It’s been a full month of work at our new physical address in Uganda!

For the last few months that I have been part of the Field of Hope team, there’s been one question I have hated to answer from those we have visited or shared with about FOH: “Where is your office located?”

Is it a bad question? Of course not. However a response such as, “We have no physical office…..” earns an eventual interruption intended to challenge your authenticity or credibility. This is usually followed by loss of attention, and a facial expression of dissatisfaction is guaranteed.

Like a stamp, Ugandans attach great respect and honor to a physical address of any business or organization. Most Ugandans believe a stamp and an office differentiate genuine entities from fake ones (of course this is not always the case). Therefore, an office is one thing we have all wished to acquire for Field of Hope. We are so excited that our prayers have been answered!

During our mid-year team meeting with the Program Manager, a Field of Hope office was our only request. The day Alexa communicated approval by the Board to get an office space was a day full of excitement and joy among all the Ugandan staff members!

I now remember the days when we all moved out to hunt for a space: the great team work, coordination and smiles on each and every face communicated the relief the decision by the board had brought.

With God’s grace, an office space was acquired and paid by Field of Hope. We didn’t move in immediately due to lack of logistics, so we waited and waited until the day we would move in and work in our new home! Do you all remember that long wait for Christmas during childhood?? Time can pass slowly, but then BOOOOM suddenly the day comes!!! You all know that joy!


January 2020 we officially set foot in our new home!! The long wait finally come to an end, great thanks to our Lord! Our new office space will help the whole team in planning, coordination and implementation of Field of Hope projects through the various programs. The new space will reinforce our reputation when reaching out to all potential partners in Uganda!

Okullu Walter, the Field of Hope Country Coordinator, mentioned that “the new office space will give the organization identity and value, enhance organization activities and team building in addition to providing safe working environment and logistic storage for the organization.”

Obote Agnes, Program Coordinator, shared in joy: “I am excited that Field of Hope has been able to acquire office space, it will make coordination of activities and our locating very easy.”

For the past few weeks, our work has been excellent and we look forward to a more complete and stocked work environment. We ask that you join us in furnishing the space so that we can accomplish the work of developing knowledge and enthusiasm about agriculture properly!

Kind regards,


FOH Program Associate

THIS is What It’s All About

My morning had an early start with a four-hour drive, followed by learning about organic fertilizers in a room of 50+ high school girls. If you would’ve told me this was what I’d be doing at the age of 23, I probably would’ve thought you were being ridiculous and laughed it off. But here I am, doing this very thing and I stinkin’ love it.

The Field of Hope team was traveling to Jinja to conduct evaluations on the teachers that we partner with, in order to see how well they are adapting to and implementing our teaching approach. Don’t know exactly what that is? Let me fill you in really quick.

Field of Hope has partnered with Vivayic to develop an interactive secondary agricultural education curriculum to get students PUMPED UP about learning and pursuing careers in agriculture. This method contrasts the traditional teaching practices in Uganda, which typically rely solely on theory and memorization. Teachers are trained and equipped using our guidebooks, which then enables them to implement various new techniques to inspire students, such as an engaging interest approach, experiential learning, group projects, etc. In order to ensure the trained methods are being used, Field of Hope conducts teacher-evaluations, where we sit in on agriculture classes to give encouragement and growth feedback to the instructor. In a nutshell, that explains the nature of our trip to Jinja.

Our first stop for evaluations was with Timothy at Iganga Secondary School. Unlike any class I’d seen here before, these girls were HYPED UP about what they were learning. You know when a teacher asks a question and crickets…. Yeah, this wasn’t the case. Almost every student was actively participating, answering questions, repeating what the teacher had said, and just genuinely having fun in the classroom, which is exactly what we love to see!

The lesson included an outdoor demonstration on composting and organic fertilizers, which as you can imagine, got the girls even more excited. As we were walking out, I asked one of them, “Are you this excited about all your classes or is this one your favorite?”

She responded that this was, in fact, her favorite of them all, to which I asked, “Why?”

The young girl said something along the line of “Because I can take what I learn here and be successful at home.”

YES! She got it. Her statement got me so fired up that I wanted to do a little happy dance – but I didn’t, because you’ve gotta play it cool around high schoolers, am I right? Ehhh, who am I kidding, that’s never stopped me before!

This student’s response is precisely why Field of Hope does what it does. THIS is what it’s all about. Why? Because 65.6% of Uganda’s population relies on agriculture in order to provide for their families, yet 66% of households are faced with inadequate food consumption. There is so much room for growth and improvement within the agriculture sector, but kids need to be taught that this CAN be a sustainable and profitable way to live.

And it all starts in the classroom.

How is someone expected to be interested in a subject that they’ve had to do for as long as they can remember, especially when it’s taught in a mundane and “Quick, copy these notes down” type of way. But if agriculture instructors are passionate about teaching it in a way that develops critical thinking, this results in students gaining an increased understanding of modern technologies, acquiring practical agriculture skills, and learning value addition techniques.

