Gifts that Change Lives

REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON (November 14, 2013) – The villagers stood in their best clothes on the dirt road, some of them holding white chickens, and sang a song of effusive gratitude.

The event was videotaped, and across the bottom of the screen runs the words Beri Nyu, wuofoh, ayungni, Beri weh, Keriko, and mu godi. All of them mean “thank you” and were directed to Covenant World Relief and its donors for the chickens, which have become vital to the village.

Some of the donations were contributed through Covenant Cares, the gift registry by which Covenanters purchase designated gifts on behalf of loved ones for Christmas and other special occasions. The funds are used for a breadth of projects that include providing clean water, purchasing farm animals, making available malaria medicine, and supporting education.

In the Cameroon project, nearly 640 people have participated in 91 prayer groups that work together to raise and fatten chicks in several brooding farms. Each group is trained in poultry farming, marketing, and business in order to help the groups become self-sufficient.

When the chickens are ready, the villagers sell them and use the profits to meet needs within their communities. More than 2,500 day-old chicks were brooded through sustainable farms so that participants could increase their family income and improve their nutrition.

Now, in the second phase of the project, a demonstration farm will be created to show how to breed and raise chickens, sheep, and goats. The farm will share livestock with the most vulnerable in the community.

The beneficiaries will then participate in a “passing on the gift” model of development. When the livestock they have received breed and produce more chicken, sheep, and goats, they will pass on these young animals to others in the community who are in need.

Throughout the project, the leaders at the demonstration farm will participate with the community members in training, encouragement, and leadership development.

The project, like others supported through Covenant World Relief and multiple Covenant ministries, also provides opportunity to share the gospel and further spiritual development.

Covenant missionary Sharon Davis, who helped oversee the project, developed weekly one-hour meetings that included 30 minutes for business and training on raising and marketing chickens, and 30 minutes for Bible study.

“The meetings demonstrated that living the gospel means bettering the quality of other people’s lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as you better your own,” says Davis. “Living the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others.”

A variety of Christian formation programs have been incorporated, and people have heard the gospel through biblical storytelling. In one village, the new Christian education program has excited the children so much that they rush out of their houses to hear Bible stories, forgetting to eat because they don’t want to be late.

To view the online gift registry or purchase items, click here.