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Small Changes, Big Impacts


Written by admin on March 16, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

Our culture tends to place a large emphasis on big changes in order to receive big results. But when this ideology is placed in the context of international development, not only does it not play out how one would expect, but it can also cause damage to rural communities.

When groups come in with a plan to make significant changes without truly appreciating the culture of the local area or acknowledging what is already going well, their work ends up being counterproductive. That is why Plant With Purpose walks alongside farming families and rejects paternalism. We realize that small changes have much larger impacts.

A great example of how small changes can result in big impacts is demonstrated by a partnering farmer in BaBarasa, Haiti, Raymond Jules. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Raymond on one of our Vision Trips, and we were so excited to hear how his life had changed since partnering with Plant With Purpose. One of the subtle changes that occurred in his life was his ability to purchase an efficient, wood-burning stove through the savings he gained in his savings group.

This stove may not seem like a huge change, but according to the World Health Organization, “three billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires.” Open fires inside households that do not get air ventilation have led to more than “Four million people [annually] dying prematurely from illness attributable to the household air.” (WHO) Through this small change, Raymond is not only preventing himself and his family from getting respiratory illnesses, but he is also combating deforestation due to the efficiency of the stove.

Raymond has been an inspiration to those in his community. For instance, Raymond participated in a savings group competition at which he won a goat. When his goat had babies, he gave them to other members in his savings group, and when the goat had a second round of babies, he gave them away again! This makes us so excited because these small changes result in impacts bigger than we can imagine. When Raymond graciously gave away his goats, he increased trust and cooperation within the village, which is pivotal to community revitalization and development.     

Raymond Jules is one of the many partners we work alongside who are seeing small changes result in big impacts. Not only are these results important to the growth and development of rural communities, but they encourage us to focus on the importance of small changes in our daily lives. In the midst of the mundane, when small changes are occurring and it does not seem like big impacts are coming, we hold on to hope. When this hope is embraced it can encourage us not only in our work but also our spiritual journey.

Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT) This “completion” is a promise we have been given, and one that we should earnestly hold on to. We will continually work toward implementing small changes in partnering communities, as well as our own lives, because we have faith in the One who brings about big impacts, and ultimately, completion.

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Rural to urban poverty


Written by admin on March 16, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

In 2009, humanity witnessed a drastic change in the world’s demographics. For the first time in history, more people were living in urban areas than rural, and the Population Reference Bureau predicts that this shift will continue for the near future. According to the Bureau, “It is expected that 70 percent of the world population will be urban by 2050.” This unprecedented change has huge implications for the future of international development, and poses significant obstacles to combating severe poverty in both urban and rural areas.

Economically, it is more efficient for developing countries to invest in its cities more heavily than rural areas, but this efficiency has led to a massive rural-urban migration. With rural areas lacking infrastructure, education, and employment opportunities, rural community members have begun to view the urban area as a hopeful solution to their dire situation.

A recent article published in the International Journal of Population Research states, “Rural-urban migration is a result of the search for perceived opportunities as a consequence of rural-urban wealth inequality.” “Perceived” is the critical word due to the fact that many rural individuals will end up in urban slums after their migration.

These “perceived” opportunities to alleviate the imminent issues facing rural communities can be potentially promising. But researcher John Scott, believes the migration that ensues leads to more harm than good. Rural-urban migration leads to profound social instability within urban slums. The migration can cause critical risks to infrastructure, and can also pose a potential risk of water contamination and the spread of disease.

Alongside the issues that impact urban areas, migration also harms the livelihood of rural communities. As people leave rural areas, those communities are facing a decline in social capital and financial growth. Poverty, as well as deforestation, rises.

Research suggests that the rural-urban migration is only causing greater socioeconomic stratification, and leading to a deteriorating quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Not only are rural areas facing harsher deforestation and severe poverty, but the urban slums in areas like Port-au-Prince or Nairobi face contagious diseases and a low quality of life.

So what can be done to change the current rural-urban migration?

Economist Michael Todaro suggests that developing countries need to start heavily investing in their rural areas. While many governments invest heavily in urban infrastructure, rural communities have often been left out.

