Breaking Up Dry Ground

How Agricultural Training Makes Way for Hope

By Macy Daniel

Agricultural Training Makes Way for Hope

Food brings us together. At birthdays. At weddings. And around the weekday dinner table.

In one Tanzanian village, our local Unto® partner is using food to not only bring people together — but to also introduce them to hope!

Pastor Bariki grew up in a rural village in northeast Tanzania. As a young boy, he was curious about God — but as part of the Maasai tribe, his family followed other spiritual practices.

In primary school, Bariki heard the message of hope in Jesus through local missionaries and responded. He said, “That was the first time the God of heaven was introduced to me.”

That is also when the suffering started

When his parents found out about his new faith, Bariki was cast out of his family. His father told him, “We don’t need that. We have our own way of connecting with god through stones, trees, and witch doctors.”

Bariki continued to talk about Jesus in his village. But he was often met with extreme resistance — sometimes life-threatening.

After finishing school Bariki left his village to receive pastoral training. During this time he realized God was calling him to return and reach his people with the message of hope.

He shared, “Of course I felt rejected after being cast away from the family. But I thank God that He has given me such a heart to love my people.”

Bariki returned to his home village and began building relationships in his community. As people opened up, he had opportunities to share the eternal hope of Jesus. He started the first church in his village. Bariki and 15 others would gather under a tree.

The Maasai people are traditionally very hard to reach physically and spiritually. But Bariki had a plan.

After meeting the local Unto staff team, Bariki shared his vision for community transformation — and part of that involved helping people grow their own food.

“I’ve been thinking…it’s good for people to hear about faith, but how about their daily lives?” he said. “Our land is very dry. It is tough. When you talk about agriculture, it’s like impossible.”

Although the Maasai people are traditionally pastoralists, recent droughts and land restrictions have threatened their livelihood. Many have been forced to consider farming as an alternative.

When Bariki told his community about an agriculture training workshop that would be hosted by the local Unto team, most people did not think it would work. Bariki replied, “Why not? We never tried. Why don’t you try?”

Eventually, Bariki was able to encourage his community, and 38 people attended the training. Unto staff modified the training for the dry land and climate of the region.

Agricultural Training Makes Way for Hope

During the workshop, Bariki shared the message of hope in Jesus — not just with his congregation but with the larger community. It planted seeds for a significant shift.

Today Pastor Bariki has a garden outside of his church. The produce serves as a food source for community members and a source of income for the church. Many women have started small businesses, and their gardens provide food and income for their families.

Pastor Bariki’s church has grown to over 300 people — many who questioned his faith in Jesus are now a part of the congregation. The agriculture training helped give Bariki credibility among his Maasai community. It opened doors to share about the eternal hope of Jesus. And it has brought the community together.

Pastor Bariki told our team member, “This is the right time that God brought you.”

Your support helps provide sustainable solutions to hunger in communities like this one and creates opportunities for unreached people to hear about Jesus.

Stop Hunger and Malnutrition in the Toughest Places

You can help stop the hunger and malnutrition that claim lives and cripple communities around the globe. By partnering with Unto, you can help local staff teams deliver meals and agriculture supplies to communities that need food most.

Published April 4, 2024


Macy serves as a Writer and Research Strategist with Unto. She holds a B.A. in International Studies and Global Relations from North Carolina State University.