And then, it all starts to change.

Slowly, but surely.

Students become aware of the potential to provide for themselves, their family, and their country as their classroom demonstrations translate into successful agriculture businesses down the line.

To see students with this much energy and passion in a class that has recently adapted the FOH guidebook and teaching style, is nothing short of remarkable. I can’t make this stuff up, just look at the joy on their faces!! I believe that Field of Hope IS making a difference in the lives of teachers, of students, of families, and of the entire country of Uganda. By utilizing agriculture development techniques, Field of Hope continues to break down the cycle of hunger and poverty.

                                                     This is what it’s all about.

Uganda – Let’s Go Back

A while ago, I was burning limbs from a freshly trimmed Crepe Myrtle tree. I piled up a massive clump of limbs. I rummaged around to find an accelerant because I am not a real Boy Scout that can actually start fires without help. All I had available was a can of tractor diesel, so I (irresponsibly) poured some of that over the pile and successfully (and safely, surprisingly) got the pile lit.

In that first moment when the diesel caught, the smoke drifted into my face and I smelled diesel smoke and burning wood, and suddenly I was in Kampala, Uganda. The smells poured over me, transporting right back to when I was sweating on a bus with my face out the window. Bodas (motorcycle taxis) stacked seven people deep with massive sacks of charcoal or g-nuts were weaving in and out of traffic, and huge trucks all named “God Will Provide” formed three lines on a two-lane road. The diesel fumes mixed with bricks baking in a homemade kiln on the roadside.

And I was with a team of like-minded friends, part of the Field of Hope network of volunteers.

And the memory of our experience flooded me.

I remembered that blue patterned seat cushion on our bus (‘God is Good’). I remember Edgar, our driver and motivator, proudly shout “Yes!” in an awkward American accent when I called him Captain. I remembered how life-saving a bag of fruit snacks were in that mid-bounce nap-inducing ride from Restoration Gateway to Lira.

I remember Dyllis’s kindness and laughter and hugs from the whole Alpha staff every afternoon. Dyllis was a staffer at our home base. She laughed at all my jokes and had genuine care for our group in ways that weren’t contrived or awkward. They were sincere and expected.

I remember smashing my stupid, sweaty face up against the wall in the shower/bathroom chamber. In some contorted yoga-esque stretch, I would sling cold water up from the lower water spout and throw my face into it hoping to get some parts of my upper body wet. Mostly I just managed to splatter water into my trashcan and over the toilet paper, since the bathroom and shower were like one multi-tasking exercise in efficiency. I can still feel the minty aftertaste of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 soap in my mustache. Maybe because I never could get my face close enough to the water to rinse it all the way out, or maybe just because I want to be back there.

These memories kept coming. It made me filled, and also longing. It made me joyful, and nostalgic.

It made me thirsty for a Krest soda.

As I revisited these memories, I went back through our pictures.

I suspect that all of you who read this and have gone on international service trips will identify with this introspective recollection. I don’t know how each of you are integrating and seeing Uganda in your lives upon returning to the states, but I know I summon these memories daily. Your stories are my stories. My story is our story. Our story is a hopeful story, a collaborative story, and a bright shining spot. So I go there often.

I go back to a hilltop with a radio tower, and a line of pensive and reflective people breathing in a view and a spirit. And I remember thinking how badly I hoped the photos and the stories would stick, vibrant and clear. I can see each of you on that mountain.

I go back to the garden. Irene effortlessly outworked me – she outworked all of us (except for maybe Charles; he worked circles around me, too). And in Irene’s effortless swoops with a hoe, she piled and dug. Nearby, my clumsy chops spattered mud in all directions and destroyed perfectly usable mounds. I go back to that garden and I remember Colossians 3:23. I go back to the garden and I wonder what I am doing in my daily life that I can be proud of, that I can see progress on, that relies on others, that benefits others, and that matters.

I go back to Doug and Leah facilitating a pile of Ugandans in a human knot. And they are awkward, and fresh, and new, and inspired. Israel talks, when he hasn’t talked in hours. And they derived meaning well beyond our intended direction. I go back to the human knot, and I want to throw my hands in, because I wonder if I ever did that activity right to begin with.

I go back to that bus after the first day of the workshop. Mercy is singing. Simon Peter is answering in high notes I can’t even reach. Then Mercy and some of her seatmates are singing. Then all Ugandans are singing. Then I am singing. Then the whole bus, the whole world, all of time is singing. And there are 5, or 7, or 13-part harmonies in cadence and call unfamiliar to me that are so natural and real that they roll out of my lungs like they were meant to be there. I go back to that bus and I sing. I sing as loud and as hard as I can. And my boys sing with me – my 4-year-old, Eli, now sings his new favorite song from Uganda for the drive to school. I go back to that bus, and I sing. And I listen.

