Rev. Dr. Ephraim Yoms
This year’s theme – Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts – draws our attention to the need for us to rely on the Spirit of God to accomplish God’s eternal purpose. This life’s journey is full of challenges. One encounter’s hills and mountains which could result to discouragement and sometimes compromise. Accomplishing God’s purpose must be “by my Spirit, says the Lord of host” not the arm of flesh.
The year 2019 has come and gone with so many challenges. The problems of herdsmen, Boko Haram, abductions of innocent people for a ransom, election crisis and so many other issues such as natural disasters, social and economic injustice, have plunged people into crises of different kinds. People are leaving like slaves in their homeland (IDPs), their villages have been destroyed, and the people were destitute and despised. Under this condition, one may despair of life.
Zechariah’s prophetic ministry came at a time like the one we are experiencing in this country. The people of God returned from captivity and they met a desolate land, thus, the challenge of rebuilding the city. The challenge was enormous and the people needed encouragement, assurance and motivation to move on with life of worship and relationship with God.
The message of Zechariah is apt for the people of POD of ECWA, ECWA itself, the nation Nigeria and the globe. The mission of POD of ECWA is the promotion and sustenance of improved living condition through effective community mobilization and capacity building of the underprivileged communities in Nigeria. This is a huge task especially in the context of our society that is constantly under one form of challenge to another. Zechariah 4:6 reminds us of God’s sovereign rule over all affairs of earth. Through the Spirit of God, Zerubbabel shall level the mountains and “And he will bring forth the temple capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ because of this” (Net Bible). This is a challenge for us POD and all organizations who are on the mission of restoration of human dignity to constantly rely on God’s sovereign rule and power to accomplish his mission.
Zechariah 4:6 reminds us that God’s ways of success and victories over life challenges, and forces of darkness is never by human power, physical strength, cleverness or skill. In verse 7 we are told that the great mountain will be level, verse 10 reveals that ultimate success is certain, no matter the little beginning, the end will be shouts and jubilant cries of victory “grace, grace.” But for us to succeed and have victory we must let our light shine, because we are the light of the world (Matt 5:14) and like the seven lamps which provide light in the temple, the children of God should be the light shining the dark world with the presence of God who dwells in their midst through his spirit (by my spirit) to level the hills and mountain of this world’s hostility.
Faith in the power of God’s spirit, with a fresh anointing can enable us overcome live challenges and progress (Phil.4:13). Though the difficulties of life may be great, but because we have someone to rely on, they can be overcome. The lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, reveals God who is the Source of our power. He is our provider of constant and sufficient supply of oil or strength (by my spirit) for us to succeed. Therefore, we must have a divine connection to enjoy endless supply of oil to fill the lamps of light in our dark world (John 15:4-8). Through total dependence in Jesus power to save we can influence and ensure the transformation of our land.
Women Economic Empowerment Initiative
Women Economic Empowerment is part of the activities being facilitated by POD. This particular empowerment initiative was assisted by a spirited individual to enable 10 identified widows from five target Communities towards increasing their income by 10% annually beginning from 2020. The program which is a pilot scheme was facilitated in Kwoi, Fadan Kagoma, Kurmin Musa, Kafanchan and Manchock Communities in the south of Kaduna state within the middle belt of Nigeria. A cash amount of N20, 000.00 was provided to each of the widow to buy two piglets (male and female) and feeds to start with. Since then, they have continued to received assistance in support of rearing of the pigs especially in the areas of feeding and medication.
Aside the Pigs business, a widow from Lamingo in Jos was also trained on tailoring organize by the Rukuba Barracks, facilitated by Industrial Training Fund. After the training the widow was given a free industrial training machine worth over one hundred thousand naira to state business.
The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to God and the spirited individual for given them hope of survival in the economic hardship currently being experienced in the country. According to their testimonies, it never occurred to them that they could own a piglet talk less of two at a time. The widow who received the sowing machine eyes were filed with tears of Joy when receiving her gift. They prayed that God would bless POD, replenish the sources of funding of this project and wished that the project be extended to other needy widows.
- The graduation ceremony organized for the new tailors with GOC wife Rukuba Barracks presenting a certificate to one of the participants.
The Director, POD officials and in a group pictures with elders of ECWA Lamingo and POD target beneficiary.
- Hand Dug Well at Pandayajabbi Community
A hand dug well put smiles on the faces of pandayajabbi community members. Pandayajabbi is a partner community of POD located about 12km north-east of Kumo town in Akko Local Government area (LGA) of Gombe state. One of the key needs identified in the community was access to water both in quantity and quality. The existing water point was just a shallow well without apron and cover, which was capable of spreading diseases. Whenever it rains, the runoff water sweeps and pushes all kinds of contaminated materials into the well which endanger the community with all kinds of diseases e.g Diarrhoea, dysentery, abdominal pain, vomiting, typhoid etc.
This was the condition the community when POD of ECWA Community development facilitator (CDF) came and created an awareness on the need for good drinking water that will reduce transmission of such diseases. They reflected over the causes and consequences which prompted them to organize for action. The well project which was assisted by an individual supporter of POD began in April was completed within two months and commissioned for use by Rev. Dr. Ephraim Yoms, the Director, POD of ECWA in July 2019. It was truly a moment of joy, moment of celebration and happiness to the beneficiaries. Below are some pictures of activities during the well construction and dedication:
- Mounting the Well cover slab
The Director giving a key note address, the village head giving a good-will messages and a family of POD friend at the commissioning.
