Joey Lankford had what a lot of people want in life: the nice house, the nice family, and the nice salary — not to mention the nice stuff that goes along with it — but a nice life also comes with a big hunger for more. About the time he realized it, he discovered how drained, empty, and frustrated he felt from trying to keep up.
Who knew the American dream could cost so much? Joey exchanged a comfortable life, running the family business in the Nashville suburbs, to engage in missions halfway around the world. The Lankfords left behind family, friends, and the familiar in search of a unique calling–economic development within South Africa’s poorest communities.
Upon arrival to South Africa in October 2010, Joey worked in the job-creation and development arm of a ministry called Living Hope. In partnership with a stateside church, Joey organized the funds needed to purchase two 100’ x 25’ greenhouses to use in the training and development of the local poor in and around Cape Town. He worked relationally with those God brought (3 students) from the nearby townships, and together they planted 1,500 tomato plants and used a hydroponic irrigation process to grow superior quality vegetables to sell to local market access partners.
God tremendously blessed the work of the ministry over the next 4 ½ years, and currently, the Cape Town platform uses 13 greenhouses and a crop rotation of 7,000 plants to train, disciple, and equip up to 14 people annually. Joey was privileged to serve with Living Hope and a wonderful team of international volunteers, local staff, and students who are still there praying, collaborating, and working to make that platform all that God wants it to be.
In early 2015, God called Joey, Courtney, and their 5 children back to Tennessee with a passion to engage poverty and hunger using what they had learned in Africa. In May, Joey joined Cul2vate as Executive Director and looks forward to working hard, collaborating with others, and watching as God again answers the Ephesians 3:20 prayers of His people to do more than we could ask or imagine!