In 2019, thanks to the generous donations and prayer of people like you, Jesus' Economy continued to Renew Bihar, India. Bihar is one of the most impoverished states in the world, where few have heard the name of Jesus. Together, we're doing something about that. Over the course of 2019, we celebrated the miraculous stories of life renewal occurring in Bihar. Here are the highlights ...
Since the start of our efforts to Renew, Bihar, we've sponsored four indigenous church planters—who are renewing communities spiritually by sharing about Jesus—and over half a dozen water wells, which are providing renewal for whole communities. The most impoverished in the world are experiencing Jesus' love in word and in deed. Each water well has been drilled in an area where a sponsored church planter is working, providing a profound way to share the story of Jesus. The stories of villages being renewed through clean water are beautiful.
During 2019, we continued to make good on our promise of 100% to the developing world. Every dollar you gave to renewing Bihar, India went straight to India. Every donation was used exactly as you designated: to plant churches and meet basic needs. In partnership with a well-established organization in India, Jesus' Economy is planting churches, plans to provide microloans and business training for impoverished women, and is drilling water wells. Together, we can spiritually and physically Renew Bihar.
What better way to kick off the start of these highlights than with our latest article on where your money goes when you donate it to Renew Bihar, India? We're all about making sure you get to actually see where the money goes and what your money is doing. Not to mention, how much of it is helping others (which if you haven't picked up on this yet, is 100%). So this article is chock full of receipts and reports. Read: "Proving It: 100% Goes to Renewing Communities in India"
Next up is a testimony from our church planter, Rahul. A young woman's parents were so desperate to heal their daughter that they tried every form of healing they could think of. Nothing was working, but then they met Rahul. And everything changed. Read: "Once Spiritually Oppressed, But Now Set Free By Jesus."
Chintak recently took over for another church planter and has worked tirelessly ever since. A widow came to him for help when all seemed lost for her son who had a liver infection that was only getting worse despite doctors' best efforts. She was convinced her son would die and she would be alone with no hope for an income. Prayer turned things around. Read: "Once a Hopeless Widow, Now Her Son is Healed | Renew Bihar Update."
What so many of us wouldn't give to have the strong faith that we had as children. This 7-year-old girl's father was very sick and in a lot of pain. She remembered what Veer, the church planter who ministers in her village, taught her—that Jesus heals sick people. So she prayed and the next day, her father was healed. Read: "Faith Like a Child Brings a Whole Family to Jesus."
One of our favorite Renew Bihar highlights from the Jesus' Economy in Action blog in 2019 is a testimony of a young man who was saved from a life of alcoholism and violence. His issues had led to him being put in jail, which made his parents extremely worried. Church planter Santhosh ministered to the family. What happened next can only be explained as a "God thing." Read more in "Jesus' Love Frees a Young Man from Alcoholism & Violence."
In Bihar, India, Jesus’ Economy sponsored church planter Chintak continues to share the name of Jesus with many who have never heard it before. And wonders continue to come as a result. One of those wonders is the story of 40-year-old Aakash.
Aakash works hard in cornfields to provide for his wife and four children. He makes enough that he is able to send his children to school, which isn’t always possible in Bihar. In March of 2018, he went to work in the cornfield as usual. However something awful happened to him and it changed him. Aakash became unrecognizable to those who knew him. He lost all sense of balance and was constantly enraged. Villagers and his family were afraid of him, claiming that he was oppressed by evil spirits; to keep him at bay, the villagers would beat him. Eventually, Aakash became abusive toward his wife and kids. What was once a peaceful, loving home turned into a life full of fear and chaos. The family didn’t know what to do and most of the villagers chose to ignore the situation.
Almost a year later, church planter Chintak came to the family’s village to share about Jesus. Falak, Aakash’s wife, sought Chintak out and explained their situation to him. She asked him to pray for her husband and their family. Chintak did so immediately and, in a mere moment, Aakash’s entire demeanor changed. He was back to his old self again. Chintak then shared the good news of Jesus with the whole family and invited them to church, where they could learn more about the freedom of Jesus.
After attending one of Chintak’s home churches for five months, Aakash, Falak, and their four kids said they believed in Jesus and got baptized! The baptism of Aakash and Falak is pictured above. The family faithfully attends church together and, thanks to the healing power of Jesus, they no longer live in fear and chaos. The peace and love of Jesus is present in their lives.