We believe that integrated rural development can be accomplished through sustainable agricultural techniques, community empowerment, VSLA groups, and spiritual revitalization. As we work toward solving one of the many issues perpetuating wealth inequality and deforestation across the globe, we thank all of our partners who come alongside us in our mission to reverse rural poverty.

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No Forest, No People


Written by Becky Rosaler on March 9, 2018 in General

There were no more trees around

“I heard that there were big trees in this village once, but there were no more when I was born.”

This was the world Malachi was born into, in the hills of Northern Thailand. The area, largely settled by refugees and ethnic minorities, was one that greatly suffered from the effects of deforestation.

Groups that were already vulnerable became even more threatened when their means of livelihood and survival began to deplete.

“When I was young, there was no electricity and no education,” reflected Malachi. As his village was void of trees the soil grew infertile for farming. Families who lived in the area had no way to earn an income.

This challenge is commonplace in communities where deforestation has grown rampant. Environmental loss is a major reason why rural populations make up 85% of those living in poverty.

Plant With Purpose began partnering with communities in Thailand to address this issue. By placing the tools for revitalization in the hands of community members, locals began to gather and take action.

But Malachi’s community realized their land could be healthier

Malachi joined alongside his neighbors to form a committee for forest management. Plant With Purpose provided training and techniques to give the committee the tools needed to understand their watershed, their local challenges, and steps they could take.

Malachi soon found himself in a leadership role. “I am the secretary of the committee,” he explains, “and when we have training of the group, I help to facilitate the meeting and activities.

“We need support in terms of capacity, knowledge, and education because the world keeps changing. Without those, we won’t understand it and it’ll be hard to live with the challenges that are coming.”

Their ultimate goal was to restore the land to a state where the surrounding families could survive off the land and maintain their traditional agriculture-based lifestyles. Malachi expressed that he preferred living somewhere where he could produce, rather than buy, most of the goods his family needed.

“We can save up to 90% of our income with the food we don’t need to buy,” he explains.

They realized a healthy forest was important for a healthy community

“Sustainability is like a good forest,” he tells. “Without a forest, we’d have to buy everything, like people in a city.”

One of the early challenges the committee faced was the potential for tension with the local industries that harvested the area for timber. Being to organize gave the committee the tools they needed in order to address the issue. Their newly gained skills in mapping and management also allowed them to persuasively come to agreements.

“Our village has an agreement for when we want to harvest firewood,” explains Malachi. “Other communities nearby don’t have a management plan and this leads to trouble.”

Malachi pauses when he states a key realization he once had– “without the forest, there would be no people.”

As a father of two, he has hopes that the work he’s done through this committee will continue into the future. “I want to see the next generation carry on the good work we’re doing today, otherwise they’ll have to go find work to get money.”

“Without money, you’re at risk because you often end up doing bad or dangerous things to buy things, so I want to see that the next generation will carry on the work.”

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We Are All Sojurners


Written by admin on March 6, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

“For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” -1 Chronicles 29:15

Sojourner (noun): someone who is temporarily living in a location with no place to call home.

We live in a volatile world. Natural disasters, human rights abuses, deforestation, extreme poverty, and war crimes make up a small list of reasons why families leave their homes in search of a life of hope. Being uprooted without a home can bring tremendous pain and confusion. Feelings of despair challenge over the hope that was once visible.

We may struggle to understand this feeling if we have never experienced losing everything we once knew. On the other hand, these feelings can be overwhelmingly relatable, as we deal day to day with the knowledge that this world is not our home.

With over seven billion people on this planet, it can be easy to quickly disconnect ourselves from the news and allow ourselves to ensnare ourselves in reality. But even behind the walls we build around ourselves, we are reminded sojourn was not meant to be done alone. We are meant to live in community. We are meant to embrace the beauty of each human’s brokenness.

We must allow God to work in the midst of the ashes. By acknowledging the fact that we are all sojourners and our time on this earth is like a shadow, we can combat our differences across the globe and instead offer each other welcome and solidarity.

With this in mind, we need to make conscious decisions to extend radical compassion.

Regardless of the labels we give ourselves in regards to nationality, place of origin, or socioeconomic status, we have the capability to be a glimpse of God to a broken world.

