Bursting with Blessing
Jerry’s 2nd trip blog from Africa
In my previous trip update I shared with you about the trip I just returned from in Africa, where I joined our incredible Farming God’s Way team for vital team building and ministry visits to God’s Love Groups that are transforming their nations one farm at a time. I also shared how, back in 2017, our entire team fully embraced the concept of God’s Love Groups.
So now this month, back in Rwanda 3 years later, I’m tremendously excited to report to you what’s happened since then!
But first, let me give you the context in which many of our Rwandan brothers and sisters are working.
During the genocide in 1994, an estimated 800,000 people were slaughtered by their own countrymen in 100 days. And most often, it was people of one tribe raping and killing neighbors of the “other” tribe. They lived in the same communities. Think of what it would be like for friends you grew up with and people you admired in your neighborhood suddenly turning on you—familiar faces brutally murdering your family members and neighbors, forcing you as a child to flee in terror for your life.
That’s the horrific story of our Rwandan trainers Peter and Venuste. The genocide left them as orphans. How do you have a normal relationship after that? How do you ever allow yourself to be vulnerable? How do you ever trust anyone again?
Their only answer…God’s supernatural love and forgiveness. They are training both genocide survivors and those who are repentant murderers because they see Farming God’s Way and GLGs as the tools of healing that will help ensure there will not be another genocide.
The God’s Love Groups in Rwanda have a very special place among the people. Not only do they work on each other’s farms, read scripture and fellowship—they do life together. They serve as a new family. The outcasts and the hated and the survivors now have a heavenly family to celebrate each other’s birthdays, weddings, harvests and holidays with. When one is in need, they have people you can turn to for help. For someone that has no living relatives, the GLG is a godsend.
So what’s changed in 3 years? Farming God’s Way Ministry is bursting at the seams in Burgesera and Huye Districts. Others, including local government officials, have witnessed both the dramatic increase in food production and the healing power at work in their communities and want to see it spread! So far in Karama (Huye district), Venuste’s hometown, the local government has provided free land, a water pump for irrigation, and has built a massive drying storage for the community to take their maize. Also, in both districts the government sent agronomists with us on our field visits to encourage the farmers to continue in FGW.
Phillip and Betty were the first of many Rwandan married couples to testify of a greater solidarity and intimacy in their marriage after doing FGW together. Betty said that she “really enjoys God’s blanket because when me and my husband get hot and tired, we can sit down and rest under our crops and talk because of love. Our garden is a good, quiet, and safe place to discuss prospering, the friends we’ve gained through FGW, and even our secrets.” FGW is helping married couples be fruitful and multiply! LOL!
What excited me most about these field visits, however, was to see what God is doing among the youth. Patrick, an 18-year-old student in southern Rwanda who learned FGW from an older man named Moses, was one of them. Moses had the most impressive garden we saw in Rwanda. Seeing that garden, Patrick asked his parents to rent him some land so he could try to emulate it. He began growing vegetables using FGW and fell in love with this kind of farming. He is now able to buy his own food at school because of the profits from his small garden. He has now started his own youth GLG using a second plot! You can see a short video of his testimony here.
In the north, there is another amazing story of a youth GLG. Several children observed their parents practicing FGW and saw that it was good so they began doing it themselves! Because our trainers have also been teaching them about saving, now 11 of the 16 children in the GLG were able to purchase their own goats. That may not seem like much, but this is the beginning of a generational wealth transfer. These are kids whose parents may have never owned an animal, a real asset, and now these children do. All because of using Farming God’s Way techniques and saving money in their GLG. You can see their testimony here.
In Rwanda, there are honestly far more stories than I can share with you in this space of the great work God is accomplishing through our teamwork. I just want to leave you with this: There is a strong desire in these communities to learn more and share what they learn with those suffering from food shortages around them. But every farmer we talked with, and every community we visited, said the same thing—”We need more training!”
I thank you for your commitment and desire to empower believers to be beacons of light in their communities through Farming God’s Way. My next update will cover our trip to Uganda where 4kgs of maize turned into 400kgs, where beans bought a roof, and where babies are made (I know I’ve gotten you curious with that last one, LOL!)
May God continue to richly bless you and keep you.
Grace and peace,
Director, Farming God’s Way Ministry