I just spent several days in Kajo Keji diocese, which is near the border with Uganda. The diocese requested that I come put on an agriculture workshop for their theological students, and the diocesan leadership. Archdeacons and rural deans came from all over the diocese, some riding bicycles for many miles to get there. We spent two full days in lectures and doing agriculture labs. We made a compost heap, mulched a pineapple field, made and applied a garlic based natural pesticide, made a level for marking a contour on a hillside, and planted a contour hedge of peas to control erosion. We also spent time discussing designing projects that run on little or no funding, and about attitudes of land stewardship and looking for the abundance God has blessed us with. As always, hearing the stories, ideas, and questions of the participants taught me a lot.
Kajo Keji is a beautiful place. The mangos there are in season 4 times a year! So I saw the strange sight of ripe mangos and mango blossoms on the same tree. There are beautiful tree covered rolling hills, and the temperature always seems perfect. Just being there was a chance to drink in the peaceful beauty of the rural landscape. It was difficult to leave the new friends I made there, and the inspiration the ambient sense of peace seemed to bring me. But I find, now back in the hustle and bustle of Juba, that that sense of peace is lingering.
There is much to be thankful for. Blessings come in unexpected ways. I realized a few weeks ago, that the lack of funding for our agriculture programs this year, has actually taught me about designing simple volunteer driven programs, and has led me to look for the abundance God has given us in new ways. Here is the abundance I see most readily this week: people! It is not the few and the powerful that change the world, it is each and every one of us. We each have the decision every day to love to give to serve. And our decisions inspire others. I met church leaders and students and staff members in Kajo Keji that inspired me with their commitment and their daily decisions to serve and care and give.