Mizoram became India’s 23rd state in 1987. With a population of slightly more than a million and an area of 8,142 square miles, it is the second least populous state in India. Although 20% of the population lives below the official poverty line, the people are highly literate and nearly 90% claim to be Christian by census count. This makes Mizoram ideal for the FARMS International program.
The FARMS International mission is based on Galatians 6:10. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
FARMS “uses small entrepreneurial loans to fulfill its vision to empower the poor and their churches to carry out the great commission.” The ministry is unique in several ways, some of which may be difficult for those accustomed to more traditional outreach ministries. The no-interest loans are granted only to Christians (especially to those who are of the household of faith) in response to resident and indigenous outreach ministries.
The focus of FARMS is to fund agricultural and other entrepreneurial endeavors that will help to empower individual believers and the ministries of their local churches. The funds may be used to purchase equipment and materials necessary to establish and operate the projects until they are self-sustaining. Project holders make a commitment to tithe to their local churches. Board members overseeing projects make periodic visits to program sites to provide continuous training and encouragement.
Each loan is interest-free and is granted upon acceptance of a complete business plan that will enable families to become free from poverty by working and giving and enable their local church to become a source of community blessing and evangelism. Each repayment plan is based on the type of project and repayment does not begin until the project has generated adequate profit.
Loans are arranged with individuals or, in the case of families, with the head of the household in keeping with the Biblical order. FARMS International believes that women are often entrapped into cyclical debt through programs that view them as “economically disenfranchised” but fail to see them as being “positionally vulnerable,” especially in an honor culture where the husband may fight for control of the money generated by the woman and, if unable to do so, will abandon the family, making matters worse.
FARMS works in collaboration with multiple other faith-based NGOs, including GMI, Vessels of Mercy Ministries, ECHO, EFM, and Voice of the Martyrs.
- Missions Network News, FARMS International starting a new project in Asia!
- Wikipedia, Mizoram
- FARMS International, Newsletter