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Acronyms help teach agriculture & faith

KINUSKUSAN, Philippines (BP)–They love acronyms at the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center.

Acronyms are words formed from the first letters of a series of other words, like ASAP, “as soon as possible,” to help you say something. The problem is, listeners sometimes don’t understand what you’re saying.

That’s not a problem at the center, where acronyms help people — even illiterate people — understand important concepts. Workers there delight in taking one- or two-syllable words and turning them into teaching tools.

SALT — Sloping Agricultural Land Technology — is the most famous. But the most important is REDEEM, which outlines the goals of every Rural Life Center activity: Research, Extension, Development, Education, Evangelism, Mission.

Other key Rural Life Center programs and methods include:

— FAITH (Food Always In The Home) gardens: a simple system of basket composting that assures families a year-round supply of nutritious vegetables with minimal labor.

— BOOST (Baptist Out-Of-School Training): a three-month program for young Baptists out of school and often out of work, it trains them in farming, Christian living, primary health care, home nutrition and community living.

— TEACH (Tribal Evangelism, Agriculture, Church planting and Health care): a nine-month variation of BOOST designed for upland tribal pastors and church leaders.

— PREACH (Pastors in Rural Evangelism, Agriculture, Church planting and Health care): a program tailored for training rural pastors.

— SALT 2 (Simple Agro-Lifestock Technology): Integrates dairy goats, cattle or sheep into the basic SALT scheme to improve nutrition.

— SALT 3 (Sustainable Agroforest Land Technology): Expands basic SALT by planting trees along with crops to produce food, fuel, timber, fodder and organic fertilizer.

— SALT 4 (Small Agrofruit Livelihood Technology): Under development since 1994, this method emphasizes fruit production.

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