Plant With Purpose’s partners have embraced this journey and have worked to extend radical compassion. By combating rural poverty through community empowerment, and working to reverse the devastating effects of deforestation, we take aim at the status quo and address the turbulent issues facing the world today.  

Everyday we give thanks for all of you who have partnered with us to be a voice of compassion in communities that have faced it all.

As we embrace the brokenness and lean into the disheartening issues that can only be fixed by God, hope begins to grow. God’s story for us is unfinished, and He is faithful to complete in us what He has started.

As we move about our day, let us extend love and grace to communities across the globe, walking alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ on this difficult, yet beautiful sojourn.

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Pray With Purpose This March


Written by Plant With Purpose on March 1, 2018 in General, Prayer Letter

“For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

~ Romans 12:4-5

This month our partners offer praise for many opportunities to collaborate. Sustainable transformation is achieved through mutual support and responsibility. We celebrate testimonies of shared work and success within communities and across country programs. At the same time we pray for new connections and greater collaboration in the months to come.


Burundi

We praise God for:

  • The successful tree planting campaign this past February. This year 1,183,208 trees were planted by our savings group members and our partner churches and schools. We were grateful for the support of the local administration.
  • The successful international meeting in Dominican Republic. We are grateful for the safe travel of our leaders.
  • Completion of two training sessions on Theology of Work in the Nyakazu and Nyengwe watersheds. Participants are committed to continuing environmental restoration, savings activities, personal development activities to improve their livelihoods. 
  • Our National Director Noé who has returned home after eye surgery in Belgium. We praise God for a successful operation and we continue to pray for his healing

We pray for:

  • All the activities of this month. That the Lord gives us good health in order to effectively serve our watershed communities. 
  • Growth of the trees planted during this silviculture campaign. We ask that God would provide good rain necessary for the survival and growth of the seedlings.
  • Additional funding partners this year to help us to better serve communities in our sub-watersheds.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

We praise God for:

  • A good season of rain and tree planting. Our nurseries had been empty and now they are growing strong due to good rain.
  • Birori’s safe travel to the Dominican Republic. God protected him and allowed him to participate in the 2018 International Meeting.
  • The involvement of churches in practicing and teaching ‘Theology of Work.’ After being trained in different activities churches are now incorporating new practices such as fish farming.
  • The birth of a healthy son to our driver Floribert and his wife. 

We pray for:

  • Greater networking between savings groups so that groups might share ideas on how to better collaborate with local leaders and set common goals for their watersheds.
  • The peace and reconciliation meeting where pastors from different tribes will meet and share testimonies in hopes to foster peace and reconciliation within the watershed.
  • The visit of our staff to the Kalimabenge sub-watershed. We hope to gain a clearer understanding of the topography and population dynamics as a potential site of future work.
  • The security of the country and especially our South Kivu region which has experienced recurring conflict for many years.

Dominican Republic

We praise God for:

  • The strengthening the savings groups.
  • His care of our staff.

We pray for:

  • The preparation of the 2018-2019 budget. We pray that this year we can impact even more rural communities.
  • The health of seedling nurseries especially in the midst of excessive rainfall.
  • The discussion on Stewardship of Creation that will be held this month. That the Lord can help us to carry it out successfully.
  • New communities. That God opens the doors and we can begin to share our transformative with new people.
  • Protection of staff especially when traveling. 

Ethiopia

We praise God for:

  • Beautiful, peaceful remnant forests surrounding orthodox churches in Ethiopia.
  • Blessing on our initial conservation project to protect five hectares of indigenous church forest surrounding St. Minas.

We pray for:

  • Good community participation and a vision to expand environmental stewardship beyond the church.
  • Opportunities to learn by experience and advance our preparations for a fully integrated program. 

Haiti

We praise God for:

  • Safe travel for our Country Director Guy, Dezo, and Dr. Leopold to the Dominican Republic for the 2018 International Meeting. We are grateful for the opportunity to share knowledge and experience between countries.

We pray for:

  • Prenelus Duvelson’s family, member of Nan Ravin community group in Cornillon, whose house completely burned down in February.
  • That the government would spend money wisely and use resources to address poverty in rural areas in particular and in the country in general.
  • Rain in March so that the farmers can plant their crops and additional trees.

