The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
When we finally arrived at Cimiento in October, it was like a great homecoming. Familiar faces greeted us. The church grounds were also familiar but had also undergone some great improvements. There was a fence to protect the garden from marauding chickens and dogs. The church building had a new concrete floor replacing the open ground that had been there before. The women of the church had organized a business, and as a result had received a mill to grind corn. The grinding could begin at 4:30 AM (ouch, my sleeping ears!), but also represented the sound of progress and opportunity for the women.
However, the most rewarding part of the trip came as work on the garden continued. The women of Cimiento had great luck with their first garden planting, but after that things did not grow as well, and the women had questions about how to improve their yields. This trip, Randee Edmundson came to share her experience developing gardens in Tanzania. The community, both men and women, brought machetes to the task of chopping up green and brown plants for compost. Muscle power was in abundant supply to move the thin, dark layer of soil, and break up the thick, red resistant soil underneath. Some of the men were even asking questions about how to apply this technique to their fields. People were excited about improved possibilities with crops.
Reflecting on this, I felt the strength of accompaniment. Years of worshiping together, visiting and talking as friends meant that we knew and trusted each other as partners who will continue to work together for the long term.
St. Michael's Lutheran, Roseville