This school has been Josue’s dream for years! He acquired his first piece of property near Toffo, just outside the National Teak Forest. The school’s most important purpose, as in all the facets of Josue’s ministry, is to disciple people in their walk with the Lord, or to share the Lord with them, if they have never heard of Jesus! Beyond this, each class of students has been provided instruction in animal and crop production, hygiene, and business. For most of the students, they have not had any other formal education; for some who have already attended university level, they have really benefited from the hands-on approach at Hope Agri! The school has now had its first class of students who found out about the school on the internet and all of them accepted Christ before they graduated! University students have interned on the property. The room and board costs for the students have been supplied by families who have adopted a student for his/her 10 months of instruction. (Sponsor a Farm Student) Their parents are responsible to secure a piece of property for them to begin their farm when they graduate.
Josue has graduated 4 classes from 2012 to 2014, totaling 52 students, sending them back to their villages to share their knowledge of farming and Christ or out to plant a church in a village that God has led them to! They can receive a microloan to begin their farm—all money that has been loaned has been paid back in full, to help fund the next class! The students also continue to help at youth camps and with evangelism for the new church plants. Their lives have been changed forever with the training they have received from the school!
The Toffo property has rich clay soil, but no well to provide water (Prayer). Josue has housed the students at the nearby National Forestry School, when it was not needed for training purposes by the government. His students have helped with the upkeep on the property: Josue has been blessed by no rental charges! The students have walked 15 minutes to the property each day, to tend the crops they planted that were rain dependent. They have cared for the animals, raising herds of pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits. But they have had to walk to the creek, more than 5 km overland, twice a day, to carry back 25 liters of water—weighing close to 60 pounds—on their heads—to provide for the animals. So it has been arduous work! They have also built all the animal structures on the property, out of easy to acquire materials, so they will be prepared to begin their own farms.
In 2012, Josue began renting beach property from the government, to teach truck farming methods. This property is very near the capital Porto Novo and Cotonou, so has ready markets in the cities for the vegetables grown. As the soil is sandy, it provides learning for different crop raising strategies and the property has a well! It survived a government burnout: when the officials thought thieves and druggies were living out here, they chose to burn down all structures and crops—which were ready to produce—no questions asked! Josue and his students relied on the Lord to begin again, needing provision for seeds and well repair. Now this land is self-sustaining!
In 2014, Josue was blessed by the Lord to begin buying another piece of river-front property, outside of Ouidah.(link to prayer page.) This will be the main site for training students in the future, beginning in February, 2015. The water distribution purchased for the Toffo property has been installed here and temporary structures are in place! The land is sandy/red clay mixture, so will be much easier to cultivate. It will also be easier for the students to live here and maintain the property. The crops and herds Josue envisions can be sold to nearby city markets! Answer to prayer: this property was paid off in full on time in September, 2016! (How Can YOU Help) Original purchase price: $480,000 US--that is the faith that Josue leads his ministry with—that God will provide! How else could this be possible?
Josue has visions of future buildings to house a classrooms, dormitories, animal barns, resort guest rooms, etc., as funding and time permit. This property is near a maintained road, electricity and a concrete plant so it can be developed much easier. Mission construction teams will be a huge blessing to assist with all of this! (link to mission trips page)
The Toffo property will be planted Spring, 2015, to begin a palm oil orchard, which will flourish on rainfall. Josue has visions of a refinery operating there, in the near future, to prepare the oil for distribution. He has ready markets available, especially in nearby Nigeria, whose population is growing but struggling to provide for itself!
Josue has God-sized plans for this school: to change the economy of his country and the spiritual heart of Benin!
Praise that 3 students graduated from the new property on 3/19/16 and 5 more students began the second class in June, 2016! Four of them will graduate on April 22, 2017!
May all fear be dispelled and God's ways prevail as the school forges ahead!