The group has come to us via Miracle Missions (through whom we received the very first IWH trainees) and were assembled by the local Member of Parliament, a Christian, who is so eager to help these folk. The story has a twist though – they are not the original group chosen. The people initially invited by Miracle Missions, through the MP, simply never turned up. They refused to come. The MP then pleaded with us that instead of cancelling the training, could he please find new recruits? He promptly scouted the displaced community and literally, within one hour, picked people from the highways and byways.
They arrived in what could be called three main categories. Men who have families; single mothers; and youths. Arrogant, noisy, rebellious youths. Angry, jobless men, unable to feed their hungry families. Men still reeling from the shock of eviction, and not at all sure about why they were even here. They are under enough pressure, and besides, who wants to farm? As for the single mothers – desperate. Willing to do just about anything to feed their children.
The first day was a disaster. No one was prepared to wake up for early prayer, despite the FfF staff waiting, ready and prepared to lead. The accommodation was left in a dreadful state, much to the dismay of our horrified housekeeping staff. The youths behaved badly, disrupting classes. The overall behaviour in the dining room left much to be desired. This was the fourth IWH group, not to mention countless trainees from various other FfF courses over the years, and yet not once had our team experienced anything like it. By the close of day, Mike – the trainer chosen to shepherd the group – was at his wits end. Mike … who normally has the patience of Job!
The next morning they simply pulled the covers over their heads and ignored the call for early morning prayer. But our trainers, a rather determined lot, knocked insistently on their doors. Finally they arrived, sleepy, disheveled and definitely not interested in ‘talking to God’. But they were in for a bit of an early morning surprise. Rudo, one of the team known for her outspoken, say-it-like-it-is manner, addressed them. In typical Rudo fashion – she spoke truth, and spoke it in love. Absolute love. Tough love. With boundaries!
Later that morning, the Foundations for Farming team met to assess the situation. Craig (our CEO) stated the obvious, “We need to make a decision. Does this group truly warrant using precious IWH funds? Are they the poorest of the poor, who we have committed ourselves to serving? Most of all, is it God’s will that they are here?” and then presented the question which no one thought they would ever hear, “Should we cancel the training?”
So, as a team, they did what they always do when faced with a dilemma. They turned to the One Whose ways are higher than ours. The prayers went up. Searching. Passionate, heartfelt, and sincere.
In the after-stillness of having poured out their hearts, Craig asked each one what they felt God was saying. The first answer came, firm and without hesitation. “They should stay. Definitely.” The second answer was the same, then the next, and the next. The team were unanimous in what they believed God was saying. Despite the challenges, each earnestly believed it was His will for the group to stay, and was prepared to go the extra mile to serve.
They had heard correctly. This is a unique group. Each group has been very different, but so far, all have proven to be God-selected. We needed to hand this one over to Him, and trust.
Transformation began that day. Clear, visible heart transformation, which only God can bring. Locked deep inside the vault of every human heart on earth, there is a secret place to which He alone has the key. And right now at Clouds End, God has begun unlocking …
Stay with us on this journey – it looks set to be one of the most exciting I Was Hungry trainings of all, and a truly beautiful parallel to Jesus parable in Matthew 22: 8-10.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (NIV)
We are very excited!
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