CHE project in Thai village attracts leaders, leads to growth and opportunities
A local witch doctor and his wife are part of a microfinance project in a rural village in Thailand, report CMF team members Preston and Kristin Coursey, which has led to a very successful year for their venture.
Preston Coursey works to break the cycle of poverty in villages outside Chiang Mai, Thailand, through sustainable community health evangelism (CHE) projects.
“Sometimes these projects utilize aquaponics, natural pig farming, chicken coops or farming,” he said. “Typically, we provide an interest-free, micro-enterprise loan to a group of villagers to help them kick-start a business. All recipients of the loan must attend the weekly meetings, in which we teach budgeting and project management, as well as share the Bible and a devotional.
“Participants keep track of their finances, with our help, recording all their expenses to determine if they made a profit,” he added. “They keep their profits after the original loan amount is returned. If they seem open to learning and hearing about the Bible, we’ll do a second or third round with the group.”
There were 13 families in the village project this year, including a village leader and the local witch doctor, both of whom have great influence in the community.
“One couple has already been baptized,” said Preston. “And the witch doctor told us, ‘Your words are piercing our hearts! It is like medicine we take for our souls.’
“He and his wife went on to tell us that they were doing a ceremony when a man in white appeared to them,” added Preston. “The man in white told them, ‘You need to stop hurting each other. You need to love each other, and you need to live righteously. You won’t find me here (in this ceremony). You will find me in church!”
As a result of this testimony, Preston says, this village project enjoyed major growth and inroads for the gospel this year.