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The Journey oF TrAnsFormATion
How RuRal FaRmeRs aRe HaRvesting CHange
FaRmeRs in tHe DominiCan RepubliC plant tRees.
pHoto CReDit aaRonCHang.Com
Transformation Leaders of Transformation
Director’s Corner Breaking News Village Spotlight
2 3 7
environmental solutions to Humanitarian problems
environmental solutions to Humanitarian problems
tHe sower issue #101
mR. JeRa Jules FaRms in FonDsveRRettes, Haiti.
pHoto creDit aaroncHang.com
Plant With Purpose, a Christian nonprofit organization, reverses deforestation and poverty around the world by transforming the lives of the rural poor.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have absolutely nothing productive to do? For decades? One night many years ago, Father Jean Wilfrid Albert, a Haitian Episcopal priest with whom we partnered when we first began working in Haiti, joined a number of us outside the field office. As we sat in the dark, he shared his joy at having a calling from Christ. “Imagine, ” he said, “how you would feel if you were sitting in a similar circle and God Himself told each of you about the important role that He had for you to play. ” “I’d be so excited!” Father Albert said with emotion. He then asked us to imagine what it would be like to be told instead that God had nothing for you to do. You couldn’t even take care of your family. You were worthless. Of course, God never says this to anyone. It is a vicious lie told by a world that measures personal value only in terms of money. On the other hand, a part of the good news Jesus brings is that we are all given talents, and each of us has a role to play in His kingdom. God invites each of us to participate in what He is doing in the world. We are not passive bystanders, victims in a world headed for destruction. Colossians 1:20 tells us Christ is reconciling all things, and in 1 Corinthians 5:18 we learn that we, too, have been given this ministry of reconciliation. Jesus re2
minds us that even the weak, downtrodden, and poor have an important role to play. Around the world, the rural poor have been told directly and indirectly that they have nothing to contribute. This type of disempowerment is particularly acute in Burundi, where thousands of repatriated refugees are returning—many after living in camps in Tanzania where they subsisted on aid and had no opportunity to work. That is why much of our spiritual outreach in Burundi centers on a curriculum called “Theology of Work, ” written by Lazare Sebiteriko, our local director there. The study has become the glue that holds our Burundian program together. Until people begin to understand their purpose and Godgiven value, there is little enthusiasm for environmental restoration, small business creation, or even farming. Lazare is a trained theologian and the study has considerable depth, but I teased him recently that it could all be boiled down to the affirmation that God loves you and has a purpose for you. What is not a joke is the radical good news that this message carries for someone who has been told they have no purpose. It is a message with such resonance that churches all over Burundi and as far as eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are asking to use this curriculum.
ExEcutivE DirEctor: Scott Sabin firstname.lastname@example.org DEvElopmEnt DirEctor: Doug Satre email@example.com markEting anD EvEnts: Becky Rosaler firstname.lastname@example.org
stay connEctED: 4903 Morena Blvd. Suite 1215 San Diego, CA 92117 Ph: 800.633.5319 Email: email@example.com Web: plantwithpurpose.org Tw: @PlantWPurpose Fb: facebook.com/PlantWithPurpose
email meDia@plantwitHpurpose.org to learn How you can: • Share your Plant With Purpose story • Host an event • Become a Plant With Purpose advocate
Leave a Legacy. Please consider including Plant With Purpose in your wills and bequests. Contact Doug Satre: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Sabin Executive Director
copyright © 2013 Plant With Purpose
planting Hope gala
oCtobeR 12, 2013
at 5:30 in tHe evening
On October 12, 2013, the Plant With Purpose community will gather for an international festival at the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, overlooking the beautiful Mission Bay. Expect to be treated to a wonderful evening! The silent auction and cocktail hour will take place outside on Paradise Terrace with live music provided by Serenade and Strum. A sumptuous Latin-fusion dinner accompanied by California wine will please your palate. Plant With Purpose will be honoring Project 7 and Kellogg Garden Products for their continued support. And, of course, you’ll hear an inspiring update on what is happening around the world from executive director Scott Sabin and board chair Cathi Lundy.
pHone: 800.633.5319 web: www.plantwitHpurpose.org/gala email: gala@plantwitHpurpose.org $110 per ticket / $850 per table oF 8
Proceeds go TowArd emPowering The rurAL Poor To imProve Their Lives And LAnd.