Mexico

We praise God for:

  • The families of the communities of Tzajalchen, Tzaquibiljok, and Majosik in the state of Chiapas. That their gardens have positive growth and development. 
  • Our staff members Adriana Venegas and Ditra García who will be moving on. We thank God for the time they collaborated with our team and we ask for your blessing on each of them in this new stage of their life.
  • New team members Aldo Reyes, Sandra Aragón, and Antonio Juárez.  

We pray for:

  • The community of Oxchuc in Chiapas. Existing conflicts in the area are hindering our work.
  • Upcoming elections in our country which will be held in July. The president of the republic will be elected along with new legislators. We pray for an atmosphere of peace and tranquility and that God might bless our country through these new authorities.
  • A healthy rainy season for the next agricultural and reforestation cycle. We also pray for the planning of these reforestation projects.

Tanzania

We praise God for:

  • The successful Vision trip visit from a team in California that we hosted in February.
  • A successful dinner gathering for all savings group facilitators. This event was aimed at encouraging each other and celebrating the achievements of last year.
  • The successful staff training that was held to sharpen our understanding of data collection and to ensure reliability and validity of data for improved program management.

We pray for:

  • Recruitment for a new head of Environmental Restoration. We pray that we will find the right person who will support our team in achieving our mission and vision.
  • Favorable climatic conditions and rainfall. Rain is expected to start at the end of February. We pray that it will be a blessing to crops and cause no harm.
  • Savings groups and institutions that we are working with to hear God’s call to conserve the environment.
  • The monitoring and evaluation exercise that will start in this Month.

Thailand

We praise God for:

  • The meaningful fellowship of the local communities in Huay Lu watershed and the volunteer group from Experience Momentum USA. Together we finished building a check dam, several firebreaks, a latrine, and we fixed the local road. We pray that this group will continue to support and share their experience with other potential partners in their network.
  • A meaningful meeting with Thailand Baptist Convention leaders for the preparation of the ‘Christian and Environment’ workshop. We expect to have 80 representatives from local churches.

We pray for:

  • The safety of local communities during the dry season (March & April). Partners will be making firebreaks, check dams, and forest guards.
  • The upcoming meeting in northern Laos with local communities from the Lahu tribe. The meeting will help us to prepare for the Cross Border Project and leadership training program.
  • A meeting of local networks, NGOs, and government agencies in Mae Na Wang and Mae Fang watershed in preparation for World Environmental Day and ‘Youth participation in Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction.’

USA

We praise God for:

  • The successful international meeting. We are grateful for the ideas exchanged and shared learning throughout the week. Also for safe travel to and from the meeting.
  • Doug’s visit to Thailand. We are thankful to colleagues from Plant With Purpose Thailand who organized a wonderful trip with community visits.
  • Our new Development Assistant Sophie Casmano. We welcome Sophie and are grateful to have her skills and gifts on our team.
  • Doug’s 10 year anniversary with Plant With Purpose. Doug’s gifts and wisdom continue to bless, grow, and shape Plant With Purpose.
  • The opportunity to spend an afternoon with 19 students from Biola University and share the mission of Plant With Purpose.
  • Staff camaraderie as we finish our Office Olympic games and enjoy a staff appreciation hike together on Friday.
  • Scott’s visit to Houston and the opportunity to present at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

We pray for:

  • A meaningful and productive time for Scott and Christi attending the Acton Conference in San Diego.
  • Wisdom and discernment in planning the April staff retreat. Prayer for our facilitator and that the focus of the retreat is effective and purposeful.
  • Staff vacation and travel. During this month several of our San Diego staff are taking time off to be with family and/or experience nature and we pray for safe travels and a time of renewal and refreshment.
  • Our annual plan process. We pray for good judgment in determining the most effective program activities. We pray for wisdom with our development team to best use our resources in order to grow in a way that aligns with God’s will.
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Raise Up Holy Hands


Written by admin on February 20, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

Poverty is both physical and spiritual

There is a profound beauty in the realization that around the globe, no matter one’s origin or nationality, humans raise up their hands in praise to the same God.

