“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
“The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
The above scene (Genesis 3:9-12), well-known by every Christian, documents the event when men and God’s relationship went from perfect intimacy to complete distant. As Adam accused “the woman you put here with me”, relationship among humans had also become distorted. Then, men and land were cursed. Sin made the world a broken world plagued with poverty, warfare, and exploitation of resources.
Often, we describe CEDAR as a development organisation, but we believe what we actually do is the ministry of reconciliation. Through the work of CEDAR and overseas partners, we hope to urge men to reconcile with God, others, the land, and with themselves; then, we would be able to break the chain of poverty.
A farmer could only grow crops with the help of a fine weather, the fertile land, and the technique he/she possesses. Sadly, the weather is often against men’s will, and its impact reaches beyond the immediate food scarcity; the inability to store crops and seeds also hampers the subsequent farming activates. Unfortunately, the El noir in the past 3 years have caused severe drought in multiple eastern African countries, and a tremendous amount of people are suffering from famine, especially for countries like Zimbabwe, where over 65% of its population survives on farming.
[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2013 – Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame ] FOCUS ~ Country Development
The Lisu pastor serving the displaced in the camp
Author: Lisa CHAI, Senior Programme Officer
Habakkuk 1: 2- 3
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. (NIV)
For decades the Myanmar government armed forces and opposing non-state armed groups have engaged in armed conflict. The frequent occurrence and brutality of reported human rights violations by these armed forces caused us to cry out like Prophet Habakkuk. Why do the innocent suffer and perish? We ask God to intervene yet violence and abuses prevail. Over the years CEDAR has supported partners operating in conflict affected areas in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, just to name a few. I am reminded by the book of Habakkuk that in face of conflict situation, we may be perplexed yet God is continuing His work. In the midst of violence and destruction, development is possible.
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[ePrayer – Pray for the farming and demonstrating project in Myanmar]
Give thanks for a successful completion of a two- week Agricultural Training attended by 25 farmers, two weeks field visit and a project evaluation by CEDAR Agricultural Consultant Mr Donn Armstrong. This time the training focused on growing of dry season crops, animal production and practical visits to commercial vegetable growers, flower growers, pig breeding and finishing unit and duck farms. The evaluation and field visits show that there was a good adoption of the ideas and principles promoted by previous course trainees in their area.
Pray for the farming and demonstrating project in Myanmar:
Pray that farmers can practice what they learned and know how to care for the soil and to rest one seventh of their land each year. (Seven Year Rest Crop Rotation)
Pray for the future long term development plans for the farming and demonstration farm. There is need to increase planting to give sustainable annual income.
Pray for upcoming discussion with partner based on recommendations from the evaluation report.
[ ‘SHARE’ Jan-Feb 2013 – Green Notes Or Green Life? ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER
Author> Lisa CHAI, Senior Programme Officer
In September I joined a CEDAR sponsored agricultural training on Sustainable Agriculture based on Christian holistic development. At the end of the six-day training, I realised participants benefited not only in learning different techniques like making Effective Microorganism (EM), but most importantly, our trainer has given participants hope and an outlook of an improved life despite the difficult circumstances faced by many.
Many of the ethnic peoples living on the mountains are very poor and struggle tremendously. A Lisu pastor shared that this training has provided a way and a chance for them to improve. Before the training, villagers thought a large investment is always needed to raise animals and often farming activities. They saw what other farmers did and wanted to follow yet many of Lisu people are poor, the fear of not having investment inputs deterred them. However, our trainer taught us simple techniques and gave such straightforward instructions that they can all follow to start with a small plot which requires very little financial investment, thus giving them hope of change.
Over 25 participants from several states attended. They were rice farmers from lowland, church workers from arid dry zone, village leaders from conflict resettlement area, church pastors from mountain region. One trainee is a youth pastor from a dry, dusty, poorly developed area. Just imagine, I was told there you would see peacocks walking alongside rickety vehicles…. it is a land quite wild! Water scarcity is a daily challenge. During summer time, local people can only afford to use 3 cupfuls to clean themselves. The community wants to widen and deepen the existing lake to collect rain water. I do not know if this is the best way to solve the water crisis; however I can see this youth pastor is full of passion, to give ’living water’ in terms of meeting community’s survival needs and spiritual nourishment.
It is a reminder to me that we purposely need to act in the context of holistic development to see how project activities and people involved contribute towards extension of the Kingdom of God. For a road construction project, development workers naturally think of easier access to market, more trade, better livelihoods. Yet from the words of this same youth pastor, it also means isolation broken is down, easy access by evangelists to result in the spread of the gospel.
Christian development is more than secular development theories and concepts. Sustainable agriculture is not just about applying principles of ecology. Natural farming is more than bringing the soil and environment back to its original form. It is about God’s creation and our stewardship over the environment. It is about ruling over the earth that reflects God’s character….certainly I look forward to taking more lessons in future!