I go back to church. Everything about that day was huge, important, memorable, perfect. The quiet walk in the cool morning was only interrupted by rogue bodas, or random chickens, or curious children wondering why the mzungus were migrating. I knew in my heart on that cool, calm walk that the day was important. And then, in my memory, I see church. Well, I hear it before I see it. That cracked woofer in the corner thumps from half a kilometer away. The pop of another microphone and feedback from a loose cable crack across the morning. And then we turn the corner and follow the sound. And when we approach the building, I pause. Thankfully, Alexa courageously leads our lost troop of wanderers inside. And I can hear them praying. Two women chanting in hushed tones on the back wall, and another woman loudly syncopating open and honest invitations to God. It’s a wall of sound, a wall of love. And sweet Agnes hugs us all, and quickly hands off her beautiful child so she can join the clamor. And it’s a clamor. It’s worship. I find myself mumbling repetitions that I am not sure about the words. I find myself swaying. I find myself swinging my arms. Ooops, too far – I touch elbows with Doug. That doesn’t happen in the First Baptist Church of Muleshoe, Texas. But despite the awkward silent negotiations between space and Spirit, between fear and feeling, we all find a space to worship. As I take it all in, I look out the window and see kids playing hide and seek with my gaze. They giggle and dance. They sing. And I realize why a 7-million-watt speaker is needed for a room the size of my bedroom. The praise is for all the congregation not in the room. And then Agnes is singing, and she has the microphone, and she prays, and she tells us to convey our truest hearts’ needs to God. I ask for peace. I am at peace. I choke up every time I think about it. I feel overwhelming, heart-beating peace. I go back to that church often, and I ask for peace – and every time, I get it.

I go back to church in other moments. Like when I need joy. I go back to that moment when the prayers are wrapping up. The drum machine beeps a countdown to signal it is changing tempos, the keyboardist snaps his fingers, the dude who has been wrangling cords and plugs for the last half hour snatches up the microphone, and the world suddenly pops awake. Its lit. Its worship. Its WORSHIP. Its loud and intense and unstoppable and even Doug was clapping (albeit on a different beat and time signature than everyone else). And the singer makes it his personal mission to get Charles to dance. And I want to high-five a stranger. I go back to church, and I let the beat drop.

I go back to aerobics, and I wish I had stretched more.

I go back to our first bus ride. Mike leans in to every story about proposals and relationships. He leans in with more than just his body. He takes in every word. He hangs on every syllable, and he cares for every component. And he tears up at all of them. And then when we ask him to tell his story, he begrudgingly shares it. And I secretly realize that despite my drama and antics and jokes and lines about losing a diamond in my pants and all my efforts to steal the attention, his story is infinitely better. And I see how he talks about his wife, and I go find my own wife, and I remind her how stupidly awestruck I am by her. I go back to that bus ride, and I learn how to listen and how to love from Mike.

I go back to the bookstore. A motorcycle is parked in the self-help section. A speakerbox large enough for a convention hall bumps the bass line for some sort of pop song that turns out to be a commercial for the exact store we are in. A stream of ‘helpers’ haggle over which box or pens or paper we actually need. I go back to the bookstore and I rethink why I shop in the US.

I go back to the dinner table with Tim and Janice. I go back to the rainstorms. I go back to the hotbox of a breakfast room and chug one more cup of coffee. I go back to find out whether that dude in the Indian soap opera ever figured out who his wife was. I go back to pet that nosy cat. I go back to see the teachers spill enthusiasm about changing their environment. I go back and see Geoffrey teach. I go back and see Immanuel planning expansions. I go back to see Moses’ eyes light up in Skyland. I go back to his chicken coop IN HIS HOUSE. I go back to Mercy’s classroom in RG. I go back to that pavilion at Otino Waa. I go back to a discussion about teaching. I go back and Mathias raises his hand.

I go back to Uganda often. And each time, our team is there with me. Andrea is trying to fight me. Morgan is kindly sympathy laughing at my dad jokes. Emma is framing research. Leah is humming “Come thou fount of every blessing.” Irene is questioning whether my name is really Redwine. Charles is designing a goat mansion. Alexa is praying over our group and refusing another slice of pineapple. Anna is asking intelligent questions I wish I had thought of. Katie is kindly accepting someone else’s overpacked items. Doug is snorting like a hippo at the club on a Thursday on spring break in college. Edgar is driving… with the windows closed… and ignoring the air conditioner that he had THE WHOLE TIME. Romeo is trying to teach me a secret handshake.

I go back to Uganda often, and each time I realize that much of me never left. I suspect that you are in a similar frame.

So, let’s go back there together in our quiet thoughts and reflections. Let’s do the awkward handshake. Let’s pray for each other. Let’s share some pineapple. Let’s continue to be part of the squad.

