This is the story of how a few miracles in Bihar, India transformed a family's life—leading them to host an empowering women program.

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Empower Women in Bihar, India

Learn more about our empowering women program in Bihar, India.

 

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Due to donors like you, 4,000 people will gain access to clean water very soon: Two water wells for Bihar, India are now fully funded. One church planter is also fully funded for a year; a second church planter is nearly funded. And the training/administration costs to support two church planters for a year are also funded.

Jesus' Economy is about to kick off the Renew Bihar, India project. Every dollar you donated to water wells and church planting will be transferred to Bihar soon, and then the work will begin. We're also appropriating all community transformation donations, and general Renew Bihar fund donations, to kick start the renewal. We're excited to tell you the stories as the work begins and progresses.

Birthdays Fund Access to Clean Water

Thanks to two hilarious, but also very moving, birthday dedications—plus some additional individual contributions—our first water well in Bihar, India was funded. It is because donors like you got behind the causes of your friends, and gave up your birthdays and finances, that this is possible.

Sara Gering's birthday dedication raised $370, enough for 740 people to have access to clean water.

Marty Mitchell's birthday dedication raised another $300, enough for 600 people to have access to clean water.

In addition to these two projects, we saw another $330 come in of individual contributions towards water wells, providing for the remainder. One dollar equals two people with access to clean water.

Donor's Work Bonus Fully Funds a Water Well

One very generous donor received a work bonus and decided to outright fund a water well. This was especially moving, since Jesus' Economy staff were praying just the day before this donation came in that a second water well could be funded. Jesus' Economy staff realized that it wouldn't be long before two church planters were funded, and thus prayed that Jesus' Economy would be able to empower the second church planter to bring clean water to the area he would be serving. Now, this is possible.

One Church Planter Funded for a Year; a Second Almost Funded

There are over 101 million people in Bihar, India who have never heard the name of Jesus. To change this, individuals have been donating towards church planting.

In addition, since Jesus' Economy is focusing on funding church planting in conjunction with water wells at the moment—because those are the parts of the Renew Bihar project we can get off the ground right now—we're also appropriating funds from our community transformation donations towards church planting. (The community transformation fund is always appropriated to current gaps in our regional transformation projects; the Renew Bihar general fund likewise covers gaps in this specific project.) When you combine the donations to community transformation, Renew Bihar's general fund, and donations to church planting in general, there is enough to fully fund a church planter for a year. (Our goal is three years of funding per planter, but funding one year gets things started.) In addition, a second church planter is also nearly funded.

We're only $1,393 away from having a second church planter funded for a year. Help us make it happen. Jesus' Economy's goal is that this second church planter will be funded for a year within the next seven days. Donate to church planting and help give thousands access to the gospel. Our church planters also need bicycles to get from village to village, to spread the good news about Jesus: Buy a bicycle for a church planter for $100.

Financial Transparency Report: Water Wells, Church Planting, Community Transformation Fund, and General Bihar Fund

  • Church Planting Giving: $510.60
  • Water Well Giving: $2,000 (This is an even figure because a donor took care of the exact amount needed to finish funding the first well)
  • Community Transformation/Renew Bihar General Fund Combined Total: $3,527.50
    • $1,805.40 being appropriated to first church planter, completing one year of salary/expenses costs
    • $799.20 being appropriated for administrative support/training of church planters in Bihar by Transformation India Movement, Jesus' Economy's partner (that's $33.30 per month, per church planter, for one year)
    • $922.90 being appropriated to the second church planter, leaving $1,393.10 to raise

Help us raise the last $1,393 we need to fund the second church planter for one year, who will be located where we will drill the second water well. Let's make it happen together. All it takes is a few dollars each. Don't feel like your donation needs to be big, just give something. Together, we can make it happen.

 

Update (11/18/2014): The second water well that was funded provided 500 people with access to clean water, so less than we anticipated, but this well was desperately needed. More information coming soon.

