Gardens For Africa

William S. Yarbrough
10 Keating St. Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
Phone 520-458-1831  Fax 520-417-0011

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Phil. 4:13

Friday, November 30, 2007


Not flower gardens—Vegetable gardens!

Three years ago Brother Harry, along with other faithful brothers, completed the first hand-dug well next to a piece of land donated by the Village Chief, with the understanding that the proposed vegetable garden would not exclude non-members from some of the benefits. A brother Vincent Mhango and his two sons, Winston and Joshua, live in this area known as Chicwawa.  They are very active in spreading the gospel and establishing many churches, not only in Malawi but other nearby countries as well.

This garden has been so productive that they have been able to take a surplus to the flea markets and barter for other commodities.  As you see in the pictures the beds are about 16” high which serves to keep the seed from washing away during their hard rainy season.

Wherever we dig a well an irrigated system is installed, including a five gallon bucket suspended on a stake. A splitter on the bottom of the bucket serves two plastic dripper tubes which are laid on top of the 50 foot rows where the seeds are planted. Brothers Danny Abercrombie and Ronnie Slocum report that the 10th well is probably completed by now.

Friends and beloved in Christ we need to speed up the digging of wells and creating more gardens to supply food for tens of thousands of our brothers and their families. Our best guesstimate is there are some 500 churches with an average of 100 in attendance in each church.

Can you believe, 50,000 mouths to feed daily! So far we have been able to give some of them the crumbs that fall from our tables. It is now time, with God’s blessings, to feed the multitudes. This will take a few years to complete. Remember the saying, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for life.” We must make every attempt to feed our starving brothers and their families for life. Seriously, some of our members in past years, including children, have died of starvation!  To satisfy their hunger, some died from eating poisonous roots, growing along the river banks.

First of all let me say that our African brothers and sisters are deeply indebted, first to God, and then to the generosity of so many in the States that have given, again and again, to help make this wonderful work possible. They express their gratitude in so many ways, even for a little salt. On my second trip over, two ladies came up to me, and very shyly, asked for enough money to buy some salt. Doing evangelist work in Africa is not a vacation. The work requires long hours, traveling over rough terrain trying to get to our destination, then teaching until mid-night watching the sun rise as we return to our camp the next morning, having nothing to eat unless we were fortunate to buy a bag of tangerines as we traveled down the road.  

Often the problem we have faced for a long time is this: Think of it all in the form of a pyramid, the base of support, or contributions, remains about the same, usually from the same donors, while the top of the pyramid grows taller and taller. Churches are made up of people, the more people the more problems, which requires more money for food, clothing, medical attention and much more. We desperately need to widen our base. But what a privilege is ours to live in this time period when we are able to support and witness thousands being saved by preaching The Old, Old Story, of Jesus and His love. 

We can do it. Here’s how:

$30,000.00 will create 24 additional wells, at an average cost of $1,000.00 each. That’s $24,000.00. The other $6,000.00 will buy a variety of vegetable seed, including corn, for all 24 gardens. This amount will also be used to buy a tandem (double axle) trailer to be towed behind our 4 x 4  pickup, permitting us to haul brick, mortar, sand, plastic pipe, iron sheets, bags of cement and pumping equipment, plus other miscellaneous items and transportation cost. Diesel is now $5.00 per gallon. None of this money will be used to buy air-line tickets or for any personal expense. This amount is strictly to go toward wells and gardens. Besides funding for these wells, there will still be the need for contributions to sustain the work that goes on each year.

It has been said, “An honest confession is good for the soul.” When I considered the great cost of all this, I sent Oprah two e-mails, hoping to make a contact. I e-mailed the same to our own Senator, John McCain. Silence. Nothing. I thought of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  Just the interest on a million dollars would have taken care of our needs. This amount would be chicken feed to them. Valta and I were reading the books of John. These verses caught my attention, 3 John 5-8,

“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” I have begged God to forgive me, I beg your forgiveness as well. My conviction now is that God wants his people to get this big job done, through the church so that He can receive the Glory and not man.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Eph 3:20

Brother Wayne Moore has already scheduled and paid for round-trip tickets, for himself and brother Harry, leaving on March 11th, 2008 and returning May 22nd.  (All matters subject to God’s will). Having talked at length with brother Harry and Danny Abercrombie about the possibility of completing a “well-a-week”, including the garden, during the normal 6 months of dry weather this next year, they agreed it can be done if we have sufficient donations to do it. Brother Danny plans to return again next year also to assist in this great work. This program should be repeated year after year to feed the booming Christian communities. Shallow wells are dug by hand but deeper wells have to be drilled and cased, requiring a mechanical hand pump.

We now have a well drilling rig, with all its attachments, at Bright’s house. This rig can be easily pulled on the trailer from place to place. Our investment, including shipment from the States, was about $30,000.00, but it will more than pay for itself in time. See the picture below.

Please bear with me. It is not my intent to send anyone on a guilt trip, but realizing my time of departure could be near, I simply remind you of what you already know. Here is the way Peter said it,

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 NKJV

In the early beginning of Jesus ministry, we find Him in a synagogue in His home town of Nazareth, He was handed a scroll which He read,

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;  Luke 4:18 (Isaiah 61:1) God has always had a soft spot in His heart toward the poor and needy.

It appears during Jesus’ first year of His evangelism, He not only taught but fed the multitudes with a few loaves and a few fish. The gospel writers recorded one event with 4,000 men, at another time, 5,000 men besides the women and children.

“In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar…they all ate and were satisfied.”  Mark 8:1-3 and Mathew, chapters 14 and 15.

The mission of the church is to preach the gospel, feed the hungry, visit the sick, clothe the naked, and welcome the strangers. Those who do these things Jesus called “sheep”. Those who didn’t, He called “goats”.

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ”

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matt 25:37-46

The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian brethren,

“They ( apostles James and John ) desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I (Paul) also was eager to do.”…. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Gal 2:9-10 and 6:10

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

1 John 3:17

From James (the book of applied Christianity),

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14-17

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Remember the widows 2 mites or a cup of cold water? It is not how much one gives but God ‘discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ Heb. 12:4. Look around! Is there a second car you don’t really need? A boat, or maybe an R.V. that has served its usefulness? Let us all go to God in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and pocket books to support such a worthy cause. The brethren in Macedonia considered it a privilege and a joy to give.

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”   2 Cor. 8:1-5

Once a donation is given, it belongs to the Lord. Our brothers have been found very trustworthy is using their best judgment in distributing the gifts. Just as Paul wrote concerning the brethren who were to be entrusted with the ‘indescrible gift’ for the poor saints in Judea, so have our brethren proved themselves trustworthy. The apostle Paul wrote,

“We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”  2 Cor 8:20-21 NIV

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”  2 Cor. 9:6 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever.” NKJV

If not in money, you can be of great help. Remember, “The prayers of a righteous man accomplishes great things.” James 5:13

Please send all contributions to:

West Broad Street Church of Christ

C/O Dwight Thomas

P.O. Box 611

Wedowee, Al  36278 

Please write a note on your check, “Gardens for Africa.” Brother Thomas will send out a monthly report through Dana’s Newsletter. Brother Thomas has always been a very trustworthy, capable, honest and willing servant of the Lord, doing whatever is asked of him. He is willing to set up a separate account under the name of “Gardens for Africa”. We couldn’t be more blessed than to have him as our accountant! Most of you know Brother Thomas has successfully operated his own accounting and tax service for many years.


Join us in this exciting effort to create

“Gardens for Africa!”

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