Let’s go back.

Cast List:

Team Members:

Dr. Tobin Redwine – Texas A&M Professor

Doug Keuker – Vivayic Co-Founder

Leah Gibson – Vivayic Curriculum Development Team

Andrea Tenney – Vivayic Curriculum Development Team

Morgan Walkup – Vivayic Curriculum Development Team

Anna Pratt – University of Idaho volunteer

Emma Cannon – North Carolina State Graduate Student researcher

Charles Cannon – Volunteer, North Carolina

Katie Schrodt – FOH/MIAP Intern

Irene Amito – Ugandan Team Member

Agnes Obote – Ugandan Team Member

Alexa Major – FOH Program Manager

Mike Hafner – FOH Co-Founder, Executive Director

Edgar – driver

Dyllis – staff member at Alpha Hotel, where the team stayed


Ugandan Instructors:




Simon Peter



Bodas – motorcycle taxis

Krest- delightful, bitter lemon soda

The FOH Women of the Giving Tuesday 6k

Field of Hope supports five VSLA groups of women. VSLA = Village Savings & Loans Associations. Forty women are invited to join the group where they then elect leadership and begin committing a small amount to the savings box each week. After enough money has been accrued, the group begins loaning funds to the members. Women in the VSLA are often able to borrow money for the first time in their lives. This money is typically borrowed to pay for farming inputs or to pay their children’s school fees. The women of the VSLA group set their own interest rate and are required to pay back their borrowed money with interest in a certain amount of time. Field of Hope assists in training the women on sustainable agricultural practices, financial literacy, and discipleship, along with so much more!

Below is a snapshot of the average women farmers in the VSLA groups that Field of Hope supports


Alebtong Village (Uh-leb-tong)

58 women

Average Age: 40

Farms 4.75 acres

6 children

Average Annual Income: 443,830 UG Shilling = $119.81 US Dollars

3 cows

5.5 goats

22 chickens

A few sheep

Apac Village (Uh-pa-ch)

76 women

Average age: 42

Farms 6 acres

6 or 7 children

Average Annual Income: 500,000 UG Shilling = $134.97 US Dollars

2 cows

3 goats

5 chickens

A couple pigs and sheep

Amolatar Village (Uh-mo-le-tar)

65 women

Average age: 41

Farms 6.75 acres

5 children

Average Annual Income: 3,513,333 UG Shilling = $948.38 US Dollars

5 cows

4 goats

11 chickens

Dokolo Village (Do-kuh-lo)

110 women

Average age: 37

Farms 4 acres

4 children

Average Annual Income: 3,330,769 UG Shilling = $899.10 US Dollars

3 cows

3 goats

8 chickens

8 chickens

Alongside their livestock, these women farm a variety of crops such as maize, millet, sunflower, cassava, beans, and many more. Typically, they are responsible for fetching water, caring for their children, cooking, cleaning, washing, paying school fees, and farming.

THANK YOU for your generous support on Giving Tuesday.

100% of the money raised today will go directly towards Field of Hope programs in Uganda and India thanks to the generous donations of the Founder’s Circle and FOH Board of Directors that cover all adminsitrative costs. 

Let’s Walk a 6k

How many times has “Run a 5k” been on your New Year’s list of resolutions? On your bucket list? Your goal list for the summer? To be honest, it’s been on mine quite a few times. Usually when I place it there, I Pinterest a “5k in 30 days” running plan and set off to work, only to be interrupted by life some two weeks in.

Sound familiar?

What if I told you there are those out in the world who walk SIX kilometers every day.

Every. Day.

Like clockwork.

It’s set in stone in their schedule.

No life interrupts them because this 6k walk is pivotal to giving them life.


They walk this 6k carrying as many jerrycans as possible, filling them all up, just to turn around and walk home.

For them, training is easy – most have been completing this journey since they were old enough to walk and contribute manpower.

For those of you counting steps each day, that’s about 7,500 steps for the average person.

I’m going to venture a guess and say that most of us were unaware that,

on average, the African woman walks 6 kilometers per day to fetch water for her family.

Many times, this water is contaminated, yet this will be the water she uses to cook, drink, clean, wash clothes and bathe with. She must carry enough water to complete all of these tasks, yet her jerrycan only carries a little over 40 pounds, resulting in her usually making multiple trips – walking over six kilometers with over 40 pounds of water multiple times in just one day. It’s reported that this walk carrying water will absorb 25% of an African woman’s daily calorific intake – you know she must get tired.

In a world obsessed with productivity, can you imagine how much time is spent on this task alone? Not to mention the time to cook, clean, and bathe not only herself but the children within her family. We haven’t even begun to contemplate the work she will need to complete in her field…

For all of these reasons and more, Field of Hope is dedicating Giving Tuesday 2019 to the women of our farmers groups. We challenge you to walk six kilometers with us on this day and to encourage others to take the challenge or make a pledge to honor those women who so selflessly serve their families. Walk wherever you are! For me, I’ll be walking the rough ranch roads in flip flops in honor of my friends. You can walk the track around your local football field (that’ll be 15 laps), the walking trail near your house, or jump on the treadmill.