Wondrous events continue to occur in Bihar, India thanks to the drive and commitment that Chintak and other church planters put into their efforts. And because of you, Chintak can continue to be a dedicated church planter reaching thousands who’ve never heard the name of Jesus.
Please also continue to pray with us for the flooding situation in Bihar. A natural disaster has happened and the people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh need our prayers.
Chintak, the newest church planter in Bihar, India supported by Jesus’ Economy, has made a large impact in his short time. He has been supported by Jesus’ Economy since the start of 2019 and has been ministering to villages in Bihar since 2016. Chintak recently took over the church planting field of Advik.
Chintak has made several connections, developed relationships, and grown many house churches in the 18 villages he works in. More than 400 people are attending worship services. This is the story of Dipti and her son, Aditya, who attend one of Chintak’s house churches. This is the difference Jesus has made in their lives.
Dipti lost her home and all that was in it during the 2017 floods and since then, her husband passed away. Her son, Aditya, took her in and they have been working hard trying to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. During this time, Aditya became very sick and was vomiting blood. His mother took him to the doctor where they found an infection in his liver. He was admitted to the hospital to treat the infection but despite the doctors’ best efforts, he kept getting worse. Dipti was distraught over the thought she might lose her son after all she had already lost.
Eventually, Aditya was sent home but he was still sick. Dipti couldn’t go to work because she needed to stay home and care for her son. With no one else able to work for the family, they had little chance of survival. They were starving and Aditya was dying; depression quickly overwhelmed their household. Then Dipti met Chintak.
During this struggle, Chintak came to Dipti's village and happened upon her house. When he found out Aditya’s physical condition and Dipti’s mental condition, he prayed for them and explained the healing power of Jesus. He also shared the good news of Jesus and invited them to come to church.
Mother and son started attending Chintak’s house church in their village and miraculously, Aditya started feeling better. He went back to the doctor and the infection in his liver was completely gone. After witnessing this, both Dipti and Aditya decided to believe in Jesus and regularly attend Chintak’s church. They both were able to go back to work and now have hope for the future.
This story reminds us of the many times that God made way for an impoverished woman and her sick son in the Bible. Consider Elijah and the Widow's Son (1 Kings 17:17–24); Elisha and the Shunammite's Son (2 Kings 4:18–37); or Jesus and the Widow's Son (Luke 7:11–17). Just as God worked in the past, he works today.
What miraculous work Jesus is doing through Chintak in Bihar! There are many more stories like this one happening among Jesus' Economy sponsored church planters. Help us continue to spread the good news of Jesus in Bihar, India by supporting a church planter today!
In Northeast India, Jesus’ Economy sponsored church planter, Santhosh, is sharing the love of Jesus with people who have never heard of Jesus before. And his ministry is marked by miracles. This is the story of Myra’s miracle.
Myra is a 30-year-old woman from a middle-class farming family in Bihar, India. After experiencing a series of health difficulties, Myra found out that she had severe issues in her uterus. This was causing consistent, heavy bleeding for four months. Her husband took her to the local doctor and then to several more doctors, but everyone told them the same thing: there was no cure. She and her husband began feeling helpless, like there was no hope.
But then Santhosh visited the village where Myra and her husband live. Myra decided to tell Santhosh about her health issues and how no doctors had been able to help her. Santhosh told her the story of healing from Luke 8:43–48. He began, “There was once a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She was so desperate for healing, and so full of faith, that she reached out to Jesus and touched the edge of his garment. The woman believed that if she could just touch the hem of his garment that she would be healed. And she was healed. Jesus healed her, declaring that her faith had made her well.”
Hearing that story made Myra want to know more. She invited Santhosh to share the gospel with her and her husband. After hearing the gospel, they decided to believe in Jesus and started attending church. Shortly thereafter, Myra was healed of her bleeding.
Now that she’s physically healthy, Myra and her husband stay actively involved in their church and help spread the good news of Jesus.
Because of Santhosh’s ministering efforts, not only did a young woman and her husband experience spiritual healing, but she also experienced physical healing. She got to witness firsthand what the power of prayer can do. And now so have we. Please continue to pray with us for Santhosh and his church planting efforts. And if you can, donate to church planting, so Santhosh can continue this vital work.
