Here at Jesus' Economy, we believe that together we can make the world a better place. For that reason, our team regularly provides Fair Trade stories that showcase the hope that the Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop brings. And 2019 was no exception ...

In 2019, you all continued to show how much you love to read about artisans, their craft, and the hope they have for a brighter future. Stories that provided inspiration and transformation were among the most popular, especially our last series of the year — #GiftingStories. Together, we were motivated to make the world a better place.

Top 5 Fair Trade Stories

Here's the countdown of the top 5 most popular "Fair Trade" articles published on the Jesus' Economy in Action blog in 2019.

#5.Meet Blanca, a Weaver Transforming Her Community

The fifth most popular fair trade story in 2019? A story about Blanca, a Guatemalan weaver who is changing her community from the inside out. She works in the Mayamam Weavers cooperative with other women who are building a stronger community together. These women are choosing to stay in their village rather than leave, working to lift each other out of poverty. Read more in "Meet Blanca, a Weaver Transforming her Community."

#4. Nepal Seamstress' Life Transformed by Micro-Credit + Cultural Craft

The world is full of remarkable young women and Laxmi from Nepal is one of them. Still in her 20s, she took advantage of micro-credit and started her own tailoring shop. Not only has she repaid her microloan, but she's been able to grow her business making stunning scarves and shrugs. Read: "Nepal Seamstress' Life Transformed by Micro-Credit + Cultural Craft."

#3. Meet the Artists Who Are Weaving Hope in Rwanda

In Rwanda, three lifelong friends were taught as children how to basket weave in a program taught by a local church. When they became adults, they used those skills and created a basket weaving business. Because of that business they've been able to do things like start families, buy land, and build homes. Together, they've been unstoppable. Read: "Meet the Artists Who are Weaving Hope in Rwanda."

#2. These are a Few of our Favorite Things from Haiti ... #GiftingStories

Another story from our #GiftingStories series features beautiful, handmade products from Haiti. The skills that are used to make these items have been passed down for years. And we thought of a few ways you could turn these items into traditions or legacies for your family. Read: "These are a Few of Our Favorite Things from Haiti ... #GiftingStories."

#1. Haiti Artisan's Craft is Transforming a Village ... #GiftingStories

Our most popular Fair Trade story published in 2019 on the Jesus' Economy in Action blog is also from our #GiftingStories series. For the 2019 Holiday season, we chose to celebrate stories of artisans. This one about Benson, a Haitian artisan who works with leather, tells the story of how Benson has transformed his village with his craft. His workshop now provides jobs for other people overcoming poverty. Read: "Haiti Artisan's Craft is Transforming a Village ... #GiftingStories."

And Don't Miss These Articles ...

Bonus Popular Post: Rwandan Artisan's Love and Tenacity Helps Her Community Thrive

Another popular post of 2019 was this beautiful story of a woman from Rwanda whose love and hard work is evident in the products she makes. She taught other people her skill of basket weaving; and out of that effort came a cooperative that is now comprised of 26 women and two men. She brings hope and self-sufficiency to her village. Read: "Rwandan Artisan's Love and Tenacity Helps Her Community Thrive."

And Because We Love This Story: Brazil Families Defeat Poverty by Sharing Cultural Craft

For many families living in impoverished areas of Brazil, there is little hope of ever overcoming poverty. But a long preserved cultural craft is providing a way out of poverty. When Cross Trade, a partner organization of Jesus' Economy, first met Silvania (pictured above with her children), she was creating beautiful woven items but selling them in exchange for only a bag of rice to feed her family. Cross Trade invested in Silvania's work and that changed everything. Read: "Brazil Families Defeat Poverty by Sharing Cultural Craft."

Never Miss a Fair Trade Story

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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.

Top 5 Renew Bihar, India Highlights

A lot happened with our Renew Bihar project in 2019. Here's the top 5 "Renew Bihar" highlights published on the Jesus' Economy in Action blog in 2019.

#5. Proving it: 100% Goes to Renewing Communities in India

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"

#4. Once Spiritually Oppressed, But Now Set Free By Jesus

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."

#3. Once a Hopeless Widow, Now Her Son is Healed

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."

#2. Faith Like a Child Brings a Whole Family to Jesus

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."

#1. Jesus' Love Frees a Young Man from Alcoholism & Violence

 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."

 

 

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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.

A Terrible Accident 

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.

A Miraculous Change 

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 Was Once Devastated and Hopeless

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.

The Healing Message of Jesus

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!

Friends, 

As we look back on the last six months of Jesus' Economy, we have a lot to celebrate! God is doing great things through our community. We are blessed to be a part of his work in Bihar, India and around the world. Our partnerships with fair trade artists in developing communities have strengthened as our online fair trade store continues to grow. Thank you for partnering with us in this great effort to reach thousands with the gospel, with economic opportunity, and with the meeting of basic needs. 

We are well on our way to meeting our budget for the year in most areas. In others, we need a little help. 

For quick reference, it costs around $10,000 per year to run the administrative side of Jesus' Economy. Look at the table below to see what expenses factor into that number. On average, we grant $12,000 every year to our Renew Bihar, India Project. That grant covers the annual salaries of our four church planting partners and the cost of one or more water wells. We are also currently raising support to launch an empowering women job training program in Bihar

Jesus' Economy 2019 Budget

Note: Jesus' Economy invests all profit from our fair trade store back into the operations of Jesus' Economy, so we can create more jobs and fuel the movement. Read about our reinvestment strategy

As we continue in 2019, we ask that you prayerfully consider helping us meeting our fiscal goals. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at info@jesuseconomy.org or call 1-855-355-3266.

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?

Church planter, Rahul, brings a blessing in the form of a water well to a village in Bihar, India.

Only the Wealthy Get Clean Water 

Hot summers proved to be a greater difficulty than most for this village because there was no water well available to the general public. The only water wells in the village were on private property belonging to the few wealthy people in the village. They wouldn’t let the poorer villagers come and use the wells without causing many problems.

So all the villagers who didn’t have private water wells had to walk hours for clean water, taking up most of their day just to get water. This “solution” wasn’t sustainable but they didn’t know what to do.

A Solution to the Problem of No Clean Water 

Rahul heard about the problems this village of 300 people was facing and arranged for them to apply for a water well to Transformation India Movement (TIM), Jesus’ Economy’s partner organization in Bihar, India. Shortly after applying, TIM granted their application and started the process of a water well.

They inaugurated the well in March with 50 people gathering to watch. During the inauguration, Rahul presented the gospel and explained the similarities between the clean water and Jesus, the Living Water.

Because of this, many people in the village heard the gospel for the first time and were eager to learn more about Jesus. This is exciting because the village is a new area that doesn’t have a church planter working with them yet. Now, Rahul can visit, tell them about the love of Jesus, and help provide a better life.

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