Public health training becomes personal evangelism in women's ministries
The next time you eat a carrot, think of vegetable evangelism in East Africa.
East-Central Africa Division (ECD)
[East Africa] Based on the call God gives to each person for serving Him and others, women in the territory of East-Central Africa Division (ECD) are involved in mission. They use different approaches and ways to reach souls and bring others to the King of Kings, including public evangelism and vegetable evangelism.
The fruit of vegetable garden evangelism is intended to be soul winning. The purpose is for equipping women with basic skills of self-sufficiency and the eradication of poverty among rural communities. Vegetables are needed everywhere, and when women grow produce they keep their families healthy, not to mention they sell some as a cash crop. This brings in greater amounts of tithe and offerings and contributes to the financial growth of the church and community.
"Vegetable evangelism is a good way of changing lives not only of non-believers but also of church members. Actually, not all people within a church understand how to eat and how to take care of their bodies. This seminar will pave a way for good health,” says Debbie Maloba, women's ministries director for East-Central Africa Division (ECD WM).
Most women are not active in extracting knowledge from books, but they were excited to be involved for nearly two weeks with have hands-on practice in gaining this knowledge.
Six facilitators from ADRA Africa organized the twelve-day training program of active learning and practical field work in partnership with ECD WM department. Twenty-seven women attended specific instruction in vegetable evangelism between January 22 – February 2, 2017 at Njiro (Arusha). They became Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) in the seven unions participating in the initial training. Two men were also trained as TOTs.
Thirty participants from seven unions of ECD—East Congo, East Kenya, North East Congo, Rwanda, Southern Tanzania, Uganda, and West Kenya—attended the first vegetable evangelism training, but the project was launched in most of the other unions during in the following 16-18 months.
Back in their unions, trained women started the vegetable garden evangelism program by training other women and growing gardens. The impact is huge. At least 604 people have been trained in the union territories and many have reported nutritional behavior changes in their lives and families as a direct result of the training they received. Becoming mindful of diet has helped several TOTs to lose weight. Two TOTs have each lost 10 kgs (about 22 lbs).
Rwanda Union Mission Women’s Ministries department launched vegetable evangelism in four conferences and two fields. They created a plan, “Making Our Home Green,” which was approved by the union administrative committee, and women's ministries department is working with ADRA Rwanda in its implementation. A local government minister in Rwanda has promised to support women’s ministries in this activity.
Many TOTs implemented the disaster and risk relief activities in their communities. They also began Bible studies with the people whom they trained, and some are ready for baptism.
Contributed by Debbie Maloba, women’s and children’s ministries director for the East-Central Africa Division
Published in Mosaic 2018 Q4, Fall issue