Declining soil fertility, poor farm management, and population growth are contributing to low productivity and reduced soil resiliency on the majority of smallholder farms in Tanzania’s Lake Zone. Current yields are estimated to have dropped by as much as 95% over the last five decades. Many farmers are struggling to feed their families and are looking for answers.
In many of these same rural areas, there are no churches present. The people who live in these villages are intensely spiritual, but do not know Jesus Christ or that his kingdom is near. They exist between fear and fatalism, seeking to appease ancestral spirits given charge of the world by a very distant creator God. They do not understand that this creator God deeply loves them and wants to be in relationship with them — and that a life in his son is a life of great purpose, without fear.
Nearly every one of these villagers is a subsistence farmer. Continue reading
Now, I don’t keep up with church VBS materials and their markets. As a matter of fact, I didn’t realize until recently (two days ago) that VBS curriculum is big business.* Apparently, it’s very big business. Let me tell you…”vast amounts of money can be made in the service of God Amighty.”**
It was Paul Wilkinson, on his blog (a good one, by the way, to which I’m subscribed), who informed me the sale of VBS materials is indeed big business. I also learned from Paul that a lot of companies are creating these materials really heavy on entertainment and really light on Bible. While I suppose this is a concern to me, it’s not why I’m writing this blog post. Something MUCH more important is taking place. Continue reading
Last week, I spent three nights and parts of four days in Mwakiwasha village, teaching a seminar on CPM. [To read more on what I taught and the nature of that seminar, see cpm training: a turning point in my ministry.] This is an initial report on how I believe that seminar went — both the good and the bad.
There were 15-20 people in attendance at each of the sessions, representing three churches. The group was about half men and half women, with the Mwakiwasha church (the host church) represented far better than the others — as was expected. We spent roughly 20 hours in class and also ate most of our meals together, sometimes discussing further what we’d studied that day. Continue reading