Craig and I spent the last four days at a Care of Creation/Farming God’s Way seminar that was held in Kijabe. Kijabe is about an hour drive north west of Nairobi and is situated close to the top of the escarpment that leads down into the Great Rift Valley. We travelled to the conference with another family who will be living and working in Tanzania, though not in our area. It was great to get to know others who will be in Tanzania.
Our conference was the largest one so far, that has been hosted in Kenya. There were sixty participants from a variety of different locations within Kenya but also from other countries like South Sudan and Tanzania. It was a wonderful experience to be there with so many African brothers and sisters. While we brought nothing to the table in terms of experience or knowledge in agricultural practice our brothers and sisters were very experienced and knowledgeable and it was good to hear them asking questions and clarifying points as it gave us a greater understanding of various issues that we otherwise would not have had.
Initially the state of farming in Kenya and Eastern Africa generally is addressed. There were many amongst us who had no idea of the overall picture of how bad the situation is in much of Eastern Africa. This set the background for comparing what God had given us in the garden of Eden and called us to do as stewards of the earth and its resources with how we have for years practiced agriculture around the world and specifically in Africa. As we walked through the Godly principles that underpin Farming God’s Way we had the privilege of hearing our brothers speak of conviction and their need to repent before God for the way they had been living and practicing agriculture.
As we looked at the ‘how to’ of Farming God’s Way and the details of the practical aspects we were presented with comparisons between conventional farming yields and Farming God’s Way yields. We then saw our brothers and sisters struggle with scepticism and disbelief thinking the pictures were doctored or that there had been something additional occurring on the Farming God’s Way plots that the presenters were not disclosing. We were assured that we would see the comparison for ourselves on the farm when we got to practice on the land.
When we got to do the practical aspect of the course we began to see the emergence of hope and excitement at the realisation that this was not just ‘another new farming technique’ but that this actually held real value for farming and offered the potential for a more secure future for those that chose to practice it. As we concluded our time an opportunity was given for people to reflect on the course and to give feedback. Our brothers and sisters spoke of being discouraged as they learned the extent of the problem and their regret at the part they had played in it. They then went on to speak of their dawning realisation of the truth of what was being spoken and the hope that it offered them and their fellow brothers and sisters. They encouraged and exhorted one another not to keep this to themselves but to become spokes people and teachers of Farming God’s Way and champions and ambassadors for Farming God’s Way in their home communities. One even called for people to speak into the lives of the policy makers to bring about new policies that addressed the issues they faced in ways that did not just bring votes but brought hope for the nation. It was truly an amazing time. We were humbled by the response of our brothers and sisters and their desire to honour God with new ways of thinking and working. We also had a tonne of fun along the way as some of brothers and sisters proved to be very entertaining characters! God is good all the time and he calls us to be good all the time!