One of the commandments that God gave unto man is to be self-reliant. This is emphasized in Genesis 3:19 which says: 'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'
James Kanja is one of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saint (LDS) living in Mkando, a few kilometres away from Mulanje Mountain in Malawi. He has taken a step of faith and action in tilling the ground even in dry season, using one of the nearby rivers as a source of water.
In his own words he said, “In order to provide for my family throughout the year I have to hearken to what the Lord said. I have to be self-reliant and in order for that to happen I have to work. At the same time I have to teach my two children this great principle of work through example.”
James attributes the courage he has to work a little harder than ever before to the self-reliance classes he has attended for 12 weeks at the LDS church.
'At first I thought I am not good at farming. Then the sleeping giant inside of me was awakened during one of the lesson we had, and I am so grateful for that day, because it was the day I realized I can do much better than I had been doing,' he explained.
LDS self-reliance classes are offered free of charge and are designed to equip everyone with the needed skills to be independent both temporally and spiritually.
President Thomas S. Monson has taught that self-reliance, “the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family, is an essential element of our temporal and spiritual well-being.”
In addition, Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop said, “A mere desire to become self-reliant is not enough. We must make a conscious, active effort to provide for our own needs and those of our families.”
In order to achieve the vision of self-reliance, James Kanjala is engaged in maize farming and animal farming, and he has a fish pond which he is planning to extend in due course.