A sizeable crowd of people gathered inside Brethren Church of Christ to listen to the Sunday service. Van Hamusikili, 53, was one of them.
“Today’s message is about exercising dominion through Farming God’s Way,” Pastor Obert opened his sermon, much to the shock of all the congregants. The expected message was one of redemption from sin, not farming. At the end of the sermon, visibly angry men and women approached Pastor Obert, expressing their displeasure with the day’s message. “We expected messages of salvation, but he preached Farming God’s Way in church. We felt he had been demonically possessed to confuse and mislead us,” Van says.
Pastor Obert explains, “I knew they would get angry hearing the message focus. I expected it - it was completely rare to them, but I needed to pass the message across to touch their lives for their salvation and for them to discover God’s transformative purpose for their earthly lives.”
Farming God’s Way (FGW) is one part of World Vision’s THRIVE program. After pastors were trained by World Vision, Pastor Obert decided to lead by example and began implementing FGW. Not long after, he reaped the benefits. FGW helps farmers understand how to be good stewards of their land through conservation agriculture. “Many church members were shocked at my yields despite experiencing serious drought during [the] 2017–2018 farming season. I harvested enough to eat and sell from a very small portion of land, attesting to the power of Farming God’s Way,” says Obert with a big smile.
Van says, “I confronted him to understand the secret he used to produce a lot of food when most of us could not even harvest a cob of maize to roast because of the severity of the drought. The pastor’s family had so much food that instead of us feeding them, they were the ones feeding our families to save us from hunger.” FGW focuses on rotating crops, eliminating toxic chemicals and keeping the soil covered continuously.
Pastor Obert’s success in FGW not only motivated Van but other church members who, in the past, rebuked his messages. Members of the church are now learning from him. “I embarked on Farming God’s Way as well. It is bearing fruit for me. I am able to pay all my children’s school fees from primary to college level,” says Van, who has three boys and three girls. “FGW has saved my family from dying of [the] hunger that Zambia is currently experiencing because of poor [harvests] during the 2018–2019 farming season. I have had enough food to eat and sell in the midst of the crisis since 2019 till now.” He adds, “I have now realized that Farming God’s Way is biblical. I thank World Vision - my children would be suffering now from hunger and would have dropped out of school because of failure to pay school fees. And I would have not known how to multiply my animals.”
Like Pastor Obert, Van now assists the most vulnerable people in church who are facing hunger and teaches them FGW. “People are happy. They have seen the benefits of Farming God’s Way,” says Van.