our website gets a new look
Have you checked out plantwithpurpose.org recently? Spend some time on our newly updated site and learn how Plant With Purpose programs are moving rural communities “From Despair to Hope. ” Find out details about “Where We Work, ” and take the next step to “Get Involved” in Plant With Purpose’s life-changing programs. house at our San Diego office. It was an honor to spend time with these inspiring men, who are leading the way for Plant With Purpose’s programs in East Africa. Here, Lazare and Benoit are pictured with Bill and Susan Hoehn at a lunch reception graciously hosted by the Hoehns.
upcoming vision trips
If you have never visited one of Plant With Purpose’s programs, we would love for you to consider joining us on a Vision Trip. Contact Doug Satre for more information: email@example.com. mexico october 21-27, 2013
burunDi staFF visits san Diego
Country director Lazare Sebiteriko and Burundian board member Benoit Muhimuzi visited Southern California this summer. They shared about their work at multiple home receptions, churches, and an open
Burundi may 4-13, 2014 hAiTi may 5-11, 2014 dominicAn rePuBLic June 21-July 5, 2014
tHe Journey oF transFormation
Holistically investing in rural communities
women in tanzania taking steps towaRD a bRigHteR tomoRRow.
Becky RosaleR, Marketing and Events Coordinator
Dieubon Joseph lives in the rural community of toman, Haiti, with his wife and six children. mr. Joseph says that since the arrival of plant With purpose, “my professional and spiritual life has changed.” the tools and training provided by plant With purpose allowed him to improve his tree nursery, which resulted in increased income.
Seedlings formerly sold for about 25 Haitian gourdes. Now, Mr. Joseph says, “I sell seedlings at 50 gourdes [$1.25 USD], and the success rate of seedlings in the nursery is close to 100 percent. ” This past year he grew 5,000 seedlings that he planted on his farm, shared with friends and community members, and sold to a nearby community. Mr. Joseph sees Plant With Purpose as “an institution that adopts all necessary moral values that are integral to the development of a person. ” He offers this encouragement to Plant With Purpose: “We are willing to pass through the complete change that you propose!”
Mr. Joseph has experienced changes in his circumstances because Plant With Purpose invested in his community. Plant With Purpose embraces a model of transformation for the entire person: physically, economically, and spiritually. Communities are on a journey out of poverty. And through empowerment, they’re experiencing transformation. Bryant Myers, professor of transformational development at Fuller Theological Seminary, writes in Walking With the Poor, “The goals for this journey of transformation are to recover our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and to discover our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for the world and all the people in it. ” These are accomplishments that Plant With Purpose witnesses every day.
our true iDentity
Scott Sabin says, “The first step in our work is helping people understand their own power and their value in the kingdom [of God]. This is foundational. When it comes to solving the problem of poverty, the poor themselves are our most important allies. When it comes to issues of
“The goals for This journey of TransformaTion are To recover our True idenTiTy as human beings creaTed in The image of god and To discover our True vocaTion as producTive sTewards, faiThfully caring for The world and all The people in iT.”
~ Bryant Myers
smiles in Haiti anD tHailanD expRess Hope.
rural environmental degradation, the rural poor have the skills, insight, and vested interest to solve these problems. One of the most important things we can do is empower the poor to realize and use their God-given talents to change their communities and restore their land.” A shift in mindset takes places in rural communities as staff members facilitate community assessments and offer guidance for solutions. It is then up to partnering farmers like Mr. Joseph to carry out the hard work. This work emphasizes people’s true identities and what they have to offer. Tui Tongdi, director of Plant With Purpose Thailand, shares the importance of partnering with hill tribe communities there: “We have learned that to create sustainable development, participants must take responsibility and ownership,” he says. “We have been promoting the roles and responsibilities of the local people.” Plant With Purpose Thailand has been able to step into an advisory role as local leaders work through economic, environmental, and social issues. The door to true identity is being opened in Thailand. Tongdi explains, “In most of the villages we work with, the families are not Christian. Even though we do not preach, people start to see the love of God. People know that we are Christians and love them. Some people ask us why we keep loving them, and we tell them that because God loves us, so we love them.”
