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winter 2011

At this year’s Planting Hope in this issue Gala, the Missions Pastor at Features Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Tom Theriault, gave Departments an introductory reflection and offered a prayer to kick off the evening. His words were so inspiring that Plant With Purpose decided to interview Tom and develop his testimony into an article. The following story inside recounts his friendship with people in Oaxaca, Mexico and what they taught him over the past ten years.
Hope Is Keeping Them Home Gala Success! Haiti Recovery Update Holiday Gift Catalog Director’s Corner Breaking News

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Formerly known as Floresta Usa

Hope is Keeping tHem Home
An IntervIew wIth tom therIAult
Missions Pastor at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church

annual gala plants Hope For tHe rural poor
Thank you to everyone who prayed for and supported this year’s planting Hope Gala! This year’s event raised $235,000 and we are so excited about this outcome. During the Fund a Need auction we raised $144,000. These much needed funds will go toward fuel-efficient stoves in Tanzania, women’s empowerment programs in Thailand, and food security in Burundi. They will go toward water cisterns in mexico, soil conservation in Haiti, and savings and loan group trainings in the Dominican Republic. additionally, thanks to the overwhelming response we received during the Trees please auction, 15,950 trees will be planted in Haiti. This is in addition to the nearly 240,000 trees we have already planted in Haiti since the earthquake. we also had eight new village sponsorships pledged! Thank you to those of you who prayed for and supported this critical fund raising event. Because of your support, farmers will be able to feed their families, raise their incomes, restore health to their communities, and grow in their knowledge of God’s love and grace.

There is an African proverb that says, “Your ears are your father’s friends; your eyes are your own friends.” This loosely translates to “seeing is believing”. This saying rings true for Tom Theriault, who has witnessed the transforming power of the gospel, particularly at work in the lives of the rural poor.
Ten years ago, Theriault’s church, Solana Beach presbyterian Church (SBpC), decided they wanted to address the poverty they saw on their street corners. most of the people they saw were immigrants from mexico who had presumably crossed the border illegally and were now living in poverty. They got to know some of them and came to understand why they were on our street corners. Hope had driven them north to find work to feed their families back in mexico. The church wanted to do more than put a band-aid on the problem. They wanted to address the problem at its roots to find a long-term solution. SBpC approached plant with purpose, an organization they had supported for years. plant with purpose suggested a partnership in oaxaca, mexico - a place that has the highest emigration rate of any mexican state. Upon further research, SBpC discovered why oaxacans were leaving their homes. with land depleted by deforestation and counterproductive farming practices, these hard working men could no longer support their families. Hoping for a better future, they risk life and limb to cross the border. looking for a long-term solution, SBpC teamed up with plant with purpose by sup2 FoRmeRly KNowN aS FloReSTa USa

porting the community of el porvenir in oaxaca. when Theriault first visited, he noticed barren hillsides with people trapped in a cycle of extreme poverty. He learned that the community made a meager living by selling charcoal to city dwellers to use as fuel wood for cooking. Desperate to feed their families, the farmers cut down more and more trees on the dry hillsides for charcoal, destroying the land and further entrenching themselves in poverty and environmental degradation. SBpC became involved with creating opportunities for the community. Theriault says that their church became friends with leaders in the community, and it was out of this trust that they were able to work together. Theriault saw outcroppings of God’s love as the villagers transformed their lives by planting trees, creating fishponds, and constructing cisterns to catch precious rainwater. SBpC’s Vacation Bible School raised money to start flocks of sheep, which produced wool twice per year. The women from SBpC visited the community and collaborated with the women there to think of creative ways to generate income. Together they came up with the idea of creating pine needle baskets and many other craft items, which the women now sell in their local markets. Theriault said it was inspiring to see these industrious and inventive oaxacan women play a key role in the revival of their community. on his church’s fourth visit to el porvenir, they noticed a difference in the attitude of the people. “we saw a sign at the entrance of the village that read, ‘welcome to el porvenir, where there are opportunities,’” said Theriault. “el porvenir literally means “the future, so it was exciting to see people with ” a renewed hope for their future. ”

