Kibidula Farm Institute is situated among the rolling hills and striking forests of the southern highlands of Tanzania. Despite the picturesque setting and abundance of water, for years the land lay mostly undeveloped. Infertile soil made the property practically useless until the Master Planter got involved. Now a different kind of planting is done, and the result is a plentiful harvest of souls.
During the colonial era, the Kibidula property belonged to a South African farmer named Howard. In 1961, he returned to South Africa and gave the farm to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, because of the infertility of the farm, the Tanzania Union did little to develop it during the next three decades.
In the late 1980s the church invited the leadership of Riverside Farm Institute in Zambia to visit Kibidula. Riverside was running a successful farm and mission program, and the church respected their work. On June 1, 1989, the church signed over the management of the property to Riverside, confident that they could start a program in Tanzania similar to the one in Zambia.
Despite challenges, the work progressed rapidly under the energetic leadership of Daniel Butler and a small team put together by Riverside. Within a matter of months, dormitories were built, gardening and farming programs were started, a medical clinic was running, and classes and evangelism programs were in full swing. By 1993 an aviation program had been added to increase the effectiveness of the medical work, and a community development program was established.
Currently Kibidula also operates a primary school for grades one to seven with about 80 students. Besides taking regular classes, the students learn practical skills like gardening and sewing, and most importantly, how to cultivate a relationship with their Creator. In addition to the primary school, Kibidula operates a school of agriculture with an enrollment of about 45 students. This two-year course instructs young people in the basics of agriculture, health, Bible, carpentry, sewing, and cooking.
Twice a year Kibidula runs an intensive four-month evangelism course which has proven effective in giving committed lay people the tools necessary for spreading the gospel and planting churches in many rural areas of Tanzania. Hand in hand with this course is a lay missionary program. With the help of many generous sponsors, Kibidula has hired and placed 35 lay missionaries. However, there is still a desperate need for more sponsors to continue sending these dedicated workers into the field.
Publishing work has also proven to be an effective soul-winning tool in Tanzania, and it helps support some of Kibidula’s programs. Most of the books are printed in Korea and the United States in both English and Swahili. They are supplied to more than 1,500 colporteurs nationwide through 80 bookstores.
The team has also been laying a foundation to support the gospel work through agriculture. While grain crops do not grow well at Kibidula, pine, eucalyptus, and avocado trees are thriving, as are cattle and sheep.
A bountiful harvest is ripening at Kibidula, and it is the team’s prayer that they may be able to continue sharing God’s love in the local community and beyond. Through the agriculture program, primary school, and publishing work, God has blessed Kibidula’s team and lay missionaries with many opportunities to reach souls for His kingdom. Christ is coming soon, and they want His harvest to be ready.
Subscribe to our publications to receive inspiring stories and updates from OCI ministries around the world.