The first idea was chickens.
IMB missionary Joe Brewster was working with an Indigenous church planter in Peru to help their mission agency become self-supporting. They understood that a stronger business model would support the National Indigenous Missions of Peru, that includes 10 tribal units focused on church planting and discipleship efforts in their tribes and among other Indigenous people groups in Peru and Brazil.
They tried raising chickens, but the poultry business wasn’t bringing in enough money.
“Then, we settled on a fish farm because [the Indigenous believers] had the land, they love fish and understand them, and fish are heartier than chickens. It is a business we can scale up in time,” Brewster said.
With help from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and other donations, the team has constructed nine working fishponds. In their first harvest in June 2019, the group gathered more than 7,000 pounds of pacu, a tasty omnivorous fresh-water fish related to the piranha. The team plans to build 22 ponds, which, if managed properly, should provide enough profits to nearly double the donations the organization currently receives. To date, the group has sold nearly 18,000 pounds of fish, Brewster said.
“We have seen a core team of three men come together who will be able to carry the business forward into the future,” Brewster said. “They have grown in competency as well as in depth of calling.”
Brewster explained that the local leaders and his team are planning for the mission agency’s success long-term. “We’re praying that this leads to something healthy and sustaining 5, 10, 20 years into the future.”
The economic goal is for the fish business to sustain the local missions organization and support its own missionaries. Brewster and his team believe this effort will be key in reaching the lost and strengthening the national believers to take the gospel throughout Peru and to other nations.
“We have an equal working relationship with these national partners,” Brewster adds as he explains the importance of the teamwork they share in fulfilling the missionary task.
Brewster also expressed his thanks to Southern Baptists whose continued generosity is meeting long-term goals and short-term needs like ones caused by COVID-19. When local families were unemployed and unable to feed their families this year, Send Relief purchased fish from the farms to be distributed, along with needed supplies. These provisions “gave us and national believers tremendous opportunities to share the gospel,” said Brewster, who knows of one baptism already that resulted from the food distribution.
Will you give today to support the work of the National Indigenous Missions of Peru and IMB missionaries like Joe and Megan Brewster who are featured in this year’s Week of Prayer and LMCO resources? Will you join Southern Baptists in giving for the first time or increasing your offering this year? Our goal is $175 million and every dollar will go directly to the work on the mission field. With your support, we will surpass this goal and advance the kingdom as never before.