Theriault spoke to one farmer who said, “with the help of our friends to the North, we now have hope. we are on our feet and producing things ourselves. ” with the renewal of el porvenir well underway, plant with purpose suggested that SBpC shift the partnership to a nearby village called loma Chimedia. Facing similar hardships as el povenir, the community’s goal was to revive their land, their mixtec language and culture, and the mixtec traditions of environmental stewardship. They also wanted to stop migration and keep people home in oaxaca. Now, five years later, the community is flourishing. They have constructed greenhouses to multiply their vegetable crops, cisterns to store precious rainwater, and eco-latrines and ecostoves to improve health and reduce harm on their surrounding environment. last summer, a village leader told the SBpC team that in the past three years not a single oaxacan has left loma Chimedia for the North. Upon reflection, Theriault says, “over the years, we became friends with the people of oaxaca. I have seen with my own eyes how the gospel of Jesus transforms people, communities, and the environment that supports people and communities. Hope is no longer driving them north. Hope is keeping them home. It makes my heart rejoice!”

If you or your church is interested in sponsoring a village in Oaxaca or any of the places Plant With Purpose works, please contact our office at: (800) 633-5319 or email Doug Satre at:
www.plaNTwITHpURpoSe.oRG 3

giFts WitH a purpose
What do you give to the person who has everything? How about a gift given in their honor to help bring hope and wholeness to a rural community! This year, Plant With Purpose is having an online holiday village market. You can shop for animals, trees, eco-items such as stoves, cisterns, or latrines, family gardens, micro credit loans, and resources for community Bible study groups. Find the perfect alternative gift for your family and friends by visiting Or, check the “gift” box on the enclosed remit envelope and check which items you would like to donate. Then go to www. to download a gift card that you can print out and send to those special people in your life.

Director’s corner
By SCOTT SABIN, Executive Director

BreaKing neWs

here Are some exAmples of AlternAtIve gIfts And theIr lIfe-chAngIng benefIts for rurAl communItIes:
Family garDen

visit a village
every year plant with purpose supporters have the opportunity to travel to the communities where we work to see our lifechanging work first-hand. This year’s trip dates are as follows: Dominican republic: april 28 – may 3, 2011 Haiti: august 21 – 27, 2011 oaxaca, mexico: october 19 – 24, 2011 please contact Doug Satre at or call (800) 633-5319 if you are interested in participating in a vision trip.

plant trees

Fuel-eFFicient stove

Blog Buzz
a whirlwind. That may be the only way to describe 2010. on January 12th, the earthquake in Haiti turned most of the country upside down, and gave us marching orders for the rest of the year. you can read elsewhere in the Sower about our ongoing response, but I am incredibly proud of our team and the way they rose to the occasion, and continue to this day, sacrificing to help rebuild the country. elsewhere our programs made enormous strides, expanding to new communities (we are now working in 237 villages globally) and planting over 1 million trees. Thousands of bio-intensive vegetable gardens were planted, hundreds of wood-saving stoves were constructed, and hundreds of loans were made. New cisterns now provide clean water in dozens of communities. many lives were transformed with new opportunity, new hope, and new faith. we took steps to incorporate a new type of credit program in our work, the Village Savings and loan associations, and we completed our first year of working with USaID in Tanzania to connect organic vegetable growers with appropriate markets for their produce. Here in the US, my book was released in February, and we received unprecedented publicity in national publications and media. we also completed an ambitious new strategic plan, which anticipates expansion into five new countries while continuing to improve the work we are doing in our current projects. we believe that the work we are doing is some of the most effective in the world for solving the upstream causes of poverty. we realize we could do none of it without God’s grace and the active partnership of people like you. yet we are far from finished. There is still so much to be accomplished - so many lives to touch. with that in mind, please consider a year-end donation, or consider using our online gift catalogue to help with your Christmas shopping this year (www. Thank you!
wondering what the latest news is at plant with purpose? Stay in the know by signing-up to receive blog posts to your email inbox! you will hear inspiring testimonies from the farmers we work with, as well as information on how you can get involved. Visit to keep up with the blog buzz.

