The bag of food this woman carries weighs between 90 - 95 pounds.
(Purpose: To share the Gospel and to better the living conditions for not only those involved but for the entire community as a whole.)
IMFC distributes 22,000 pounds of food per month to 50 selected families in six different communities within the slums that are targeted by our guys in the field for evangelism. We have almost a 90% success rate. We count success for this program in three ways (any two of the three counts as a success):
- People that accept Christ as their Savior and eventually follow in believer's baptism.
- Enroll into the Bibleway Discipleship Program.
- Families whose lives have noticeably improved.
Ok, dropping 22,000 pounds of food per month into an extremely poor community generally results in violence, but violence is extremely rare in our program, actually no one can remember when an act of violence last occured, so how is this achieved?
- IMFC only selects the very first family to recieve our help!
At any given time we are distributing food in 6 different targeted areas. This means that there are 300 families participating in the Manna program each month. We have it scheduled that each month a new area is targeted as one community graduates the program.
- After selecting the first family of recipients, and explaining the program to them in a way that they can completely understand what it is that they will recieve and what they must do in order to participate, we ask one simple question - Who in this community is worse off than you? Then we visit that family and the explanation and final question is asked again. We do this 49 times in every area selected by our guys in the field. By selecting people in this manner then the community itself has selected the participants. They have bought into this program. There is a built in sense of pride among them knowing that they themselves have helped their own neighbors. Violence just does not happen.
What is it that we ask them to do in order to participate?
The program's recipients are not required to accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers. Just as you are not required to do so. There are some that do not. Often Muslims do not. But even with a NO from them, they will continue in the program for six months.
- Listen to a Gospel presentation.
- Recieve training from our guys on how they can better provide for themselves and their families.
The program's recipients must though recieve training from our guys on how they can better provide for themselves and their families. They are also asked to share what they learn with their neighbors. Our idea is that even if a participant has not accepted Jesus as their Savior then they know that is was a group of Christians who looked for them, loved them enough to provide food for their family for six months and tried to help better their lives without asking for anything in return and we did what we said we would do.
What is this training they receive on bettering their lives?
We ask them to save the money that they would normally spend on food for their families, and then use that money to start a small business that generates some sort of income. We teach them how to run a business, give them business ideas and models, and how to guard and reinvest their money to grow even more prosperous. Most of those involved in the Manna program accomplish this in some way, and their families now recieve some sort of revenue from the businesses they establish long after we are gone.
This beautiful lady who participated in the Manna program realized that others in the program needed something not easily emptied in order to save their money. She began a small business building piggy banks and selling them to the other program's participants. Her business has grown, and now she also builds small furniture and chicken coops. When I visited her and listened to her story, she saw that I was old, and became worried that I have not properly prepared my family for my eventual passing, so she gave me two of her boxes in order to save. (You see the average lifespan in Uganda is 59 years - I am almost 55.) I was really touched that she cared for my family's needs.
This mother of four used her savings to buy charcoal to sell for people's dinner fires. She then expanded and bought vegetables to sell to her neighbors, and she recently expanded again and now sells shoes also. What an enterprising mother!
We are looking to expand the Manna program into other countries, such as Kenya and maybe the Congo, but we must wait upon the Lord to provide the resources for us.