Nov10TueNovember 10, 2020
After a few months home in Canada, Dan and Kerry Wiens, World Partners Global Workers, arrived back on the Inundo Farm in South Africa at the end of June. Inundo, which in English means overflow, applies to land, people, and community. The model farm follows the principles in Farming God’s Way; a community development and discipleship tool. The Wiens train leaders and disciple trainers who then lead and train others back in their home communities. It is key in real development that people and communities realize what they need and then recognize the resources they already have. As they connect the need and the resources and begin to see that God equips them to solve their own problems, they are empowered to apply this process to other areas of need. By doing so they begin breaking the cycle of poverty.
At a time of crisis precipitated by COVID-19, the economy is in ruins, millions have lost their jobs, and the bare necessities of food and medical healthcare are not being met. Chronic food insecurity means up to 50% of families have some kind of food crisis during their week and can’t provide three meals a day. Since the pandemic began, desperation has fueled a strong return to interest in growing food, a somewhat forgotten pursuit.
The Wiens have been serving in South Africa for 10 ½ years and have been involved with the Farming God’s Way community development tool for most of that time. Life on the Inundo farm began only 6 months before COVID hit and, in God’s perfect timing, this has positioned them to be a resource for Faith-based NGOs and churches, and even business owners and community members who want to help their communities but don’t know how.
“Inundo is a place where people can come and see what is possible”, says Dan. “We teach people how to steward the land as God’s caretakers, and Inundo is a visible model of the abundance that God sends in return.”
When someone, or an organization approaches them, asking for help for their community, Dan and Kerry will get them started, to open something up, but they stress there must be a person willing to drive it at the other end.
“I can’t go and train everywhere. We’d need a hundred Dans! When they have someone who will take ownership and be a champion for food discipleship, we’ll help the champions to be the multiplying force that they can be. We’ll train the champions and encourage them to do training, and to grow spiritually and start discipling and teaching others themselves.” Then, later they go back and do follow-up because there is always room to go deeper in learning and application. “We try to be as helpful as we can, not on our initiative, but on what people need, and we’ll walk with them for as long as they wish.”
Besides being a community development tool that teaches people how to grow better crops, Farming God’s Way is a discipleship tool. At its core are biblical and spiritual principles that are meant to be lived out in all areas of life, not just the garden.
“It is very important that people understand that Farming God’s Way is about mindset change, related to spiritual beliefs, mental capacity, life skills, social skills – it’s very holistic. It’s about mind and heart transformation. If we didn’t bring in the fullness of the gospel and transformation, bringing people to Jesus, then they’d have some skills, be better at gardening, but still would not have freedom in Christ. We want people to experience that freedom in all areas of life, including the land,” says Dan.
The Wiens currently work with approximately 25 NGOs, schools, and community members by discipling the leaders and making print and video resources available. “Our vision is that Africa would steward its abundance and thereby unleash a tidal wave of overflow, to and from the continent,” says Kerry.
The Farming God’s Way curriculum itself is meant to be freely available to the wide body of Christ. It is comprehensive, but not difficult and anybody can learn from it and implement it and teach it to others.
“We find working with a church opens a whole new door,” says Kerry. “If we can develop relationships with a church network and use that network to deploy agricultural missionaries all over that network, that works extremely well. Working through the church provides a built-in structure of accountability, support, and connection.” A very exciting example of this is their work with the Ethiopia Kale Heywet Church. They are raising leaders through the church.
Integrating the principles of Farming God’s Way in all of life is a life-long journey. It is not a flash in the pan solution. Most growth is slow, best seen over time. Since Dan and Kerry have been engaged in this work for 10 ½ years they have been able to watch communities as they go up and down. In one small rural town, in particular, they were able to come alongside a man with a real heart for the community, already at work there. In time, the community’s church raised up another man, who became a Christ Follower, and he has gone on to participate in in-depth training. Due to the influence of these two men, the community has faced challenges and showed a great deal of resilience through COVID. They are still producing food, averting the disaster of a hunger crisis, prevalent in so many communities.
“Theirs is a story of resilience, of growth, walking the long path – that’s what we’re aiming for in what we do,” says Dan. “Implementors are now training their neighbors, and steady growth is happening. They have a full training garden. Surrounded by an almost total devastation on the land, theirs is an oasis of flourishing.”
“There is a beautiful connection between what people learn on the spiritual and mental and emotional side and how that applies to the actual physical side of putting plants in the ground,” says Kerry. She explains that if individuals do not understand that their call is to be caretakers of what God has given then they won’t take on the responsibility to use it to the best of their ability.
“There needs to be a realization that we are called to be faithful with the land, soil, and to steward it because ultimately it is not our own. As we look after it, it looks after us.”
Dan and Kerry often work together and their days are given to either training, mentoring, administration, or physical gardening. Kerry looks after all their social media and they can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, all of which can be easily accessed from their website at inundo.org. They also have a video presentation about their work available on YouTube. If churches or missions committees are interested, they can contact Dan and Kerry from their website to arrange a Zoom conversation.
Please remember Dan and Kerry in prayer. Spiritual issues are the toughest barrier to full-hearted adoption of Farming God’s Way. Keep up-to-date with them using any or all of the social media mentioned above, plus you can sign up for their newsletter on the contact page of their website.