"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Is not all good, good? It is when it preserves dignity and avoids dependency! That is why FARMS International follows a biblical
approach to releasing families from poverty. We combine Christian stewardship with interest free loans to help families
give and work their way out of poverty. Our unique and refreshing approach to microcredit has helped thousands of families
and their churches in places of great need and persecution for over 56 years! Please join our family.
Jesus had compassion for the poor, and he left us this challenge, "...whensover ye will ye may do them good…” Are you willing?
FARMS International is an opportunity for you to "do good" for your poor brothers and sisters in an exciting and practical
These special editions of our newsletter offer in-depth information on FARMS approach and methods
FARMS is actively working in Cuba and has been there since 2012. Although the economic system there makes it difficult
for Cubans to provide for their families, the church is growing rapidly in Cuba. Many Cubans would like to start a small business
since they were legalized by governmental reforms in 2010 but they do not have access to the funds required to do so.
FARMS works with Cuban house churches across Cuba to provide loans for these businesses. Our programs have funded hog
farms, carpenter shops, chicken farms, and more.
Bangladesh is a diverse country with 164 million people that occupy a land area comparable to the state of Wisconsin. We have four programs in this needy country. Our first began in 1996 with Christians living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This area is known as the most diverse tribal area in the world. Bordering Myanmar on the east, it is a narrow strip of hilly land filled with remote villages connected by foot trails. We partner with an indigenous tribal church association to provide income generation loans for this rapidly growing Christian population.
Our second program began in 1997 when only 1000 believers were part of a new people movement with converts from the majority religion. FARMS mainly supported pedal rickshaw projects, which through additional indigenous funding, now numbers in the thousands. Our partnership in the beginning of this movement has be credited with spurring the growth of thousands of house churches.
Our third program began in 1998, helping a community of Bengali converts from the Hindu minority. These Christians are disadvantaged and extremely poor. Most of the projects involve farming and small animal raising.
A fourth program was begun in 2007 and is in the far southwestern part of the country just north of the Ganga Delta. Although this part of the country in culturally Hindu, there has been a real openness to the gospel. This region is nearly inaccessible, except by water. THe main projects in this region consist of fish farming, poultry, and cattle raising.
Haiti has the distinction of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, its name has become synonymous with poverty
and sometimes hopelessness. FARMS mission in Haiti is to confront the notion of hopelessness through our loan programs.
We have been very pleased to see God move in hearts to produce genuine hope in believers, without the perennial scourge
FARMS International has two programs in Haiti originating in 1997, one centered in the northern city of Cap Haitien and the
other on the Central Plateau near Bohoc.
We partner with Family Life Outreach in Cap Haitien, which is the development arm of the indigenous Evangelical
Church of Haiti, which consists of over 50 churches both rural and urban. This group of churches is fully independent
and self-supporting, which is almost unique in Haiti. Here, FARMS helps families with agricultural and small business loans.
Our other program, on the Central Plateau, reaches out to many local independent and denominational churches.
The plateau is extremely poor and our program is a real blessing to Christian families. Access to credit is limited
and other “microcredit” groups are reported to charge exorbitant interest for loans. Our interest free loans are a breath
of fresh air.
Moldova, a former satellite of the Soviet Union is a small nation landlocked between the Ukraine and Romania. When our program
started in 2005 it was a first for FARMS in Eastern Europe. Moldova is known as “the poorest country” in Europe. Although,
formally known as the “breadbasket” of Eastern Europe, Moldova was devastated economically when the Soviet Union broke
apart. Its agricultural products were no longer welcomed in Russia. Although Moldova is a country rich in agricultural
resources, it is still struggling as a nation. The average Moldovan family lives on $1200 dollars a year. Imagine providing
food, housing, and education for children at this income level in Europe.
The people of Moldova have a great work ethic and are proud of their history and our projects reflect this; a true entrepreneurial
spirit prevails. Projects include beekeeping projects, mushroom growing, greenhouse vegetable farming and numerous animal
and other agricultural endeavors.