Join us in the challenge

Join us in the challenge for only $30 and receive FOH walking paraphernalia and a challenge packet, or pledge a dollar-amount for each kilometer walked by all challengers on December 3rd.  All proceeds will go to supporting women and children in Uganda and India!

Sign up here

It’s time for that item on your resolution list to change form and mean more – take the challenge and walk a Giving Tuesday 6k!

Wilcox named Executive Director

Field of Hope has named Alexa Wilcox as new Executive Director. Effective November 1, 2019, Wilcox will lead funding efforts, donor relations, program development, communication strategy and partner relations for the organization, which implements agricultural empowerment projects in Uganda and India.

Wilcox joined Field of Hope in 2018 as a program manager, after interning with FOH projects in Uganda in 2017. A Bowie, Texas, resident, Wilcox earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications at Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in International Agriculture at Oklahoma State University.

FOH board president Dan Strempke said Wilcox brings valuable assets to the mission and implementation of international agricultural projects. “Alexa has helped us define more clearly our strategic vision and effective paths forward,” Strempke said. “Her appointment to Executive Director will definitely take Field of Hope to the next level of service and dedication to our mission.”

Wilcox replaces Field of Hope co-founder Mike Hafner, who led the organization since its beginning in 2010. Hafner will continue to serve FOH as a board member.

Strempke said that Wilcox’s vision and leadership will be key for future FOH programming. “We have significant plans to expand programming in each area: youth agricultural education, smallholder farmer advancement, and leadership,” Strempke said. “We are excited to see what God has in store for Field of Hope, and also excited to have Alexa leading the charge!”

Wilcox said she credits the organization’s successes to its mission and values. “Field of Hope is a phenomenal organization—this is something I become more sure of as I spend time in the company of those involved,” she said. “Founded on Christian values and with God as our epicenter, that’s to be expected.”

Wilcox explained the transition of leadership as a continuation of Hafner’s legacy of service. “It truly has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to work as Program Manager under and for Mike Hafner,” Wilcox said. “He has infinite wisdom and truly demonstrates servant leadership in all of its forms. He has been an invaluable part of Field of Hope and has mentored me in all aspects of life, always demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Both Wilcox and Strempke said that they are optimistic and energized by the future of the organization’s efforts to serve the world.

Field of Hope implements faith-based programs in Uganda and India aimed at empowering partners through projects in youth agricultural education, smallholder farmer advancement, and leadership development. Visit www.fieldofhope.org to learn more.

God’s Wisdom through Words: 2019 Annual Board Meeting

At last month’s FOH Annual Board Meeting, we opened with a listening prayer. This involved each member of the board and our current program director taking 30 minutes to spend with God – not asking Him for anything but, instead, listening to His direction and guidance. One member noticed a theme occurring – many of the “answers” coming from this prayer were words that began with the letters “pr”. These were words such as prayer, provision, protection, promises, praise, and pressing on. It is our desire to share with you how these words inform our work at Field of Hope.


Provision – Faith Meinzen

Recently, my husband Steve and I traveled to India to see if and how Field of Hope could continue its work through the Bethania orphanages there. We had installed drip irrigation at the Boys’ Home in Kannivadi shortly before several years of drought, which had dried up the well.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the boys’ smiling faces. This we have come to expect. What we did not expect was to see a field full of green pumpkin plants, paired with young papaya and drumstick trees. How could pumpkins, papayas, and drumstick trees thrive without rain? It turns out that Eduman, the new director, had worked for World Vision for many years. Not only had he learned to empower women and children, but he had also honed his agricultural knowledge and skills. So Eduman and the boys had planted each pumpkin seed and small tree in a small crater surrounded by dirt. The boys carried water from the tanks that were purchased each week to these plants, and the plants were thriving.  In the meantime, the boys were learning about agriculture and feeling very good about the garden and themselves.

In Field of Hope, we train locals to train their fellow citizens in agriculture and finances. God has provided us with the perfect combination of faith, compassion, knowledge and skill in Eduman. Thank God for His PROVISION!


Prayer – Dan Strempke

God’s desire is for us to pray!

Paul writes; “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

So God wants us to pray, and to pray in Jesus name.  Jesus prayed, and he taught us how to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Yep, He made it pretty clear.

I so appreciate C.S. Lewis’s writings, but it usually takes several rereads before I can understand his depth and intent!  I particularly like his quote below on prayer: The first three sentences modeling how prayer should be instinctual, an involuntary action like breathing and our heart beating (and I have a long way to go here); The last two sentences giving his perspective on the impact and value of prayer (this really resonates with me);

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” ― C.S. Lewis

I pray that I will pray as Paul directed, that through the Holy Spirit it will change me.

