For the Landuma people of Guinea, every year includes a 'hungry season.' This is the time in between the planting and harvest when their crops are growing, but they have little or no food left to eat.
For years, the people have needed to take out loans with exorbitant interest just to survive. Even with the loans, they are often forced to live on two and sometimes only one meal a day.
Missionary Kirk Rogers is working with the Landuma church to try to make hungry season history. Together they have developed a grain bank.
The grain bank is a way for Landuma subsistence farmers to break the cycle of debt and hunger, and it is now open for business.
"People from our village continue to bring their peanuts and rice to the bank and receive their low-interest loans," wrote Kirk. "The storage room will soon be stuffed to full capacity."
The more it is used the more help it will be to the local economy and that should shorten the hungry season for many. In the coming years the grain bank may even enable some families to make the hungry season a thing of the past.
Many of the people use the money they receive from the bank to pay off farm and food debts. But some of the Landumas are thinking even bigger.
When Bles brought his peanut crop to the bank and received his money, he said he was determined not to "eat" the money, that is, spend it unwisely.
Right after receiving it he headed for town to purchase things to bring back to the village and resell to passing motorists. The profit he makes from this little business will help feed his family and pay other expenses.
At planting season Bles will still have his peanuts in the bank. Some he will plant and others he will sell when the prices are at their peak.
Pray for wisdom for those running the grain bank and that it will truly be a blessing to the community. Pray also for Bles. He is open to talking about spiritual things but not ready to believe.