Methode Ntibandye is our Environmental Coordinator in Burundi. For over two decades he has been applying is deep ecological knowledge to help rural farmers maintain resilience in the face of climate change and food insecurity. He recently shared some insight into how his work is an outpouring of his faith and how environmental restoration honors god.
Burundi, like many other countries, is grappling with the effects of climate change. For farmers, the rain patterns have become unpredictable, coming too early or too late, and crops are suffering. As the environmental coordinator for Plant With Purpose in Burundi, I have seen farmers forced to deal with either water and heat stress or floods that destroy their crops. In addition, pests and diseases have taken advantage of the changing weather patterns and are further contributing to crop loss.
Despite these challenges, there is hope. People are beginning to understand the importance of taking care of the environment and how environmental restoration honors God.
Climate change is a global problem that affects everyone, and people in Burundi are beginning to see the impact of their actions on the environment.
I believe that every action we take to protect the environment helps the entire world. When I look at what is happening in other countries like India, Japan, and the United States, I see that it is a big challenge for everyone. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to take care of the environment that God has entrusted to us. When God gave us the land, there were two relationships: it was meant to feed us, but we were also called to protect it.
Our mission is not only to help people get food and income from the land but also to help them take better care of creation.
As an advocate for environmental protection, I try to explain, train, and convince people to take actions that will protect themselves, their households, and the country while improving the environment. However, I know that changing minds takes time, and we must be patient. Even if only a few people adopt new ideas, we are still helping.
It is important to understand that taking care of the environment is not just about saving the planet; it's about how our environmental restoration honors God and fulfills our responsibility as stewards of God's creation. When we work towards this goal, we are doing what we were called to do, and God is with us every step of the way.
Methode's words reflect a posture of hope in the midst of environmental uncertainty. Methode's life and work is set against the backdrop of one of the most climate vulnerable countries on Earth. Our CEO, Scott Sabin, has also reflected on the role hope plays in our environmental stewardship...
When you think about the imminent consequences of our environmental choices, climate change and irreversible loss of plant and animal species can make hope feel far away. It is easy to become disheartened with all that is going on in the world, especially when you see the way it manifests itself in very real personal tragedy in the lives of those we serve.
However, in spite of all this, it is the hope of those we serve that shines through. In fact, the example and testimony of our partners is contagious.
It gives me immense hope.
Furthermore, it reminds me of our hope really lives.
Hope comes not from our circumstances, or the chance that things will turn out okay, but from our faith.
Jesus reminds us that in this world we will have trouble, but he has overcome the world (John 163:3). Time and time again I have seen the light of Gods' love shining bright in what otherwise might be dark circumstances. As a reminder, at Plant With Purpose we freely serve those of all faiths, and of no faith with out discrimination. We offer the opportunity, but not the obligation, for participants to hear the reasons for hope we have. In each of our program countries we partner closely with local churches, and the majority of our participants are Christians. Through Purpose Groups, participants are learning to put their faith into action. They see restoring their watersheds, serving their neighbors, and living in newfound harmony with their spouses as an expression of their faith. And while we are committed to sharing Gods' love with those we serve, it is not a one way street. The faith of our partnering farmers and their families as they push forward, and as they experience success, is a constant source of encouragement, strengthening my faith as well. In each country we also have staff dedicated to strengthening local churches and ministering to farmers.
Both of these excepts come from our recently released Sower Newsletter, which is focused on faith and spiritual renewal in our programs. To view the entire copy, check out The Sower.