The cutting of the tape symbolising official opening of the well to be used at Pandayajabbi
Karau-Karau Community Water Project
Karau-Karau is a community of about 250 populations. Over years this community have been having safe water supply as major problem, incidence of water borne diseases at the peak of rainy season is a common event yearly, many of them do have a high medical bills annually that triggering the high poverty level some of the community members are experiencing.
Before the new well projects with mono-pump assistance that came through the community self-help group networking the only available water sources are open old well, a collapsed seasonal well and stream, which the community realizes it has poor quality after focus group discussion and water sanitation and hygiene education session had with the community during meeting in February 2019. After proper reflection they discovered that the root cause of some disease incidences in their community came from their existing water sources and right away the community agreed to embark on solutions to solve the existing problems; in which two wells were sited, dug, lined and mono-pumps installed within two months.
The community now have access to enough potable water in close proximity that is within their compounds, they were so happy, long trekking by women and children to look for water reduced, no more fear of poor water quality that women have to screen/filter the water before using. Similarly, the community testifies reduce incidences of disease, women and children now have enough time to rest and engaged themselves in other activities due to safe water availability.
Comment by the community members during field visit by the head office “we thank God for POD intervention in our community we now have access to enough, clean and safe water”.
- Some pictures taken at the water side during the director visit:
- Sustainable Agriculture Using Organic Farming
Sustainable agricultural is a key component of POD. Local farmers are trained on organic farming to reduce farmers over dependence on chemical fertilizer. Malan Garba of Gidan Kanawa in Katsina State is one of the beneficiary of this training. He able dig a big trench that is about 300 cm length and 200 widths and decomposed local grasses of about 200 wheel borrow and add up with what his livestock produces as manure. He has to employ laborers to work in collecting or packing the compost manure out of the trench/ taking to farm. In 2019 he produced compost manure that cover at least 2 hectares of land in which he planted maize, beans and g/corn in the same piece of land. The story of his harvest in 2019 was bountiful. He testified that 71 bags of maize, 10 bags of guinea corn and 10 bags of beans given the total of 91 bags of grain harvested in 2019.
- Malam Garba process of compose making starting with the digging collecting and spraying of manure at the farm
The following pictures are sample of the Malam Garba farm outlook after planting.
Malam Garba Onion seedlings
- POD of ECWA Intervention in 2019 Nigerian General Election
In Nigeria, the year 2019 was a very crucial one in the Nigerian fragile democracy, when the general election for the Presidency, National Assembly, Governors and State Assemblies were conducted all over the federation in February and March 2019. In view of the anticipated fear and anxiety of possible outbreak of pre and post-election violence that were glaring and possible to occur all over the federation, it gave POD of ECWA great concern and the need for immediate intervention through partnership with Tearfund Nigeria to be good actors in maintaining law and order. The plan emergency election contingency was initiated by Tearfund Nigeria that requested for its partners to form a consortium in-line with the start-fund guidelines for possible alert before, during, and after the general election, which POD of ECWA played an active role.
The Peace Mobilization Group (PMG) traditional/religious leaders as well as youth and women leaders were used to achieved this goal. POD of ECWA area of intervention include Bauchi, Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro LGAs of Bauchi State with 15 targeted communities as flash points of possible anticipated violence using the pre-existing national survey report that forecast the 2019 Nigeria general elections. About 186 traumatized victims of crisis which includes women and youth were identified to be highly vulnerable and were supported with the sum of N10,000.00 each to help start small business after the election was over. This gesture was highly appreciated by the beneficiaries.
Peace awareness before election
Distrubution of incentive to traumatized victims
- Oyoyo Farm
The coming of POD new Director, Rev. Dr. Ephraim Yoms in January 2019 and the need to respond to a number of issues towards meeting some of the organizational cost saving needs led to engaging the head office staff in farming at the Oyoyo farm. The decision to start the farming work on the 20.9 hectares’ land acquired over 10 years ago was seen as a welcome development. Although the time the decision was taken was in June 2019, and there were fewer options left within the period production of upland rice was the available option. The main objective was to begin to address the question of POD sustainability, in achieving this, management engaged various trials of agricultural practices and labor cost reduction through involving the staff at the head office in the farm work
In order to take the process further, Management constituted a 5-man farm committee to handle the responsibility of coordinating the farm activities.
The farm process took off, we bought the rice for planting at a high price as it was late timing and most required input like the fertilizers, herbicides where bought too at a high cost also we encountered failure in one of the herbicides applied which affected the required yield from the process but to God’s glory POD realized 55 bags of rice after the harvest which we count as Blessings and also more lessons was learned in the process. This year 2020, POD intends to consolidate and improve on lesson learned in the quest to diversify the farm operations by farming timely and work towards achieving the desired target of sustaining agricultural sustainability in both the Head office of POD and other zones that this can be readily replicated using the formula Farming Gods Way as being thought in our POD curriculum.
Furthermore, in the cause of our diversification of the farm work, the committee hopes that Management will consider the option of farming God’s way as a means of counting down cost of farm operation in a quest to maximizing profit.