This last week was a great week for me - I hope it was for you too!
You may remember that during March and April, Discipling Marketplace Leaders raised funds to respond to the COVID-19 crisis for Africa and many of you gave. There was a sense of urgency about it as people needed to shelter in place in a society that lives hand to mouth, and day to day. Some people questioned our approach as we are about development, not aid.
But the beautiful thing is that when you work with a ministry and with people who have a development mindset, it will still have that approach even in the middle of a crisis.
This past week, we heard more stories from many of our partners across Africa of the continued testimony of how those donations are still working today and continue to open doors for God's work through Discipling Marketplace Leaders. I want to share one of those stories with you today - it's just difficult to pick only one!
I will tell you about what we heard from our partner HUTSEED in Cameroon. Director Joy shared with us that during the time of distribution of donated funds, they were very intentional to work through the local government and partner with them to get resources where it was most needed. As not many come to local governments to give instead of receive, they were received very well. Since that time, the local government has come to HUTSEED to ask them to help distribute birth certificates for children as well as land certificates for widows. You see, this is supposed to be a free service but many that the government works through end up charging the poorest of the poor for this free service. But because of HUTSEED's generosity in response to COVID-19, this opportunity has opened for them.
As many people are turning to farming due to the loss of employment, HUTSEED turned to the Ministry of Agriculture to partner in getting quality seedlings out to the members of the three denominations that they are working with through DML: Full Gospel, CMFI, and the Baptist Church. The Ministry of Agriculture is going to do follow-ups with technicians as many of those who received the seedlings are new to farming. They will also be trained in food storage.
They also started a piggery program for widows and put one of the DML pastors as the head of that committee. Through the piggery program, each widow will give two piglets back to HUTSEED from the first litter (usually a litter has about 8 piglets). HUTSEED is tithing some of these piglets to missionaries as a form of support for them.
Lastly, Cameroon has experienced instability (on the brink of civil war) for the last number of years, causing many people to be internally displaced, living in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps. HUTSEED took some of the funds to the IDP camps to help with food relief, and have also helped them start some businesses, including the creation of hand sanitizers, which is helping them to continue to feed themselves.
What an amazing partnership! We are so blessed by Joy and the HUTSEED team (Jessica and Kenneth).
The difference between a program and a ministry is relationship. Programs have stopped in many places around the world because of COVID-19 but relationships do not stop. Rather they find a way to continue to flourish in spite of challenges.
HUTSEED is building relationships in unique ways because of the COVID crisis that will last into the future.
Thank you for your gifts that continue to be a blessing! Please pray for the work of HUTSEED and DML in Cameroon!