Update (12/19/2014): The first water well that was funded provided 1,300 people with access to clean water, so also less than we anticipated, but this well was also desperately needed.

Jesus' Economy is about holistic community transformation. Our model incorporates each part of the life of a community: creating jobs, planting churches, meeting needs, and training leaders. We believe that all of these efforts are connected. In addition, we believe in keeping the global economy in mind: This is why we sell fair trade products online and offer microloans, as part of our process.

See the full-size version of the infographic explaining our model.

Selling locally is wonderful, but when products are also sold online, the amount of income coming into an economy drastically changes, allowing for sustainable change to occur faster. 

But even with an online marketplace available, if job creation efforts face the difficulties of corruption, they will be hindered. Healthy churches can alleviate corruption by providing ethical guidance to communities.

The physical needs of a group of people must also be met. This is why the meeting of basic needs, like providing clean water and access to medical care, is also part of Jesus' Economy's model.

However, meeting basic needs will not take care of the long-term problems: You may be able to feed a person today, but they need a sustainable solution. This also gives a person the dignity of choice, instead of forcing them to take a handout. That's where job creation comes in, bringing things full circle.

Yet there is still one more component to alleviating poverty: Job creation and church planting both require training. Training that is ethical in nature, and paired with mentorship and accountability, can create lasting positive change for communities. Training is the key to unlocking the potential of a person and a community.

Jesus' Economy's model of community development feeds itself, once it gets going. We help communities overcome major economic and spiritual hurdles, so that they may continue the effort. All of our efforts are designed by locals and implemented by them.

We believe that the world can, and will, be a better place once we implement this model. And that starts with our Renew Bihar, India project. Together, we can tackle the reason why poverty exists, both the spiritual and physical reasons.

Jesus' Economy is dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. In 60 seconds, we explain how we plan to do so.

You can help make the world a better place. Donate today:

Thank you for your prayer and support.

(P.S. We've been quieter than usual lately because we've been busy assembling an incredible product line that will fund life transformation. We will let you know as soon as it's ready.)

Throughout the world, corruption is a problem that perpetually destroys good work. This is especially true in developing world communities, who are already vulnerable to exploitation due to their economically powerless position. Those living in poverty desperately need assistance in alleviating corruption. This assistance very well could come through local churches, but since these churches too are very poor, outside funding—in the form of grants—is needed to turn the plans of churches into action. Here are five ways that healthy churches can make life better for those living in developing world communities. (When I speak about churches, I’m talking about Christian communities of people—not buildings.)

1. Ethics can be instilled in a community by healthy churches.

Jesus calls Christians to a higher standard of ethical living than others. The ethics of Christianity are intended to be applied in all situations with all people—loving your neighbor, and thus treating them as Jesus would treat them, is meant to be applied to all people. This baseline view of others can create an ethical baseline for a community.

2. Strong Christian communities are safe havens for training and learning.

Healthy church communities create trust-based situations. Christians are also used to training others, since discipleship is part of the model Jesus proposed. These two factors combined, make Christian communities an ideal hub for training and learning for an entire community.

3. Aid and general poverty relief often happen via churches.

Traditionally, churches have often been first responders to aid and general poverty relief, since it is part of the calling of Christianity to help the poor. Churches are also full of people ready to volunteer their time for the betterment of the lives of others. This can make the meeting of basic needs much easier for an outsider. In addition, the goal should not be for an outsider to do the work, but instead to empower people from a community to meet the needs of their community.

4. Real needs are revealed and known through church leaders.

One of the ongoing problems of corruption, especially in poverty relief situations, is the misuse of funding. Healthy churches really get to know, and love, their communities. In the process of doing so, they become sources of truth about communities and their true needs. They also serve as people who can identify who is properly using funding and who is not. In a situation foreign to the Western world investor in a community’s betterment, this is vital to success.

