Members in Action
The Right Arm called FARM STEW
Meet Unique, whose experience is … well, unique. Before FARM STEW trained her, she thought she was dying.
“I used to be sick all the time and was feeling so much abdominal pain. The doctor advised me that it might be an early stage of cancer. I didn’t know what to do because I could not afford the tests. So I just suffered, thinking I would die. Five months ago, when I attended FARM STEW training, I learned to cook many types of greens and vegetables and the importance of drinking plenty of water.”
Unique, a widow with four children in Eastern Uganda, also learned succession planting methods. Because she lives in the tropics, she can always have mature crops ready for consumption and sale. “We now grow and prepare greens like sweet potato leaves, cassava leaves, and kale. My family likes them a lot.” Since FARM STEW’s training, Unique and her children have seen improvements in their health. “My skin is soft, and I don’t feel pain anymore,” she added.
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s the dark, leafy greens containing iron, protein, and nitrate that converts in the body to nitric oxide, which dilates arteries, causing increased circulation. As the Bible says, “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11), so increased blood flow can bring vigor and vitality!
FARM STEW is a recipe for abundant life. Our name is an acronym that stands for: Farming, Attitude, Rest, Meals, Sanitation, Temperance, Enterprise, and Water. Our goal is for families and communities to develop the capacity to thrive, serving as a witness to the world and pointing others to the True Source of abundant life (John 10:10).
It’s no wonder Unique’s skin is glowing. I hope yours is too, knowing the ASI family has played a part in her healing! FARM STEW, a new ASI member, mobilizes lay African church members to bring a relevant health message to the world’s most vulnerable families. It’s what we are called to do.
“Let the members of poor households be taught how to cook…how to care properly for the home…we are to educate the poor to be self reliant. This will be true help. For it will not only make them self sustaining but will enable them to help others” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 278, 279).
Our Bible-based training is designed to equip the world’s most vulnerable families with skills they need to prevent hunger, disease, and poverty. We engage them in agriculture, cooking, and holistic health classes, often held under mango trees in schools, prisons, mosques, or churches. It’s “good missionary work!”
After participating in FARM STEW training, Kim Busl, the OCI field vice president for Africa, remarked, “They put on the most simple and yet comprehensive ‘cooking school’ that I have ever seen. Surrounded by 50 to 75 adults, plus children, on an open fire with the pots balancing on three stones, they cook very nutritional and tasty dishes from locally-grown food. At the end, all the food is cooked and everybody present eats. Additionally, they teach hygiene and health principles. Each presenting team member is engaging, animated, and knowledgeable. They interact and engage the people in a way I’ve not seen before. It was a first class bush-level presentation.”
Since our humble beginning in late 2015 in Uganda, FARM STEW has conducted 550 of these trainings in hundreds of villages, reaching 34,019 villagers so far. So many more have heard about the hope of FARM STEW training, and asked us to train in their villages. Yet, we have only four small teams mobilized to date. We are not overwhelmed, knowing that:
“The formation of small companies as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by One who cannot err” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, pp. 21, 22).
The potential for sharing this method of evangelism is our passion. Last fall, FARM STEW was blessed to host Edwin and Jen Dysinger, formerly with ADRA Sudan. After three weeks with FARM STEW, they felt the same conviction, saying: “FARM STEW has good relations with local leaders and with the Uganda SDA Church. I believe that FARM STEW has tremendous potential to do work with local churches to educate members for their betterment, and their extended family and neighbors as part of the church’s evangelistic outreach.” This sentiment was echoed by the Eastern Uganda Field, which wrote:
“Thank you so much for the FARM STEW program that has become a right arm of the gospel to reach out to communities where we do not have an Adventist presence.”
In early 2018, thanks to generous support from donors, FARM STEW launched a team in Zimbabwe and another team focused on South Sudanese refugees living in Northern Uganda.
Doreen, the leader of the South Sudan outreach team, recently reported, “When I went back to the camp… I was so impressed with what they had done. [One man told me,] ‘I was given one handful of soy seeds, I harvested five kilos! My children love the milk!’ The FARM STEW training has become the greatest influence in the camp. Everyone has gardens around their homes!”
Again, it’s the Adventist message at work; a “good missionary work!” With your gifts, Unique’s remarkable story and the transformation of the Kiryandongo Refugee Camp can be repeated time and time again, as a blessing to many who are struggling to find abundant life and the Source thereof.
Learn more and support FARM STEW by visiting www.FARMSTEW.org or come see us at ASI’s 2018 International Convention. We’ll be at booth #915. See you there!