All About Cultivation
At the Pnong Project, two of our ministries for reaching the people are our school and our hydroponics plant. When the school was started, one of the visions was to visit our students’ families in their homes and cultivate relationships. As relationships would develop and we would build trust, things could move toward evangelistic efforts when we perceived spiritual interest.
During the first few years of operation, fewer families were sending their children to our school. At that time, Cara went with the teachers to visit families after school. We found many positive results from these visits. Parents discovered that we really cared about them, not just their students. Another result was that we could learn what needs our families had and work to meet those needs if possible.
When the market in town caught on fire during one of the first years the school was open, several of our students’ homes burnt down. Some generous people donated money we could give to these families. ADRA and the local mission also provided essential items to start life again. Through these acts of service, we cultivated meaningful relationships with families.
As the years went by and the school grew, the principal’s role became busier, and time was not available for the principal to do visits anymore. Teachers were still encouraged to visit families, though. We hoped to find a local chaplain that could fill this need and help with planning other spiritual and outreach activities. Several years went by without finding a local chaplain. Career missionaries helped during the interim, but no one could dedicate enough time. At the beginning of this school year, I prayed that God would provide someone to help out in this capacity. In December, a young, energetic man showed interest. We hired him, and he has been a blessing to the students and their families.
In the past few months, our new chaplain has planned outdoor Bible-learning experiences that bring Bible class to life. He has held monthly parent’s night events to teach about health and family issues, visited student homes to learn about student needs, and organized week-long prayer events. He even coordinated outreach activities with the students, such as a community service day.
Another outreach is our hydroponics project. We currently have a small hydroponics facility set up behind the school. For the hydroponics plant to help us reach the people, we need to find a market for the produce. That will require educating the local people about healthier growing options for the vegetables they consume. While hydroponic vegetables are more expensive, they also taste better.
Cultivating vegetables in a hydroponics setting is a relatively straightforward process. But our current workers need sufficient training that provides greater detail and a more thorough understanding of the process and how to increase our yield. Two of them were recently able to undergo training, so we plan to set up a hydroponics house at the farm and see how things go. If all goes well, and we can find a market, then we will look at building a second one. We will need to experiment with what vegetables grow best and which ones are in the highest demand in the markets.
We appreciate your prayers as the team continues seeking ways to bring in short-term income at the farm to support the school. Please also pray that God blesses us in cultivating produce and relationships. Thank you, and God bless.