Deforestation and poverty are devastating global problems that can’t be solved in isolation. Desperate to feed their families, poor farmers are driven to cut down trees for immediate survival despite the horrible disasters that result: farms become wasteland, springs dry up, flooding and landslides ensue, and the land is utterly depleted for future generations. Donating trees will help farmers and their families improve the quality of their soil, protect vulnerable hillsides from erosion and mud slides, and ultimately restore their land. Trees are powerful tools that can transform the lives of the poor. $10 - Plant an orchard (10 trees) $25 – Plant a hillside (25 trees) $50 – Plant a grove (50 trees) $100 – Plant a forest (100 trees)

Buy a Fuel-efficient stove for $30 Fuel-efficient stoves help families and the environment. In most of the developing countries where plant with purpose works, women cook food and boil water over an open fire inside their homes, forcing them and their children to inhale unhealthy amounts of smoke each day. Imagine an open campfire in your kitchen! For $30, plant with purpose will provide a family with a cleaner burning stove. By reducing wood use by 50%, these stoves prevent deforestation and also reduce diseases and death caused by smoke inhalation. For just $30, you can make a significant impact on the health of the planet and the rural poor.

Plant a nutritious Family Garden for $50 malnutrition is a serious problem in the areas where plant with purpose works, and this gift of a family garden will make a huge difference in the quality of life for an entire family. your gift of $50 enables plant with purpose staff to help set up a garden and train a mother and her family to diversify their diet, better use the limited space available for growing food, and improve the fertility and production of their land. plant with purpose also helps these families market their products at local markets and in other cities. The extra money generated at markets allows mothers to pay for school fees for their children and provide better health for their families.

tendIng to eden nameD a Finalist in tHe chrIstIAnIty todAy BooK oF tHe year aWarDs!
Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People written by our executive Director, Scott Sabin, is a finalist in the Christianity Today book of the year awards! we are very honored and humbled by this nomination. please help us spread the word about this wonderful book by telling friends and family (it makes a great Christmas gift!) or by sharing the book’s creation care Bible study with your small group or church. Tending to Eden is available on through our website,

tHe soWer issue #91
The Sower is published quarterly by plant with purpose.

4903 morena Blvd. Ste 1215 San Diego, Ca 92117 ph: (800) 633-5319 Fax: (858) 274-3728 email: www.

editor-In-Chief: Kate Nare Please consider including Plant With Purpose in your wills and bequests.

scott sabin executive Director

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FoRmeRly KNowN aS FloReSTa USa



“we wAnt to plAnt trees everywhere Around our communIty; we Are dreAmIng of A forest! we know thAt If we cAn do thIs, the young men of our communIty wIll fInd hope And opportunIty here, rAther thAn hAvIng to look for work In the sugAr cAne fIelds of the domInIcAn republIc, or for food In port Au prInce.”

village spotligHt:
huai Wai, thailand From heartbreak to hope

restore their land and improve their livelihoods. Instead of barren fields, farmers produce an abundance of nutritious crops. Instead of becoming further entrenched in poverty, families start small businesses that allow them to pay for food, healthcare, and school fees. Instead of being backed into a corner, families are equipped with options and opportunities. you can help the people of Huai wai to transform stories of desperation and heartbreak into stories of victory and hope by partnering with plant with purpose to sponsor Huai wai for only $30 per month. and, if you sign up for a recurring donation, your gift will be matched for the first year! Visit or call (800) 633-5319 to learn more about sponsoring a village.

Community Leader, Fonds Verettes, Haiti

By Aly lewIS, Grant Writer

BreaKing neWs

Haiti eartHquaKe recovery eFForts
as the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti approaches, we are encouraged by the progress we have witnessed in the lives of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Since January 12th, 2010, we have distributed 118,740 pounds of bean seed to over 2,700 families and employed over 6,000 farmers through our “Cash for work” program who planted nearly 240,000 trees and constructed over 360 miles of soil conservation barriers. This progress is encouraging, but there is still much work to be done. with the help of generous donors such as yourself, we will continue to plant trees and construct erosion barriers to conserve soil, improve crop yields, and protect farmers from further disaster by restoring their land. So far we have raised over $1 million, and we hope to maintain this momentum. please join us in continuing our recovery efforts in Haiti by donating online at or calling our office at (800) 633-5319.

