As a General Conference, we are developing a global plan to provide education on the subject of country living, organic farming and related subjects. Seminars on organic agriculture are being promoted in various countries for our leaders, so that they can pass on this knowledge to each church, small group and family of the Reform Movement in their locality. This initiative is coordinated by the GC Stewardship and Welfare Department through seminars consistently held by a person who specializes in the area.
June 26–July 1, 2018. The first seminar on Organic Farming at the Eben-ezer Camp was hosted by the Colombian Union with the presence of three members of the GC Stewardship and Welfare Department. The seminar was taught by John Lausevic from Australia. All the workers of the Colombian Union participated in this experience, as well as around 400 laypeople.
In the third week of February 2019, Elías Rivera Hernández held the first Organic Farming Seminar in the Dominican Republic in Santiago, at the farm of Aguilar Tineo. On this occasion, the original plan had been to carry out an extensive work in Haiti for 20 days, with the plan to give practical theoretical training and implementation. However, due to the political and social conditions existing, it was not possible to enter that country to carry out the work.
We thank God for the good level of encouragement that exists in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, where country living, organic agriculture, and the work of education in the families of our people are being followed in harmony with God’s plan in this respect.
From May 12–16, 2019, the first Seminar on Organic Agriculture was held in the Peruvian Union. This event was given by Bro. Elías Rivera Hernández and was held at the Union facility in Puente Piedra, Lima, Peru. There were 100 people that attended, including missionaries, pastors, ministers and some lay members. The seminar was held in a practical theoretical manner. The event was a great blessing because it awakened strong interest in the subject in this country.
The knowledge that was received is being transmitted to the public through training, and different activities have been planned for it, so that we can educate others in this area as part of our work.
“Families and institutions should learn to do more in the cultivation and improvement of land. If people only knew the value of the products of the ground, which the earth brings forth in their season, more diligent efforts would be made to cultivate the soil. All should be acquainted with the special value of fruit and vegetables fresh from the orchard and garden. As the number of patients and students increase, more land will be needed. Grape vines should be planted, thus making it possible for the institution to produce its grapes. The orange orchard that is on the place would be an advantage.”1
“God has been giving me instruction that He will give men in various countries ability to produce healthful foods, so that the human machinery can be kept in good order without the use of any food which contains injurious properties. By His Holy Spirit the Lord will guide His workers in the preparation of foods.”2
The goal of these seminars is to make our people aware and become empowered with sufficient tools and knowledge so that each family can produce their own fruits and vegetables without damaging the soil and polluting their food with poisons typically used in commercial agricultural production—as well as to avoid the use of genetically modified seeds and petrochemicals that demineralize the environment, rendering it incapable of sustaining life.
If we follow God’s plan to live in the country and develop a character like His, our days will be easier.
Country living and organic farming are part of God’s plan for His people.
“In God’s plan for Israel every family had a home on the land with sufficient ground for tilling. Thus were provided both the means and the incentive for a useful, industrious, and self-supporting life. And no devising of men has ever improved upon that plan. To the world’s departure from it is owing, to a large degree, the poverty and wretchedness that exist today.”3
“The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land, and raise their own fruit and vegetables.”4
To work the land and teach the appropriate methods of cultivation is a ministry that we must undertake with passion.
“There is much mourning over unproductive soil, when, if people would read the Old Testament Scriptures, they would see that the Lord knew much better than they in regard to the proper treatment of land. After being cultivated for several years, and giving its treasures to the possession of humankind, portions of the land should be allowed to rest, and then the crops should be changed. . . .
“Ignorance is doing its baleful work. Slothful servants are increasing the evil by their lazy habits. . . .
“Who will be missionaries to do this work, to teach proper methods to the youth and to all who feel willing and humble enough to learn?”5
“We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in its bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, richer than gold or silver. . . . With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of humanity.”6
Country living provides the best lifestyle. “Fathers and mothers who possess a piece of land and a comfortable home are kings and queens.”7
We invite each Missionary Field, each Union, and each Association, to encourage their leaders to promote the work of true education among the families of our people—and on our part, we are ready and willing to serve those units interested in receiving instruction to help manage and program the seminars.
For project coordination in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, the contact person for the Welfare Department is Elías Rivera Hernández.
May the Lord bless efforts in this regard.
André M. Devai, GC Welfare Dept. WhatsApp: +55 11 986 74 82 70
Elias R. Hernández WhatsApp: +57 314 324 03 93