I think it’s good to pause, reflect and be thankful. By doing so we can keep a healthily perspective on life and faith. Sometimes though, we can be so caught up in ‘doing’ that we can fail to realise that there is so much to be thankful for.
In preparing for the move to South Cave I have been wading through various papers, and other items, that I have accumulated over the past twelve years. Sifting through half forgot things can be emotionally draining and yet, at the same time, it can be a source of encouragement, as it reminds one of the goodness of God and his people.
One of the many things I rediscovered recently was a book of personalised greetings from folk who attended my induction and collation to the parish of Marton on the 17th September 2001. Almost all of the names were new to me back then, with the exception of family and some clergy friends. The last entry was from my Dad, Mick Proctor. It was such a pleasant surprise to read his greeting, as I was unaware that he had written in the book! He started his greeting with the words;
‘The Lord works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. Welcome home’ . . . . .
Inevitably, the process of preparing to move has caused me to reflect a great deal on the past twelve years. As I have done so, I have become increasingly aware that there is so much to celebrate and give thanks for. God is good.
Late summer and early autumn are traditionally times when we celebrate the fruitfulness of the earth, when we offer our Harvest Thanksgiving to the giver of all good things.
This year we will Celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving on Sunday 6th October, which will also be my final Sunday as vicar of Marton. The morning services will be followed by a Farewell Faith Lunch in the Parish Centre.
Each year we support a different charity through our Harvest Appeal. This year we are pleased to be assisting, ‘Self Help Africa’ in their working towards creating a rural Africa that is free from poverty and hunger. By establishing sustainable, low cost solutions, Self Help Africa is helping farmers to produce enough to earn a living, feed their families and lift themselves out of poverty.
The following story is taken from Self Help Africa’s website which I offer as a challenge and encouragement.
Thauzeni Chinganyama, Malawi.
Thauzeni is a farmer, a father and a resident of the Mkhonde village in central Malawi. He has two boys and two girls and the family have been subsistence farmers for years. Their region is one beset by the problems of recurrent droughts, a lack of fertilisers and poor access to safe water. Pests and disease mean that there is little livestock in the area and the average household has less than a hectare to farm (2.5 acres), too little to produce enough food to for a family of five.
Self Help Africa has been working in the region since 2007 and came to Thauzeni’s community in 2011. We set up a group there and provided them with training: making compost, managing a farm and core business skills.
The training transformed the family’s perception and under- standing of what farming business is all about. In the first year alone they made extra income by using manure to grow more cabbages and tomatoes. The extra income meant the family could make substantial improvements to
their farm and their home. “We have managed to buy iron sheets, iron door and window frames and other building materials.” They were also able to purchase some goats and make bricks for their house.
The extra income means Thauzeni’s family are now able not only to dream about their future, but map it out. In the years to come they are planning to buy an ox-cart to boost horticulture production – both by transporting farm produce to market and moving manure around the farm.
“I am grateful for what Self Help Malawi did in my family as we are able to buy things that we could not afford to buy… Self Help Africa should continue training farmers.’’
As we reflect on God’s goodness, may we be empowered to share the blessings we enjoy and offer our support to the work of Self Help Africa.
Every Blessing Rev’d Mike Proctor