The Hope of Change: Planting Opportunity
Written by Plant With Purpose on November 13, 2012 in General
By Natalie Favorite, Development Department Intern
My time so far at Plant With Purpose has increased my awareness of the plight of the rural poor as well as expanded my thinking on solutions to rural poverty. The video that was shown at the 2012 Planting Hope Gala struck me personally as it brought up some lasting solutions to economic problems in the Dominican Republic.
In hearing the powerful testimony of the Valdez family—a family that was directly impacted by the work of Plant With Purpose—I can’t help but echo the words Susana says, “It is the hand of God that has come here through Plant With Purpose.” This is the work of God: to bring about His hand, to show His people that He is intimately involved in their lives, that there is freedom from the cycle of poverty. I can’t help but think of Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
Freedom for the oppressed is coming in what I use to consider an unlikely way, through restoration of the land. I find it so beautiful that as God creates an opportunity to bring about life, it is paralleled with bringing life back to the land. As poverty is eradicated from the communities at the roots, it is replaced by a foundation of hope and restoration: personally, environmentally, and communally. As Scott Sabin says, “These people are not looking for a handout, they are looking for an opportunity.” This is an opportunity to overcome their trials and the hardship issued to them based on their location, an opportunity to reverse the vicious cycles of poverty, and an opportunity to be people who do more than just “get by.”
I think it is the restoring of hope that creates joy and wonder in me. With proper care, a barren land is given a new chance, a chance of new life, and of fruitfulness. Along with it, people are given a chance at new life, and of fruitfulness, through being given a hope to escape the once hopeless poverty and destitution that faced them. It calls to mind the verse in Psalm 1, where those who walk with God “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.”
It is the hand of God that has come upon the land, and it is the hand of God that is working through people to bring life. It is testimonies like the ones from the Valdez family that remind me that at Plant With Purpose, we are not just planting trees, but planting hope and planting opportunities, “empowering [partnering farmers] to live the lives God has for them.”