How Mentorship Catalyzes A Movement

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

Years ago, a mentor told me that, in whatever I did, in work, whether teaching, planning, or implementing, I should strive to work myself out of a job by developing others and recruiting apprentices. He said that, if I did, I would never lack work as there would always be another role for a people developer.

I’ve thought about that conversation often over the years and, the more I think about it, the more wisdom I see in what he was saying. Since then, I’ve always tried to be a people-developer, and to ‘work myself out of a job.’

Dan Wiens

Through Inundo Development, one of the things we’re working to build is a mobilized network of reproducing leaders – a movement of hope-bringers and people-developers that outlasts us. We do that by recruiting potential leaders – apprentices who will recruit and develop apprentices… and so on.

Our participation in the Farming God’s Way annual In-Field Mentoring week is a key part of that strategy since the Farming God’s Way tool so effectively prepares people to be transformational and holistic leaders in their own communities using their own resources. Can you just imagine the joy of mentoring in the beautiful outdoors, with teammates digging in the soil beside you? Farming God’s Way leaders, trainers and trainers-in-training from all over Africa and beyond come together for a week of developing the up-and-coming trainers, honing our own teaching and training skills, and supporting local churches and faith-based NGO’s in their transformational development strategies.

Photos from our first Infield Mentoring in Lesotho. Lesotho is a country with catastrophic erosion and land degradation due to conventional farming methods (click on photos to enlarge).

We have over 10 years of experience now with Infield Mentoring which has taken us to Lesotho, Zambia and other parts of South Africa. Dan did his Farming God’s Way accreditation in Lesotho in 2011 and we have ourselves benefitted from the mentorship of trainers that have gone before us. Learning from each other contributes to the richness of this relational leadership network and we love passing on what we have learned. It is incredible to see now through our journey of pursuing transformational development how God has brought other like minded leaders in the province of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa to participate in the mission of poverty alleviation and regenerative land stewardship. Never could we have imagined that our community of local trainers would have the capacity to host this strategic training event. And we have hosted it now for 3 years in a row and increased our training sites from 3 to 4 sites.

This year at Infield Mentoring, we had 40 Farming God’s Way delegates from all over Africa and beyond – even from Cambodia and Pakistan! We sensed a real increase in momentum for leaders passionate about transformation that lasts and does not create dependence. After spending two days together honing our skills, we broke into four groups and ran 4 simultaneous trainings in 4 locations from our network in the area. Over 200 people were trained in the foundations of Farming God’s Way!

As we have done follow-up at each of the sites since, it has been made clear what an impact these trainings have had – not only on poor communities which were introduced to the principles of Farming God’s Way, but also on emerging leaders and teachers in the organizations through which we served. We hope you will take time to scroll through the gallery below.

What an exciting time it was to see Clint Dengler grow in his skills at the Key of Hope centre which serves children and youth in the Newlands area. At that particular training, a key issue that people were struggling with was ancestral superstition. Stories were told about dream visitations by dead relatives and the fear associated with those interactions. How much empowerment people received when we taught the principle of staking their claim on the land, reminding them that they are not powerless in these superstitious situations and that they can take their rightful place as wise stewards over their land.

The training site in Bhambayi was also well received as our trainers taught leaders in a community of informal houses and shacks. Nontsikelelo shared her own personal testimony of seeing transformation for her family through the holistic action of stewarding their land. In Bhambayi, the training garden used was desolate and parched from the early summer heat. We dream of this site being transformed into an oasis for the community to see, pouring out hope in the midst of a difficult urban area.

All Souls Anglican church hosted our 3rd site for Infield Mentoring and this is now their third time hosting. What a privilege it is to see churches grapple with food and agriculture justice issues and persevere in their strategies to create transformational impact. This church has an incredible opportunity to impact the entire north coast of this province.

Sarah Colle… a shining light! (photo credit: Grant Dryden, FGW)

Finally, we have been amazed at the shining light growing at Camp Orchards in the Hillcrest area. Sarah Colle and her team have hosted this training event for the last 2 years. Sarah’s joy and enthusiasm are absolutely contagious as she has transformed her property into a haven of comparative gardens. Camp Orchards is a wedding venue that has a transformational vision, so once a year they host all the accommodation for the trainers for Infield Mentoring. Sarah coordinates all the details on top of growing in her own Farming God’s Way skills. This year her husband got involved and now they are a dynamic duo. There is so much leadership potential flowing from here.

Dan enjoys a moment with Thabo after a successful training day!

And, significantly, two more Farming God’s Way trainers achieved accredited status! One doesn’t need to become accredited to train informally, but we do ask that those that want to develop other trainers or train in various places be accredited. Tom Brane is a trainer working in Mali. He is an incredibly effective agricultural missionary there. Thabo Ranoka is originally from Lesotho, and a few of the senior trainers in South Africa have been walking alongside Thabo for a number of years now. He has a growing ministry among the materially poor outside of Johannesburg. What a joy it is to see these men who have become like brothers rise to such excellent proficiency in their characters and training abilities.

The honing of skills, development of trainers, bringing good news to the materially poor and inspiring churches and faith-based NGO’s during IFM week was incredibly significant and important. The momentum here in KwaZulu-Natal is growing! Please join with us in praying that all the seeds that were planted, and gifts that were developed and released, would result in a continuing harvest – now, and for generations to come.

Dan writes mentorship notes for one of the trainers in training to help them improve in their skills.

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Flourishing Land, Flourishing People, Flourishing Communities.

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