Merrill talks about her experience in Zambia

"The Mountaineer" published the story a couple of months ago about Lorrie and Allan Merrill's upcoming trip to Zambia with the Farmers Union., the World Food Organization meets in a food producing place yearly or so to talk about getting food produced and into the mouths of hungry people.

Now, Lorrie and Allan are back home and Lorrie has written this wonderful conclusion to their trip.

Thanks to Lorrie and Allan for sharing so much with "Mountaineer" readers.

Sunday Zambia Lessons

It is with deep emotions that I write more of the personal lessons learned in Zambia. It seems appropriate to write it on Sunday, a day of worship for me.

So for the first lesson: While there I was reminded of my own Sunday School teacher lessons I had for my little ones in Big Sandy. We learned of the creation of the world. After a number of Sundays last year we took a walk to experience springtime new growth. The children had learned their lesson well; they started picking up garbage they found along the way, saying God tells us it is our responsibility to take care of the earth. In Zambia the guides over and over talked about respecting the animals. We were required to say thank you to the elephant for giving us a ride, and to the cheetah for allowing us to pet and walk them. During the walk at Victoria Falls, I was behind the guide, and I watched as he stopped to remove a small creature on the path, and then smiled at me. Honestly, after seeing the incredible animals in Zambia, I was so moved and so empowered to act on behalf of the earth. I want to live a life that treats the dirt as living, to be responsible to live simply and be respectful of what was created. I am not to power over the rest of creation; I need to be in a position to take care of the rest of creation. So be it!

Second lesson: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." I write this with fear and tears, thankful that God is forgiving and gracious! Patient and continuing to teach me. I/we are a nation of gluttons. We are a nation of over indulgent generations. Gluttony means to gulp down or swallow. It means over indulgence and over consumption of food, drink, or wealth. The chief error most Christians make about gluttony is to think it only pertains to food. It pertains to an over indulgence lifestyle. I must tell you, before travelling to Zambia the Lord has been drawing me to a simpler way of life, the joy of less. After visiting Mukuni Villiage it became clearer. Yes, we see these pictures on TV, read about these types of villages, but seeing them. Talking. To. The. Children

"You have lived luxuriously on earth and led wanton pleasure, you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter" James 5: 5

"Then he said to them, "Beware and be on guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possession." Luke 12:15

"....whose end is destructions, whose god is their appetite...who set their mind on earthly things" Phillipians 3:19

We live in a world where we purchase what we want. Our desire is for more. We think on what we want. We live for our own selves. Ok, I could say I do, but then this little sermonette would take to long to gentle say what I want to say. In this nation, most of us live blessed lives. I believe the greater the blessing the greater the responsibility to do, as God requires.

Matt. 22:36-37 "Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I have the Mukuni Village Address. Message me if you want it. I plan on a lifetime relationship

Zambia and the World Farm Organization

Food production in the world needs to be your top priority. Ok-most of you probably have enough food, maybe like me too much food. Food production requires constant understanding of political maneuvering. Governments use food as a chess move. Food production requires you are involved in the discussion of how your food is produced. How your food is handled. Where you food comes from. How we use the soil in the production of food. Where and how the moisture necessary for the foods production is protected. Climate change, no matter what the reason, has affected the timetable around the world. A farmer from Zambia told me they were a month sooner for planting. The same as here! The consumer, as well as the producer needs to be at the table to determine policies concerning all of these issues.

The main concern at the World Farm Organization (WFO) is to improve the lives of producers, families, and rural communities. The difference is huge. We are concerned about our livelihoods; many of them are concerned about how to feed their families. Our cultures reflect huge differences, but our way of life is the same. How we feel about our work, where we live, and the affect on our families are the same.

After five years of attending the WFO, the progress seems slow, but I see huge differences from the first meeting and this one. For one there are more at the table. Two-the world is beginning to recognize our value as farmers. We have addressed the United Nations and other recognized powerhouses. Three-We helped form one of the worlds largest religions, the Catholic's position on food production. Four-We are beginning to understand each other better and developing partnerships and cooperation.

We want it to hurry, but these things take time. The concepts are abstract in nature, difficult to understand, and honestly the consumer needs to be more vocal.

I care deeply about our own place, GTO Farm, the soil, the gift God has given us, and my family so near. But I also understand this is not just about us. We cannot remain isolated, nor can we place ourselves on a higher pedestal. Food production is a high calling and we must remember it is not about the money we receive for its production.