God’s Word is very clear on our role in justice. We’re simply told to seek it and to do it. We’re also told that God will equip us with everything good for doing His will. This is the story of how God equipped one man to be obedient to His commands and made a justice seeker out of a pig farmer.
Jay Humphrey grew up in the little town of Burgaw, North Carolina where he was raised by a pig farmer. He received a Livestock Management degree in college, married his wife Kim, started a family, and lived the life of a farmer. All Jay knew was pig farming, but in his early 40s, God told him to go pursue a Biblical Studies degree. He obeyed God and moved to Wake Forest, North Carolina where he spent three years obtaining his degree. Jay and Kim stayed in Wake Forest after he finished school, faithfully serving their local church and their community. For the next ten years, he and Kim were praying for God to show them how they could use their skill set for His kingdom.
On an ordinary Wednesday night in November, 2014, they went to their small group meeting where Sara Beth Fentress, director of 127 Worldwide, attended and brought along Geoffrey. Geoffrey is a partner of 127 who runs a school and children’s home in Nebbi, Uganda. He was in the US advocating for his ministry, Acres of Hope (AOH). As he told his story to their small group, he shared his prayer for God to provide a pig farmer at AOH. Geoffrey had recently acquired several pigs to be used to help pay for the care of orphans living at AOH. However, the pigs were dying because he didn’t have anyone who knew how to properly care for them. As Geoffrey was sharing his story, neither he nor Sara Beth knew anything of the pig farming background of the Humphreys. Kim silently cried as Geoffrey spoke because she knew the Lord was answering their prayer. After the meeting, the Humphreys told Geoffrey of their knowledge of pig farming and their desire to use it for God’s glory. By the next morning, Jay was drawing a shelter plan for the eight sows about to give birth and began telling Geoffrey things that could immediately help the piggery.
Five months later, the pig farmer who had never been out of the country, was on a plane alone to Uganda to visit Acres of Hope and equip the locals with the knowledge to sustain the piggery. Jay immediately taught a 2-day seminar on pig farming and educated the men and women in feed processes, medical care, and breeding for the pigs. He visited with the orphans and their widowed caretakers. His heart was stirred to make the piggery a success so the children would have food, shelter, medicine, and education. As these orphans were being taught about their Father who never abandons them, Jay was tangibly showing that as he worked to help them maintain their piggery. His heart was filled with joy as he walked in obedience along the path God had illuminated for him.
Kim was able to go Uganda three months later and visited the children’s home. She was considered famous among the orphans because she was the “pig farmer’s wife!” Jay continued to Skype with Geoffrey to consult on the pigs and then travelled back to Uganda in 2016 with a small team of men to check on the piggery. The pigs have become a valuable asset at Acres of Hope. Each pig can be sold for about $400 and that money can be used for the children’s school fees and basic needs. It also helps to pay salaries of the house moms and teachers who look after the orphans. And yes, sometimes the pigs are even dinner!
Jay and Kim are planning a trip to Uganda in the fall of 2017. They continue to advocate to their friends and family and financially support the work of the ministry. They speak in churches telling their story of how God uses pig farmers in North Carolina to seek justice on behalf of orphans and widows in Uganda. Jay knows God providentially put this in his path and he desires to take his pig farming skills to new places so he can help to empower others. He currently works for the North Carolina Baptist State Convention and is a deacon at Imago Dei Church, both of whom are a big support to him in his ministry. While most folks in their 50s are planning their retirement, the Humphreys are thinking strategically about how they can use their knowledge of pig farming to seek justice for vulnerable people.
Jay desires to use his skills to advance God’s kingdom on earth. What about you? What skills do you have that you could leverage for the kingdom? Are you asking God for opportunities to do that? What’s your personal strategy to advance the kingdom? How are you training your children to be kingdom builders? Jay says, “all it takes is one pig.” It also only takes one man or woman simply being obedient to trust God to equip them to care for orphans and widows, seek justice for the vulnerable, and visit the afflicted. Are you that one man or woman? Are you a justice seeker? Justice seeking is not optional, it is commanded. Are you walking in obedience to God’s Word? All it takes is one step to start.
By Christy Britton