5. Accountability is a core principle of Christian living; this can be extended to others.

Christians can serve as a hub for bringing accountability to the lives of others. In Jesus’ Economy model, we simultaneously work with entrepreneurs and church planters in the same community. Christian church leaders serve as accountability partners and ethical trainers for the entrepreneurs we help, to ensure that the standards of Jesus’ Economy are held.

Funding church grants is vital to the transformation of a community. You can fund church grants by donating directly to them today.

An economist named Jeffrey Sachs identifies four ways that family income per capita can increase—here are two of the four he mentions. The next two will be in tomorrow’s post. This list is adapted from his book, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. The explanations are my own, based on his ideas.

1. “Saving”

When people save resources—whether it is money, goods, or livestock—rather than spend it all, they are given the economic freedom to invest. They’re also given an economic buffer against moving back into poverty. Once this savings is invested (at least in part) in something other than their primary business, they have the potential to have a greater yield the next year—they’re creating an additional income stream. That extra yield becomes a buffer against moving back into poverty and creates a larger investment pool, and thus potential larger earnings the following year. Sachs remarks, “In economic jargon, the saving has led to capital accumulation … which in turn has raised household productivity.”

It’s often overlooked that one of the primary problems of poverty is a lack of buffer to recover from basic economic pitfalls: any small dip can send someone in poverty deeper into poverty. Thus, people need a more sustainable source of income—one that can produce enough wealth in the beginning to invest in multiple streams of potential income and/or have savings. This is in many ways part of the model of Jesus’ Economy—this is why we connect entrepreneurs to global ecommerce and work with them directly to develop product for an international market.

2. "Trade”

When a person learns a new trade, especially when it involves learning a new way to use their current assets, they have the potential for a larger income than ever before. In a very practical sense, this is like a person who manufactures fishing nets learning that if they changed their method and material, they could manufacture mosquito nets and have a larger market potential. Teaching people a new type of trade—based on their current one—is one of the best ways to alleviate poverty.

Sachs notes: “This pattern exemplifies Adam Smith’s insight into the two-way link from specialization to expanded markets back to increased specialization.” Jesus’ Economy model for working with entrepreneurs reflects this idea: we believe that people learning new potential for their current skill is a great way to help their income increase and thus see their lives changed for the better.


In a very real and tangible way, we can bring economic hope to others. It doesn’t take much to get there. It’s just a matter of creativity and implementation. You can help fund entrepreneurs in the developing world today, and be a part of household incomes increasing. Donate to Jesus’ Economy microloans.

(This post is part one of two of “Ways Family Incomes Increase.” This post is also part of the “What I Learned from Jeffrey Sachs” blog series.)

From the outside, it can seem like a mystery why certain countries are poor and others are not. However, there are tangible reasons why certain countries remain poor. There are also tangible solutions. This is what Jeffrey Sachs in his book The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time explains. Sachs identifies eight reasons why countries fail to have economic growth. I have included four of the reasons from his list here and offered my own explanations of his ideas. The next four will be included in tomorrow’s post.

 

1. “The Poverty Trap: Poverty Itself as a Cause of Economic Stagnation”

There is a cycle to poverty: People who are poor lack the “savings” and “capital—
physical, human, and natural”—to overcome poverty. The idea is that poverty itself leaves people in the same circumstances despite their efforts to change them. As much as people may try, there is a barrier in place to becoming wealthy, and that barrier is poverty and its implications upon their daily lives.

The poverty cycle and a solution to it is explained in this infographic.

 

2. “Physical Geography”

If the country you live in is full of mountains or deserts, it’s very difficult for proper infrastructure to be created. It’s also problematic to transport goods. This prevents most types of companies from existing.

 

3. “Fiscal Trap”

When a government doesn’t have the necessary resources to create infrastructure, economies struggle to grow. This is the case for many impoverished countries. The physical geography problems, and often the simple infrastructure problems, cannot be overcome because of a lack of financing. This keeps the economy stagnant.

