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This edition of Horizons focuses on agricultural initiatives in Mongolia. Helping develop Mongolian agriculture has always been an important part of what JCS does. We have been involved with agricultural initiatives because it is important to Mongolians on many levels. Physical survival is the most obvious importance, but besides, the well-being of the land and its produce permeates greetings, daily conversations, cultural rites and festivals and, in fact, almost every aspect of Mongolian life. This is understandable when you realize that domestic animals outnumber humans by more than ten to one. What the land can produce and sustain has direct impact on every family in Mongolia. For most Mongolians vacation means going to one’s relatives in the country in summer, drinking and eating milk products and eating meat. The care of the land remains a great concern in Mongolia because much of the land is being destroyed by mining. Traditional Mongolian boots are curved upwards at the toes; many believe this is because the earth will not be disturbed when you walk.
Opportunities to teach Mongolians how to care for the land and use it to help sustain their families and country have been welcomed. I have talked to families and community leaders on how gaining the knowledge and resources to tend gardens and crops has provided staple foods for them. It has given parents back the dignity of being able to provide for their children. It has even built faith in God. People see that farmers till the land and water it, but only God gives the growth. JCS has found its agricultural initiatives rewarding as it works with individuals and cooperatives, not only for the development of the economic and food security of families, but also for the hours spent working side by side and sharing knowledge and faith.