Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/6: The Story - Part 2

Yesterday I began explaining a unique initiative that Forgotten Voices has undertaken to train and equip vulnerable children in Zimbabwe to become sustainable farmers. The purpose for describing this program, known as Farming God's Way, was to provide context for a miracle that no one knew was about to occur. A miracle which I would like to share with you now.

By way of disclosure, the following narrative is a conclusion to my earlier post and therefore will make a greater deal of sense if you have read the first part of the story. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to read the beginning of this adventure by clicking here.

Let me tell you about Pierre. Pierre is a heroic servant of God who trains rural Zimbabwean children and families in the techniques of Farming God's Way as a part of Forgotten Voice's initiative to equip the poor of Africa to realize the God given potential of their land. Having been raised in South Africa as a white farmer, he is as passionate about the people of his homeland as he is about bringing them the tools to succeed in growing food. If you ask him what a regular day of work looks like, Pierre will quickly reply that he always has "a classroom under a tree" somewhere in the heart of rural Zimbabwe where people are eager to hear about how they can increase their crop yields and also to learn more about this mysterious person named Jesus. Clearly, Pierre is living his dream when he is able to teach others about these two things. Every time I speak with Pierre, I can tell how much he loves his job. The photograph on the left depicts him hard at work in his "classroom".

It was no surprise that Pierre was absolutely thrilled when Forgotten Voices told him that not only did we want to start 1,000 new farms for vulnerable children and their families, but also that our incredible donors had collectively provided the funds to cover all of the costs associated with this endeavor. There was one problem, however. Zimbabwe had been experiencing a season of prolonged drought which had ravished the country by destroying crops and eliminating almost all seed for planting new fields. There was literally no seed to found. It could not be purchased in the marketplaces because it did not exist and the price for corn seed on the black market was so exorbitant that Pierre could not afford to pay the inflated price. Discouraged by this seemingly insurmountable hurdle, Pierre began to pray that God would provide a solution.

In the midst of this cry for help, a good friend of Pierre's recommended that he travel to Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, and petition of the office of Agriculture to purchase some of their corn seed. As a white farmer from South Africa, Pierre was sure that such an effort would prove futile since he was not likely to receive warm reception from government officials and was even less likely to convince them to sell some of their own seed to establish some small farms for the rural poor. However, after considerable prayer, he was sure that God wanted him to make this request. So he decided to make the full day's journey to Harare and speak with a representative in the agricultural office. Pierre knew that he only had one chance to make this request so, upon arriving in the capital, he was discouraged to learn that only one agricultural minister was in the office that day. In fact, this minister was an elderly Zimbabwean gentleman who had a reputation for being particularly difficult and cantankerous. Moreover, the official's erratic schedule meant that the only time available for Pierre to meet with him was during his lunch time. So with a great deal of nervousness and a final prayer of blessing, Pierre was ushered in before the agricultural minster who sat stoically behind his large desk eagerly devouring his lunch. Pierre sat down. The official did not look up from his food. In a moment which cannot be explained, Pierre opened his mouth and out came a long, unrehearsed plea to purchase corn seed for the benefit of his community in rural Africa. When he had finished voicing his request, the office was filled with silence.

Finally, the agricultural minister looked up. He said, "Pierre, I have been waiting to meet you for a long time now. You see, you helped some of my relatives start a farm in the country. I have you to thank for their ability to grow crops during this drought. Whatever supplies you need, I will give it to you." The agricultural official actually did better than that. With the funds that Forgotten Voices' donors had provided, the official sold Pierre not just enough seed to start 1,000 farms, but sufficient seed to begin 1,200 farms. And that is exactly what Pierre did.

This, my friends, is a full-blown miracle for whom we give all credit to God. And Pierre will be quick to tell you that it all started with some people in the United States who said they were willing to give a couple of dollars to help vulnerable children and their families start their own farms. The adage "every dollar counts" sounds cliche to our ears which have heard literally thousands of fund raising pleas and marketing schemes. But this is different. In Zimbabwe and Zambia every dollar is making an impact. Every dollar is being used as a vehicle to change lives and introduce the radically redefining love of Jesus Christ. Today, I dare you to use some of your own dollars in this way.

If only you could hear the excitement in Pierre's voice when he helps start a new farm and provides a family with the hope of a sustainable future on earth and an everlasting eternity with Jesus Christ. Looking for that perfect gift this holiday season? In Southern Africa, nothing says love like a farm. Please click here to give one to a child today.

Plentiful crops and blessings,


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