Reverend Walter Rutto, Kenya Chairman of the Transformational Compassion Network and Director of the Africa Gospel Church’s Compassion Ministries Department, is the leader and founder of the course. He wanted to introduce me to one of his students. Since he was my host, I did not want to upset him. So we drove off down a dirt track.
We stopped in the dark in front of a plot of land. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. And then the owner of the plot arrived with his boots! Mud, I thought... with my shoes, not a good sign. But as we walked along rows of large cabbages, cut flowers and banana trees I realised that this was a special plot of land.
Bernard Kibet is the owner of the plot and he farms it. While showing us what he has planted, he shared how he sells seedlings, cut flowers and vegetables to generate income. As we sat inside his house, he told me he was just another farmer trying to make a living out of a small plot of land. He struggled to make ends meet, though, and saw farming as part of the struggle to put food on his family’s table.
So he decided to enrol in the Certificate in Theology and Sustainable Community Health and Development course. Yes, the course is not only for pastors – of the 153 students who graduated in September this year, 63 were not pastors.
The course emphasises that poverty is not a lack of material possessions, but a lack of ideas. Poverty, therefore, exists in the mind and not in what you have or own. That is what Paul says in Romans 12.2: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’