St Michael’s church supports Phil Bailey’s work at Covenant College (CC) in Eastern Zambia . Covenant College is a Bible College for pastors who have started churches locally but have had no training for the work they do. They cycle to the College on a weekly basis returning to their homes and congregations at weekends for half the year. Phil started the farm to provide for their food and has developed teaching programmes for the pastors themselves as well as for the local community. Farming God’s Way is a conservation method of agriculture that keeps the soil the right way up (ploughing turns the topsoil upside down). The maize is sown in holes and the crop is weeded continuously. After the harvest the stalks are left as a blanket on the soil instead of being burned and help to retain water and prevent the erosion. The soil with its living organisms is conserved and can support larger crops. Maize is the staple food but its production is integrated with other crops and vegetables that have different needs and with livestock that are kept in kraals rather that left to wander about eating the crops. Their manure is collected and mixed with compost and increasingly used instead of using artificial fertilisers that are expensive and may not be available when needed. Some native trees which benefit the crops or have other health benefits are being grown and other food produced such as honey and chilli powder. The teaching is supported by demonstrating how each crop is grown on site and the methods used are all possible for local farmers to use with little capital expenditure. Farming God’s Way is as much about the planning, preparation and faithful work throughout the year as it is about the conservation of the soil and wise use of all the resources that God provides. At the beginning during busy times, ‘work for food’ was available to the local population but the farm has expanded and the population become busier with their own farms. Therefore some mechanical weeding and sowing of seed is being introduced but always conserving the soil and using only simple implements pulled by an ox rather than a tractor. The motivation and the joy of farming in this way provide the opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus with those who are poor in Spirit and with whom God shares His kingdom.
Phil is also involved in other projects one of them being Old Macdonald’s (OM) Farm in Lusaka the capital of Zambia . They started caring for street kids and are bring up a family of them. As well as their attending schools they learn to produce their own food. (Please see Phil’s newsletters by the mission board).