In November 2008, I, along with two others from Oaktree, had the privilege of going to Kenya to visit our farm school, the Lord’s House.
What greeted us there has left a lasting impression on me.
Looking around the shambas (small holdings) of our farm school members and seeing large, healthy crops which would feed their families very comfortably was quite staggering as was the fact that many of our farm school members were young men. Whereas traditionally women worked the land and the men had gone off into the city for work, meaning that families were separated for months on end, now the men had started to come back. Families were reunited and communities had a proper balance of peoples once more. One of the Shamba highlights was seeing Richard, one of our farmers who clearly had entrepreneurial leanings, rather than growing just maize, was growing curly kale, a cash crop which would earn him much at the market.
Another memory was praying with our farm school members. The following day we held a time of testimony where many of their number stood up and explained how God had been speaking to them. One man who didn’t call himself a Christian stood up and talked about how he had been prompted by God to pray all night for his family. Another man shared how he had given up praying for the people in the parish, but now he publically committed himself to this once more. Families who had been estranged, were reconciled. Whilst we were out in Kenya, the British organiser of the Project, Patrick, spoke about how as Christians we have access to the kingdom of God, and how as it says in the Lord’s Prayer we can ask “Your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven”. It was great to see how the farm school were empowered by this and how they hungered for more of God’s presence and power. They were desperate to hear God’s word even when none was officially prepared for them! My favourite memory was sitting with the farm school in the garden of one of the members where the sense of unity was profound. These people really are our Christian brothers and sisters to whom we are inextricably linked.
The experience and project are summed up for me in one word: Hope. The hope that comes from trusting in Christ alone and that is based on the promises given to us in the Bible. The hope that meets both physical and spiritual need of people. Jesus met these needs and this is what we as Christians are called to do. Thank you Oaks, for your support of this important, life changing project. As one who has seen its effects first hand, I can really say that it is making all the difference!