Across eight countries, we are mesmerized with this beauty, which gives us a deep passion to root our fight against poverty in spiritual renewal.

Poverty is both physical and spiritual, which is why we partner with local pastors and church leaders to support their efforts in community outreach and discipleship.

“Faith has helped us through difficult times”

In the past few years partnering alongside these community members, we have seen God radically transform lives and bring healing to broken families. In areas that have been ravaged by political turmoil, civil strife, or extreme poverty, we have seen God bring transformative hope.

Through this healing and hope, participants have been increasingly more likely than non-participants to say that their faith has helped them through difficult times. This faith in the midst of difficult seasons has led to a ripple effect across communities, leading our partners to be been more likely to come alongside and help their neighbors.

A sense of purpose emerges

Combating poverty through holistic means not only allows our partners to find financial security, but allows God to bring a sense of purpose to these individuals lives that can only come from above.

This purpose has led our partnering communities to be more vocal in stating that they find their work to be a good use of their talents, providing a sense of joy in the midst of life’s hardships.

As we look towards moving into new watersheds, we eagerly anticipate to hear more about how God is working to revitalize these rural communities in the future, but for now we will raise our hands in praise for the ways he has been working in the present.  

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3 Ways to Help Your Own Watershed


Written by Becky Rosaler on February 12, 2018 in General

Watersheds are intricately woven into every aspect of our lives. The plants, trees, animals, and rivers around each of us exist within a watershed that provides life and ecological diversity. Knowledge of local watersheds are key to Plant With Purpose’s international programs, but no matter where you live, knowing your own natural geography can support your practice of Creation Care.

It can be easy for us to live day to day unaware of our local surroundings, and the intricate aspects of our planet that keep us alive, but it is important for us to be conscious of our own watershed. Here are three ways you can contribute to your watershed, and ensure the livelihood of it in the future.

Avoid: Avoid the use of harmful pesticides around your home and land. Alongside excess water runoff, pesticides can seep away from farming areas and act as a poison to local streams, wildlife, and plants.

Plant: When you plant gardens or trees in your local area, you can drastically improve the health of your watershed. The root systems of plants and trees provide not only life sustaining nutrients, but also provide stability to the soil. These actions help prevent soil erosion, and further allow vibrant life to be abundant in your watershed. Look into nearby community gardens or local organizations that reintroduce trees to your neighborhood.

Support: One way you can contribute to the health and vitality of your watershed is to support public endeavors and policy initiatives to protect the environment. Many of the decisions that impact environmental health are made at a local level. Take time to research the issues relevant in your community.

 

 

 

 

Watersheds are an intricate and invaluable part of our planet that need to be protected. Other boundaries and maps may obscure knowledge of our local watershed, but as awareness grows, change becomes possible. As the term ‘watershed’ to become a part of our daily vernacular, we can begin to promote a healthier future for the land that connects us all.

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Pray With Purpose This February


Written by Plant With Purpose on February 1, 2018 in General, Prayer Letter

Plant With Purpose’s monthly prayer letter binds our network together. With work spanning across eight countries it is essential to carve out time to connect. This first friday in February our country directors are gathered at their biannual international meeting in the Dominican Republic. Director of International Programs John Mitchell says:

“The international meeting is an important opportunity for leaders of Plant With Purpose and eight field programs to deepen a shared understanding of our program and improve how we work together as we move into a new strategic phase of our partnership. We pray for safe travels, good organization, open minds, humility, and fun times together.”

We pray reflect in solidarity with our team members in the Dominican Republic and our partners around the world. Thank you for supporting Plant With Purpose with the power of your prayers. Country specific requests are below.


Burundi

We praise God for:

  • His protection and provision as we completed many activities in January. We were happy to submit all of our quarter two reports on time.
  • Making Jared’s trip possible as he came to visit us as well as our partners in Burundi the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Our successful tree planting campaign. After planting 800,000 trees in December, our participants did not stop. They are about to finish planting an additional 300,000 trees in our four watersheds.

