What a Revelation!
Jerry’s final trip blog from Kenya
It finally hit me, right between the eyes! I mean, I always knew that Farming God’s Way was transforming lives, but not until this trip did I understand just how important it is. Let me explain…
The final leg of my journey (accompanied by Bob Collins and my son Jafone) took us to Philemon House in Kibwezi, Kenya. It is the only aftercare facility for youth offenders in the country. The staff and volunteers provide discipleship, vocational training, room and board, and much more for these young people working to get their lives back on track. Bob, who directs Heaven’s Family’s Prison & Rehab Ministry, is committed to seeing Philemon House become a self-sustaining ministry. Enter Griffin Juma, our Kenyan accredited Farming God’s Way trainer.
Because of your support of Farming God’s Way Ministry, Brother Griffin is able to travel all over Kenya to train, equip, encourage and empower poor farmers to break the yokes of hunger and poverty and experience genuine Christian community by establishing God’s Love Groups. He is also impacting the youth in his community with his football (soccer) and FGW program. He understands the plight of the Kenyan youth as well as that of the older farmers, and had the opportunity to minister to both while we conducted our FGW training at Philemon House. (To sponsor Griffin and make his vital ministry possible, click here.)
A normal FGW training takes 3 full days. We had less than one. Nevertheless, Griffin was able to conduct an introductory training. Half of the attendees were older farmers from the community; the other half were youth from the community and the young people who live at Philemon House—around 60 total.
Griffin did the bulk of the training but he asked me to teach the first biblical key (acknowledge God and God alone), and one management principal (minimal waste). This was my first time training anyone outside my own community, so I felt a bit intimidated having Griffin there as my trainer. But once I began to share about the biblical keys, the Holy Spirit took over and gave me what to say.
Family, I could see “lightbulbs going on” in the faces of those in the room as we taught and shared. But one of the most impactful things that I heard was the comparison of one traditional farmer’s production to Griffin’s production. That man farms 7 acres of maize and harvests 594 lbs., while Griffin farms less than 1/4-acre and harvests…wait for it…594 lbs.! That’s 1/28th the size, seed, time, and energy—with the same harvest. Wow!
Now I had heard stats like this before, time and time again. I’ve read about the forests destroyed to find more farm land after other land has been depleted. I’ve seen pictures of large chasms created by bad farming practices. I’ve even seen fields on fire, burning crop residue that could have helped retain moisture and helped their land remain fertile.
But I had never watched, first-hand, traditional African farming techniques…until now. For demonstration purposes, we prepared two small fields: one for them to plant their traditional way, and one for us to plant using Farming God’s Way techniques.
First, the Traditional Method
Farmers and kids pulverized the soil with hoes, turning it into dirt. Then they planted corn and beans by walking randomly around the field dropping seed, then pushing it into the ground with their feet. That, they said, is the way we’ve always done it. What a revelation!! NOW I understand how a farmer can plant 7 acres and have such an abysmal harvest! (“Tradition,” I’ve heard it said, “is peer pressure from dead people.” Now I know how true that can be—and how devastating for future generations if those traditions are bad!)
Then, the Farming God’s Way Method
Everyone, young and old, joyfully joined in. We were done in no time. After planting and and blanketing our small field, we sang a song and knelt and prayed over it. (You can view a 1-minute video summary of the training here https://youtu.be/Y2PPY41tuUI.)
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” All who participated in this training will soon have the opportunity to see a side-by-side comparison of the traditional method versus FGW. Even better, Philemon House will have the opportunity to become a small commercial farm that will feed its own kids and sell some for profit (and take their new knowledge to their home villages when released)! Local farmers now have the opportunity to implement what they’ve learned and begin to prosper. God has given them everything they need and now they possess the knowledge to utilize it.
This is why what we’re doing is so important! We have the opportunity to teach people to depend on God, see what resources He’s given them, work those resources, and reap the rewards. We would not have this opportunity without faithful followers of Jesus like you who are willing to invest your time, talent, and treasure to advance His kingdom. Thanks, Family, for your support in the work we’re doing and for taking the time to read my trip updates. I pray they bless you, and show how you are being a blessing to others.
Grace & Peace,
Director, Farming God’s Way Ministry