Lives are being changed through the ministry of Jesus’ Economy sponsored church planter, Santhosh. People are hearing about Jesus for the first time, believing in Jesus, faithfully attending church, getting baptized, and experiencing real healing. Take Vihaan, whose life was drastically changed because of Santhosh’s ministry.
Pictured above is Santhosh baptizing Vihaan.
Vihaan is a 22-year-old young man who lives in one of the villages in Bihar, India where Santhosh serves. His parents believe in Jesus and faithfully attend church services. Time and again, Vihaan expressed disinterest in his parents faith and anything to do with Jesus. In his journey of looking for something to fill the void in his heart, he started using drugs and drinking. It became such a bad habit that his parents were worried about his health.
One day, he drank too much and started a fight with truck drivers in the village. He was arrested, put in jail, and sentenced to three months. This made his parents even more worried about his health and his future. Jails and prisons in this part of the world can be traumatizing places. And they were concerned that his sentence could be extended, if Vihaan’s temper flared while incarcerated. So Vihaan’s parents started fervently praying for him—that he would be released from jail and that he would change his ways and find Jesus. They also shared their concerns with Santhosh, asking him to pray with them for Vihaan. Santhosh, along with the whole church, kept Vihaan in their prayers.
After serving his sentence, Vihaan decided to attend his parents’ church, where Santhosh serves. Vihaan, on his own accord, kept attending and eventually realized his need for Jesus. In July of 2018, he declared his belief in Jesus and was baptized a few months later. He continues to attend church and believe in Jesus. The story reminds us of what Jesus said that his followers are people who visit the sick in prison:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For … I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:34–36 NIV).
Vihaan was in literal prison and prayer freed him from the prison of sin that led him there. He was then loved in the manner we would love Jesus. He was embraced by God through the love of the church. And the gospel has now set Vihaan free.
The gospel is being spread in Bihar, India to people who formerly had never even heard the name of Jesus. This is a testimony to the power of God working through Santhosh and other church planting efforts. It is also a testimony to the power of your prayer and support for church planting in Bihar, India. Please continue to pray for and support church planting in Bihar, so Santhosh can continue this vital work of providing access to the gospel.
The miraculous is happening in Bihar, India. Jesus’ Economy church planter Rahul has brought the gospel to thousands of people who have never heard it before. Through his ministry, people have believed in Jesus, been baptized, and have been given the opportunity to attend church services and Bible studies. Through Rahul, the Holy Spirit is working to heal the sick and cast out evil.
Darpita, an eighteen-year-old woman living in Bihar, recently experienced spiritual transformation because of Rahul’s ministry. In September 2018, while she was working out in the fields, something terrible happened to her. She was subsequently oppressed by an evil spirit. Darpita, once talkative and kind, turned into someone who couldn’t talk and started acting in a terrifying way, especially to the children in the village. Every time she was around, they were so afraid that they ran away from her.
Darpita’s parents tried everything they could think of to heal her. They were desperate to bring back the daughter they knew and loved. They took her to countless doctors and even tried a local religious “healer” to rid her of the evil spirits. Nothing worked. Her parents were heartbroken. Darpita was their only child and they didn’t want to lose her.
One of the men from their village told her father about Rahul and his ministry in another village. He advised them to seek out Rahul and ask for healing. Seven months of living in constant fear and worry came to a halt when they brought Darpita to Rahul in March 2019.
During a prayer time in a church service, Darpita’s parents brought her to Rahul and explained the whole situation. Upon hearing their story, Rahul led the church in praying for miraculous healing for Darpita. Jesus answered their prayers and the oppressive spirits left Darpita, right then and there. Miraculously, Darpita was able to talk again and be herself again. The entire church celebrated with the family.
This miraculous act convinced Darpita’s parents that they needed to start going to church and all three of them said they believed in Jesus. In April of 2019, they started regularly attending the very same church where their daughter was healed; since then, their lives have been full of peace. Darpita's story reminds us of what Jesus said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).
In the villages where Rahul works, people are choosing to believe in Jesus. The captives are being set free. Rahul’s church planting ministry also reminds us of the power of prayer. Keep praying and believing with us for Rahul, his ministry, and the church planting efforts to Renew Bihar, India.
