A Harvest of Food and Faith for Samuel

“The day of my baptism I fed my guests with vegetables from my kitchen garden.  It was the first time in my life that I found a meal delicious.” – Samuel (right), Zoe Empowers Rwanda

November is a time for us to celebrate harvest and bounty, often with family and friends.  We take time to be grateful for our blessings.  Such was the case for Samuel, but for him it was his baptism, as well as his harvest, that he was celebrating.

Samuel and his two brothers were sick and severely malnourished when they went to their first Zoe Empowers meeting.  He had worked hard after his father died. However, like most children struggling in poverty, he was exploited by his employers.  He often was not paid or given only a little food for a long day’s work. It was never enough for the three boys, and they often went hungry.  Isolated and outcast, Samuel felt that God had abandoned him.

Samuel thought that Zoe Empowers would give him a bag of food at that first meeting.  However, ZOE’s program is focused on empowerment and sustainability.  Children learn how to meet their needs over time.  Instead of receiving a one-time gift of food, Samuel learned that he would be taught to grow his own food.  That had never happened before, and he was excited. With his group, Samuel learned to grow crops, and received seeds and tools.

Together they planted a field of crops, and at home,  they each planted kitchen gardens of vegetables. As they worked together, the children formed friendships.  For the first time, Samuel had friends who understood his situation and cared about him and prayed for his family. That led him to church and to the decision to be baptized.

The celebration his group and the local church held for him afterwards was something Samuel could never have imagined.  He had friends to celebrate with! Together they had harvested food and together they could share the bounty of that harvest.  For the first time in his life, Samuel had food to share with others.  No wonder it tasted so good!

Sweet potato





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