My ask is that you would please pray for Field of Hope, that in doing so our hearts and minds will be led by the Holy Spirit to serve in a way that will glorify God.


Promises – Kelly Huenink

Field of Hope is thankful God’s promises are ALL true and cannot be broken.

I once read a book called “Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure and Courage” by authors Frost & Hirsch. The title implies that the core part of the “leap of faith” is the LEAP! They emphasize the idea that life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

As Field of Hope sees growth potential and opportunities to expand ministry, we have decided to take a huge LEAP! We are choosing to trust in Jesus’ promise in John 14:27:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

We know the Lord goes before us and is with us, so we move forward in confidence that so long as we are acting in obedience to His will, he will catch us as we LEAP!


Praise – Mike Hafner

Praise is one of those topics that, in my mind, is completely misunderstood.  I think there is a strong faith component to Praise that needs to be incorporated in the definition.  Let me explain…….

Several years ago, I came across a book that really changed my life and opened up not only a different way of looking at life, but also how God deals and communicates with us. The book is Power in Praise.  It is a very short book, but very powerful.  From that book, I have come to have an entirely different view of Praise.

I think the real root of Praise is the Faith it takes to Praise God in all things, no matter the circumstances.  That takes great Faith to see that even in the most difficult challenges we face, we need to Praise God.

You might ask, how can we do that?  It makes no sense to Praise God for the ugly things that may happen in our life.  Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to put it this way…. that no matter the circumstances we face, God can cause good to come from it, if we have Faith in His provision.

Easier said than done?  In some cases, yes, but…even when we are in the midst of a terrible struggle, even when the walls are closing in, even when we are about to give up, try your best to whisper Praise to God Almighty for what He will do with this present difficulty.  Believe me, your challenge will not go to waste; in fact, it could very well bring you to a new place in your relationship with Him.

First, God is thrilled when he hears our words of Praise when we are going through difficult times.  He knows at that moment that our Faith is well-grounded, and that we trust in Him in the midst of the challenge.  I have seen it over and over again, when looking back at a problem in my past, God was able to cause good to come from that problem.  He is faithful!!

Also, Praise changes us. It may not change our situation, but it will change our outlook, it will change our attitude as we Praise God for his solution and outcome to something that looks impossible to us.  Just like prayer changes us, Praise does the same.

Finally, Praise confounds the devil.  The devil uses challenges, difficulties and struggles to disappoint us and discourage us.  He is pleased when the situation pulls us down and causes grief, anger and sadness.  When we Praise God in the midst of the issue, it throws the devil off balance and puts the issue directly into God’s court.

Since the inception of Field of Hope, we have encountered numerous challenges and struggles that were anything but pleasant to go through.  I can honestly say that we came to view these issues as terrific learning experiences.  In the midst of those situations, God always gave us instructions on a better way.  In fact, we came to expect that when we were struggling with something, we knew that God had a better plan.

So right now, think of the situation you are facing that is causing you to be disturbed.  Don’t dwell on the struggle, but pray to God for His mercy and for understanding, and thank Him for what He will do with this challenge.  Ask that this challenge not be wasted, that we will grow as a result of it and that God will use the situation in a mighty, powerful way for His glory and expansion of the Kingdom.


Protection – Cathy Hafner

From the very beginning, we have felt God‘s protection over Field of Hope. This protection has always been accompanied by prayerprovision, and praise!

When we were setting up the nonprofit, God protected us every step of the way by providing experienced people to lend us their advice and expertise.

Before every trip, petition for protection has been a major component of our prayers.

In the early trips in 2010 and 2011, as newcomers to Uganda, Mike and Brandy were protected from illness or harm in their travels. Since then, although both Brandy and Mike had to deal with malaria once, God protected them by providing good people who made sure they were provided the best treatment quickly.

They have been protected on the long drives and the flights in small MAF Cessna planes, even when the roads were dreadful and the weather was terrible. And even on the road, when a vehicle had a mechanical breakdown, God protected them by his provision of just the right driver who could get the vehicle running again. We have also had stories of interns and team members being lost in the bush but receiving God’s protection and provision in finding their way to their destination.

One specific instance of protection was when Mike was in the car in Kampala. It was rush hour, and the roundabout on their route was very slow moving. The general protocol was for people in the roundabout to gradually give way as others entered, but as they were driving through this roundabout, the person slowly but deliberately ran into their car and then raised a big ruckus. When the policeman arrived to help settle the matter, Mike’s driver Bonny did his best to reason that the other driver was at fault. Thankfully, God provided Mike with the proper driver, Bonny, who was able to mitigate the situation and keep everyone safe. Thanks to God’s provision of an experienced driver and the money needed to get him out of a bad situation, Mike was protected from a worse outcome.

