By John Rohrmayer
John Rohrmayer is the pastor of New Life Church in Talladega, Alabama—population 16,000. This Alliance church is shining the light of Jesus to its neighbors through New Life Community Gardens—a unique ministry that presents the gospel naturally.
“All natural” is all the rage. Grocery stores everywhere are answering the demand for nutritious, organic foods as Americans seek to live healthier lifestyles.
In Talladega, members of New Life Church have answered God’s call to feed His people with all-natural physical and spiritual food, bringing the light of Jesus to the community through New Life Community Gardens.
Not only are we teaching people how to grow food but also how to honor God’s creation and learn from it. Kingdom principles learned from gardening provide a multitude of life-applicable lessons.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
The principle of companion planting has been implemented in the garden beds, where crops and flowers are sown together in symbiotic relationships. For example, squash and cucumbers like the shade that corn provides, and in return, their vines deter raccoons from ravaging the corn.
Other plant companions contribute nutrients to each other, such as tomatoes, asparagus, and herbs planted with marigolds and nasturtium. Plants work together to feed, nourish, and protect one another—a lesson for human relationships as well.
The goal of this method is to limit the need for pesticides and increase the yield. The community garden is an all-natural project; the ultimate objective is to become completely organic. Some chemical fertilizer has been used, as well as city water. We are in the process of setting up an irrigation system to utilize rainwater.
Reaping the Harvest
Short-term teams have been a great encouragement. We’ve had teams from several states, including one from Wisconsin that helped to plant the orchard in front of the church. Local volunteers also join us in sowing seeds for the Kingdom as well as meeting the physical needs of less fortunate people, as Jesus has called us to do: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:35, 40).
One neighbor stopped by recently, telling us that she heard about our work and asking if she could get some food. As she picked out a few items, she said, “I’m just so happy to be able to get some fresh produce for me and the disabled man I care for. This is a great project!”
In addition to providing fresh produce to families in need, the harvest is sold at the church’s Farmer’s Market. Through this microenterprise, we are working to become a self-sustaining ministry that meets a need in our community. Recently, we harvested and distributed about 20 yellow squash. Later at Walmart, I noticed that ours were twice the size of theirs!
A hydroponic system is now operational, ensuring year-round production of fresh produce. Additionally, we are expanding the garden to the barnyard; our chickens are growing, and the chicks are nearly as big as the hens. We now have eggs to distribute.
God has blessed us with amazing growth, protection of the crops, and good friends. “We have seen the Lord working through this project and want to do whatever we can to help,” says Pastor John Elston from nearby New Life Covenant Church.
As we work together with other churches to be light through this practical expression of God’s love, we eagerly watch the Holy Spirit do His work, bringing hope to the hopeless through New Life Community Gardens. “I have seen the vision that God gave Brother Rohrmayer,” says Pastor Huggins, from Talladega’s Apostolic Truth Tabernacle. “This is just what our community needs.”
What You Can Do
- Pray for God to provide for the technical and financial needs of New Life Community Gardens.
- Pray for Alliance workers around the world using the Alliance prayer requests page.
- Give to the Great Commission Fund. In doing so, you partner with Alliance workers who are lighting the way for people trapped in spiritual darkness.
- Give Now