We pray for:

  • The international meeting of the Plant With Purpose family in the Dominican Republic. That God would protect all participants and that the meeting will be fruitful for all. We thank the Lord that our country director Noé was able to get to the meeting. 
  • All third quarter activities.
  • Good rain to allow a good recovery and growth of the trees we recently planted.
  • Our Director Noé as seeks treatment for his eye condition.
  • Additional funding partners this year to help us better serve communities in our sub-watersheds.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

We praise God for:

  • Keeping our staff safe. Specifically Kashindi, our village agent, who is now back to work after his father’s death.
  • The visit from Jared White our program officer from the United States. The security situation was initially uncertain, but Jared arrived and returned safely.
  • The ability to submit our second quarter report on time. Previously we have had technical problems with out data entry but now that has been solved.
  • Safety and security in our country. Recently there were demonstrations against the president leading a third term. We give glory to God that this demonstration did not take place in our city of Uvira, and that now they are over. 

We pray for:

  • Safe travel for our program director Birori Dieudonne who is on his way to the international meeting in the Dominican Republic.
  • The sharing of our impact evaluation results with our participants. Pray that participants improve in the areas they have faced challenges, but also to be happy with the great work they have done so far.
  • Our board as they will be voting on the future executive director of the Eben Ezer ministry following the death of Samson.
  • Peace in our country. Especially in the Uvira territory where our activities and offices are based.

Dominican Republic

We praise God for:

  • Caring for our staff so far in 2018.
  • Good production of avocados for farmers in the border region.
  • Completion of quarterly reports.

We pray for:

  • The international meeting this month. That God would take care of each person traveling to the Dominican Republic and that it would be successful for the Plant With Purpose family.
  • The members of the savings groups as they implement new microenterprises and increase their income to better support their families.
  • Farmers in the communities to increase the production of native seedlings in local tree nurseries.
  • For the integration of more pastors and community leaders into our Stewardship of Creation  projects.
  • New church partnerships launches this quarter. 
  • Rain in the border region.

Ethiopia

We praise God for:

  • Detailed feedback from the Ministry of Forestry, Environment, & Climate Change on our program proposal.

We pray for:

  • Prompt and successful revision of our program proposal. That it will remain consistent with our vision of holistic transformation and be accepted by authorities.

Haiti

We praise God for:

  • Health and courage of the staff and farmers who continue to extend Plant With Purpose’s work in Haiti.
  • His provision as we have been provided for in our fundraising needs. 

We pray for:

  • Continual improvement of the political situation in Haiti as politicians negotiate controversial topics.
  • Protection from any kind of accident that could negatively influence the normal functioning of the program.
  • New open doors for the international programs and more fundraising opportunities.

Mexico

We praise God for:

  • Luis Alberto Castellano and Pastor Gabriel Borbolla’s trip to the Dominican
    Republic and their  participation in the international meeting. 
  • The collaboration and enthusiasm of the our new colleague Sandra Gabriel, who
    has joined our economic empowerment team this month.

We pray for:

  • Safe travel of all participants of the international meeting. We pray a blessing over each program represented.
  • The health of farmers in communities, for their families and their crops. We pray that low temperatures and intense frosts do not affect their work.
  • Our new board of directors. That God will give the guidance and wisdom needed in this position.
  • The wisdom to face climate change. It will require adaptation of the agricultural cycle to the variations in the seasons. We must develop the right strategies for field work.

Tanzania

We praise God for:

  • His favor and blessing throughout the year of 2017, and the peaceful new start to 2018.
  • Good health and protection of our staff during the Christmas and New Years.
  • Successful completion of Q2 PY18 planned activities. 
  • The successful group competition ceremony that took place in the Same district. It brought together about 10,000 people including Plant With Purpose Tanzania savings group members, as well as government officials and other stakeholders. 

We pray for:

  • Safe journeys in February 2018 for the Vision trip team to Tanzania. 
  • Rain. That it will be a blessing to crops and have no harm to society.
  • Safe travel for all the delegates who are attending the international meeting in the Dominican Republic.
  • Dedicated staff members to fill vacant positions in the upcoming recruitment exercise. 

