COWS AND PLOWS
PASTORS IN CENTRAL AFRICA SHARE THE GOSPEL THROUGH FARMING
Just southeast of the Sahara, in Chad, hundreds of tribal and remote village communities scratch out a living from the dusty earth. Isolated by miles of untracked plains, they form small, self-contained socioeconomic systems. They are governed by time-honored family hierarchies and long-held traditions. Not much changes in these communities over time, and local pastors and missionaries find it difficult ground to break.
The average person in Chad lives on less than three dollars per day, and these workers for the gospel are no more well off. They are bi-vocational ministers, and for most of them farming is their only source of food. Preaching the gospel is simply a way of life. The amount of work it takes to till the ground while making the rounds to pray for and serve their neighbors makes it difficult to grow their crops beyond simple self-sustenance. Global Advance’s Alpha Relief initiative is designed to identify strategic opportunities like this: They are already doing the work; how much farther can they go with our help?
For $500 we can supply a rural, farming pastor with a new plow and a cow to pull it. This enables more productivity, meaning he can bring his crop to the market. Pastor Hal, our partner in the region and the leader of a network of local churches and pastors, explains: “In this part of Chad they cannot accept your gospel if you come empty handed. But, according to them, when you come to farm in their village, you have come to be a blessing by providing food for the population. They take that as an expression of your heart. Then after they see you working really hard and providing food, that mandates the community to hear what you have to say.”
The additional income not only provides for the pastor and his family, it also serves to maintain the farm to ensure sustainability. Soon we’ll be convening a few hundred pastors in Chad for a training on church planting. During the event, several will be selected to receive the special gift of a cow and a plow to increase their impact in this way. We would like to invite you to take part! Donate below to sponsor a cow and plow for $500, or fund a portion for $50, $100, or $250.
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*Representative photo, ILRI/Stevie Mann