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“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9, NIV

The “language” of agriculture is one that Jesus and His disciples used often to describe the gospel to a culture of farmers, shepherds, and fishermen. Today, Rosedale International (RI) workers on both the east and west coasts of Africa carry on this tradition. Luke and Gloria have just begun their time on the field—taking first steps of faith and trusting God to bless their work in the land and its people. Devin, near the end of his first term, sees God’s faithfulness in a successful farm and fertile spiritual soil.

Luke, Worker in East Africa

The company owner and I drove for about an hour to find the animals as they grazed.

The company I work for is a for-profit farm that hopes to regenerate grazing lands through intensive management of animals. Our family arrived here at the very end of the dry season; everything is dried up and dusty, and no vegetation is growing.

Before we arrived, the company decided to move the animals off the farm to let our land rest and keep it from degrading during the dry season. Now even these lands are running out of grass, and we will have to make tough decisions about what to do with the animals. Local animal producers face these challenges each year—an example of how important it is to regenerate the land so grasses can last through the dry season.

For weeks, our shepherds lived off the farm while looking after the animals. Their camp consisted of a fire ring, a structure just big enough to sleep in, two animal corrals made of thorny branches, and some equipment scattered about. The owner and I brought liver and bread for breakfast, and we sat with the shepherds to eat. Other herdsmen brought their herds of goats and camels through the same area, and they stopped to join us for breakfast. The nomadic life can be lonely, but the communal aspects of this culture still shine through.

Today, our shepherds woke up at 4 am, packed up camp, and marched the herd back to the farm. Others drove out to collect the 18-20 goat kids, who rode back to the farm in the back seat of the car. We bought hay to supplement the animals’ food until the grass starts growing again. Spreading hay over bare patches of ground is a land restoration strategy—the animals will come to eat there, poop there, and stomp uneaten organic matter into the soil. Hopefully, their poop will contain grass seeds that’ll sprout when it rains.

Now we’re back into land management mode and hoping the rains come soon. The margins here are slim, and a few more weeks of rain could make the difference between famine and flourishing.

Devin, Worker in West Africa

Our chicken house finally has residents—2,000 layers and 200 roosters! It will take about 21 weeks for them to lay eggs at a consistent rate. The cost of the chickens themselves, their vaccines, and the food they will eat in that time is a total investment of over $10,000, but based on our experience with previous flocks, we will recuperate that investment in three months of selling eggs.

The farm where I work was initially a small project started by another worker. Now, it’s a healthy church and growing farm. We have seen substantial growth in the past two years—from installing our own feed mill to building this new chicken house. We’ve used profits to start a health clinic and fund different aspects of the church.

The ultimate author of this success is God, but I am also grateful for our director and my co-workers. Each morning, we meet to pray over the day and pray that His name will continue to be lifted up through our work. Many mornings, my mind goes to the stories of God pouring out His blessing on the herds of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The local worldview is much closer to that of ancient Palestine, and my neighbors interpret such blessings as God’s presence and approval.

The original founder no longer runs the farm, but his spirit of ministry has carried over to the current director. He and the pastor work together to expand the business and invest the profits into furthering God’s kingdom. This presents an opportunity for me to partner with the farm and reproduce this idea in other locations. As my first term comes to an end, we are prayerfully laying the ground for this next step. Please pray for us as we look to buy land and find the right people with whom to partner.

God’s hand is at work through RI on both sides of the African continent. Praise Him for blessing Devin’s endeavors, and join us in praying that Luke’s efforts will one day see this same rejuvenation and growth, both in the land and the people.

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