Saturday was the last of the hibiscus. We’ve been harvesting every day since mid-September and while the end has been coming for a few weeks now, the fields are finally stripped of most of the useful calyx. I’ve been thrown into managing the harvest this year, and while I wouldn’t say I’ve been doing a brilliant job of it, I’ve been learning quite a lot on the way that I hope will help us improve our efficiency and overall harvest next year. The greatest help that I have received on this go-around was from the two men that we hired for the harvest this year, Joseph and Mariko. They both live in the nearby village of Kopatatum (if you’ve been following along since my first trip to Karamoja, this is the village that we buy aggregate from for all of our cement work). As I heard their requests and complaints and watched them work, I was able to see several ways that the farm project might be improved next year.
As much as they helped me in learning to manage the harvest, I was struck Saturday as I thanked them for their work while we sat and drank Cokes on the porch, that I hope we have helped them also. I hope that I was an equitable manager and that we assisted them to see the benefits of an honest day’s work. They both told me how happy they had been for the employment and how it had really helped them to provide for their families. But more than that, I hope that their time with us has given them some knowledge of the Gospel. They sat for several months and heard a good deal about the spread of the early church from Acts, and more recently we’ve read through I John for morning devotions. Joseph has come to prayers on Sunday once or twice in the last couple of months and Mariko comes regularly to our Friday readers’ meeting where Dave goes through the Bible story for the week.
While I hope to see them out in the fields again next year, I hope more fully that the modest exposure they’ve had to the Christian message will cause us to see them more frequently. That they would come to Sunday prayers whether there is work or not, simply because they desire to hear more of the Gospel that we are here to proclaim. Please pray for these men to that end. Pray that God would bless our harvest next year and use it to bless our neighbors. Pray that we would be able to make the farm project self-sustaining and that we would be able to hire more people next year to plant and weed and harvest. But pray most of all that the greater harvest we seek would be brought fully into the storehouse. Though it looks a long way off, pray that the day would come when those working at the harvest may be sent home because Karamoja is full of the knowledge of Christ.