Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family champions are called to repair broken families

Imagine that you have a rusty old bicycle. It is so old that it is hard work to pedal on the flat but you are happy with the way it rattles along. Then your friend who is a mechanic in town comes home. He takes a horrified look at your old bike and sets to work with spanners, screwdrivers and oil. In an hour it’s a completely different machine. You wonder how you could ever have been satisfied with the way it was.

Family can be like the old bicycle. It is in need of repair but we don’t realize because “that’s the way things are.” Family Champions are called to repair broken families just as the mechanic fixed his friend’s bicycle. However, families are harder than bicycles to fix because we live in a fallen world.

Think again about the first chapters in the Bible: God’s beautiful plan for marriage is pictured in Genesis 1 and 2. Then in Genesis 3 Satan enters the perfect world God made. Adam and Eve are tricked and disbelieve the beauty and goodness of God’s plan and their relationship is damaged. The results are with us today:

Shame of nakedness: “They realized they were naked and sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (3:7). What a contrast with 2:25 when the man and woman were naked and felt no shame. Men and women still hide who they really are from each other. There are hidden secrets in many families. We are not open with one another.
Fear of God: “They hid from the Lord God” (3:8). In Genesis 2 there was an open relationship with God. Probably Adam and Eve had often walked with God in the cool of the day. Now they hide. We still do.
Blaming each other (3:12): God asks Adam. “Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree?” God is not impressed when Adam blames Eve saying, “The woman you gave me…” How far Adam and Eve have fallen! Modern families also blame and accuse one another.
Conflict in the home: The domination by the husband in 3:16 is part of God’s curse. It is a picture of domestic violence far removed from the harmony and loving headship implied in Genesis 2.
Fighting between brothers: It got so bad that Cain murdered his brother (4:8) and went out from the Lord’s presence (4:16).
: Already in Genesis 4 Lamech married two women (4:23). Marriage had become a matter of convenience rather than a partnership growing into oneness (see 2: 24)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Which comes first markets or produce? pt 2

1 Corinthians 3:11 "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."

The argument encountered is that if the people produce more and they cannot market the surplus, it goes to waste and the farmers lose their incentive, and the programme collapses. There is logic to this argument, but we do have a ‘catch 22’ situation, so where do we start? If there is no reliability of supply, no entrepreneur will want to invest. If aid agencies come in and subsidise the cost of transport and marketing, the dependency syndrome is exacerbated.

However this process of production and marketing development can be almost concurrent, but vigorously inspired training in production should come first.In the end it is a matter of faith, obedience andwisdom. Faith and obedience, because God’s ways are different and higher than ours, and then we also need the wisdom to start with a little, done at a very high standard, which would not cause an unmanageable surplus in the early stages. Then God will provide the increase of both profitable production and marketing that will grow in sync together.

Sadly this line of reasoning can be distinctly unacceptable to many secular relief and development agents. This highlights the urgency for Christian Farmers and the Church in general to take the lead and create the models, which will eventually convince and unite everybody tobring aboutthe necessary change in the way we steward our land!

These are a few examples of what we hope will become a longer list of Foundational Farming Practices. We have tried to demonstrate how important it is for us to go to the Lord in prayer and scripture for help and guidance,and that in the end, this will show everyone that His ways are always best.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update on Family Champions

Nicholas and Nosimilo Ncube are our Family Champions at Crossroads Community church in Kezi. They helped us by doing a pilot project to test material we are producing to adapt the Alpha Marriage Course for Africa. We and they learnt a lot of lessons and one result of the pilot project was a lovely church wedding at Crossroads.

In May, we also held 3 Saturday training days to introduce Foundations for Family to other churches in the Bulawayo area. The training sessions were well received and 3 church groups are now considering how to carry forward the vision of Foundations for Family to their congregations.