Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Fruit of Their Labor

(Eleeo Project Demonstration Maize Plots)

(Typical Rural Maize Plot)

I just wanted to give a quick update on our workers' demonstration plots.  This past November, we worked with our staff (5 different families) to plant 10 demonstration plots of maize using the principles of Foundations for Farming (a.k.a. Farming God's Way).  We really didn't know what to expect, because neither Luke nor I had ever grown maize and most of our workers hadn't either.  As you can see from the first picture above, it has been quite successful.  This coming week they will be applying the final top dressing and then it's just waiting for harvest.

I have included another picture just to give you some perspective.  The second picture above is that of a rural maize plot that has been farmed using traditional methods.

Do you see why these demonstration plots are so important to our ministry here?  They give us credibility in these rural communities that surround our home.  These same communities where 70% of the population live solely off of farming.  It's our "foot in the door" approach to reaching these villages with the gospel!  And they're taking notice.  Many Tonga's have asked what we are doing to get such good results.  Just for some perspective, a typical rural Tonga farmer gets about 1.5 - 2.5 tons of maize on a 2 acre plot of land.  These plots that we are planting are expected to yield upwards of 12 tons!  Think about that.  6 times more maize on the same piece of land.  This has the potential to change families and the communities in which they live.  Instead of these farmers scraping by each year, they can begin to turn a profit and have extra income to put their kids through school and to help others in the community who are less fortunate.

And in addition to this, the program's foundation is the gospel.  So while participants are seeing change in their physical fields, their spiritual fields (hearts) are being cultivated as well!  I never thought I would be blogging about farming, but I'm convinced more than ever that this is and will continue to be one of the best avenues we will have for reaching these people with the love and reconciliation of Jesus.

In the months to come, we will be having another field day where we invite the same individuals that were here during the planting to return and see the results.  I can't wait to see their reaction to what God has provided through our efforts here.

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