Sustainability projects lift Indigenous people out of poverty


Hunger Offering ministry strives to end the cycle of poverty among Hondurans and empower individual families through farming sustainability projects and enterprise. 

By Jaclyn Bonner

Five dollars will buy a venticoffee at Starbucks. Five dollars also isthe average daily living wage of the Lenca, the poorest people group in Honduras.

Coffee is a staple of the Lenca lifestyle. Many families harvest coffee during its season, and they likely drink more coffee than the average Starbucks customer. The Lenca live with entrenched poverty, but they also are notably hospitable, willingly offering a cup of coffee and a comfortable seat to visitors. 

This indigenous group dwells in nearly 1,200 agrarian villages in the mountains of Western Honduras. Although their original culture and language are nearly dormant, the Lenca remain the largest native people group in Honduras, consisting of about 116,000 individuals.

A rampant problem the Lenca face is generational and cyclical poverty.

61 Isaiah Ministries is a faith-based organization addressing this issue by serving the people and sharing the light of Christ. The name of the ministry is inspired by Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”

Two unique ways 61 Isaiah proclaims the good news to the poor is through meeting human need and empowering local leaders.

61 Isaiah operates the Lenca Hunger Farm, which is directly funded by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.

In the last quarter, this hunger-alleviation mechanism produced 500 pounds of corn, which helped feed 27 families. Most Lenca are farmers, so the Hunger Farm is a practical means of sustainable development as well.

Sustainability is also proffered by a fish farm. Purchasing fish regularly is nearly impossible for families because of their low income. The fish project is improving nutritional value of meals for families and helping build relationships between the ministry and the Lenca.

Gifts to the Hunger Offering helped 61 Isaiah develop a water well to irrigate and better manage crops throughout the year. The new well will permit the ministry to triple food production.

61 Isaiah is passionate about empowering individuals, too, noting that this will help the Lenca communities become more dependent upon one another than on foreign aid.

One avenue of individual empowerment is enterprise.                                                         

A small-micro chicken project allows families to manage their own business, and portable coops allow for crop fertilization. The mobile coops are being tested for effectiveness on the Hunger Farm. The goal is for this model to be incorporated into local farming practices, which will generate income and diminish poverty.

“There is a lot of development taking place, and we are so excited about the possibilities of having a sustainable source of food to help people in times of crisis as well as empowering pastors and leaders who want to help members of their churches and communities,” says Shannon Hopkins, co-founder of 61 Isaiah Ministries.

By supporting ministries like 61 Isaiah, the Hunger Offering is helping transform lives around the globe. Partner with the Hunger Offering and help Texas and international ministries by giving during the next 5th Sunday Offering on April 30, or by giving here anytime.  

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