Because of your donations, there are now believers in Northeast India who might have otherwise gone their entire lives without even hearing the name of Jesus. Thank you for your support of church planting in Bihar, India.
The work of Jesus' Economy sponsored church planter, Veer, has resulted in miraculous, life-changing events. In one of the villages where he ministers, he has helped establish a literacy center where men, women, and children come to learn how to read and write. Our partners in Bihar, India describe this literacy center as one of the “outstanding ones.” Children who attend the literacy center are experiencing God’s love in this tangible way and some have begun praying for their village and those who are sick.
Take Mita, a seven-year-old girl, who attends the literacy center. Both of her parents work during the day but still didn’t earn enough to send her to school. Veer found out about this and let the parents know that the literacy center was free. Mita was able to start attending immediately. She was a fast learner and did very well in class. Since the Bible is used as a primary means for teaching people how to read, Mita even memorized Bible stories they had been taught.
One day her father came home from work very sick. As the evening progressed, he became sicker and was in so much pain that he was crying out. In the middle of the night, Mita heard her father in pain and remembered how she was taught at the literacy school that Jesus healed sick people. In addition, Veer had taught the children how to pray. So she started praying that God would heal her father. And that’s just what happened. Her father was miraculously healed by God; so much so that the next night they were able to go as a family to the literacy center to tell Veer about what happened.
Veer saw the miracle as an opportunity to share with the whole family about the good news of Jesus. That very moment, the whole family said they believed in Jesus. The family started coming to one of the house churches and are now ready and willing to be baptized. A whole family now knows Jesus! All because one child had faith.
This is just one of the many miracles that has happened in the villages where Veer ministers. Stories like Mita's are a reminder of why Jesus said, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17).
None of this could have happened without you. If you have supported church planting through Jesus’ Economy, you have allowed God to use you to help Veer do this ministry in Bihar. Won’t you continue to join us in supporting church planting in Bihar, India?
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This proverb is a good start, but ultimately inadequate. We must do more than just feed the poor and teach them how to put food on the table. We must walk with the impoverished through the process of coming out of poverty—as their friends. And then, we must connect them to the right resources, so that their livelihoods are sustainable.
We must do more than teach the man to fish—we must fish with him for a while to see what the fishing is like. And then, we must ensure that the fish will always be around. This means connecting people to a larger pool of fish. It means considering not just local economies but the global economy.
When we consider how to best help those who are hurting, we have to think through not just the immediate problems but also the long-term difficulties. We should be asking questions like: How can I help someone not just build a business but be connected to a global marketplace?
So we could say the proverb should be revised to:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and connect him with the best fishing holes and you feed him for a lifetime.”
But what if the fishing is ruined by the environment or what if people steal the man's fish? How can we fix those types of problems? Our proverb may need even further revision.
Life is about much more than “learning how to fish.” If you teach a person to fish, but don’t meet their other basic needs, they will continue to struggle. It's not good enough to have fish to eat if I don't have clean water to drink or a medic clinic where that can care for my wounds.
Also, if you teach a person to fish but don’t help bring ethical standards to their community, their society will eventually fall apart. The good work will be undone.
There are deep rooted problems in society and these problems are ultimately spiritual. Corruption can destroy any good work. That's where ethics and thus healthy churches come in. We have to change the environment we live in if we want to see lives changed. We have to change the society.
And let’s also not forget what Jesus taught us about fishing in general: We are to do more than meet needs—we must lead people into God’s kingdom and the lifestyle that kingdom demands. Jesus' earliest disciples were fishermen and look what he said to them:
"And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him" (Matthew 4:18–19 NKJV).
Perhaps, then, we need to revise the proverb once more:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and connect him with the best fishing holes and you feed him for a time. Join a man in lifting his society out of spiritual and physical poverty and he will never be hungry again."
Although, often the "man" you find will turn out to be woman, whom we should never hesitate to empower. She can lift her entire family out of poverty. Thus the proverb is just as accurate when it reads as follows:
“Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and connect her with the best fishing holes and you feed her for a time. Join a woman in lifting her society out of spiritual and physical poverty and she will never be hungry again."
