'Strength of the Ox' Brings Blessings
Kanyama, Zambia, June 26, 2008--The Mujila Falls Agricultural Centre takes Proverbs 14:4 seriously: "Where there are no oxen, there is no grain; abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
It was largely by the strength of oxen that the United Methodist agricultural center had a bumper crop of corn in the last growing season. "One hundred twenty tons were harvested--planted and cultivated with oxen," according to Missionary Paul Webster, co-director of the center in northwestern Zambia, south of the equator.
"Oxen are as important as tractors, as high-tech farming becomes increasingly uncompetitive in the Third World," he says. A truck, an anonymous gift from Wisconsin via the United Methodist Foundation, did arrive before the harvest was over. It was used to haul corn gathered by school students.
"We hired school boys who were on term break to harvest 16 rows of corn at a time and throw it into the truck--thus my "16-row" corn picker," Webster explains. "All 16 of these students earned the money to pay tuition and buy uniforms and books while learning much about farming and work ethics during their break. I am looking forward to having them back again and again until they graduate. Perhaps some of them will decide to work with us full-time after graduation from high school."
The center has also introduced donkeys into the area as reliable means of transport. "Our donkeys successfully made their first long road trip, 30 miles, to our departmental capital, where they were the 'hit' of the first agricultural show held there in 15 years," reports Webster. These are the first donkeys in the area and are proving that they can cheaply and quickly haul loads long distances."
Mujila Falls Agriculture Centre is a major United Methodist investment in sustainable agriculture and vocational training for Zambia and the continent of Africa. It covers some 2,500 acres of land, much of it wooded, including 1,000 acres contributed by a regional chief impressed by the agricultural approach. The center primarily serves the Lunda people. There is a related rural health facility.
The new truck will be useful in hauling lumber harvested from the managed forests--some of it going to provide the Kanyama United Methodist Church with roofing materials, doors, windows, and pews. "We even sawed a little rosewood and mahogany for doors and the altar," says Webster.
In addition to grain, Mujila Falls raises cattle, goats, chickens, and hogs, and engages in conservation and land-management projects. Webster, a native of Wisconsin, is strongly devoted to rural development.
"Our 1,000 new pullets will be laying in just a week or two, and that will double our production to over 1,600 eggs per day," Webster reported in early June. This is important in an area where infants and women suffer from extreme protein-and-vitamin deficiencies, and people have a life expectancy of less than 35 years.
"We have also sold our first butcher hogs and brought in $1,400 from the first sale. The hope is that our project will become more self-sufficient as it also helps to meet the nutritional needs of local people."
Tshala Mwengo, also a United Methodist missionary, is co-director at Mujila Falls. Webster will be visiting churches in Wisconsin and Michigan during the summer and fall of 2008.
Gifts to Mujila Falls Agricultural Center through The Advance, Advance #15016A, can be made in several ways: by credit card online at www.givetomission.org or telephone at (888) 252-6174. Checks may be sent directly to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068, or placed in the offering plate of any United Methodist Church. Be sure to include the Advance number in the memo line of the check. Every dollar given through the Advance goes to the ministry designated.
For more information visit webpage: www.mujilafalls.com
Date posted: Jun 30, 2008