A pastor in this region approached World Partners and asked for help starting a local silk production business to fund his ministry and feed children at the boarding school run by his family. With 300 students and a very limited budget, the family struggled to provide enough food each week. Though the student’s parents and a few people from the community were able to give some rice to supplement what the pastor’s family could provide, it was still a struggle. Starting a business could provide additional income to serve the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of the children and contribute to the ministry. It would also allow the pastor to visit and minister to the student’s parents, many of whom live far away from the school and have never heard the gospel.
Initial work to make this business viable involved providing the necessary capital and training in feeding and cultivating silkworms. Silkworms must be grown in a controlled fashion to maximize silk production and fed a diet purely consisting of mulberry leaves. Since mulberry trees were not present in the area, the pastor’s family was given training in cultivation of these trees and provided with the seedlings needed to start a mulberry farm next to the school. Additionally, a building with climatization was built for growing and protecting the silk worms.
Once the project was stable, the teachers and children at the school were able to help part-time with cultivation and the silk was sold for profit. The proceeds from the silk business were fed back into the school, providing all meals for the children, educational resources, and expansion. Eventually, a factory was built to employ members of the community and produce silk.
The pastor was extremely appreciative of our involvement and the success of the project. It allowed him to fulfill his calling, feed and educate the children, and minister to them and their families. Many of the children at the school came to faith as a result of the pastor’s work. Additionally, he was able to purchase a motorcycle to travel to other villages and preach the good news to his student’s parents and others. Churches were started in the area, and the darkness lost ground!