KERALA, India — God has answered prayers in an unusual way: through the operation of a 2,000-acre rubber plantation!
One of the ongoing concerns of the Gospel for Asia’s leaders has been how to make the Asian church more self-supporting. Because most of the christians in churches led by GFA-supported missionaries are very poor, it is beyond their means to fund an adequate outreach, educational system, and other ministries on their own.
In addition to generous giving on the part of its members, these churches also generate revenue from literature publishing and other activities. When leaders were presented with the opportunity to purchase an operating rubber plantation for only “pennies on the dollar,” they saw a way to open a new income stream for ministry. But there were stipulations on how the purchase would have to be made.
“The leadership made the decision with the understanding that financing would not come from church or mission funds,” explained Dr. K.P. Yohannan, who is also president of Gospel for Asia, whose native missionaries serve the Asian church. “Rather, it would have to be taken care of from the profits of the estate.”
With that understanding, and the knowledge that the property was being “dumped” at a very low price, the leaders voted to go forward.
“We made the purchase with a 100 percent bank loan at a very favorable rate,” Dr. Yohannan explained. “And now the loan is being repaid with the profits from the rubber plantation. When it is paid for in six or seven years, all further profits will go directly to fund missions and ministries.”
Dr. Yohannan added, “I know that the future of the church in Asia depends on its ability to take care of itself.
“How we thank God for the abilities and godliness of these leaders to be able to see the future and make decisions for the church in these developing nations. He is giving us a way to expand the ministry of the Asian church in a self-supporting way. It is truly an answer to prayer.”