We sense God’s hand of protection in his gentle guidance, as new partners and programs are considered and sometimes tabled when we did not feel this was the right time, direction, or partner.

For all past protection we praise God! And we will continue to pray for protection and provision for our Ugandan team, our partners, the people we serve, our university interns, and our volunteers.


Pressing On – Steve Meinzen

Since I chose to blog about ‘press on’, I decided to check for synonyms of those words.  The synonyms that struck me the most were persevere and proceed. Since my wife, Faith, and I have been concentrating our Field of Hope work in India, we recently traveled there. Through the 21 hour trip, we persevered. Through the malaria meds and spicy foods which made for gurgly stomachs, we persevered. Through the 5 year lack of monsoons which dried up the well where we had installed drip irrigation at an orphanage, we persevere. When approval for the building permit takes way longer than expected at the new girls’ home where we will install fruit trees for food and sustainability, we persevere. When the orphans and Bethania staff who we partner with in India receive anti-Christian persecution, they persevere.

And that is where the second synonym of ‘press on’ comes in. Why do we proceed? We proceed because the plantings are thriving at the boys’ home in spite of the drought under the able supervision of the new director. We proceed because we witness the dedication of the caring Bethania staff at all their facilities and are encouraged by it. We proceed because of the thirst for agricultural knowledge that farmers expressed in village meetings. But mostly, we proceed because God promises to be with us as we reach out to others with His message and love.

Adventures in Agriculture: Joyfully Endure

This week the Field of Hope team has been busy busy busy with outreach trainings to the surrounding communities of Lira. On Thursday we went to Otino Waa, a local children’s village, to speak to farmers about agriscience practices. At the start of our meetings, we always begin with prayer, followed by personal introductions, which then segways into the training. On this day in particular, Nicholas (FOH staff) came over to Heather (the other fellow) and I, saying “I need you two to come up with a ten to fifteen minute speech to give these women before we start.” I froze. What?! I didn’t prepare for this! My type A personality was shaking in her boots, as I was completely caught off-guard by this request. Immediately I started rifling through memories, thoughts, experiences in the agriculture industry, ways that I related to this group of women, or really anything I could think of.

I know you know how I was feeling. Have you ever been looking for your wallet because somehow its gone MIA and you’re 97% convinced that it’s been stolen, but you look for it in fervent hope that the other 3% is actually what happened? So you dig through everything you have, searching through bags and under the seats in your car. Notta. Ok, ok don’t freak out yet. You make your way back to Target, thinking maybe it’s still sitting at the self-check-out. Still nothing. In a last ditch effort you drive back to Chick-Fil-A, making sure you didn’t leave it on the counter. Nope, not there. Panic, ok!! I’m allowed to panic now!

THIS WAS ME. Except, in my mind. Frantically searching for words that would fill ten minutes of time, but seemingly coming up empty. Amidst the delusion of my two-minute internal frenzy, I’m not sure how many times it was repeated, but I remember saying “Nicholas, I don’t think I have anything.” Meanwhile, I thought to myself “Sam, you literally never stop talking. WHAT IS YOUR DEAL SISTER??” And then I stopped. Somewhere along my filtering of memories I landed on a phrase that God had taught me earlier this summer. Joyfully endure.


It comes from the verse, 2 Timothy 2:10 which says “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” Let me give you some background, Paul is near death, writing from prison, and giving Timothy one final charge. Despite the persecution that Paul’s faced, he says with full confidence that the very thing that landed him in prison (preaching the Gospel) is the reason for why he endures. His purpose is set solely on Jesus and bringing salvation to others through the transforming work of the Gospel.

Paul’s words were powerful to me. As I read the verse over and over, “endure” stood out, almost as if it was bold and italicized. I decided to do a word study and found that when endure or hardship or suffering are mentioned in the bible, a lot of times they are associated with joy or blessing. Why was this? Is enduring a good thing? Because in my mind it wasn’t so much. Think about it. No one wants to struggle or undergo hardship or experience pain. Yet, James 1:2 says “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Joy in trials, hmmm. And Hebrews 12:2 says “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Wait, so you’re saying that it was joy for Jesus to experience pain and persecution and death? Precisely. Not joy in the sense of laughing really hard at a perfectly timed joke, but rather a purposeful, eternal joy that results only from obediently following the Father.

In that moment, I knew these were the only words I needed. These women, they didn’t want to hear some thrown together story. They wanted to hear truth. Regardless of the fact that I’m from America and they’re native to Uganda, we’ve all faced challenges even if they may look significantly different from one another. We’ve all had times when we’ve struggled, faced a roadblock, or felt underappreciated for our work. These women can relate all too well, as they tirelessly work in the fields, providing means for their family to survive, not being respected for the exhausting toil they put in day in and day out. But on this Thursday afternoon, God provided hope for them in the form of agriscience education so that their physical labor may be more fruitful. And not only that, but hope through the encouraging words of Paul. That we get to choose joy, despite less than desirable circumstances. We get to live with eternal gratefulness through blissful obedience to our good God. We get to joyfully endure.

