A common need in many areas where we work is help in the field. Most farmers cannot accomplish all the planting and harvesting tasks alone. They often rely on the help of family, friends, and community members. In most areas, it is customary to provide a large feast of food and alcohol in return for your neighbors’ labor. The cost of these parties can be extremely high, consuming most, if not all, of the profits from the field. However, people fear that if they don’t offer a feast, no one will come to help the following year. This leaves the farmer in a very difficult situation.
As a first Act of Love, churches often times volunteer to help in the fields of those who are sick, elderly, or too poor to afford any help. Working in the field is a project that doesn’t require any resources that the church doesn’t already have (basic farming tools) and everyone in the church has the required skills. As the churches started helping farmers with planting and harvesting, people in the surrounding community observed this and started to discuss the possibilities. “What would happen if we too started to work together and didn’t require the parties?” After much discussion, the communities started forming groups that would help one another to harvest—each benefiting by either having their field harvested or getting paid when they worked the field. As a result, the farmers noticed a dramatic increase in the profit from their crops, causing a significant boost in their income.