming with dreams.
Around this time, Aja found a wife and they were blessed with two children. He felt as if h…

Jereun's Story

This is one of a series of posts written by Jaime Garcia, a young missionary who we have partnered with for some work in Thailand.

Jereun was a small-statured man, with a big smile, and all blackened teeth (a custom of the Hmong). Prior to receiving a FARMS revolving loan, he lived in a small grass hut. He did not possess any transportation, and was at the mercy of whatever storm engulfed him. In this dire time, he regretfully took out a loan from a secular institution. He was quickly overwhelmed by the exorbitant interest rate; roughly 130% of the original amount he owed. During the backbreaking season that ensued, he was placed into the vice grip of depression. He struggled to survive and feed his wife and children, while at the same time paying back the loan and the interest. Not only was the financial yoke bearing down upon his shoulders, but also the cruel fact of his land being signed over to the loan company for collateral was leaving its mark.

If he failed to make payment, his…

Aphi's Story

This is one of a series of posts written by Jaime Garcia, a young missionary who we have partnered with for some work in Thailand.

On the rolling hills of Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, a quaint village was nestled deep in the throbbing heart of the mountains. For centuries, this remote settlement had been called Mae Suai by the locals, meaning ‘the beautiful matriarch.’ During the 1960’s and 70’s, turmoil in the Laos and Myanmar forced tens of thousands of minority peoples to flee their villages. They slogged through precarious tangles of overgrown jungle, to cross the bloodstained, Thai guarded border. With great anxiety, throngs of newcomers arrived in ‘the land of freedom.’ Thailand became, for many, a place of asylum and opportunity, and for the Akha people, a rugged group of hunters and once-famed warriors, it became a place to proliferate their heritage unfettered from the oppression of their homelands.

The Akha people were known for being hard line animists, believers in a spi…

Cuban Bici-taxi

Transportation is in big demand in Cuba. Very few can afford to own a motorcycle, let alone a car. Therefore, you see a lot of human powered transportation, especially in rural areas.
A Bici-taxi is a very popular mode of transportation. Pastor Mario was able to receive a loan of $450 from the FARMS committee to buy a used bici-taxi. I was able to visit the pastor and heard that the pastor’s twenty year old son, Josbani, is the operator of the taxi. Mario related what the loan meant to his family. He said it was a “huge blessing.” His son now has a full time job and the taxi has created enough income to provide for their entire family of eight! Also, Mario and his wife have a son that is special needs, and the added income made it possible to improve a room where their son sleeps.
All of their income from the project is tithed to their rapidly growing church. In addition, about nine months ago they were led to plant another church that now has thirty members. Pastor Mario related that…

Cuban Electrical Repair

This is Mr. Rondo and his wife who live near Camaguey, Cuba. Although Mr. Rondo was trained as an electrician and as an appliance repairman, he could not find work because he had no tools or a place to work. It took just a small loan of $100 to enable him to buy some tools and to build a small shop behind his home.

When I asked him what the loan meant to him, his wife Helen and their two year daughter Angela, this was his answer. “The loan has been a prayer answered by God as a way to support my family. With my loan I started repairing small appliances in 2015 and because the business grew, I was able to employ my own father who had no job!”

One part of the business that has really grown, is the repair and manufacture of “flashers.” These are like a blinking tail light and by law all vehicles need to have them to operate on the roads at night. There is enough demand for this that Mr. Rondo's father helps him with this part of the business. Mr. Rondo also has expanded his business…

Cuban Carpentry

Tourism is booming in Cuba. Now with regular flights from the USA, anyone can travel to this island nation. The demand for souvenirs “Made in Cuba” is a surprise blessing to one our projects! Pastor Narlisus, is a skilled carpenter, and the FARMS Cuba committee helped him with a $3,500 loan for tools and for improvements to his carpentry shop. Because of the demand for his work in building furniture and other itemshe was able to hire three other full time workers and plans to hire two more in the coming months!

Hurricane Mathew hit the east end of Cuba, where his church and home is located, but even though he suffered a lot of damage, he has pressed on. The tithes of his employees have greatly blessed the church, enabling them rebuild their damaged church and even expand it. He also shared with me, that the project has greatly increased their family income enabling him to buy his wife Eny, a “much needed” wash machine.

When approached by a buyer about making souvenirs for the influx o…

Cuba 2017 Update

God is doing wonderful things in Cuba through the ministry of FARMS International. Our next few posts will share a few of the stories that Bill Wingenroth brought back from his March 2017 trip to Cuba.
Bill has been traveling to Cuba for almost 12 years with Provisions Bible Ministries, which trains church workers for the ministry through teaching seminars. He is also on our board of trustees and was instrumental in inviting us to consider working in Cuba. We are so thankful for his hard work and determination to see the gospel spread in this needy land. FARMS International began working in Cuba in 2012. What we have seen, even though there is a new freedom to create businesses and enlarge agricultural endeavors, there is no capital available for the average Cuban. If you are a resident of Cuba, your most likely source of capital to help start a business would be from a generous relative living in the USA. Otherwise, you are on your own! This is why FARMS is seen as a Godsend by those…