It is our goal to see more and more families given an opportunity to use their skills to work, prosper, and maintain their
dignity. We have been greatly encouraged by the testimonies of pastors who have seen increased tithing in their churches,
which allows them to focus on ministering and sharing the Gospel. Please pray for the Christians in Moldova. Also, pray
that we can enlarge the program to help more Christian families, especially those that are adopting orphans into their
Nagaland lies in the far northeast of India and the Naga people who live there consist of sixteen colorful and courageous
tribes. The Nagas have embraced Christianity in overwhelming numbers with some estimates putting the percentage of believers
at 80% of the population. Several revivals have swept through Nagaland and nearly every village has a church.
FARMS began working with churches of the Ziliangron tribe in 2004. This tribe, because of its remoteness, has had few opportunities
for economic advancement. In fact, many of them have relocated to better their livelihood. For years, security concerns
have restricted travel of foreigners to any outlying villages. On our last visit, we felt honored to be able to visit
three Ziliangron villages. In fact, we were the first foreigners ever to step foot in these particular villages!
God is working through FARMS in Nagaland and we have been encouraged by the reports of how the increased tithing that FARMS
loans have created has enabled the Nagas to send missionaries throughout the region. Our projects there consist of agriculture,
fish farming, rubber tree plantations, silk production, animal husbandry, and hand woven material.
The location of our program in the Philippines is in the Central Luzon region of the large province of Pangasinan.
This province is noted for its agriculture, especially rice and corn. Bounded on the north by Lingayen Gulf it also has a
large aquaculture and marine fisheries industry. FARMS executive director Joe Richter and his wife, Pat, have a special
place in their hearts for Pangasinan; it was there, in 1971, that they received their fisheries training as US Peace Corps Volunteers.
Although the Philippines has prospered in many ways, the rural areas still face many economic hardships. This is true of many of the
remote villages in this part of the Philippines. We began our program in Pangasinan after being contacted by a predominantly Filipino church
in New Jersey. The pastor of that church asked if we could start a program in his birthplace to help the many disadvantaged Christians.
Their church graciously helped fund part of the initial startup and have continued to support FARMS over the years. Our program began in 2003
and has projects in agriculture and home industry. The tithing from project holders has helped the churches a great deal.
In 1998, we began our first program in Thailand with churches along the northern border with Laos. The churches are primarily
made up of Christians from the Hmong, Aka and Mien tribal groups. These tribal people are very disadvantaged and mostly
live in remote villages. Historically, tribal farmers used destructive slash and burn farming practices which have been
outlawed; forcing them to find new ways to support themselves. FARMS loans have gone a long way in helping that by funding
many agricultural ventures as well as some small businesses. Coffee growing has turned out to be a profitable enterprise
and our loans have helped farmers grow and develop this industry in their villages. The tribal people of Thailand have
been receptive to the gospel and many churches have been planted along this border region. The FARMS program has
truly been a blessing to both these people and their churches.
Our second program in Thailand is serving the Lahu tribal churches along the northern border with Myanmar. The Lahu people
are a displaced people group with roots in Myanmar. In 2003 we partnered with Thailand Lahu Christian Church (TLCC)
in Chiang Mai. This indigenous church group partners with the Evangelical Free Church in missions. The churches are
in remote villages and most of our projects are in animal husbandry and cash crops like coffee. The Lahu people
are hard working and have a zeal for evangelism and missions.
The indigenous Quechua people live mostly in the high Andes mountain region of Ecuador. As a group, they are considered a
reached people with a long history of missionary endeavor and support. Nevertheless, even though the church has indigenous
leadership, it is not very strong and struggles for lack of pastors. Many pastors have several congregations that they
serve, and even with that, they are not fully supported and usually have to supplement their support with farming or
other occupations. In addition, the younger generation is drifting from the faith. Our hope and prayer is that through
the new FARMS program, there will be many tangible examples of self-help established. We are partnering with missionaries
serving with Pioneers to start a program located in the Chimborazo region of Ecuador.