About The Mustard Fund
In one of Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom of God, He taught: “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32 (ESV)
As we develop the work of OM around the world, to see the least reached impacted with the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom, we understand that many of these communities and people groups are also enslaved by poverty.
We recognise that establishing a vibrant community also means confronting the injustice of poverty and liberating the poor through economic empowerment. We know this can be a powerful witness to those who are lost and enable the Church to grow in strength.
Stories of transformation
Like many young women in the poorest areas of Bangladesh, Lovely* was married at a very young age and lived with her in-laws. She was pregnant at just 13, but a terribly traumatic birth left her baby dead and Lovely with life-changing injuries. Discarded by her new family, her parents took her back, but her father soon died, leaving her dependent on her brother and suffering the taunts of a resentful sister-in-law as she tried to live with her disability.
“I could not control my bodily functions and had to continually change my clothes. I was a shame to my family,” she reports.
In her 30s, Lovely was introduced to a Christian charity hospital where she received a life-transforming operation. Soon after, she was enrolled on an OM tailoring training programme. Today, Lovely has joy in her life. She wears a colostomy bag, which she can keep clean, and now has freedom to move about and eat and drink normally. “Life is no longer messy and shameful,” she says.
Lovely now uses her skills to support herself. OM’s tailoring programmes specifically target the many hundreds of women who suffer fistulas and life-altering injuries caused by early childbirth. Emotional support, alongside practical training, means life-long change.
OM’s Training and Discipleship programmes provide a safe and nurturing environment for vulnerable women to develop skills, regain confidence and grow in faith.
Salim* lives in a rural area of Pakistan, where poverty is endemic. Finance is a key problem when you’re caught in the poverty trap, with no bank account or regular income. Running a business often means taking out loans at impossibly high rates, just to provide for the family. As a minority group in a Muslim country, Christians particularly struggle. Salim earns a pitiful wage as a labourer and he dreams of setting up a rickshaw bus service that will support his children and parents who also depend upon him.
Through Mustard, local enterprises in many of the world’s impoverished areas offer training and low-rate loans to get such initiatives up and running. In Pakistan, our partner, Unique Star, has helped establish rickshaw drivers, barbers, cafés, home appliance shops, grocery stores, printing shops, garment stalls, agricultural endeavours and many other operations that provide sustainable income. As well as solid business training and loan facilitation our partners offer the opportunity to come together in Christian fellowship and support.
OM’s Micro Enterprise ministries are helping people start their own business with loans from as little as £8
* Names changed