Have you ever written and letter or card, mislaid it, and found it 3 years later? Well I did. The lost is found and I plan to send it. A bit like this blog – at which I am procrastinating. My friend will understand. And if you know me at all you also will understand. Messy and multitasking. Things can get lost in the shuffle. Well the Christmas card written to friend Marilyn in 2017 is still suitable. I will add a new date, a note of explanation and trust that she enjoys the humour of it. Laughter after all is good medicine.
I have been reflecting on the Christmas story these days from Luke mostly. I grew up on a farm; the part about the shepherds struck me particularly. The angel, then the host of angels came to bring the message of hope to the shepherds. Think of it – these were the the guys working the nightshift, out in the open through all the elements. And they were the chosen! Chosen to receive the message and given direction as to where to find that new born baby. They likely didn’t smell so good but neither did the humble labour and deliver room. It was a cattle shed after all. The shepherds responded to the angels’ message. They went, they found him, then they spread the news to everyone. The angels brought their message to the ordinary folks doing their ordinary jobs out in the fields.
Today, we too are just ordinary; we also have received that message of hope. We are called to share this good news of great joy to all those all around us. The good news is Jesus; he loves us and calls us to love him and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
I am so excited today to be able to bring good news as well. This good news is about the new initiative that was finally approved early in December, 2020. Haiti: Education, Food Security, and Community Mobilization officially began in January, 2021.
You may be wondering why this is so exciting. Well, the ideas for the initiative, came about when a group of gals from Albright EMC, Winnipeg and Nicole Jones-Qandah traveled to Haiti in November, 2019 and met with key leaders of the Gens de Nantes community in Northeast Haiti. See blog post Spring 2020. Nicole facilitated the group as they considered resources in their community and needs. This initiative draws together the community’s desire to have quality education, to have food security and for the community to see progress.
Farming God’s Way (FGW) is a resource that focuses on conservation agriculture (CA) and assists small farmers to have better yields by using compost and crop rotation and managing the soil appropriately (not burning off the residue of the recent crops and not tilling the soil).
The AEM in Gens de Nantes (GDN) already had an excellent school, with preschool to the end of middle school. Changes in government meant loss of some resources. The leadership of the school considered having to close but the community really depended on it. Fast forward to today: an initiative that combines education and FGW with the desire to see the advancement of the community of GDN.
The good news is that we are invited to participate in this initiative. Whether you are interested in education or agriculture or the development of a community as a whole, you can join. Families who are unable to pay school fees, have been chosen to participate in small groups which will receive training in CA. At the same time, a child from each of these families will be able to attend school, and receive books and uniforms as needed. Three to five children have been chosen for each class, from Kindergarten to Grade 9 – 11 classes in total. As you participate, funds will care for the FGW leader and training pieces as well as the school directors and teachers. Over the next year we are expecting that the parents will invest time to learn about CA and put it into practice on their 1x2m garden plots in their front yards. At the same time teachers will be invested in visiting the families of the 3-5 children in their classes, to encourage them and to check in on the progress of their gardens. Another piece of the Initiative relates to the students in the middle school classes. All of these students will have a FGW component to their classroom education from grades 7-9 and they will participate in gardening practicums. The hope is that they will see results in their garden plots and will encourage their parents to adopt these practices at home. And the desire is that agriculture and the practice of farming will take on new meaning and value for youth.
This is a large initiative. And we are in the midst of a pandemic. But I am reminded of the stories of a missionary to Nigeria years ago, Willis (and Marion) Hunking. Willis would often repeat the story of how a hospital was built in Nigeria by the faith and prayers of the women here at home. They gave their “egg” money and a hospital was built in the early post war years. The women were farmers who raised chickens for eggs and meat. Today we in are in different situation with different challenges, needs and resources. I am challenged today to pray largely for God’s provision through ordinary men and ladies who give faithfully of their “egg money” to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done here on earth…”
I have been reading through the book of Matthew. I came to Matthew 21:18-22. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem in the morning with his disciples. He was hungry. He saw a fig tree but it had no figs. He told the fig tree that it would never bear fruit again and it immediately withered. Perplexed the disciples asked “what just happened there?” Jesus said, ” … if you have faith and don’t doubt you can do things like this and much more … you can pray for anything and if you have faith, you will receive it.” I am asking for enlarged faith. I am asking for the monthly provision needed for this new Initiative. Will you join me in praying and sharing?
February 7 to 13 is recognized as International Development week across Canada. This week here at EMCC World Partners we are focusing on Ethiopian “Church and Community Transformation” as well as the above Initiative in Gens de Nantes, Haiti. Join with us tomorrow as we pray with and for our global partners.
Check out the link:
and look for the Ethiopia and Haiti partnerships.
Thank you for your ongoing participation in Health and Community Development – for joining with me in prayer for the Initiatives above.
Blessings. I look forward to hearing from you.
EMCC World Partners 160 Lancaster St E. Kitchener, ON N2H 1N2
Snail Mail: 12 Tanager St. Elmira, ON N3B 1C9