 

4. “Governance Failures”

An ineffective government can ruin any economy. This is certainly the case for many governments around the globe, and seems to be especially true in the developing world. There is little the average person can do about this. But there is something.

Jesus’ Economy offers leadership training, accompanied by biblical ethics training, to help overcome some of the barriers of corruption that run through many societies in the developing world. (Corruption in many developing world societies became widespread because it was the only way people knew to survive.) When a group of people begins to live by a higher standard of ethics, others may soon follow. This can produce moral change around the board.


People who live in poverty are not any different than you and me. They just need help overcoming the barriers in their way. Jesus’ Economy offers solutions to many of these problems. Donate today to holistic regional transformation.

(This is part one of two of "Ways Countries Fail to Grow Economically." It's a sub-series of the blog series "What I Learned from Jeffrey Sachs.")

“In the end, goodness triumphs over the bad. It is our challenge to do good and to serve others without waiting for the good to be returned. I’m convinced that those people who cultivate universal love will have good fortune here on earth. In serving others, I found light in a place of utmost darkness.”

Quoting her friend Honorata, Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund, makes a vital point in her book The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World: When we serve others, we can bring light to dark places.

Novogratz goes on to offer her own comments on Honorata’s thoughts:

“Through Honorata, I understood that resurrection happens right here on earth. I see her spirit and her resilience in women across the globe who have nothing, yet suffer great loss with almost unimaginable grace and dignity. … [Honorata’s] story reminds me of the extraordinary power of the human spirit to withstand almost anything. Her story also speaks to the power of service, to living a life of purpose, and to keeping the flame of hope alive.”

It’s tragic that even with the incredible resilience of those living in poverty, our world offers so little to help to them. There is tenacity and hope around the globe, but just a general lack of resources and training. When we live purposeful lives for others, we have an opportunity to change that.

It is part of the mission of Jesus’ Economy to find those that want to bring hope to their communities and empower them. We want to offer an alternative narrative to the narrative of despair—one of hope and abundant life now. We desire to help people help themselves and their communities. We offer the resources and tools to get things moving in the right direction.

We want to help people like Honorata do even more for their communities. Against incredible odds and hardships, people like her have served others, and in doing so, brought hope. People like Honorata truly show us how communities can be transformed (resurrected). Let her inspire you. Let’s bring light to dark places. Let's bring the true light, Jesus, into the darkness of poverty and dispair, declaring that he is the light all need. Let's proclaim together that Jesus wants to bring people out of poverty and into a better life and into eternal life.

You have an opportunity to help transform lives today. You can donate here.

(This is part three of three of the “What I Learned from Jacqueline Novogratz” blog series.)

All over the world there are those in need of help. We can view this as something to despair about, or we can look at it as an opportunity to bring hope and love to others. Here at Jesus’ Economy, we believe that hope and love is the answer.

Many people in the developing world simply need someone to believe in them and invest in them. They need someone to mentor them; someone to provide them with the means to succeed. This is precisely why microloans with ecommerce in mind are a game changer. When you provide someone with not just a loan—which empowers them to take control of their own future—but also with connections to buyers from around the world, you can change entire economies. You can provide jobs. You can bring hope through sustainability.

Similarly, all over the world there are incredible church planters just waiting for funding, so that they can make even more amazing things happen. Grants provide a way for that to occur. These people can bring spiritual and moral change to communities. They can introduce Jesus into people’s lives.

When entrepreneurs then enter into accountability relationships with church planters in their community, ethical standards become the norm. When fair trade becomes a way of doing business, people are provided with sustainable livelihoods. When basic needs are then also met, entire communities are transformed.

Our focus must be more than alleviating poverty; it must be changing the reason why people become impoverished. We must find what leads people to poverty and change that. And the reasons why people become impoverised are known: a lack of jobs, a lack of basic needs being met, corrupt and unstable societies, and others. The model of Jesus' Economy addresses each of these components.

We have an opportunity to bring hope to people in desperate situations. Now is the time. If not our generation, then who? Act today.