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Seminars on farming techniques opening doors for gospel in Africa

Across Africa, church members are learning to fight famine one giant cabbage at a time. Ministers have become organic farmers, teaching fellow Africans an agricultural technique called drip irrigation. Using simple buckets and long, flexible pipes, the method yields “maximum food production from minimum water and land,” said David Goolsby, agricultural director for Healing Hands International. Workers with the Nashville, Tenn.-based shipping and relief ministry have conducted workshops on the farming technique for more than five years — most recently in Zambia. Forty-five ministers, church leaders and farmers from 12 African nations traveled to Kalomo, Zambia, and learned how to create “survival gardens,” Goolsby said.
Several of the attendees have passed on what they’ve learned. DavidMarube, a minister in Kisii, Kenya, recently conducted survivalgardening workshops in Nyamue. The Eastside church in Antioch, Calif.,provided funds for Marube to travel to Kakamega, in western Kenya, andhost a workshop there.
The farming method emphasizes composting, transplanting seedlings andtraditional methods of pest control, Marube said. It’s similar toorganic farming in the United States, but instead of costing more moneythan crops grown with synthetic fertilizers, African organic crops costless.
“In Kenya, much effort goes to bringing fertilizer and animal feed fromoutside the farm instead of making full use of what is grown on thefarm,” Marube said. “Expensive chemical fertilizers, sprays, vaccinesand medicines are used.”
Since the conference, Healing Hands has provided more than $15,000worth of seed for drip irrigation projects in Zimbabwe, said AlisaMerritt, the ministry’s administrative manager.
One of the recipients, Jacob Mayo, said that the project’s ability tomeet people’s physical needs is giving church members the chance toshare their faith. Mayo reported 24 baptisms recently because of theproject, Merritt said.
Peter Ofori, a Ghanaian minister working as a missionary work in theWest African nation of Mali, will help Healing Hands teach thetechnique at a February Fight Famine Now Workshop in Senegal. Churchmembers are expected from seven countries in the region.
“This workshop will primarily be for the benefit of French-speakingAfrican brethren working in the Islamic countries of Saharan Africa,where agricultural outreaches of this type are already opening doorsfor the gospel,” Goolsby said.
For more information, see www.hhi.org.

Filed under: International

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