We need to do everything we can to look at the entire picture: the spiritual and physical problems affecting people. I believe this is how we empower people to overcome poverty. This is what creating a new, spiritual and physical economy for those who need it most is all about. This is what creating Jesus' economy is about.
I hope this article inspires you to do more than teach a man to fish. I hope you decide to really love someone today. Walk with people on their way out of poverty and work with them towards sustainability. Help instill biblical ethics into their community. In the process, I am betting that you will find—as I have—that it alleviates some of your own spiritual poverty.*
*This article is based in part on my previous article, "Moving Beyond 'Teach a Man to Fish'."
Jesus’ Economy was founded in 2012 when John and Kalene Barry decided to do something about worldwide poverty. They adopted an idea for holistic ministry — a ministry that serves people’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.
At Jesus’ Economy, we believe that God wants to create jobs, plant churches, and meet the basic needs of the impoverished — all at the same time, one community at a time. We believe that there are answers to the world’s problems in the combination of microloans, fair trade shopping, church planting, and meeting basic needs. We believe that all these things should work together holistically — as one vision and plan for renewing communities. And surprisingly, few people are doing this — holistic ministry is rare.
As of 2015, Jesus’ Economy is the only non-profit dedicated to holistic work on a global scale. Furthermore, we are the only organization that also combines it with fair trade shopping. And 100% of your giving to developing world projects is spent in the developing world — every time, guaranteed. For example, if you give $100 to providing clean water, your full $100 goes to the developing world and will be used only for drilling water. We raise our U.S. costs separately from developing world projects.
The first community Jesus’ Economy decided to help was Bihar, India. As of today, we have drilled seven wells, and this allows women to work and children to go to school. We have funded and sent out four church planters who have planted more than 30 churches, and we are raising funds to give women business training so that they can support themselves and their families for years to come. After the training, the women will be eligible for a microloan from Jesus’ Economy to purchase supplies for their expanding business. Jesus' Economy also changes the economic paradigm by becoming the guaranteed buyer of the products the women are creating. Jesus' Economy will sell these products in our fair trade shop.
Our efforts have changed the lives of dozens of artisans who now have a stable source of income and can send their children to school, buy food, improve their living conditions, and lift themselves out of poverty.
People in Bihar are beginning to trust in Jesus. They’re being baptized and meeting in homes to study the Bible, and while they’re growing spiritually, they’re also being cared for physically. Hundreds of people in Bihar are learning to read, saving time and energy through access to safe water, and training to build their own businesses. These people are changing the future for themselves, their families, and their entire communities.
Jesus’ Economy is dedicated to ending poverty, and everything we do — from our fair trade shop to our Renew Bihar project — is working toward creating hope for people around the world. Everything we do is for the glory of Jesus. We are fighting for what he fights for, and that is hope.
Father’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re still wondering what to get your dad, consider finding a cause he would believe in and make a contribution in his name. Jesus’ Economy has a few different programs to eradicate poverty in Bihar, India, so take a look and think about supporting one for Father’s Day.
In Bihar, more than a million people are living in poverty because they do not have access to clean water or the ability to buy or grow food. The economy is poor, and there are simply not enough jobs. And when families have limited food and water, education gets pushed back, and the families remain stuck in a cycle of poverty.
A large contributor to the poverty in Bihar is a lack of clean water. Some women and children spend many hours each day walking miles to collect drinking water. This takes up so much time that women cannot work and children cannot go school. Our clean water program raises funds to drill wells in Bihar. Each well can provide safe water for 2,000 people, and so far we have completed seven wells.
When families have access to safe water, women have more time to work and provide for their families. Our empowering women program is going to train 40 women to run successful tailoring businesses and sell their products on the western market. These women already have skills in tailoring, but need an opportunity to learn business skills.
We are working to bring hope through the alleviation of physical and spiritual poverty. Our church planting program funds church planters in various villages in Bihar to set up home churches, and also to go into the villages and share the gospel. At this point, we are funding four church planters, all of whom are additionally starting Bible studies and literacy training as they go. Thousands of people in Bihar are hearing the gospel for the first time, and each church planter brings the gospel to thousands more.
The dads in our lives have taught us how to make the world a better place. This Father’s Day, celebrate these dads by supporting people in Bihar the same way they have supported us.