Ash Wednesday, February 14, marks the beginning of Lent - the 40 days leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. A time of prayer, reflection and fasting, Lent helps us focus on God and His amazing love for us. During he Lenten season, we as the church have a special opportunity to give towards a specific missions project.

For 20 years, we've most often dedicated our Lenten offering to global missions. This year, the Lenten offering will go to a "business as mission" project among one of the largest unreached Muslim people groups in Indonesia. The Southeast Asia Mariculture Project involves building a small-scale sea cucumber hatchery to open doors to closed Muslim communities that has not witness among them.

Indonesia is comprised of more than 17,000 islands and there are thousands upon thousands of small fishing villages scattered across them. Most families in these areas subsist on minimal income from the catch of small fish. And, most of them are almost completely unengaged with the Gospel. There are no believers among them, near them or going to them. This project is designed to both take the Gospel to these Muslim communities and generate a means of sustainable revenue for them.

A team of expatriate and national church planters are entering into meaningful relationships with the coastal fishing communities.By providing fingerlings (juvenile sea cucumbers) and showing the fishermen how to raise the cucumbers to maturity, the church planters are able to be in daily contact with an otherwise unreachable people group. The team provides the technical expertise and seed funding that the villages don't have, but need to be successful.

Our goal is to raise $25,000 towards the Southeast Asia Mariculture Project.
Specifically, our Lenten offering will help fund the construction of the hatchery. This is the final stage in this endeavor. The team has been working on the project for our years, developed relationships with multiple communities, and is not ready to scale up to commercial production.


Ways you can be a part of the Lenten Project:

Give. Our Lenten offering will be dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 1, but you may give at any time – in worship on Sunday mornings, through the church office or online at our giving page.

Pray. Pray for the unreached people of Indonesia to know Jesus. Pray for the project team to have meaningful relationships with the coastal fishing communities. Click here for a prayer card with additional prayer points.

Learn and be encouraged. Join us in worship each week during Lent to hear about the amazing work God is doing in Indonesia. On March 11, John McCurry will share his experience with the Mariculture Project.

We invite you to prayerfully consider how you might participate in this Lenten offering project.





The Business Strategy

The team has been working on this project for four years, laying the groundwork, doing research at existing facilities and with some local communities. They are now ready to scale up to commercial production.

Our Lenten offering would help fund the construction of a hatchery. This hatchery is the engine that drives both the business and the mission. The hatchery produces fingerlings (juvenile animals, in this case a species of sea cucumber) that the team can take into communities.

Over the course of a year, they work in partnership with the villagers to grow the fingerlings to market weight in large ocean cages close to these communities. Church planters are able to work alongside villagers in unengaged areas on a daily and weekly basis, sharing the work and their faith. The team shares the profits from the sale of these sea cucumbers with the communities, providing them with a new and sustainable revenue stream.

Next, they process the sea cucumbers through a weeklong drying process, providing a source of income for villagers. The team uses its connections in large markets outside of the country - that villagers do not have access to - to sell the product at high-end markets in places like Singapore and Hong Kong.




Sea Cucumber Farming Process

In the hatchery, the team spawns (breeds) the sea cucumbers. This is a fairly technical process that requires expertise and carefully monitored quality control. This is where the hatchery funding comes in. The larvae spend about two weeks in the microscopic, pelagic (swimming) phase and require a specific food source.
After about two weeks, the larvae begin to transform into their benthic (bottom dwelling) phase. They settle onto surfaces that have been prepared with another very specific food source. They become visible to the naked eye.
After about four weeks, they become fingerlings and begin to look like small versions of the adult form.
After about two months in the hatchery, they are large enough to go into ocean cages that have been cleared of predators.
After a year of being watched over by local villagers, with help from church planters, they are ready for harvest. They are then dried, and shrink to about a fifth of their size.
These dried specimens are sold on international markets, going for as much as $100 a pound and are served as a delicacy.



Business as Mission
Jo Plummer, 2014, businessasmission.com

“Business is a God-given vocation and institution in society, with the potential to bring multiple benefits to people, communities and nations. Business as mission intentionally leverages this intrinsic power of business to address spiritual needs, hand in hand with social, economic and environmental needs.

Business as mission is demonstrating what the Kingdom of God is like in the context of business – and as we do so, engaging with the world’s more pressing social, economic, environmental and spiritual issues.
Business as Mission is:

   •   Profitable and sustainable businesses;
   •   Intentional about Kingdom of God purpose and impact on people and nations;
   •   Focused on holistic transformation and the multiple bottom lines of economic, social, environmental and       spiritual outcomes;
   •   Concerned about the world’s poorest and least evangelized peoples.




Unreached People Group (UPG)

A UPG is a people group whose number of followers of Christ and amount of resources make outside assistance necessary to reach the rest of the group with the Gospel.

Global Summary
An overview of the people groups of the world

People Groups 16,956
Unreached People Groups 7,035
% Unreached Groups 41.5%
Population 7.48 Billion
Population in Unreached 3.14 Billion
% Population in Unreached 42.1%

(https://joshuaproject.net/ February 2018)




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