For several years, ever since I was invited to visit Kisumu, Kenya, to preach and teach to congregations of the Africa Inland Church, I’ve been partnering with Bishop Tom Ochuka there to grow their environmental ministry. In particular, they have created a tree nursery, sowing and giving away 10,000 native seedlings a year to schools, churches, and farmers in the deforested area surrounding Kisumu in western Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria. In that equatorial land, trees are often cut down to provide firewood and charcoal for cooking, leaving the land bare and leading to declines in beneficial birds and insects, hotter temperatures, and drought. Climate change is encroaching, but the tree nursery, God’s Green Resourceful Earth, has begun to bring back species of plants and animals that had disappeared, and to improve health and welfare in the area.
They also offer classes in sustainable farming, beekeeping, poultry keeping, and sall-scale vegetable gardening for students, farmers, and other area residents. They’ve gotten the attention of Kenya’s government and are now partnering with the national Forest Service and other organizations who are recognizing the significance of their efforts.
This year, they are cultivating ten times as much land as they had previously, and are expecting to up their game by a factor of ten: 100,000 seedlings to distribute and grow in western Kenya, including gravelia, acacia, pines, cypress, bamboo, and fruit trees like mangoes, pawpaws, avocados, oranges, and passion fruit. I’m honored to have worked with Tom since 2016 to help make this dream come alive.
On Sunday morning, February 26, at 9am, Tom and I will be leading a Zoom class for First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to tell them more about the project. Here is a brochure with details. Or if you would like to arrange for us to virtually visit your group, please contact me at email@example.com.