Many pastors live on their own land, typically 2-3 acres, that they farm with their families in order to survive. Their churches are poor and not able to fully support them. Although farming has been carried out for many years there is often a lack of knowledge of modern farming practices, the best crops to grow and ways to increase the variety of produce grown.
In 2011 ART set up a 40 acre model farm in the Rift Valley with the intention of this being a place where we could train pastors, grow profitable crops and keep livestock. Unfortunately the first crop was destroyed by hailstones just before harvest. Although the crop was insured, APA the Nairobi based insurance company, have refused to pay out and there is a court case pending. ART lost $150,000 on the venture and had to withdraw from the farm which was under lease.
Undeterred by this experience, ART is still committed to help pastors practically and we appointed Zacharia Kamau, who finished his diploma in Agriculture in 2013 to provide training and on the ground practical advice to pastors. Our strategy is to work more directly with the pastors on their own land and to set up model farms on a smaller scale. Please pray for us as we seek to learn from our experiences and to help rural pastors not only in spiritual growth but also practically.
ART assesses the needs in each group of pastors in training and creates a projects list. These projects normally require a sponsor before we undertake them. Typical projects are:
Installing electricity in a training centre, usually a church.
Equiping a training centre with plastic chairs and tables. Many churches only have wooden benches to sit on and these can be uncomfortable for a full day of study!
Providing basic equipment like flip charts
Purchasing a motorcycle for a trainer to enable them to visit pastors more efficiently. Pastors in training may be spread out over a large area with no proper road.