—Elton Yoder, SALT staff member in Cambodia
The SALT Microfinance Program is a huge blessing for the Khmer people in Cambodia. Most of these village people have very low incomes and live hand to mouth. The children grow up with no training about saving money for future, unexpected needs. This seems to only get worse with each generation as they raise their standard of living and in many cases live beyond their means. They get loans but don’t know how to save for their payments, so they become slaves to the bank or other money lenders.
For example, if they are fishermen, the man who buys their fish might give them a loan. Then he will pay the fishermen very little for the fish and they can hardly repay the loan. The man makes huge profits off their work and charges interest so they have to remain his servants for years of unjust working. Before the fishermen are done paying their nets, they have to borrow even more money to go on.
We believe the SALT program can help free people of these kinds of situations and teach the next generation that there is a better way of life. People are taught that no matter how little money they make, it is usually possible to save at least a little and, over time, become debt free.
The spiritual benefits of the SALT program are even more valuable. Every week our SALT facilitators go from one village to the next, building relationships with people, teaching them how to save money, and exposing them to Christianity. As the people grow to trust these facilitators, they ask many questions and there are many opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus. Our teachers Sokhom and LiHong make a good team. Sokhom is passionate about Jesus and shares with conviction the message of salvation.
Buddhism is the primary religion of Cambodians, and the people are bound by evil spirits and fear. Please pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to anoint us as we engage in this spiritual battle. God loves to set the captives free. The power is in the blood of Jesus!
Some Cambodians have left their false religion behind and chosen to follow Jesus. Choon and Nan, a couple in their mid-fifties, are from a very poor village. Nan was often sick, so she decided to join the SALT program to save money for future hospital bills. She was a strong Buddhist and had no intention of learning about Jesus through the lessons, but as time went on she loved the spirit the teachers brought with them and was always sad when they left. She said, “For a little bit my fears would leave me.”
Nan was sometimes attacked by evil spirits, which would leave her fearful and even sick. About a year after becoming a member of the SALT program, Choon and Nan both became Christians—the first ones in their village! Two weeks later their oldest daughter and her husband dedicated their lives to Christ, as well as a few more couples in their village.
Nan was delivered from her fears and her sickness after dedicating her life to God. She says the most important part of the SALT program is the teaching about Jesus Christ, although it also blessed them to learn how to save money. They were able to take a small loan from the group’s savings and buy some inventory for her little snack stand in the village. They also have three pigs now and raise rice and potatoes for a little income.
Please pray for Choon and Nan as they share their testimony with their neighbors and people in their savings group of 14 people. Choon and Nan, along with the others in the group, are saving together and helping each other start small businesses.
Please pray that the work of God’s Kingdom can continue through the SALT program among Cambodians. We have close to 200 members in 18 different groups and are in need of another team of teachers. Pray that God will bless us with someone who is passionate for Jesus Christ and His message of salvation. Also pray for me that God will give direction and wisdom as I mentor these teachers. God bless you for standing with us in prayer.
If you would like to help Cambodians through the SALT microfinance program, please click below to give a one-time gift or start a monthly sponsorship.