Showing posts from 2017

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…

Slow Kingdom Coming Book Review

Those involved in the administration of FARMS have recently been engaged in a discussion of the book “Slow Kingdom Coming” by Kent Annan. It’s a thought provoking book by a veteran of Christian justice work in Haiti that delivers on its subtitle’s promise to provide “practices for doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly in the world.” These practices resonated with us and so we thought we would share them with our readers along with a discussion of how FARMS practices them.

The first practice Annan identifies to sustain us as the kingdom comes is attention. He encourages us to awake to justice and open our eyes to the needs of the world. He does not dwell overly long on this, probably because he knows his readers are already paying attention (as are FARM’s blog readers). Of course, we all know people who aren’t and this chapter is an encouragement to us to help those people start paying attention. As an organization, it’s part of FARMS mission to increase the attention of the …

Haiti Update Winter 2016-2017

Haiti a land of trials, disasters, sorrows, hardships, droughts and mudslides due to deforestation, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, corruption, and despair! A place easy to give up on, right? However, we can’t give up. Why? Because God has not given up on Haiti, so we won’t either! As, “… one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26

FARMS International has worked in Haiti for many years. In contrast to the approach of many “helping” in Haiti, we provide a way out of poverty, that builds real hope, without creating dependency. It is hard, there are always setbacks and disappointments, but we have seen real success. Yes, Haiti can help itself. Believers have learned the joy of giving and giving generously. Therefore, they have seen God’s blessing upon the work of their hands. They appreciate the self-help approach of FARMS. Pray for the believers in Haiti, they have the message of hope that Haiti needs.

Here are a few recent pictures from FARMS projects in …

FARMS Moldova Greenhouse Project Update

We recently received the tremendous news that a container filled with 18 donated greenhouses and 675 “Flip and Grow” pots had almost finished their trip to Moldova from Luurtsema Sales, Inc. in Jenison, Michigan!
These durable greenhouse frames will be distributed among Christian families that are part of the FARMS Moldova program. The green house is not only a gift, but an integral part of each project loan package. To make it a functioning project, plastic will be purchased out of the loan as well as the other items needed to make them successful projects. Without a doubt, these greenhouses will be a “dream come true” for many families. Their cost would certainly be out of reach for most families.
The “Flip and Grow” three-gallon pots will become part of every greenhouse project, increasing their growing capacity. They will also go to other families to use around their homes and in their gardens. The pots require no weeding, can be reused and crops are ready weeks earlier than norma…