Tokai District Raises Potatoes to Raise Its Support Fund

Tokai District is situated in the center of Japan. Agriculture features high among its activities. About a month before the District General Assembly for the year 2009, the four members of the Tokai District Executive Committee (the chair, the vice-chair, the secretary, and the chair of the Committee on Evangelism) gathered at a farm owned by Yamamoto Masanobu, a pastor of Shinonoi Church and at that time also chair of the district Committee on Evangelism, to plant seed potatoes. Members of Shinonoi Church welcomed us, having made everything ready. The chair took a hoe and started digging. The vice-chair and the secretary placed on the ground halved seed potatoes sprinkled with ash and put some soil on them. Nearby, 70-year-old Pastor Yamamoto, sitting on a straw mat, watched with a smile on his face. He talks about “Easy Farming.” When we trust God, we will get a 700-kilogram harvest from 70 kilograms of seed potatoes. It started to make sense to me. Feeling the warmth of the spring sunshine, we enjoyed the rice balls and green tea, while breathing the delicious aroma of the green onions just harvested.
About four months later, on Aug. 3, volunteers who responded to the appeal of the new Executive Committee, came to the Yamamoto Farm to harvest potatoes. It has often been the case that onions and potatoes from the farm are offered to churches in the district, to help those in need. The produce, which could well be sold in markets, is distributed and sold at churches at less than half the market price. Unlike the previous day, when it had rained, it turned out to be an extremely hot day. We gained about 700 kilograms of harvest amidst the steam rising up from the wet earth, by digging the ground and shaking off the heavy soil every time we lifted up our shovels.
All of us, 20 persons including children, were deeply satisfied at the sight of mountains of potatoes, regretting at the same time the lack of exercise in our daily lives. After taking a bath at a nearby hot spring, a barbeque party was held in the garden of Shinonoi Church. Pastor Yamamoto, in fact, is an expert at making fresh soba (buckwheat) noodles. A member of his church made us soba noodles, which we enjoyed. He is soon due to open his own soba shop. Soba wheat is, of course, another product of the Yamamoto Farm. Young soybeans and corn were also harvested and served to us freshly boiled. We were lost for words to try to describe how tasty it was.
It might have been only a small part of the total Support Fund that Tokai District budgeted. However, I felt a great potential, seeing that volunteers were able to work together for a common purpose, not in some stressful situation but while enjoying themselves. Having a good time eating and drinking tea together, we talked about our dreams, which led to some tall stories, then on to a vision of evangelism. Pastor Yamamoto and some members of the Executive Committee are hoping to grow and distribute rice for the next project. (Tr. YY)
―Kato Makoto, pastor
Shizuoka Ichibancho Church, Tokai District
KNL Editorial Committee chair
Based on Shinpo (Kyodan Times)
 東海教区が必要とする謝儀互助資金額に較べたら、何ほどのことではではないかも知れない。しかし、皆が一つの目的ために汗を流して働くということ、しかも、それは悲痛なものではなく楽しいこと、そこに、大きな可能性が秘められているように感じた。美味しいものを食べながら、飲みながら、話題は当然ながら建設的な方向に向いて行く。夢を語り、ちょっとほら話も混じり、伝道の幻が生まれ、育てられて行く。山本牧師はじめ執行部有志は、次は是非米を作り現物支給したいと言う。静岡一番町教会 牧師 加藤誠(KNL編集委員長)