Champs got off to a wonderful start on Tuesday with this year’s theme – ‘I Was Hungry and You Taught Me How to Farm’. The tone was set with truly anointed music as Lou Huck and her team lifted our spirits into joyous praise, softening into a gentle and deeply stirring time of worship.
Afterwards we watched a poignant music video, sung by Lou and compiled by Ashleigh Don, calling the church to arise and return to the things of the Father’s heart. Based on Isaiah 58 – the cry was about reaching out to the oppressed, and loosing the chains of injustice. In other words loving the poor, with the heart of Jesus…
Ken Clarke’s introduction challenged us to be hungry for what God wanted to say through our time at the conference. To come, taste and see. Craig Deall followed on seamlessly with an equally inspiring message on humility, inviting us to turn with simple, uncomplicated faith – and ‘come see’. To look through all we experience over the next few days into the Person behind it all. To come see – not merely Foundations for Farming, but Jesus…
We had a humorous and touching testimony from Grass Roots Trainer Mike Manota about his years with FfF. Two other GRT’s, Duncan Chikanda and Ladu Chitaka, shared on the IWH groups they have been assigned to walk alongside with, and had members from each group, who gave inspiring testimonies.
William Tom called up the GRT team, and in a deeply moving moment acknowledged them for the incredible work they do, always with the very humility, unselfishness and faithfulness that Craig had spoken of earlier. Very few dry eyes remained in the audience!
Neill and Johanna Jackson run the Gateway to Africa FfF Station at Beulah Park in Johannesburg. It was great hearing Neill share in his typically enthusiastic way about what’s happening there, and how far they’ve come since starting out not even two years ago.
Steve and Maxine Lilford are another dynamic couple who started FfF in Quebec several years ago, which they have run with zeal and faithfulness. Today we had the joy of meeting the man whom Steve has handed the Quebec baton to – Steve Goddard. It was exciting to hear Steve (Goddard) share how God has been preparing him. Steve and Maxine are now working into Haiti – not an easy journey, but promising to be a God-adventure.
Johann Van der Ham and his team from Crown Malawi gave an encouraging update on all God is doing there, and Johann shared a hugely inspiring story about a remarkable man named Joseph Chikopa, who is touching hearts in the Muslim community through teaching FfF methods.
All in all a great start to this special time, which is a FfF family reunion, a coming together of God’s children, an introduction to first comers (who always return!), and a time of sharpening, challenging, inspiring, and learning from each other. All done in simple, honest, down to earth joy. But above everything … a time of glorifying the One for Whom it is all about. Our precious Lord Jesus Christ!