Thailand

We praise God for:

  • The meaningful meetings in preparation of two seminars for Christian leaders from local churches, denominations, and Christian organizations in northern Thailand. The two topics being covered were Church and Gender Mainstreaming, and Church and Environment. 
  • The agreement in collaboration between local NGOs, government agencies, churches, and the community for the Environmental and Climate Adaptation Movement in the Mae Fang watershed. 
  • The meaningful meeting between 14 leaders from Karen Baptist Church, Myanmar, and six Christian organizations in Thailand for the Cross Border Ministry Project. This project included important program implementation agreements for the future.

We pray for:

  • The group visit from Plant With Purpose who will work with the Huay lu lung and the Huay Sak Kong villages for activities related to community forest management. Pray for the preparation, safety, and fellowship of this group. 
  • New communities in Mae Na Wang watershed who want to partner with us. Pray for the meetings with community leaders and farmers and that they help them understand our mission. 
  • The first year of the Leadership Training Program (Holistic Development and Mission) conducted in Myanmar by our partner PMA. 
  • The preparation of training on Watershed Management and GIS mapping for organizations and communities in Myanmar, which we expect to start in September 2018. Also pray for the three leaders from Karen State, Myanmar, who will visit in March 2018 for a meeting regarding the future of these programs in this region.

USA

We praise God for:

  • The opportunity for country directors to join together at this month’s international meeting. They will meet in the Dominican Republic to share ideas, network, and worship together.
  • The wonderful celebration that took place this past month to celebrate Executive Director Scott’s 25 years of work with Plant With Purpose. The event brought many of us together to celebrate Scott’s leadership and to reflect over encouraging impact.
  • Jared White’s safe travel to Africa. In one week he visited out partners in the Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tanzania.
  • All of our US board members for their support, time, and dedication. We welcome our newest board member Darrell Schrader as well as celebrate Jeff Busby’s years on the board as he transitions off. We give gratitude for Cindy Outlaw and John Steel being able to join the International Meeting in January.

We pray for:

  • Safe travel to and from Dominican Republic for all participants in the 2018 International Meeting.
  • Safe travels for both Doug Satre as he leads a vision trip to Thailand and board member Cindy Outlaw as she leads a trip to Tanzania.
  • A collaborative and productive US board meeting this month.
  • The right person to fill the Development Assistant position. We hope to find a person that has the skills for the job and aligns with our mission and values.
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9 Tips for Sustainable Living


Written by admin on January 29, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

A recent study done by Washington State University, found that the United States of America, despite being home to only five percent of the world’s population, consumes twenty-four percent of the world’s energy. The study further reveals that an average individual in the US consumes 159 gallons of water each day, while more than half the world’s population survives on less than twenty-five gallons a day. These overwhelming findings highlight the importance of sustainable living practices.

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that considers an individual or society’s stewardship  of the earth’s natural resources. Often, it can be hard to know how you can contribute and simplify your lifestyle. Here are nine simple tips to help you live more sustainably:

• Take Shorter Showers: One of the easiest ways to cut down on your daily water consumption is to take shorter showers. On average, Americans use over seventeen gallons of water each shower. You can conserve multiple gallons of water by merely taking off a few minutes in your daily shower routine.

• Make Use of A Reusable Coffee Mug: In a year alone, over four billion Starbucks cups end up in landfills. This rapid waste of nearly eleven million cups a day can be quickly altered through purchasing a reusable mug for your daily coffee.

• Walk/Bike Instead of Driving: In a recent study done by the Institute for Transportation and Development they discovered that by biking instead of driving, an urban area can reduce its carbon footprint by eleven percent.

• Say No To Junk Mail: Reducing the amount of junk mail you receive can be a small change that results in a big impact. Yearly, it is estimated that over hundred million trees are cut down to provide the paper for junk mail. Whenever possible, switch to electronic notifications from service providers.

• Turn Off Your Electronics When Not In Use: A quick fix to your daily energy consumption is to unplug your electronics that are not in use. A computer not in use but still plugged in, can use over a thousand kilowatts of energy in a day.

 

• Reduce Your Meat Consumption: One of the less known ways you can reduce your water consumption, is to make conscious decisions to eat less meat. The Wall Street Journal recently published a report that stated that the production of one fast-food quarter pounder cheeseburger, requires over thirteen hundred gallons of water. By simply reducing the amount of meat in your weekly diet, you can make a profound impact on water conservation throughout the world.

