In a recent visit to Baguio City (Luzon island – northern Philippines) I spent a few days with a local host, a man named Jonathan, one of the most caring, joyful, and evangelical men I have met. While visiting this particular farm, he told me the story of how this church came to be.
Knowing that the Lord was calling him to this small village, he wasn’t sure why or what he was supposed to do there, or how to even begin to reach people. So he moved there and started raising pigs, something he knew how to do well. Jonathan is an agriculturist who has participated in many ECHO trainings.
After he had been there a while and had successfully established a deep-litter pig production system, an old man came down from the mountain to ask him about his pigs, wanting to know why he raised pigs in this way. Jonathan told him that if he really wanted to know, he’d better go get the other men in the community to come too, because he didn’t really want to have to explain it twice. The man obliged and soon brought six men back with him.
Jonathan points to a large mango tree and tells me that right there he explained and demonstrated the principles of raising pigs in a deep litter system, of how to keep the pigs healthy and his labor low. Jonathan tells me he then shared the Gospel right then and there with the men, under the same mango tree. The men all agreed that they wanted to know more of this Jesus, and so decided to return for more instruction.
After discipling them for a time, the men began to share their faith with their own families and friends and their number grew, to the point that they decided it was time to build their own church building. One of the six men is now the pastor of the church, and in addition to a sanctuary, they have established a small orphanage and a small farm garden to support some of the needs of the widows and orphans in their vicinity.
Jonathan is a long time ECHO partner and shares a vision of using sound agricultural techniques to lift people up and produce abundance, and to serve as a witness of the Gospel. Many of the vegetables you see in the photo actually came from the ECHO Asia Seedbank in Thailand, and have subsequently been passed on to the surrounding community, many seeds (in many forms) are being planted in this place.