A farmer of men

Ubjan’s* journey to start a new well-paid job in the capital city of a South Asian country was cut short when he met an OM worker, who showed him a different journey: one that would lead him closer to God. The local OMer shared with Ubjan about OM’s organic farming internship that taught not only how to farm God’s way but also how to live God’s way.

Farming is the main source of income in this part of South Asia. Ubjan, already experienced in farming and wanting to know more, was intrigued by this unique programme. He gave up his new job and joined the farming internship as a way to grow in his faith. “I would rather make a lot less money per month and grow in my faith in Christ than make a lot of money working in a job and never grow closer to God,” said Ubjan.

It was only one and half years before this encounter that Ubjan had become a follower of Jesus. Coming from a remote village in the Himalayas, a strong Hindu family and a high caste, Ubjan first met believers when he visited his relatives in a neighbouring village. One evening, while resting in his family’s home, he heard people singing unusual songs in a nearby house.

When he enquired what they were singing about, one of the people said, “We are singing about Jesus, the Lord our Saviour.”

Seeing the joy in the people’s faces as they sang, he concluded, “I must have that joy too.” After hearing about Jesus for the first time, Ubjan decided to become a believer.

Ubjan started the farming internship shortly after his meeting with the OM worker in 2016. During this time, Ubjan said he learnt a lot about God, himself and farming. “In my district, there are many people who practice religion, but they are immoral, and married men have many girlfriends with many other married women, and vice versa,” expressed Ubjan. He confessed that “I was one of those men who had many girlfriends, but since the beginning of my training with OM, I learnt how wrong it was for me to do those things.”

He also noted how much a special OM training had impacted his life, and how he saw that his sins affected his family: “During those sessions, I was able to see my sins and how my family was broken because of it. I decided to cut off the chain of sins for my family’s sake. The door of life has opened, and now my wife and I are growing closer to one another.”

From farmer to disciple

Once Ubjan graduated from the farming internship in December 2016, he knew that after going home to his wife and daughter, he would return to OM to receive training in evangelism and discipleship. Ubjan learnt through OM the importance of not only being a Christian but also telling others about Jesus. He knew that through this new work, he had the opportunity to live in his own village, share the gospel with his neighbours and have a sustainable farm on his own land.

When Ubjan returned home, his aunt found out about his plans to receive training in disciple-making. She immediately told him to speak to a man in their village who constantly refused to believe in Jesus even though his wife was a Christian. Ubjan accepted the request, went to the man’s home and started sharing the gospel with him. After listening intently to everything Ubjan said for one hour, the man told Ubjan, “I want to believe and follow Jesus.”

Ubjan then returned to the capital city once more for his disciple-maker training and said he was filled with even more passion to share the love of Christ. As the training ended, he knew he had to share the gospel with everyone in his village through the strength of God.

Since returning to his village with the daily goals of working on his farm and sharing the gospel, Ubjan has seen the power of God in many ways. God blessed his farm with good crops and gave him the strength to share the gospel. Opening his home, Ubjan started a fellowship with six other local believers. After constantly sharing the gospel, Ubjan saw five people, including his wife, cousin and sister-in-law, believe in Jesus and be baptised.

Faith like potatoes

As Ubjan continued farming while sharing the gospel, he was very excited to start planting potatoes for the first time. He bought and planted 2 kg of potatoes in his own field. Though the soil was not considered good for planting because it was hard, clayish and white, Ubjan trusted God that this was the right place and time to plant his potatoes. His neighbours did not believe that he would succeed because of the condition of the soil and kept a close eye on the progress of his crops. Using the training he received from OM’s organic farming internship and continually praying over his crops, Ubjan trusted God to make his crops fruitful. To his neighbours’ surprise, Ubjan’s potatoes multiplied from 2 kg to 30 kg. Furthermore, the soil was full of worms, which meant it was now healthy. Ubjan and his family praised God for the fruit of their labour as they enjoyed eating the potatoes.

Ubjan continued to see the power of God blessing his crops as he also planted many different vegetables and leafy greens that were always abundant. While working on his farm, Ubjan faithfully shared the gospel with everyone in his village. During that time, an opportunity for him to finish his 12th grade exam came along. Writing this exam was needed for Ubjan to receive his school completion certificate. As such, he left his village for a few days to take the exam in another village.

When he returned, he found out his vegetables and leafy green crops were infested with bugs, and all of the plants had died. Filled with sorrow over the loss of his crops and potential income, Ubjan decided to talk to God about the problem because he remembered God had always taken care of his crops. He prayed, “God, what do I do about these seeds?”

He heard God answer, “These seeds are the new believers in your village. If you do not teach and train them in the Lord, Satan will come and eat them and they will die.”

Ubjan then said to himself, “I am going to many other places in the surrounding villages to share the gospel and plant the Word (seed) of God. However, the other new believers are like the plants in my field. I must remember to always take care of them or else these plants will die from Satan (the bugs).”

After this revelation from God, Ubjan focused even more on building up the new believers in the Word of God, noting that “although the seeds of my field have died, the seeds of the Gospel continue to thrive.”

Pray for people like Ubjan, who are one of the few Christians in their village, that God will give them strength and wisdom to share the gospel and live out their faith daily. Pray also that the believers in these least-reached areas would grow in number by the power of God.

*Name changed