• Cut Down On Tree Products Inside of Your Home: Being mindful daily on how many tree products you are consuming throughout your household can make a significant impact on your sustainability. You can begin by replacing items such as paper napkins and paper towels with cloth materials.

• Hold A Garage Sale: The US produces thirty percent of the world’s garbage. To reduce your amount of waste, try to participate in garage sales to keep materials from ending up in a landfill.

 

• Recycle: Lastly, the most important way to be more sustainable is to be more conscious on recycling your materials. By recycling you allow materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, to be reused. This decreases the amount of trees and other natural materials that need to be cut down or harvested, which contributes to a more sustainable tomorrow.  

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A Farmer’s Purpose


Written by Philippe Lazaro on January 23, 2018 in General

Like much of the world, Andres relied on land to live

Getting to Andres’ farm from any of the Dominican Republic’s main roads takes a series of dusty streets and switchbacks. The closer you get to the farm, the more and more it starts to look like the Garden of Eden, with coffee, bananas, cassava, and cacao plants. Just below the farm is a steep drop off into the water source for his community of Zumbador.

Andres is among the quarter of the world’s population who rely on agriculture for a living. The vast majority of the world’s farmers live in poverty, in rural communities that often sit away from big cities. Traditionally, farmers like Andres grew what was sufficient to provide food for their families and a simple income. When environmental problems take effect, this population suffers the most. Limited water supply, disease, deforestation, and soil erosion are among the biggest threats.

For a long time, Andres grew and relied on coffee as a crop to sustain himself and his family.

Until Coffee Rust Disease interrupted his livelihood

When the orange patches began to appear on the leaves of his coffee plants, Andres knew that the threat of the disease was one to take seriously. The fungal infection affects coffee plants in areas close to the equator. Countries like the Philippines and Sri Lanka, which once had robust coffee industries can attribute the collapse of their coffee production to coffee rust disease.

Andrés quickly began to notice that he was losing his crop at an alarming rate. Without coffee, he would need to find a new way to bring in an income for his family. “The land is our mother. We need to take care of it. The land should be busy,” explained Andres. He recognized the need for environmental restoration, but wasn’t sure what he could do about it right away.

The advice of a neighbor led him to work with Plant With Purpose

One of Andres’ neighbors helped him avoid the loss of his family’s farm. His friend Leoncino had worked to help bring Plant With Purpose’s work in Zumbador and he encouraged Andres to participate.

Plant With Purpose encouraged Andres to plant more cacao, since the plant is more disease resistant and less labor intensive compared to coffee. Andres could harvest 500 pounds of cacao in the amount of time that it takes five men to produce 100 pounds of coffee. He followed advice to further diversify his plot with zapote, taro, bananas, lemon, and cassava.

This took a leap of faith from Andres. Other neighbors thought cacao was a risk. It takes about three years for cacao to become productive after it is planted, but that was a risk that paid off. As the coffee crop began to diminish, his farm remained lush and productive as cacao pods began to ripen. It wasn’t long before neighbors who were once skeptical of his decision looked to buy cacao seedling from Andres.

Now, farming is more than just an occupation

Andres’ grew more economically secure. At the same time, he grew spiritually. Plant With Purpose’s discipleship materials allowed him to connect his beliefs to the daily work he did on his farm. Today, his daily labor is filled with a sense of purpose.

Andrés believes that the purpose of farmers is to protect the water source. “I’m a watchman of water,” he tells us. “If you don’t have water, you don’t have life.” His belief in caring for the land comes from the Bible as it says in Genesis—for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

“Things like this are not happening everywhere. We are doing what God wants us to do here. The poor are helping the poor. This is the path we are learning from God.”

Andres and his wife Sonia once faced the possibility that they would not be able to provide for their seven children. Now they are motivated to continue to make changes on their farm and in their community. Their transformation has given them the opportunity to dream.

Andres hopes for his children to grow up to become professionals, a hope that now seems within reach. A few of his children have begun to attend university in Santo Domingo, with one aspiring to become a doctor. The youngest, still at home, has two careers he’d like to pursue. The first is one shared by many young children in the Dominican Republic— to become a baseball player. The other possibility is to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer.

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