proDuctive stewarDs oF creation
Mr. Joseph’s seedlings play an important part in Haiti’s progress out of poverty because of the direct link between poverty and the environment. Without healthy land, the majority of rural farming families cannot put food on the table. As rural farming families gain resources to change the circumstances of their surroundings, they also see a change in their well-being. Guy Paraison, country director in Haiti, shares, “Socially, people and communities are being transformed. They talk more about environmental issues, and their vocabulary has changed. They talk about soil conservation, reforestation, organization, grafting, and composting, which are very new words. ” Not only are these words being integrated into conversations, but communities are also implementing these new techniques. Farmers are considering tree planting and sustainable agriculture as long-term investments. Plant With Purpose Tanzania just finished planting 1.4 million trees within this last year alone. The tree planting efforts were inspired by the “Redemptive Agriculture” Bible study. This Creation Care study explores the ways that God asks us to care for the earth and the people in it. The study led to soil conservation work and tree planting. What’s more, partnering farmers worked to mobilize other groups. Tree planting competitions took place between 84 churches, 43 primary schools, 26 secondary schools, and even 2 mosques. Richard Mihna, Plant With Purpose Tanza-
nia’s country director, shares, “The greatest change we have seen this past year is the increased participation in tree planting and organic vegetable production. ” As productive stewards caring for the world, Plant With Purpose programs in both Thailand and Mexico have observed that wildlife is returning to reforested areas. Plant With Purpose Thailand has encouraged a wildlife preservation program, and they report, “In the river and forest areas, we can see more fish, birds, and wild animals. ”
caring For people
Transformation is taking place as people like Mr. Joseph become financially secure. In communities like Toman, Haiti, where money is sparse, savings-led microfinance through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) seemed impossible. Today there are more than 7,000 individuals who are actively saving through 312 Plant With Purpose VSLAs internationally. Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic’s country director, Carlos Disla, shares, “A great change that has occurred in the Dominican Republic is the enthusiastic adoption of a savings culture in rural communities. ” VSLA participants in Thailand also share, “We see that the saving groups are good because we can save money and take loans with low interest. It’s not just about the money but also about having fellowship and better relationships. ” CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
When transformational development is accomplished, it is hard to contain. Plant With Purpose sees this vision for a different way of life spreading. Disla comments, “These innovative farmers in the Dominican Republic hope to encourage others to move forward in the care of their land, recovery of the environment, and the improvement of their living conditions. ” Plant With Purpose Mexico has been pushing forward on expanding the program from Oaxaca to the state of Chiapas. “Local pastors and leaders have expressed their interest and motivation to promote a process of transformational development in their region, ” conveys Castellanos. Holistic transformation is spreading: person to person, farmer to farmer, community to community, and country to country as those involved in Plant With Purpose’s programs embrace their true identity in Christ and work to bring God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
Loans that are accessed through VSLAs allow for improvements in living conditions, which means improvements to health. The use of technologies like fuel-efficient stoves and eco-latrines are protecting the health of families in partnering communities according to Luis Castellanos, Plant With Purpose Mexico’s country director. Truly caring for people means caring for the whole person—physically and spiritually. Lazare Sebitereko, Plant With Purpose Burundi’s country director, witnesses empowerment as he leads people through the “Theology of Work” seminar in Burundi, which has led to action. Mhina shares, “We have seen transformation in Tanzania as churches are reporting increased beneficiary participation in church activities and increases in tithes and offerings in communities. The reason for this is that our communities have increased their income. ”
leaDers oF transFormation
Plant With Purpose’s international team is made of leaders who have been equipped to bring about change. What follows is a glimpse of the qualifications that make this team strong. Bunsak Tongdi (Tui) has been the country director of Plant With Purpose Thailand since 2008. Prior to this position, he worked for Plant With Purpose as a microfinance staff member. Tui has worked as a child sponsorship trainer for Compassion International and held other jobs including teaching English. He is earning a graduate degree focused on cooperativecommunity-based economics. Lazare Sebitereko has served as Plant With Purpose Burundi’s country director since 2008. His work experience includes serving as a program manager for Geneva Global, theology professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a human rights officer for Groupe Milima (DRC). Lazare’s education culminated with a Ph.D. in theology, specializing in justice, from the University of Pretoria. In 2002, Carlos Disla began overseeing Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic after holding many government positions, including the Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources. His education includes two bachelor’s degrees, one from Texas A & M focused on agricultural economics and the other in agronomy from the Institute of Agriculture in Santiago, Dominican Republic. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
a tHree-part approacH to transFormation
instead of focusing on one problem or solution at a time, Plant with Purpose helps rural farming families address their poverty through an approach that integrates environmental, economic, and spiritual solutions.
environmental restoration economic empowerment
Family gardens, agroforestry plots, and sustainable farming methods help parents put nutritious food on the table.
investing in futures.
