Monday, March 29, 2010


Last week I (Chris) traveled about 400km west to beautiful Mbarara District. Mbarara is one of the Western parts of Uganda with beautiful rolling hills, large banana plantations tucked in valleys and on slopes between vast pasture land. The rolling hills and well-kept plantations are very enjoyable to drive through. The seminar was held in Mbarara Town, the District Headquarters for Mbarara District

The road between Kampala and Mbarara town is under major construction with the old road being ripped up and a new and wider foundation and road being laid. The end result is a much nicer road in the finished sections but a lot of dust, mud and bumps in between the black smooth finished portions. We don't have the maintenance culture here in Uganda, so instead of putting in money on a lower but more consistent  level into road maintenance the country waits until the road almost totally falls apart and looks for foreign funding or tax money to totally re-do the road. 

The seminar was hosted by our friends from Church of Christ Mbarara who have a beautiful building on High Street in which they hosted the seminar. We had over 40 people attend the three day workshop who were from several different churches and NGOs being represented. The seminar included people from as far away as Kasese and For Portal.A number of the groups have already been implementing Farming God's Way (FGW) so this was an excellent opportunity to clarify their understanding and to assess how they are doing when measured against the FGW standards. Our last day was  spent teaching the students how to make countour lines or rows across a steep slope when using an A-frame. We closed out the last day with putting in a Well-watered Garden. The idea of the Well-watered Garden is based on Isaiah 58 (espv 11) where God's people are blessed to become a like a fruitful garden as they have considered the poor and the widow and have removed the yoke of oppression. The garden is the training ground for FGW techniques and principles and serves as an example of what our gardens can look like when we do things God's way. By the time we have just marked out the planting holes the garden starts to reflect the order and sterwardship that God first intended man to have over the earth. Once the garden has grown up it is very easy for by-passers to see the difference between conventional farming and Farming God's Way. 

Most of the seminars take on a similar format although the ones I conduct in the rural churchesChurches are translated into the local language and I use very little of the DVD series and do most of the teaching myself. It is our rural churches around the jinja area where we will do most of our follow-up. It can often take 5 years to start to see significant adaptation of the FGW methods and principles. There is a lot of work ahead!

Posted via email from The Sperling's blog

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sperling Newsletter Feb 2010

February 20, 2010

Muli mutya banafe?”

How are you, our people?” This is a question in Luganda – the main language here in Uganda. We hope you can answer “Tuli bulungi” which means “We are fine”. Yes, we do hope you are fine and that the New Year has got off to a good start.

Since the New Year I have not really set any goals or aspirations. This is not because I lack motivation but because it seems that the New Year actually started with our return to Uganda in October. Since the end of October this has been a season of new things – a new school year for the boys, a new baby on the way, a new season of work here in Uganda. Although we have served in agriculture missions for some time, this is the first time we are exclusively training and teaching farmers full time. Previously we have worked alongside existing programs and organizations so it is very exciting to start off this new year with a fresh start into a new phase of serving in God’s Kingdom.

Farming God’s Way seminars

Farming God’s Way-( has become our main source of material and inspiration for the work we are doing. I first attended a FGW seminar a year ago at New Hope Uganda where we used to live and serve. The FGW seminar addressed the many challenges I saw facing the Ugandan farmers – the solutions are both spiritual and technical (because the problems are both spiritual and physical). It was not difficult for us to adapt and start using the material for our work.

Since returning we have put on three two-day seminars and by the time this letter reaches you we will have started our village seminar series in the local Deliverance Churches (DC). Our very first seminar was done at our home church, DC Walukuba. Our pastor wanted me to teach the congregation and the leadership team so that when we took the seminars to the village our members would know and understand what is being taught. We now have a Well-Watered Garden (a FGW demonstration plot) at the church property that the congregation is very excited about. The next pair of seminars after this first one was meant to serve the local farmers, church leaders and NGO members interested in farming. These two seminars at the beginning of February were very successful with over 60 people attending and a total of over 30 NGO’s and churches being represented during the two seminars. Each class put in a Well Watered Garden which was the training ground for applying what they learned.

Farming God’s Way seminars

Over the next month we are heading to rural areas mostly within about 80km of Jinja. We will train church members from our Deliverance Church family. On March 17-19 we will be running a more extensive three day seminar in Mbarara in Western Uganda (about 400km from our home in Jinja). This will be exciting to see a new group of people embrace FGW in a region where we used to live (2003). These seminars are very revolutionary for farmers; we are taking the farmers on a journey from poor management skills to a very careful management system at the same time they are introduced to the idea of zero tillage and constant mulch cover which replace the traditional ideas of how farming should be done. They will very likely see more than a tenfold increase in crop yields if they uphold FGW principles.

Well Watered Gardens

A Well Watered Garden is a small demonstration plot where farmers learn about praying over the land and breaking curses over it, about carefully measuring the plant spacing, minimal/ zero tillage principles, the importance of maintaining God’s Blanket (mulching) and many other FGW principles. These gardens are a “light” in the community. They are well kept, well watered and are generally grown in the dry season so that local farmers can assess what FGW is all about before they give it a go in the next rainy season.


Life has not been without it’s struggles since coming back to Uganda. Although we are excited about our next baby, Jane has felt very sick with the regular “morning sickness” but has had additional troubles such as a severe sinus infection which she is just getting over now. The boys have all had malaria once and I have had trouble with my teeth – having a root canal done and crown to be put on soon. We have also had trouble with our house help as our girl Ruth who had learned very well how to keep our home left without notice a few weeks ago.  Another girl who we had been helping out by letting her stay here has also recently left as we could not tolerate her lying and deceitfulness any longer. We have a new helper who is just learning the ropes which is a bit hard on Jane as she has little energy to train a new worker. We also had a visit from Cindy Benda who spent over a week in Jinja; Cindy will return within the year to join the Equip Team here. Cindy is a well-experienced Nurse who served in the US army and grew up in Congo so Africa is not new to her.

Prayer  Needs

            Please pray for us as we take FGW to the rural churches in our area.

            Pray for safety in travel and security at our home

            Pray for our health, especially Jane in her pregnancy

            Pray for open hearts to God’s Word as we share our lives with people

            Pray for a teacher for the boys (K, Grade 2)

            Pray that we will always be ready to share the Hope that is within us

Financial Needs

We continue to need more regular supporters. If you have committed to monthly or annual support please remember to renew your support as the new year has already began. January 2010 was our lowest level of support over the last 12 months. We also are continuing to raise money for a truck for our rural work with FGW. If you want to contribute to our general support please send your cheques with a separate note: “for Sperling Support”. For contributions to the seminars, the truck and the upcoming ministry trips please designate on a separate note: “for Sperling Work Fund

Blessings and thanks to all of you for your love and care for us,

Chris and Jane,

Andrew, Tugume, Kenny, Albert, Isaiah, and Ezra


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Posted via email from The Sperling's blog