Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Helping The Poor


Are you tired of people becoming dependent upon outside gifts or entitlements to live? Don’t you think that everyone has a responsibility to at least ‘try’ to provide for themselves? This year I want to help end the cycle by doing more than just giving someone money. Read on… 

Denise and I have discovered something that many missionaries have written about. I have been engaged in world missions for over 20 years, and actually on the mission field for five. In that time, I have seen how a blessing can become a problem. Let me explain.

Often, on the mission field, ministry is dependent upon the missionary, and the missionary is dependent upon money from the USA. This is a good thing because it allows so many people to participate in missions. It is Biblical. It is how we take the gospel to new places and minister to the poor. World evangelism needs not only those who go. We must have those who can send. So what is the problem?

You and I agree that while it is virtuous to help others, it is harmful to create a welfare mentality. Yet this is what happens in missions, sadly to say more often than not. The current method of doing missions is a system where the national church’s dependence upon the missionary’s dependence upon the sending church/people can spell the end of ministry. There is a cycle in world missions. Missionaries travel to other lands, establish churches and ministries to help the poor and needy, then after as little as a year to as much as a few decades, the missionary returns home.

What happens to the ministry now? What happens to the ministry of the national if it is dependent upon the missionary who is dependent upon the sending group…when either the sending group of the missionary breaks the chain?

This is what happens. The ministry stops. It ends. It is over. We have created a culture of subsistence missionaries that sadly produce subsistence evangelism because, when the pipeline of cash from the sending church/people ends, so does the ministry. So, there are two problems to overcome for long-term impact. We have to somehow give without creating a welfare mindset, and at the same time learn how to by-pass the dependency upon the missionary.

The solution, when it is economically possible, is job creation. More than once I have had people ask me, both in person and on Facebook, how they can give to the poor without ‘hurting them’. How can you help the poor without your short term help actually hurting them in the long-term? We believe that sustainable growth is only possible when the growth is not dependent upon outside factors. We know that this functions in the real world. That is why we try to use job creation in our own country (the States) to help the overall economy. I actually have a donor who has told me that he will give me $1,000 as soon as I have a clean water micro-enterprise project ready to go. It is in the planning phases now, but he knows that providing clean water is vital, and if we can do it in a manner that also stimulates economical viability and provides jobs, it is a home run.

We agree with him and believe that the best way to help the poor is to provide opportunities for them. We want to not only give them material assistance; we want to lead them to a point where they can help others. We want to provide jobs and business opportunities to impoverished Christians and through those jobs provide not only a way out of poverty, but also an income string to fund ministry.

We want Bolivian Christians to fund Bolivian Ministry with Bolivian money earned in Bolivian business ventures.

Our goal is to start small businesses that will be 100% non-profit. The businesses will provide good jobs and benefits to Bolivian church leaders (99% of Bolivian pastors are bi-vocational). We will provide slightly better than market salary/benefit packages to improve the quality of lives for these church leaders. These businesses will also provide money so that ministry to the poor such as helping orphans, providing food and shelter to the homeless, clean water projects, building homes, starting and constructing churches, etc., can happen without a dependency upon the missionary or the sending groups. If we can start businesses that create jobs and provide money for ministry, all “in-house”, then the ministry is no longer tied to a simple love offering or an expense item in a missionary’s budget. Ministry is now open-ended, multi-generational and avoids the welfare mentality.

This is the purpose of this letter. We are looking for start up capital to begin these businesses. Our current plans are to open a guesthouse, coffee shop, language school, and a hamburger fast food restaurant. The profit generated by our businesses will be used to fund local ministries. Imagine what would happen in your hometown if the owner of a Burger King, a Starbucks, a Private School, and a small hostel all donated 100% of their net profit to Christian ministry! We will not be franchised, but this is a good illustration of our vision. We want to start private industries providing honest employment, sustainable growth, and monies to invest in God’s Kingdom.

This is where we need you to make a high impact and eternal difference in Bolivia!

We need like-minded Christians such as you to invest in lives. Here is how you can do it.

First of all, there are some of you that are receiving this letter that have a large sum of money to invest. We are looking for people that can give us a “no to low” interest loan. We will return your start up capital at the agreed upon interest rate. This way you can take the money that you currently have in money market or low yielding mutual and invest it in the Kingdom, in lives, and in eternity while receiving both an eternal and temporal return. We are looking for people that can invest $10,000 to $25,000 for up to three years.

This probably doesn’t describe most of you. However, we are also looking for people that can simply give a lump sum gift of $1,000 to $5,000 for us to use as start up funds. The goal is to invest the money in a business, then as it becomes self-sustaining to take out the initial investment and use it in another start up. Your gift could be multiplied in maybe ten different ventures, giving us constant start up capital. This money is tax deductible and should be sent to Ripe For The Harvest, Holmans, Project #340. For more information on how to give the way that you want to, go to and click on the donate tab.

I don’t know how you can become involved in this exciting venture, but God does and He will reveal it to you. Please pray and join us in changing lives both here and forever.

In Jesus,

Joe Holman
Director Of Central And South America,
Ripe For The Harvest World Outreach

P.S. Please contact me directly with questions about how you can help or for more information on the project.

pps (as per IRS regulations) Contributions are solicited with the understanding that Ripe For The Harvest has total discretion and control over donated funds.


Andrea said...

Awesome Joe!! Denners will pray as to how we could do something to help. I LOVE this idea.

Andrea D