No Interest Loans-BAM
Ministering in a third-world country, we have found ourselves learning how to minister holistically. Scripture continually reminds us that we cannot overlook physical needs while tending to their spiritual needs. We have watched pastors and leaders in the church be burdened with the great physical needs of their families and congregations.
While coming alongside the Cambodian people, we want to guard against dependency, of course. So, we teach them how to fish. We believe micro-finance or small loans can be part of the solution to help the church grow stronger with more of a chance for sustainability.
For example, we gave a no interest loan to a very poor Cambodian pastor (who was making $50/month) to purchase a van to open a small-scale tour guide business. He advertises that he is more than a driver. He will teach, preach, lead music or serve in any way while on duty! He has a desire to serve God wherever his van travels take him and many Christian organizations use his services. He is now self-sustained because of this opportunity.
Sarin has been in many provinces throughout Cambodia proclaiming the gospel. Sarin’s vision is also to help Refuge for the Poor and to pass his blessings on to those we minister to.
Tes is another example of someone using business as a platform for evangelism and discipleship. Tes, a dormitory vocational student, has a life-threatening illness and only completed school through the eighth grade. We found a sponsor for him to study small electronic equipment repair. After completing the program, Tes started a small business through the help of another sponsor who also sees the benefit of using business as an opportunity to advance the gospel.
Tes now has credibility in his Muslim village. He has opened a small shop in a busy market in Phnom Penh and is a light to his customers and the other shop owners.
We have a vision for businesses outside of Cambodia to partner with our business as mission startups for counsel and future growth. We would love to see businesses in the states help fund new startups in Cambodia. We continue to look at businesses as a venue for evangelism and discipleship to take place.
We have been able to start a small discipleship group with a sewing shop owner, the tour van business owner along with a few of our church leaders. At the first meeting, Greg showed them a diagram of how one person can end up reproducing many disciples and encouraged them begin taking on their own disciples. They were not on board with the concept at first. Greg told them to think about it and pray. About a year later, a few of the men have seen the importance of discipleship and are now leading their own disciples.