International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is November 25, two days after Americans give thanks for a multitude of blessings. Many women in both developed and developing countries will just be giving thanks that they live to see another day.
Violence against women persists throughout the world and takes on many forms. While many people tend to see it as an issue that only exists in oppressed countries where women aren't viewed as equals, it's a problem that runs rampant even in developed countries like the United States. Oftentimes, it takes the form of domestic violence and sexual assault but it can also be genital mutilation and random attacks in the street.
The UN reports that in 87 countries from 2005 to 2016, 19 percent of women ages 15 to 49 said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in the previous 12 months.
This typically translates into 1 in 3 women experiencing violence against them at some point in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization. That means that if you are a woman and have two female friends, one of you has experienced assault in some form because of your gender. If you're a man and you have three female friends, one of them has experienced someone being physically violent toward them.
This is why the UN established days like the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Awareness is key and it can lead to action. That's where we've stepped in to help women in poverty.
Many of our artisan co-operatives are comprised of women who are sewing and creating products by hand to support themselves and their children. This means they can afford to send their kids to school, buy food for their table, and shoes for their feet. When children are educated, human rights issues such as gender inequality aren't as prominent. The children learn right from wrong, fair from unfair, and how to treat others no matter their gender or skin color.
In addition to our female artisans, as part of our Renew Bihar program we have created an empowering women program. When the program is fully launched, we will be able to train women on how to develop and create quality products. We'll also show them how to run a business, hire employees, and practice ethical business standards. We will walk alongside them as they slowly build a small business and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Here at Jesus' Economy, we are in the business of empowering women. When women are empowered, the cycle of poverty breaks which helps the community in which they live. As a result, more people in the community are able to have access to education. When communities see this increase in education, the violence against women decreases.
When International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women arrives this Saturday the 25, talk about it with your friends and family, spread awareness, pray about how you can help end violence against women across the globe, and then take action.
A huge part of the vision of Jesus’ Economy for holistic community transformation is creating churches by providing grants. Planting churches in Bihar, India is a vital part of renewing the community in the name of Jesus. When the gospel of Jesus Christ is learned and experienced through the ministry of a church community, lives are transformed.
Did you know that your small group, Bible study, or life group could be a part of this effort? By collectively sponsoring a church planter, you can support the formation of a spiritual community from across the globe. Through Jesus' Economy several small groups have supported renewing communities; now we're making it even easier for you to do the same.
We currently sponsor four church planters who work in different villages throughout Northern India. Rahul, Santhosh, Veer, and Advik are each dedicated to bringing the gospel to unreached people, to those who have never heard the name of Jesus. It only costs $226 per month to support a church planter. In a small group of eight people, it would cost each person less than $30 a month to sponsor one of our church planters’ monthly salary and expenses. The monthly amount also includes the administrative costs of our partner organization in India, which provides ongoing training, accountability, and infrastructure to the planters.
Here's how we're making it easy. Your small group can automatically give each month, by selecting monthly giving. With Jesus' Economy, you can set the sponsorship up once with someone's credit card and then collect the funds each month at your group; we will automatically charge the credit on file. Or, if you each want your own individual receipts, you can each commit monthly in a smaller amount to sponsoring the same church planter. Collectively, that church planter will be supported by your small group, Bible study, or life group. You will have brought the gospel to the unreached.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about the beauty of church to church generosity. Encouraging the Corinthian church to fulfill their commitment to help the impoverished church in Jerusalem, he says:
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:12–15 NIV)!
Paul declares that a donation is not only helpful for those who receive it, but also prompts others to praise God. He then connects the “indescribable gift,” that is Jesus, to the gift of generosity. As God has been generous to us through providing Jesus, so we should be generous to others.
The efforts of people supporting church planters in Bihar have led to us praising God! Here are some beautiful stories of transformation already happening in Bihar because of the partnership between church planters and those who have chosen to support their ministry.
People in Bihar are encountering the love and healing of Jesus for the first time ever. Their lives are changing as they choose to trust God. People are being baptized and churches are being formed. God is working through Rahul, Santhosh, Veer, and Advik—and he can also work through you.
Click below to sponsor individual planters and read their stories:
Please prayerfully consider supporting one of our church planters with your small group today.
During 2017, Santhosh has continued to bring the good news of Jesus to more villagers. 20 new people have chosen to believe in Jesus and 11 people have been baptized. He has also seen growth in the home churches he leads, as 18 new people have started regularly attending Sunday morning services.
He recently held a spiritual renewal seminar that brought together 250 people from 16 different villages. It was the first time something like that had ever happened in that part of India and it resulted in much excitement about the name of Jesus.
Santhosh launched a literacy training center in one of the villages that he ministers to and it has been a great addition to the village. 40 children from that village are studying in the literacy training center, learning to read for the first time. Without Santhosh's work, these children would likely never have the opportunity to learn to read. Several adults have also joined.
