11 Jun A Field Grown By Faith
The Shinyanga region of Tanzania is known for unpredictable rainfall, meager food and resources, and traditional beliefs that center around witchcraft. Path of Hope Children’s Ministry was started in this region because its founders were moved by the physical and spiritual poverty they saw in the villages. With little more than faith, they set out to bring change.
When Path Of Hope became one of the partner ministries of Lahash International, it was clear that Rice & Beans Month could have a significant impact there. Initially, funds from Rice & Beans Month provided warm mugs of nutritious porridge for the children’s weekly gatherings. But that was only the beginning.
A highly successful kitchen garden project was started in one village, which you can read more about in the story Gardens of Hope. But at another village, called Busoka, most of the vulnerable families were headed by widowed mothers who did not own any land, so the prospects for even small-scale kitchen gardens were limited.
Back in April of 2016, Path of Hope sent great news: a parcel of land had suddenly come up for sale in Busoka. Their ministry was first in line to purchase it, and had a solid plan to develop it. All they lacked were the funds to get their community rice field started.
Unfortunately at that time, Lahash had to tell them that no funds were available. All the Rice & Beans Month donations for that year had been spent on supplemental nutrition or were already designated for other projects. The Lahash staff received no reply to that difficult news, and assumed they were too disappointed to send one.
Several days later, an interesting envelope arrived at Lahash. In it was a note from a new donor who sensed God prompting them to give specifically toward Rice & Beans Month. It was a sizable donation. Just the size, in fact, to perfectly cover the price of a certain field in Busoka. Saggiah Wright was the Project Coordinator at Path Of Hope at the time, and later shared what had happened when they were told that the funds were not available.
“We just thought that there’s nothing we can do… But we keep the hope going, we don’t give up about this, because we knew that what we were thinking about was good… and so we decided just to pray about it. We did not respond to the Lahash email. We never wanted to say we are losing hope or something like that.”
The Path Of Hope staff was thrilled when the donation came in during their days of fervent prayer. “To us, it was just a miracle, and we saw God’s hands through that,” Wright said.
Little by little, that field is being developed, and they expect to harvest their first rice crop there this year! The rice will be used in meals for the kids who attend the weekly Lahash Sponsorship Program gatherings. They hope to add an irrigation system to increase the crop yields, so that families can be supplied with rice at home as well. Eventually, there may even be income generated through selling surplus rice.
As the development of the land continues, there is great potential for kids in the Sponsorship Program to receive training and mentoring in farming techniques, and even for the land to become a community gathering space. There is an ongoing project to build a kitchen and storehouse on the land, and eventually a meeting hall for the Path Of Hope program.
During Rice & Beans Month, grocery savings add up. Little by little. And at a plot of land in Busoka, progress adds up. Little by little. Donations from this year’s Rice & Beans Month will boost the progress toward these goals and dreams, adding to the answered prayers over this miraculous plot of land. It is no small miracle that in a region marked by physical and spiritual poverty, Rice & Beans Month participants are coming alongside vulnerable families to cultivate a field grown by faith.