TBOWH Ministries for 2010: A Preview
During its June 4th board meeting, the Christian Life Commission approved the 2010 Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger project list. One of the newly funded projects for 2010 is the Self-Sustaining Faith Farming Program in Nicaragua sponsored by the Miskito Missions Network. The legacy of missionaries James and Viola Palmer’s years of holistic ministry in Nicaragua, the network serves the Miskito people, an indigenous population who live as subsistence farmers and fishermen in small villages in the lowland rain forest of Nicaragua and Honduras. The Miskito live in close family units in small autonomous villages. Because of economic hardships, many children do not attend school. Health care is limited or non-existent in most villages; infant mortality is one of the highest in Central America; and life expectancy is among the lowest. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the Miskito people are the poorest people in Nicaragua. Children are the highest at-risk group because of inadequate nutrition and poor sanitary conditions.
The Miskito Missions Network has developed an agricultural training program to help teach sustainable agricultural development. The result of six years of experimental farming and learning from the Miskito people themselves, the ministry begins with training pastors to train others in the community. All aspects of the program are designed to address the problems of poor family nutrition and low agricultural productivity. Key elements include: (1) soil improvement using organic composting, mulching, and cover crops; (2) crop protection using fencing; (3) five basic crops which contribute to family nutrition; (4) worm production as an alternative protein source for lay hens; and (5) egg production using traditional chicken breeds. TBOWH funds will be used to purchase planting materials, tools, equipment, chickens, seeds, and worms. The Self-Sustaining Faith Farming Program typifies TBOWH-supported development projects, which strive for cultural appropriateness, long-term sustainability, and indigenous collaboration.
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