Beginning By Faith

Beginning By Faith

The Growing Impact of Rice & Beans Month

The Shinyanga region of rural Tanzania is known for unpredictable rainfall, meager food and resources, and traditional beliefs that center around witchcraft. The founders of Path of Hope Children’s Ministry were moved by the physical and spiritual poverty they saw in the villages. With little more than faith, they set out to bring change.

At local churches, they hosted gatherings for children. They taught worship songs and Bible lessons, and got to know the children’s needs. The children always came hungry, so the staff prayed for a way to provide food.

Rice & Beans Month was started at Lahash precisely because of needs like this. By simplifying our diets in solidarity with vulnerable people, we save money and direct those funds toward alleviating hunger. At Path of Hope, funds from Rice & Beans Month provided warm mugs of nutritious porridge for the children’s weekly gatherings. But that was only the beginning.

Inspired by the global community of people fasting on their behalf, Path of Hope submitted a detailed proposal to expand a kitchen garden project they had piloted. Rice & Beans Month funds soon began empowering families to grow food strategically and maintain thriving gardens even during the long dry seasons. As the gardens grew, so did their faith and their vision. The community of Rice & Beans Month participants grew, too.

When Path of Hope expanded their ministry to a village called Busoka, they found that its most vulnerable families were headed by widowed mothers who did not own any land, so the prospects for even small-scale farming were limited. These widows desperately wanted to provide for their children, and dreamed of purchasing land that they could farm together to feed their families and sell any surplus.

In April 2016, we received great news from Path of Hope: a parcel of land had suddenly come up for sale in Busoka. They were first in line for the purchase and had a solid plan to develop it. All they lacked were the funds to get their community rice field started.

Unfortunately, we had to tell them that no funds were available. All the Rice & Beans Month donations had been spent on supplemental nutrition or designated for other projects. We received no reply to that difficult news. We assumed they were too disappointed to send one.

Several days later, Lahash received unexpected funds from a new donor, with a note describing how God prompted them to give specifically toward Rice & Beans Month. It was a sizable donation. Just the size, in fact, to perfectly cover the price of a certain field in Busoka.

A few months later, a team from Lahash accompanied Project Coordinator Saggiah Wright to the Busoka field, where he recounted how they handled that initial disappointment:

We just thought that there’s nothing we can do… But we keep the hope going, we don’t give up about this, because we knew that what we were thinking about was good… and so we decided just to pray about it. We did not respond to the Lahash email. We never wanted to say we are losing hope or something like that.

He was thrilled when the donation came in during their days of fervent prayer. “To us, it was just a miracle, and we saw God’s hands through that.” Surveying the undeveloped land, Wright smiled contagiously. He described what will soon be growing there, by faith.

Path of Hope knows what can happen when faith meets fasting. Sometimes, you end up with a field. And that is only the beginning.

Learn more and sign up for Rice & Beans Month at EatRiceAndBeans.com