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June 6, 2015

Beyond Farming

Last month, Caleb Magnino (Executive Pastor of Missions) and Bobby Maynard (Director of Global Partnership) saw firsthand some amazing results from our Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) in Maseno, near Kisumu, Kenya. The team, including partners from the United Kingdom and Kenya, were able to visit with the farmers, see their crops, and hear the great things The Lord is doing.

As part of their visit, they met Sophia and Julius. Both Sophia and Julius have now gone through the farm field school program. As a family, they use six (90kg) bags of maize a year for their own needs. Before FFS they only produced 1/4 to 1/2 bag a year, an obvious deficit from their family consumption.

Their story began with highly driven Sophia, joining the Farmers’ Field School program to see if it could elevate her family as she had seen happen for others. After her first year in FFS they produced 11 bags of maize, providing them an immediate surplus of 5 bags. The results were clear. Julius then completed the FFS program and currently their family is producing 15 bags of maize yearly. They have more than enough. As their daughter Melissa, said, “We know that we no longer will eat the table droppings, but we as a family will eat the main meal.”

To pay for her children to go to school, Sophia took a micro-loan from the Just Earth Micro-finance program to start a firewood micro-business. Once that loan was paid from the profits of her business, she used her surplus along with another micro-loan to begin a baking micro-business. These additional incomes have given her children the opportunity to succeed in school. Now they are learning and growing securely with full bellies, and her first child is now graduating from college.

They are also involved as leaders in their local church, who provides the field school program for the farmers. Sophia and Julius tithe regularly and donate some of their maize surplus to feed local orphans.

This is what it all comes back to. By going through the conduit of the local church, the Kingdom is being advanced and the real physical needs are being met. Sophia and Julius know that God is the one who has blessed them so that they may be a blessing to others. The pastor even refers to Sophia as an evangelist, as she can’t help but share the hope of the gospel and what God has done in her life. In fact, Sophia and Julius have been taking what they have learned from the FFS and have been helping their neighbors with their families’ crops.

This is a personal look at the impact Farmers’ Field Schools have on families and communities in northwest Kenya. It is the steady work of empowering people and co-creating the future that will create steady change for generations to come.