What Changed Everything
Jerry’s 1st trip blog from Africa
I wish you could have been there! I just returned from Africa with some great news at a time you could probably use some! (U.S. borders were shutting down while I was away, but praise God I was able to get home on March 20!)
Meetings have never been so exciting! We brought trainers together from 6 different African nations for the purpose of transforming those nations, both spiritually and economically. It was quite a challenge, but we found Psalm 133 to be resonating throughout our time: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when the brothers dwell in unity!”
I recall my first trip with Heaven’s Family’s Farming God’s Way Ministry was to Uganda and Rwanda in 2017. Upon arrival in Uganda I finally got to meet two FGW trainers for the first time—Peter and Venuste from Rwanda! Later that evening Dick and the rest of the team arrived.
We spent the next few days traveling all over Uganda visiting farmers (even getting an opportunity to rap (some of you may not know rapping for Jesus is another passion of mine) at a church meeting and speak to a mens group. Then we caught a bus to Rwanda to do the same thing. But in Rwanda, at one village, we saw something amazing: people working together in groups.
That observation changed everything.
At a meeting soon afterwards, Brother Charles shared what was happening in Malawi since taking the advice of Dick, then-director of Farming God’s Way Ministry, to work in groups rather than as individual farmers. He said many new farmers were joining FGW. He also said he was gathering the starving pastors in very impoverished districts and sharing with them the vision of FGW through what was then a new concept Dick had introduced, called God’s Love Groups.
These GLGs were taking it upon themselves, without outside direction, to care for widows and orphans in their own communities. Charles also shared with us how to create and run a GLG, and be ready to give up our lives to serve others. That was the day the value of GLGs finally hit home for the rest of our multi-national African team.
After the meeting, our Kenyan trainer Griffin humbly approached Dick to apologize. He said he didn’t see the value of working in groups until he heard Charles’ testimony. This was a revelation for the whole team and each trainer began to set up GLGs in their countries.
A year later we all met in Malawi so the team could witness the GLGs Charles had told them about. Their minds were blown and their vision enlarged as we drove across a bridge not built by the government, but, incredibly, by the local GLGs! We accomplished much on that visit, but the most important achievement was that our entire team became 100% committed to creating God’s Love Groups as the foundation of their FGW methods training.
I feel it is important to give you that background information so you understand the significance of the team meeting that just took place this month in Rwanda, and how far we’ve come in 3 years since implementing the GLGs.
During our meeting we discussed becoming better disciple makers, next steps to helping farmers prosper, building strong GLGs, and training “Giants” (those who lead GLGs) to become “Generals” (those who lead Giants).
Here are 3 KEY TAKEAWAYS…
1. Each farmer in a GLG is matched to his or her ability. This means the strongest dig the planting stations while the weakest put in wood ash and manure. GLG members travel from farm to farm until everyone’s farm is prepared for planting. This is literally the Body of Christ at work. We heard many testimonies on this trip of how much easier the work is when you do it together.
2. The GLGs go together in everything else. They do life together. Great concept, right? The Lord, through Charles and other trainers, also teaches them to meet their own needs and team up with other GLGs to solve bigger community problems. Where did Charles get this stuff from? Oh yeah, Acts 2:42-47.
3. The trainers look to the big picture. Dick and I used magazines and a broom stick to illustrate this point. It took the brothers about 45 minutes to figure out the little game, and it was a ton of fun. The point the brothers learned was that they need to look beyond their own problems and individual work to see The Big Picture. This prepared them for the remainder of our trip to expand their thinking beyond just farming activities toward other opportunities to prosper and help those around them. It also expanded their vision beyond the transformation of individual families, communities, and countries, to transforming the continent.
Our time together was bittersweet because it may be Dick’s final trip. If it is, I want to say before you all, “Pastor Dick, I love you. You prepared and equipped me to lead by serving and empowering these brothers to fulfill their God-given vision for their individual nations, and the continent of Africa. Thank you for inviting me take part in this incredible work in 2016.” Salute!
In my next update I will share more about the field visits we did in Rwanda, the rapid spread of Farming God’s Way, and the crucial role the God’s Love Groups play in a nation still healing from the 1994 genocide.
Thank you so much for your time, interest, and investment. Without you, these life-changing trainings could not have happened.
Grace and peace,
Director, Farming God’s Way Ministry