It’s a familiar adage: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Texas Baptists are doing both by providing $103,000 to equip International Mission Board personnel to teach people how to sustain a fish farm in South America and meet other needs around the globe.
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Gus Reyes, director of Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission, contacted the IMB’s Hispanic Mobilization team for input. The team responded with five requests for needs in India, Spain, Thailand and Brazil.In preparing proposed allocations for the
One request focused on funds for a fish farming project at Centro de Formação de Líderes, a three-year Bible institute in Brazil. The ministry fits with the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering’s purpose. Funds must be used to alleviate immediate needs or help move people out of poverty—purchasing food, preparing meals, supporting agriculture and animal husbandry development, providing clean water and sanitation, supporting micro-enterprise and income development and helping prepare people for employment.
At the Centro de Formação de Líderes, two ponds are stocked with catfish and tambaqui, two types of fish sold in the local markets that are resistant to rough conditions.
“Taking care of the fish would help create a job skill for the Bible students,” the ministry’s director wrote in his application for the hunger offering funds.
“It would also help put food on the table for the Bible students that live on campus year-round. The sale of the adult fish would help in providing scholarships, pay for school supplies and have possible income to help pay the professors for the first time in five years.”
The center is located in the lowland jungles of Brazil. During the rainy season—November through May—the fishponds fill up, but during the dry season—June through October—ponds become dry. Texas Baptists’ gifts will help fund a project to collect hundreds of gallons of rainwater during the wet season.
The requested funds will help provide huge water containers, PVC, conduits, heavy machinery, water measuring devices, fish nets, small compressor motors, oxygen producing motor, two freezers, food for fish and minnows.
In addition, more than $13,000 funded to the Brazil project will cover a small food-production project where lettuce, tomatoes, greens and other vegetables will be grown in a simple greenhouse that only uses water. The funds also support indigenous tribal training events, including work with national ministry partners in and around Cruzeiro do Sul, a jungle city of about 90,000 people.