A local minister is practicing what he preaches.
Rev. Randy Crozsman, a minister with Orchard Valley United Church, is in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone until Feb. 10, where is participating in a Canadian Foodgrains Bank Food Study Tour.
The tour is a first-hand way for participants to learn about hunger and food security in the developing world, but more than that, it also gives them the chance to help do something about the problem.
“Canadian Food Grains Bank is a church-based, national organization,” the New Minas resident said. “They work with church-based groups in developing countries where hunger is a real problem. Groups of 10-12 people go on these food study tours.”
The tours take participants to communities where the majority of people are small-scale farmers that struggle to grow enough food to feed their families. The tour allows participants to see how Food Grains helps them and gives them a chance to help as well.
“We work directly with farmers who know what’s wrong and what it’s going to take to fix it,” Crozsman said, adding that he hoped to learn from the farmers exactly what they needed. During the tour, he’ll even stay at some of the farms – mainly mud huts with thatched roofs - to live the experience.
“All kinds of people do mission work, but the modern understanding is that it really starts on the ground,” he said.
“I want to have real conversations about what’s happening there to understand it better. I want to sit at a table with them and try to understand.”
This is the second mission trip Crozsman has taken with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and he’s the only person from eastern Canada on this tour.
“In 2007, they called me, asked if I would like to come and I said, ‘Yes, who are you?’ I was thrilled, taught, moved. It was a fairly life-changing experience for me,” he said.
“This time, I heard they were doing it and I called them to see if they had an opening.”
Crozsman’s congregation was very supportive, he added.
“My congregation was absolutely thrilled,” he said. “They had a communion on Sunday and told me that I go with their blessings, prayers and support.”
Crozsman is scheduled to return to Canada Feb. 11, and he hopes he’ll become an ambassador for the program to help spread the message of the need in Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
During his trip, he’ll be tweeting his experiences. Area residents can follow his adventure at @crozsman on Twitter.