What a book can do…
Let’s talk about books. I love books. If you are a Christian you definitely have to love books – at least 66 books. You might think many things of what a book can do. Some, like Michael the TV boy in Dave Eggers’ ‘What is the What’, may think that a book could be used to silence a victim. Well in my case many of the books I read silence my ignorance and help get rid of it from my life.
Have you heard about ‘Farming God’s Way’ (FGW)? When I first got a BOOK on FGW late last year I was excited. Our country coordinator Joy Phillips and my team mate Whitney Smith were also excited about it. So we agreed to include FGW in our CHE TOT 4 curriculum. For this reason Whitney and I thought of preparing a demonstration garden at In Deed and Truth (IDAT) Ministries in Tonj. Sabet and Suzy who are the leaders of IDAT welcomed the idea and we were to put the demonstration garden inside the IDAT compound. So we identified the area in the garden where we can plant, and decided on the type of crops we wanted to plant. The main crops we chose to plant were sorghum, and ground nuts because these are the main crops that the local people grow. Yet we also wanted to try some other crops and vegetables.
We left Tonj one day after planting the crops to conduct a CHE training in Werkok near Bor town. After the Werkok training I took time to visit the CHE team in Lui, and some folks using CHE and FGW in their ministry in Yei. I also had the opportunity to preach at the Eritrean church in Juba. Whitney returned to Tonj earlier than me and was telling me that the FGW side of the garden was doing better than the traditional side. I came back to Tonj after five weeks.
On the day of my return to Tonj – after taking some cold water – I headed to the garden. Amazing! I saw what a book can do. Neither Whitney nor I had gone for FGW training, but we had carefully read the book on FGW. We wanted to see if what it says is true. What can a book do? We put FGW and traditional way gardens side by side for comparison where we put the same seed, planted on the same day, and watered it equally. The FGW side did much better. When I went to my bed room Jed (Sabet and Suzy’s son) had put a beautiful picture of Farming God’s Way on my bed that he drew. What a welcome! Thanks Jed boy!
Our team member Billy had come to Tonj with his family, and Jeff and Christine Stanfield to lead an STS training. I actually joined them in Rumbek and we all proceeded to Tonj together.
We had a successful STS training with more than 30 church leaders and members.
The CHE training that we started last year with the pastors from the Rumbek East County and Tonj was coming to an end. TOT 4 was the final TOT that we planned for.
Dr. Rick Morse as the main facilitator came up with a curriculum and we all had a great time in the training.
After the CHE lessons we took two days to do the FGW training for the first time. I praise God for bringing such a great tool that His Church can use to chase poverty away from the lives of the believers and of the wider community. The training went very well. We hope and pray that the church leaders will begin to put this into practice to transform their lives and the lives of others around them.
According to Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation (2011) 51 % of the population of South Sudan lives below poverty line. This is reflected in the churches. More than 90 % of the churches in my area meet under the shade of trees. Pastors could not get support from their congregations. Therefore they have to struggle to make ends meet for their families. Definitely there is a need to get out of this situation. I believe the CHE, STS, and FGW tools that we are using will have a great contribution towards the process of transformation of South Sudanese individuals, and communities.
Dear reader, if you feel to be involved in this process of transformation, I assure you it is a God ordained process.