Some of the darkest stories I’ve ever heard have come from Northern Thailand. Stories of human trafficking and child sex slaves. Stories of people profiting from and preying on families so desperate that they would choose to sell one child to save the rest. Stories of desperation, hopelessness, and exploitation. Stories that break my heart. when I first read about the people of Huai wai, a village plant with purpose works with in Northern Thailand, my heart broke. Fleeing conflict and oppression in the Burmese Shan State, these palaung hill tribe members resettled in Huai wai. Despite their newfound freedom and safety, life is not easy in Huai wai. Villagers suffer from chronic hunger and poor health as they struggle to produce enough food from their overworked and barren land. as they run out of options, the people of Huai wai resort to cutting trees to provide for their families, paradoxically destroying their primary source of sustenance and creating a vicious cycle of poverty and environmental destruction. marked by such poverty, displacement, and desperation, families become vulnerable to exploitation as they are forced to make difficult and often unthinkable decisions just to survive. But the story doesn’t end there. plant with purpose is working upstream to address the root causes of poverty and deforestation that force so many hopeless families in Huai wai into desperate situations. projects such as home gardens, fish farms, water projects, and community savings and loan groups empower farmers to

partners WitH purpose: bassett Furniture oF southern CaliFornia

restore hope to these communities. Bassett’s Southern California stores in San marcos, Chula Vista, Temecula, Irvine, and Fountain Valley all have plant with purpose posters in their windows, and customers are encouraged to plant a tree for only $1.00. Huffman said sometimes customers will say they have been to Tanzania or oaxaca, so there is an automatic connection. Bassett is also committed to environmental issues. according to Huffman, all employees receive training on the importance of environmental preservation, and Bassett honors this mission by using reputable lumber yards and receiving their latex and foam materials from quality factories who practice and value sustainability. plant with purpose would like to thank Bassett for their commitment to providing longterm, sustainable solutions to bring prosperity and dignity to rural communities in Tanzania and mexico. Because of their support, lands are being reforested and families are able to feed their families, start businesses, and have hope for a better future. If you are interested in learning more about plant with purpose’s corporate sponsorship opportunities, please call Doug Satre at (800) 633-5319 or visit

important tax DeDuction reminDer
The end of 2010 is almost upon us! If you are planning on making a donation and having it count toward your 2010 income tax return, IRS publication 526 states the timing of your donation must be as follows: • Check: The envelope in which the check is mailed must be POSTMARKED by or on December 31st. • Credit Card: Your card must be PROCESSED by or on December 31st, even if you don’t pay your bill until January. • Stock and Securities: When electronically transferring appreciated stock or securities, the date of donation is the date plant with purpose ReCeIVeS the stock in our account. please allow at least 5 days from the time you initiate the transfer. For more information on how to donate stock and/or the benefits of donating stock, please feel free to call our offices or email Kristen Tucker, Director of Finance & administration, at If you have any questions, please contact our offices by either calling (800) 633-5319 or emailing office hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. pacific Time.

Hope is in short supply in mng’ende, Tanzania where environmental degradation, a shortage of water, and a lack of economic opportunity results in chronic hunger and malnutrition. Similarly, in Rio plaza, mexico there is little rainfall and, as a last resort, people make a meager living by selling charcoal to city dwellers to use as fuel wood for cooking, cutting down the trees they depend on for survival. These issues resonated with Rick Huffman, president of Bassett Furniture of Southern California, when he first heard executive Director of plant with purpose, Scott Sabin, speak a couple years ago at a Barnabas group

meeting. at the time he was looking for an organization for Bassett to support, and plant with purpose seemed like a good fit. “we wanted a way to give back to the community, and plant with purpose’s mission of healing the land and the people made sense to us, ” said Huffman. “we have many Hispanic families working for us, so there is a natural connection to mexico. and being a furniture company we support Tanzania’s reforestation projects. ” Since then, Bassett has committed to sponsoring the villages of mng’ende and Rio plaza in an effort to reverse the vicious cycle of poverty and


FoRmeRly KNowN aS FloReSTa USa



Plant with Purpose 4903 morena Blvd. Suite 1215 San Diego, Ca 92117 ph: (800) 633-5319 Fax: (858) 274-3728 email:

NoN-Profit org U.S. PoStage Paid Permit 751 SaN diego Ca

give tHe giFt tHat Keeps on giving

details about plant With purpose’s holiday online GiFt CataloG inside…

planting Hope gala a success

annual Fund raisinG event plants trees and hope in the lives oF the rural poor

Floresta is noW plant WitH purpose!