Through his ministry, Santhosh has seen a total of 297 people trust in Jesus. Among those 297, 153 people have been baptized. The believers are spread across 13 house churches and eight home Bible study groups. People are regularly coming to Christ.
Santhosh's impact in Northern India continues to be deep, profound, and exciting. Join in this excitement by donating to the church planting fund so he and the other church planters can continue spreading the name of Jesus.
Baptisms abound in Bihar, India, as church planter Veer continues to spread the gospel throughout a dozen villages.
This has been the first full year of church planting for Veer and he has spent the year working diligently to bring the name of Jesus to many villagers. In the first six months of the year, more than 1,300 people heard the gospel for the first time. And in total, more than 4,000 people have heard the name of Jesus through Veer's ministry!
During the first six months of the year, 11 people were baptized and eight people said they wanted to be baptized and are in the process of preparing for baptism. Veer has continued to use the analogy of the water well that Jesus' Economy provided. He tells people that as the water well has given villagers access to clean water, Jesus is the Living Water (John 4:13–14). Through this simple analogy, many people have heard about the love of Jesus and wanted to know more. People are seeing how the love of Jesus is tangible, but also eternal.
Veer has successfully launched five house churches and six Bible study groups. Across the home churches, he has seen a regular attendance of 98 people. Of those 98 church attendees, 31 people total have been baptized over the past year, demonstrating their full commitment to Jesus!
Because of Veer's dedication to his ministry, many people are hearing about the love of Jesus for the first time in their lives. The gospel is reaching the unreached.
Veer is looking forward to another year of church planting and spreading the gospel. Please join us in helping him reach more people for Jesus by praying for and supporting him.
Church planter Rahul's dedication to 11 different villages in Northern India has resulted in many people trusting in God and attending church on Sundays. Through prayer, lives are being changed. The gospel is reaching people who had previously never heard the name of Jesus.
Rahul has been a church planter sponsored by Jesus' Economy since October 2015; and because of his hard work, more than 4,500 people have heard the gospel for the first time. Of the people who have listened to Rahul, 119 have chosen to believe in Jesus.
With these high numbers, especially of villagers choosing to trust in Jesus, Rahul has established a main church in one of the villages. Every Sunday, people flock to the church, which is actually not a building but rather a meeting place under a large tree. More than 70 people attend this service on a regular basis!
This is a huge answer to prayer as this is the same village and church that was experiencing heavy flooding and rains during monsoon season. Because of this extreme weather, Rahul had experienced troubles getting people to come back to church and being regular attendees. Now, people are excited to gather together and listen to Rahul.
In addition, Rahul has established five other house churches and is conducting five Bible study groups. And through his ministry, 24 people have been baptized!
Rahul continues to see more and more people want to change their life and trust in Jesus. All of this work is based in prayer and driven by prayer.
Celebrate with our brother Rahul, as he got married in March and is now working alongside his new bride in ministry! Partner with and pray for Rahul as he strives to spread the gospel throughout Bihar, India.
Jesus' Economy sponsored church planter Advik is bringing the gospel to unreached people groups in Bihar, India. He was first sponsored in September 2016 and since that time his ministry has grown rapidly.
When Advik first arrived in the village he is serving in, he found that the people desperately needed clean water. Thus Jesus' Economy sponsored a water well. This well has given people access to clean, safe drinking water. The well helps show people in the village Jesus' love. Because Advik advocated for clean water for the village, people are more than willing to listen to and trust him.
Advik has been successful in starting five Bible study groups and one house church. There are 18 villagers regularly attending the house church. People who had previously never heard of Jesus are hearing Advik tell the biblical story every week.
Due to Advik's ministry, over 40 people have trusted in Jesus. In addition, three people have taken the beautiful step of being publicly baptized and three others have expressed the desire to be baptized.
It is Advik's hope that as time goes on, he will reach more and more villages thereby providing access to the gospel to thousands of people. With the amount of people living in each village (often 1,000 to 2,000 people per village) this goal is certainly possible.
Support Advik in his work to bring the word of God to those who have never heard it before.
Simply put, the Jesus' Economy financial model is 100% to the Developing World. Every single dollar you donate goes exactly where you designate. For example, if you give $100 to planting churches in India, your full $100 goes to India and will be used only for planting churches. We raise our U.S. costs separately from developing world projects. We then go one step further by being completely financially transparent. We even prove our 100% model via grant receipts and field reports.
Here are the details of the third installment of our grant to our partner in Northeast India for our Renew Bihar, India project.
This grant was issued to our partner in Northeast India, Transformation India Movement. In everything we do, partnership is the key and Transformation India Movement has allowed for us to execute our work in India through indigenous leaders. Our work in India is led by, ran by, and executed by people from India.
