July has been a huge month for our family! Two major things have happened:
Matthew’s AGRI-FAITH TRAINING PROGRAM has officially begun its pilot season!
And….we finally BOUGHT OUR LAND!
We are so pumped about both of these things!
First, let’s talk about Matthew’s training.
Ababibyi B’Ibyirinjiro (Sowers of Hope) is an agri-faith training program Matthew has designed for the Anglican Church of Rwanda. Our pilot season is in the village of Gasura, a rural village outside of Kigali. We are working in conjunction with the already established Savings and Credit Association Groups (microfinance and savings groups for the win!) and training 3-5 members from each of the 6 local churches in the area, about 25 farmers total. These members have been elected for the training by their community. After the first season of trainings, graduating farmers will be commissioned as agricultural ministers, and for the next 3 seasons (18 months) they will be work as our teachers in their local churches.
This month, the farmers have learned about the principles of designing the farm (intro to permaculture), including specific techniques for harvesting rainwater. Here’s a video of a demo used during the training (not our video):
Another training was on nutrition: a mock market was set up and the farmers had a certain amount of money (a bit less than a dollar, which is a typical day’s wages in Gasura) to buy the most nutritious meal they could. Their homework is to make a “one pot meal” from a great local organization called “Gardens For Health.” Wanna try it at home? See picture for the instructions!
The main goal of the trainings is to give dignity to farming, teaching that to farm well is a ministry of the Church. Trainings include scripture memorization as we work through the “Fruits of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) asking, “What would it look like to farm with:___________ (Love, Joy, Peace…) We are investing a lot in these elected farmers, counting on them to be our catalysts in the community for economic, environmental, nutritional, and spiritual growth!
Working through the Anglican Church, we have incorporated an opening and closing “Call and Response,” into the training:
OPENING CALL & RESPONSE:
We provide for our community (BY FARMING WELL)
We heal our Land (BY FARMING WELL)
We worship God (BY FARMING WELL)
Who are we? (WE ARE “SOWERS OF HOPE!)
CLOSING CALL & RESPONSE:
God is restoring all of Creation (LET OUR FARMS PRAISE HIM!)
Please pray for this program. Pray for our farmers, for their farms, and for openness to the message. Because Rwanda has developed so fast, there is a perception here that farming is backwards and undignified, when in fact, it is one of our greatest responsibilities and joys and Christians, and the greatest hope for a sustainable future for the second most densely populated country in Africa!
And please pray for more financial partners specifically for this program. Within the next 3 years we hope to train between 600-700 farmers. Maybe your family wants to sponsor a farmer?
- A gift of $130 can put one farmer through the full 2 year program.
- A partnership of $160/mo can sponsor a training for a whole local church!
- To support this training program, visit… http://www.hopeonathousandhills.org/donate
- (memo line: “Gasabo: Sponsor a Farmer”)
And now… a bit about our land!
Through a generous, specified donation, we have purchased .7 hectares (roughly 1.5 acres) of land! It is in Gasura, (the same community as the pilot of Matthew’s Agri-faith program) on the top of a hill/mountain (it’s a big hill, ok?) just outside of Kigali. As you can see, the view is epic. The idea with this land is that much of the research Matthew is doing for his project will now be able to be done on this land….which will eventually include our home, too! We are excited that Matthew will be able to do much of his work at home, and that we will be able to spread our wings a bit and do more of the homesteading we’ve been missing for the past few years (chickens and bees! chickens and bees!)
We are also excited at the prospect of using our land for more official hospitality and retreat purposes. We are hoping to work with our future neighbors (who are friends of ours, yay!) to develop a fresh air, green-space escape for Kigali city-dwellers! The land is just about 30 min from the city center, so the location is ideal for something like this. We will be developing the land to be a model for agroforestry/permaculture farming, sustainable building, incorporation of native flora, and an eco-faith training site, and retreat center.
So now, we start planning: building a wall around the compound (necessary for security of both humans and plants, for real), designing our home, hiring an architect.
A few other things…
I (Karli) am delighted to serve on our church’s leadership team, doing things like coordinating volunteers and, soon, launching small groups. Our church community is extremely diverse (both racially and socioeconomically) and we are so grateful to be a part of it! Pray for us, as we seek the Lord’s vision for our congregation, that we would represent him well and worship him in spirit and truth.
Matthew’s truck is running again! Thank you all for your prayers and generosity. It’s getting painted right now- pics to come of the miraculous healing!
Speaking of generosity- we received enough donations for the truck repairs that we are actually able to pay for Halle to start preschool in the fall (!!!) without fundraising at all. The Lord provides so beautifully! Now, pray for mama’s heart…
PRAYERS FOR AUGUST:
Pray that Matthew would be able to quickly and peacefully hire a new assistant that is passionate and knowledgeable (and fun!)
Pray for attendance and dedication to the Agri-Faith Program to remain steady
Pray for the proper permitting for our home to come through easily
Pray for Rwandan elections (happening today) and for peace throughout the country
Pray that we find the right partners to build our home (architect, etc)
Pray for our church community to grow together in both vibrant unity and knowledge of the Lord
Pray for our community as we grieve the loss of our Archdeacon’s son
Pray for the start of a new term for our preschoolers, and pray God’s love over all of them as they receive supplemented nutrition from our team daily
Pray for us as we remember our son, Hudson, on the second anniversary of his birth (August 25)
Grateful for you all,
The VonHerbs 🙂