Thanksgiving Reflections

Written by Plant With Purpose on November 22, 2012 in General

By Natalie Favorite, Development Intern

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” — Colossians 4:2 

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, we’ve been reflecting on the past year with joy and thanksgiving. As we reflect, we recall some highlights from the countries where Plant With Purpose is working.

We are thankful for the efforts toward peace and prosperity in Burundi. We remember the story of Leoni: Leoni moved to Tanzania during Burundi’s brutal civil war, and when she returned she had no land and no prospects. But she had a skill to offer. While a refugee, Leoni had learned to make fuel-efficient stoves (which use less wood and produce less smoke). Leoni is now teaching Plant With Purpose community groups—groups consisting of both Tutsis and Hutus—about these stoves. Personally, she is bringing in an income, expanding her business, and establishing friendships. As farmers tend to their fields, and businesses are established—Tutsis alongside Hutus, those returning and those who stayed—communities are growing together with the healing hope of peace. – 9/20/2012 – Planting Peace in Burundi

We are thankful for the successful reforestation and sustainable agriculture efforts in Tanzania. In a region where food security if one of the primary concerns of the communities, planting trees and restoring the land has led to increased crop yields and increased incomes.
Joyce Kimaro, one of Plant With Purpose’s partnering farmers, said: “We grow everything ourselves, feed the family, and still have a lot leftover to sell.”
The Kimaros in Tanzania

Dominican Republic
We are thankful for how God has been moving through Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic this year. We have seen a rapid expansion of the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), leading to tremendous positive impact on the communities. Teodora Sanchez shares her experience being involved in a VSLA group in her community:
“VSLAs strengthen the community. They affirm our core values: God, unity, community, and family. VSLAs improve our morale and self-esteem and teach us values essential in empowering us to resolve our own problems. The community has more faith in God for a better tomorrow.”

3/15/2012 – Saving Money, Sparking Hope

We thank God for newly built cisterns in Mexico this year, which provide a clean and reliable source of water for the community. A Plant With Purpose supporter who visited Oaxaca, Mexico, and participated in the cistern building project shares his story of thankfulness:
“We praise God that He allowed us to lend a hand in the construction of this kitchen and cistern. It was inspiring to see the strong cultural value of unity in this community that was so apparent in how they carried out this project. Members who initially were not interested in assisting joined in the effort simply because they are committed to their community. We pray that the kitchen is able to serve many nutritious meals and provide a needed service that allows more children to go to school.” – 6/19/2012 – A Postcard From Oaxaca

As we look back on the ongoing efforts to rebuild Haiti from the destruction of the earthquake—and now, Hurricane Sandy—we are thankful for the steadfast commitment of partnering communities toward environmental restoration.

Hurricane Sandy dealt a harsh blow to rural farming communities, but news from Fonds-Verrettes, a partnering community in Haiti’s border region, offers hope that Plant With Purpose programs are making a difference. This is from an email sent by Elie Chery, a Plant With Purpose Haiti staff member, in the days following Sandy: “I have been to Fonds-Verrettes. … It appears that the town is nearly destroyed. … However, the soil conservation and reforestation activities that began in 2006 and continue today have been a kind of defense for the town. If we had not done this work, the situation would be far worse. It is true that some farms are destroyed, but many more survived the storm. This is obvious evidence that we must involve more farmers in this kind of work.”

We rejoice at the work that has been accomplished and continue to pray for restored environments and transformed communities.

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