Savings-and-loan groups give families a way to create a financial safety net as well as invest in children’s education, develop small businesses, and improve farms.
experiencing the love of Jesus.
Outreach programs through local churches help families understand God’s love and grace in a tangible way and grow spiritually.
Trees act as a natural filter. As hillsides are planted, watersheds once again flow with clean water. Trees improve soil conditions and prevent topsoil from eroding, making farming more successful.
mobilizing the church.
Programs that encourage the church to meet practical needs in the community include adult literacy classes, community recycling programs, and life-skills seminars.
Strategic approaches to market opportunities and business development, are providing brighter futures.
Luis Castellanos has been the director of Plant With Purpose Mexico since 2001. His bachelor’s degree in business administration was put to use as he worked in multiple positions for the government. He has consulted for organizations working with rural communities and provided business oversight for various groups.
Since June 2011, Richard Mhina has been providing leadership for Plant With Purpose Tanzania. He became a part of the team when asked to provide oversight for compliance with a USAID grant. He is receiving his MBA this year, following a degree focused on agricultural economics and agribusiness.
Guy Paraison started at Plant With Purpose Haiti as an administrative advisor in 1997. In 2001, he became the country director. Prior to coming to Plant With Purpose, Guy taught Spanish, worked in financial credit positions, worked with UNICEF , and served as a founding member of Fonkoze, Haiti’s leading microfinance organization.
By Beth luthye, Grant Writer
In Oaxaca’s central valley lies the tiny village of Chepeginio, a place called home by about 200 people. In this area, no one has access to running water at home, and fewer than one in five has access to electricity. Few kids finish high school because they have to drop out to help earn money for their families. Plant With Purpose saw the need and began working here months ago. In this small community, Abundio and Alejandra co-pastor a small church.The parents of six children have watched for years as young men and fathers leave in search of work in the United States or other Mexican states. They feared this would become the fate of some of their own children, but today they have hope for a different future—both for their family and their community. “Now, ” Abundio says, “our families are together, and they are working at home. … Now the children see … they don’t have to be day laborers. ” This newfound hope began to grow when Abundio and Alejandra and others from their community started working together to establish a tree nursery, a large garden, and a Village Savings and Loan Association. “We have hope, ” Alejandra says. “We have already harvested vegetables. We don’t have to buy things we used to buy. We are hoping to see produce from fruit trees—oranges, apples, limes, avocados, peaches. Now, the garden is helping us to eat. ” Among the community members who work to tend the garden and nursery are Ezekiel and Magdalene, a young newlywed couple. Ezekiel had spent a few years in another area working as an agricultural day laborer but says he wants to stay in Chepeginio. The couple doesn’t have children yet, but Ezekiel says, “We would love to raise a family here and have a sense of purpose. … We don’t have anything here—but little by little, we will. ” Abundio adds, “We see God can work in this place. … We believe in a living God. We know God has a purpose and wants to uplift. God is providing for things we need. ”
abunDio anD aleJanDRa’s CHuRCH anD CHuRCH membeRs in CHepeginio, mexiCo
Developing Dreams in burunDi
“Agriculture is now a very important revenuegenerating activity. Unfortunately, as rural farmers, we face many obstacles to developing our farms and sustaining food production, ” shares Elisha Kaganda from Kiremba, Buarundi. However, after partnering with Plant With Purpose Burundi, she says, “We hope that gradually we can achieve this dream of developing our agricultural activities to meet our food needs and at the same time give us income. ” Elisha Kaganda’s dream is one that aligns with Humidtropics, a new initiative of the international organization Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Plant With Purpose Burundi has been selected to be the nonprofit representative on the planning committee. In so doing, it is joining, it is joining some of the most respected names in agriculture and development research around the world. Over the next 15 years, Humidtropics will be looking at innovative agricultural systems and working toward lifting 25 percent of poor households above the poverty line, increasing food yields by 60 percent, and increasing farm income by 50 percent, all while reducing the number of malnourished children by 30 percent and restoring sustainability to farms.
plant With purpose 4903 Morena Blvd. Suite 1215 San Diego, CA 92117 Ph: 800.633.5319 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.plantwithpurpose.org
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planting Hope gala!
OctOber 12, 2013
plant witH purpose is making a DiFFerence
a motHeR ConFiDently smiles FoR HeR CHilD’s FutuRe in buRunDi.
planting Hope, Harvesting cHange
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