Impact in East Africa
In rural Tanzania, the good news of the gospel is taking root, alongside village vegetable gardens…
In Mwamalili village in northern Tanzania, a new church plant is growing. The area is known for witchcraft and tribal beliefs, so for the seeds of the gospel to take root is nothing short of miraculous.
Growing crops in this arid region is nearly as difficult. Plants wither in the heat or shrivel from lack of rain. But scattered across the sun-scorched landscape, bright patches of green can be seen in nearly every direction. Thanks to the work of Path of Hope Children’s Ministry, seeds are sprouting in hearts and in kitchen gardens.
When Lahash’s partners at Path of Hope saw how seasonal hunger impacted the health of the kids, they began a small pilot project to provide hands-on training in organic vegetable gardening. “This is like a miracle for this village,” explains Project Coordinator Saggiah Wright. “In years past they were not able to grow green vegetables in the dry season. But through this project they are able to, and the vegetables are thriving well.”
Each family’s circular, raised beds are irrigated with waste water from their kitchen. Heavy mulch keeps out weeds and increases water retention. Families are now harvesting vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, and cabbage during seasons when they would typically go hungry.
Through grants from Rice & Beans Month, Path of Hope expanded beyond the pilot project to include the families of all the local children in the Lahash Sponsorship Program. Ng’waru, a single mother, has received training and is developing her garden. “I am very hopeful about this garden,” she says proudly. “If the garden does very well, I will be able to harvest enough vegetables to feed my family and have others to sell. With that money, I can buy school supplies for my children.”
Thanks to the efforts of Path of Hope in Mwamalili and of Rice & Beans Month participants around the world, vulnerable kids now have access to spiritual food and physical nutrition. And, like the seedlings in Ng’waru’s garden, they are beginning to thrive.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Before saying these words, Jesus is moved with compassion at the sight of the crowds surrounding him. He sees a potential harvest, and he sees what is needed in order for it to be brought in. What spiritual and physical parallels do you see to the situation in Mwamalili? What do these words stir in your spirit? How are you a part of Jesus’ vision for harvest?
God of the harvest, impress upon us the importance of our role in fields and gardens throughout the world. May we be moved to prayer and to action, engaging with passion in the work of your Kingdom on earth. Amen.
Find even more photos of the Path Of Hope gardens on the Facebook Photo Album!
This story, along with 3 others, appears in the 2016 “Welcome to Rice & Beans Month” guide. If you haven’t received one yet, or would like additional copies to share with friends, send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org.