Women’s Ministry and Income Generation Programs
In Africa, many women had heard the Christian Gospel message and would say they were Christian, but FRMA perceived that most of these women did not live an Orthodox Christian lifestyle, or understand the Christian principle of being born-again. The idea for a program where Christian evangelism is carried out by systematically teaching the foundations of evangelical Christian faith, through verse-by-verse Biblical teaching, was developed.
In 1999, Vicky Bentley started a program called Rabuna Fi, which in Arabic means “God is here”, and is a common Christian greeting in South Sudan. Rabuna Fi is primarily an evangelical Christian discipleship program that teaches women to study the Bible and better understand the foundational beliefs of evangelical Christianity. Women are taught in an expositional manner about foundational evangelical Christian doctrine, and then they are trained to go out to disciple others within their communities and churches.
The discipleship-training program began when Vicky started working within the local churches. She listened to testimonies of the women and their home lives. These testimonies revealed the desperate side of African village poverty. The vast majority of the women had husbands that had been killed in combat or were cut off from communication for years at a time due to prolonged civil war. Most of the women FRMA serves had three or more children to provide for, with no education, no job opportunities, and little hope of improvement.
One of the key goals of FRMA is teaching women to be self-reliant. FRMA developed several income generation projects to achieve this goal. First, a simple beaded bookmark was made. Journal covers followed (made from embroidered tree bark), then the line of Rabuna Fi handcrafted gifts emerged.
As the initial women’s program artisan skills continued to improve, FRMA expanded the scope and reach of their income generation. Rabuna Fi is funded and operated under the umbrella of FRMA. In addition to FRMA’s discipleship program, other programs have developed, including tailoring schools, and literacy training.
Today, Rabuna Fi works to assist women in Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya to grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.
On May 31, 2006, FRMA purchased a Cessna Grand Caravan Super Cargo Master airplane. After putting it into service in Africa, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) took the aircraft and began operating it to support Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) and FRMA missionary work. The airplane makes regular flights into various locations throughout Uganda, South Sudan, and The Congo. The aircraft is used to help missionaries and supplies reach targeted destinations, as well as conduct emergency flights. The aircraft was chosen for its ability to fly into remote locations, and land or take off from short airfields and undeveloped fields.
In 2006, FRMA teamed up with Yvonne Kennedy, of Fashioned Forward Ministries (FFM), to provide clothing and other necessities for the night commuter kids in Northern Uganda. A program called Love Covers was born out of this partnership, in which FRMA identifies schools where poverty has a negative impact on the number of graduating impoverished children. These children are given backpacks are filled with:
- A Blanket
- A Mosquito Net
- A School Uniform
- A Bright Red “Love Covers Africa” T-shirt
- School Supplies
- Various Toiletries
After the initial teaming of FRMA and FFM, both ministries agreed to a joint ministry effort to establish and run a tailoring school. Students are taught basic tailoring skills, and in the process, each student sews 200 pieces of school uniforms to support Love Covers. In return for successfully completing the tailoring school program, they get to take their machine home; allowing for the prospect of a home-based business.
To date, over 5,000 children from South Sudan and Uganda have received Love Covers packs. FRMA brings volunteers into the schools that Love Covers supports for a three day Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, and on the last day of the program each child receives a backpack filled with school and personal supplies.
Human Trafficking Awareness
In 2012, Vicky Bentley started a Prayer Cause called Rescue & Redemption for the global problem of human trafficking. The main focus is identifying and rescuing victims of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. We strive to do this by attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of both female and male victims. The goal of Rescue & Redemption is to raise up an army of churches and individuals that will pray and take action to stand in the gap for those who are being victimized. Individuals and church groups can sign a prayer petition and commit to pray for those who are in bondage. Far Reaching Ministries is encouraging evangelical Christians to become informed of the problem and help bring awareness to this issue.