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Newsletter for December 2019

demonstrating how pawpaws still on the tree can be used to treat difficult wounds

Here is an online version of the Newsletter for December 2019

REAP’s vision is to extend teaching that is based on making use of local resources with a foundation of Biblical teaching. We see the local church as an ideal channel for such teaching. This newsletter will concentrate on the work of one pastor who has been taking the training he has received over the years from REAP into his pastoral ministry.

Rev Ben has been to several different of REAP’s training seminars and is an active pastor with the Anglican Church of Kenya in Butere Diocese in western Kenya. When he was transferred to a new parish at the beginning of 2019, he shared his vision for holistic teaching with his congregation and the news below is from a recent visit to this parish.

Creation Care and Vetiver Grass

Butere has many hills and valleys and farmers are often cultivating on quite steep slopes.

Rev Ben has for several years been encouraging the planting of Vetiver Grass in the region to prevent soil erosion. So, when he moved to the new parish which had just this terrain he started teaching with his parishioners and shared planting material with those who were interested. Many small Vetiver Nurseries have been started and Ben has recently helped one of the keenest farmers to establish a contour line of Vetiver on his land as an example for others in the area.

Ben explains about maintaining a Vetiver Nursery planted in the valley
Ben explains about maintaining a Vetiver Nursery planted in the valley
Ben with Wilberforce who has recently planted this Vetiver Grass hedge across his field
Ben with Wilberforce who has recently planted this Vetiver Grass hedge across his field

One the members of the church had a very practical example of how he was using leguminous trees on his compound to improve the soil. Here he is his with a plot of scattered Sesbania trees that are a very good example of the teaching we give of working with God’s Creation.

An example of using leguminous trees on his compound to improve the soil
An example of using leguminous trees on his compound to improve the soil

Artemisia and other Natural Medicines

Rev Ben has attended the REAP Training on Natural Medicines and has for many years been a Custodian for Artemisia in the Butere area. Artemisia is an excellent treatment for Malaria as well as having many other medicinal uses. Ben has good Artemisia plants growing at his home and has been able to take cuttings from these for distribution to others. Earlier in the year he taught the church members that Natural Medicines are Biblical and good for Christians to use. So, when the rains arrived, he was able to distribute rooted cuttings to many of the church members who were interested. These are now producing good leaves so during our visit he was able to teach those with mature plants how to harvest them.

Rev Ben explains to the owner of this Artemisia that it needs harvesting.
Rev Ben explains to the owner of this Artemisia that it needs harvesting.
This was an opportunity to teach on both how to take the cuttings (which the lady is holding) and how to harvest. The plant is not so attractive but has begun to bring its benefit.
This was an opportunity to teach on both how to take the cuttings (which the lady is holding) and how to harvest. The plant is not so attractive but has begun to bring its benefit.

Our visit was also an opportunity to add to the teaching that Rev Ben has already been able to give, and the picture at the top of this newsletter shows Rosalia demonstrating how pawpaws still on the tree can be used to treat difficult wounds. This is one of the most dramatic of all the natural medicines that we teach.

Stoves and Kitchens

Rev Ben’s wife Phylis is an active member of the Mothers’ Union and has also attended REAP trainings. She has learnt how to make the clay liners for the stoves that REAP has been encouraging for many years.

A few weeks ago she taught some of the women from the congregation how to make their own clay liners, and the women were very pleased to show the results of their work. We were able to give them full approval that these liners were well made. They will soon be installed in the kitchens, two in each, as in the REAP kitchen shown on the right. These stoves burn the wood much more efficiently, so have very little smoke, use much less firewood, and generally enable a very much more conducive kitchen environment for the women.

The women showing off their recently made clay liners
The women showing off their recently made clay liners
Domitila cooking in the kitchen at the REAP farm
Domitila cooking in the kitchen at the REAP farm

Holistic Teaching on living as God’s People

Rev Ben and his wife have both learnt from REAP trainings, and then put the learning into practice. In all our trainings we seek to root the teaching on Biblical principles and then follow this with practical ideas of what people can do from their own resources. With the challenges of Climate Change, we have recently become more active in teaching on Creation Care. In our natural medicine teaching we always include a clear discussion on how Natural Medicines are part of God’s wonderful creation and entirely appropriate for use by Christians. Our teaching on kitchens not only emphasises the efficiency of the stoves, but also the benefits women gain by having a better cooking environment and being able to be more flexible in their use of time. Throughout we emphasise that faith is relevant to every day of the week and every part of our lives and see this as an essential part of building up the local church through discipleship.

Thank you for your support

We continue to appreciate the support that we receive, as do those who benefit from the teaching and other work.  Although as noted above we are not talking about retiring yet, one of our main supporting churches does cease their support at retirement age, so we are now looking for new people and churches to commit themselves to support our work.  Please consider if you or your church can make a commitment to enable us to continue with what we have started, and take it forward. 

Please support us by making a one-off donation or setting up a regular payment through our PayPal page. (To set up a regular payment, enter the desired amount and then select the ‘donate with a card’ option.)

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