International Ministries

Pray for Ed and Miriam Noyes

December 1, 2009 PrayerCall
Ed and Miriam serve in a region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where over two-thirds of the population depends on agriculture for a living, and where chronic malnutrition limits the lives of children. Ed supports and advises Congolese Baptist church programs promoting more productive, profitable, and sustainable farming techniques. Miriam promotes church-based literacy programs and trains literacy teachers.

 Ed writes: Lubidi is a Baptist church center.  Villagers and church members alike depend on farming for their livelihood.  The vitality of the farming system depends on healthy cassava.  In 2003 the cassava was sick.  Cassava mosaic virus has spread all across central Africa.  Hunger started to gnaw at the village.

Unsure what to do, a couple of church members came to the agriculture center at Lusekele to find out about new cassava varieties.  They returned to Lubidi with several bundles of seed cuttings to plant a test field. In the next three months it was evident that a change was taking place.  The new varieties grew fast and healthy, tall islands of green in seas of yellowed traditional varieties. 

The 2005 and 2006 harvests confirmed that the new cassava produced 2 or 3 times as much and the rush was on to replace the traditional varieties. In 2006, Pasteur Kikumbula and his wife joined the congregation, bringing the next generation of disease-resistant cassava from the ag center.  It took no coaxing for church members and their neighbors to plant the new varieties.

In 2008 the congregation raised a permanent tin roof over the site of the new church building.  Income from the church cassava fields paid for the first sheets of corrugated roofing.  More importantly, each member household paid for another half sheet of roofing.  For the first time in nearly 40 years the congregation gathered in worship under a permanent roof instead of palm fronds or grass thatch. The new permanent roof is remarkable in itself.  But perhaps more important is the fact that for the first time people have enough surplus to have a sense of security -- the security needed to purchase roofing.  That means there is enough to eat, enough for school fees and enough for the occasional visit to the local health nurse.  For the first time in years there is enough breathing space in the frantic struggle to survive that people can celebrate the abundance that God gives.  

New cassava varieties are God's provision for Lubidi Christians, for their neighbors and eventually for hundreds of thousands of other subsistence farmers in Congo.  But it takes pairs of willing hands and feet to bring the blessing to those in need.  That's what ACDI Lusekele is all about because it's part of what following Jesus is all about.