January 2016: Farming God’s Way
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
The Growing Nations project of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) is located in the hot and often arid Maphutseng valley. LECSA trains people in Conservation Agriculture (CA) or, as they say, “Farming God’s Way”: minimal disturbance of the soil (no plowing), keeping the soil covered, and crop rotation. The transition to CA is not always easy, but for those who persevere, after a few years, like the tree in Jeremiah’s illustration, they no longer fear the heat and drought for they know their crops will still bear some fruit.
A few years ago Ntate, from the small village of Ha Lelinyane, attended a class to learn about CA techniques. He and a few others from his village are now star practitioners of CA. Ntate regularly hosts students and visitors who see for themselves the impressive fruits of their labor. There are now vivid patches of green, the gardens have lush growth with a variety of intermingled crops, including wheat, peas, radishes and spinach. Below all the green is a thick layer of dried grass and crop residue, then rich, fertile and moist soil complete with earthworms. In contrast, other farmers’ crops have long dried out.
For Ntate Molefi and his wife ‘M’e Matšepiso, work is not nearly as hard as in the past and yet their harvests far surpass anything from the years before. They no longer do any weeding! As for planting, instead of needing a plow and oxen, they just use a hand spade to dig small holes for planting seeds. It is easy to see that their lives have been transformed. With God’s help, LECSA will lead many others to practice “Farming God’s Way.”
Just as the rich soil nourishes the seeds planted within it, so God’s Word nourishes us so that we can flourish.
Mark Behle serves the Lesotho Evangelical Church. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.