The third installment of our grant for the Renew Bihar, India project was issued in the amount of $11,062.40. This grant covered the costs of:
We have already issued the field reports related to this grant. View the church planting field reports here. The administrative support per planter, detailed above, helps cover the costs of our partner in India generating the initial versions of these reports. It also allows for our partner to visit each church planter and offer them ongoing mentorship, accountability, and training. Furthermore, it allows for our partner to facilitate everything organizationally needed for a church planting effort, such as bookkeeping and issuing paychecks and reimbursements.
Thank you to each of you who have supported the Renew Bihar, India project. You have made this possible.
Santhosh, one of our church planters in Bihar, India, recently held a spiritual awakening seminar for 250 people from 16 different villages in the region. The theme for the one day seminar was drawn from John 17:3, "Know Christ and Make Him Known."
Santhosh worked with five other leaders that he trained to organize the different parts of the event.
This is the first time any of these villages were able to not only attend but host a seminar like this; it has never been done before in this area of Northern India. So many people were excited about it that six people were baptized the day before so they could attend the seminar as newly baptized believers.
It wasn't just the attendees who were excited either, leaders and the regional coordinator were excited too. When something like this comes together and actually happens in an area where a year or so ago, the idea of it ever happening was a pipe dream, the excitment is palbable.
The excitement came with good reason as dozens of people made commitments to follow Jesus and better their lives.
In addition to the six people being baptized, during the seminar, 10 people expressed a desire to be baptized and 22 people decided to believe in Jesus. Santhosh said that the seminar was a great motivator for villagers to know Jesus more closely and really made them excited to provide access to the gospel throughout the region. There is a renewed desire to expand the ministry even further than before.
The renewal seminar greatly affected young people as well: 12 of them decided to take part in the discipleship training offered and 10 young women enrolled in an empowering women tailoring program, to learn marketable business skills.
Because of this one day event, the local ministry has been greatly strengthened and hope is exceedingly abundant among villagers. Because of what one of the region's leaders shared from John 17 about knowing Jesus better, several people experienced God's presence and were inspired.
From the seminar, the believers who attended came away more rooted in their faith and better equipped to talk about Jesus. They also witnessed the healing power of Jesus.
Two women who attended the event had been living with severe pain from illnesses. They experienced healing during the seminar. More and more healing is being brought to the region as Santhosh continues to work at spreading the peace of knowing Jesus.
Support Santhosh in his efforts to strengthen the local leadership and community in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
When our CEO, John D. Barry, traveled to Bihar, India, he met women who inspired him to start our empowering women program.
The women he met were resourceful, strong, spirited, joyful, and full of hope. He witnessed their hope through trials and wanted to do something to empower them even further. Women in Bihar spend their days working hard to provide for their families but when the day comes to a close, it's still not enough.
They walk miles to get to the nearest water well for clean water and by the time they get back home, there's barely enough time left in the day to purchase what little produce they can afford, make meals with rationing in mind, wash clothing by hand, and take care of their children. And yet, they keep going. Day after day. And still they find ways to smile. They have learned how to be content no matter their situation.
One woman spoke to John about her hardships. She said, "I can now afford to keep my kids in school, but keeping food on their plates often feels impossible. I am constantly facing the decision of whether to eat or pay for school supplies or clothing for my children. Will you pray for me and my children?" She could pay for her kids to go to school through her sewing work, which she learned via a non-profit sewing school, but her business needed a boost.
This woman worked hard but still couldn't provide the basic needs for her family. But here she was, thankful that she could keep her kids in school and asking John to pray for her because she believed there was a way. She believed that some day she wouldn't have to constantly worry about meeting their basic needs. She had hope.
Help us bring hope to more women in Bihar, India by donating to our empowering women program and see a community transformed.
You might ask yourself, why microloans? Why not just give the women the money for their business straight up and walk away without expecting anything back?
We offer microloans because it helps someone's business become self-sustaining rather quickly. It also gives the business owner the pride that their business is their own and a product of their hard work; as they'll have to eventually pay back their loan. They'll retain a sense of accomplishment. We don't offer a handout; we offer to help women grow their businesses.
Not all the women who've completed our business training program will accept the microloan from Jesus' Economy, but the ones who do will receive up to $500 and have the funds they need to purchase supplies or equipment for their growing business. (And $500 goes a long way in Bihar, India.)
Our microloans are different than typical. We don't just offer a loan, we create economic opportunity. We buy products from the women and sell them on a larger scale than just the local impoverished economy. (This also helps the women repay the loan quickly.)
The women we work with will sell locally and Jesus' Economy will buy some of their products at a fair price and sell them in our fair trade store internationally. This opens up their business to a whole new market, increasing their customer base and helping lift the entire community out of poverty. The commerce isn't limited to their community.
With Jesus' Economy, women are able to create jobs for other people as their business scales. The local economy is renewed with the help of the global marketplace. We connect artisans to global commerce. It's microfinance meets e-commerce.