~Sam Maloy

Adventures in Agriculture: Stronger (& Better) Together

Interest approaches are commonly used at Field of Hope’s trainings to capture the participants attention and keep them engaged in the lessons. At one of the recent outreach trainings, the interest approach involved sticks. Geoffrey, our trainer had two volunteers come up to the front to participate in a demonstration. One participant received one stick while the other received a handful of sticks. Each person was instructed to try to break the sticks in half.

As expected, the person with only one stick was easily able to break it while the person with the bundle of sticks was unsuccessful. Although the demonstration was conducted in the local language (Luo), no translation was needed. The message was clear: we are stronger together.

Geoffrey was using this concept to emphasize the importance of people joining the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) in order to work together to boost their savings and increase their purchasing power, but “stronger together” has been a reoccurring theme since I arrived in Uganda. For example, if I tried to coordinate the logistics and conduct the outreach trainings on my own, I would not be very successful. When I work with other team members, everything falls into place and we accomplish our tasks almost effortlessly. Each team member brings a unique set of strengths to the table that enable us to accomplish a variety of tasks. If one person faces an obstacle, another member is able to help fill in the gap to solve help the problem and execute the day’s activities with ease.

This theme reemerged earlier this week on our journey to another location to conduct an outreach training. On the way to this training, our car broke down. When a new car arrived, it did not have enough gas and could not start again. So, myself, another intern, and other team members began pushing the car back onto the road. We were successful together, but if I had tried to push the car back onto the road alone, we would still be there to this day.

The demonstration with the sticks at the outreach training is an important reminder that success is not an individual accomplishment. Instead, success only occurs when a team unites to work on a common goal and when each group member is passionate and motivated to reach that goal. While working with Field of Hope, there is no shortage of passion and motivation. Each member is exceptionally passionate about what they do whether that passion lies within leadership development, community outreach, or youth agricultural education. I am very thankful to be working alongside such passionate and caring people, and I am looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring for Field of Hope in the Pearl of Africa!

~Heather Meador, OSU MIAP, 2019 Fellow

(Photos courtesy of Sam Maloy)

Adventures in Agriculture: What if we all did too?

After arriving in Uganda and spending the night in Kampala, Nicholas (FOH staff) and Sam (two Sam’s woo!) drove me up to Lira. A good seven-hour trek that resulted in lots of laughter, agriculture talk, dreaming, singing, and even some sleeping. Throughout the drive we stopped for lunch, bought roasted sweet plantain from the market, and interrupted a group of baboons crossing the street. One even jumped up in our window! Thanking the Lord that it didn’t jump in mine because that probably would’ve ended with a wild reaction. As if all those experiences weren’t enough, there was quite the VIEW too. Seven hours of incredibly lush scenery contrasted against the deep red dirt of the ground. There is no questioning why Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa.


Besides the vast beauty of God’s creation in this place, I immediately knew there was something more, something undeniably unique about Uganda. It’s the people. Never in my life have I met more welcoming, hospitable, selfless and encouraging humans – and this is only day one!

In trying to understand and know them deeper, I asked Nicholas and Sam what they were most passionate about. In my head I was expecting a career-oriented response, such as becoming a professor or improving agriculture efficiencies. To my surprise, nothing job specific ever came up in the conversation. Nicholas responded that he is passionate about leadership and equipping the younger generations to lead with truth. Meanwhile, Sam’s desire is to serve the community in as many ways as possible. WOW. Can you imagine if everyone in the world had passions that aligned with the wellbeing and empowerment of others, like these two men, rather than selfish goals we so easily tend to run after?

What if? As this two-word question lingered in my mind, it got me thinking. Why? Why did all the Ugandans I met here on my first day care for me and love me so well, considering I was a stranger in their country? You see, friends like Nicholas and Sam care deeply about others because it comes as an overflow of the love that Jesus Christ has already poured out on the cross for us. They’re not just “good” people, because really, are any of us good? No. But they do know a good God. The God who came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). The God who underwent the most horrific punishment possible, the crucifixion, despite His absolute innocence. The God who loves us so much that He would give up His life so that we can walk in a restored relationship with the Father (1 John 4:9-10).

How do I know faith in Jesus is what motivates Nicholas and Sam? How could I not. Everything they do points back to Him. From the start of our seven-hour journey together, to every meal, to the conclusion of our road trip; it all began in thankful prayer to the Lord. They know His love for us and want others to know it to. That is why Nicholas, Sam, and many other Ugandans I’ve met, are serving as the hands and feet of Jesus right here on earth.

What if we all did too?