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Ketty … the Woman Behind the Smile


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 27, 2016 in Haiti

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Plant With Purpose is seeing more than 30,000 families across seven developing countries grow out of poverty. Their hard work is reinforced by the teaching and training of a team of 213 development professionals. These staff members are not only educated in their area of expertise (sustainable agriculture, economics, or spiritual direction) but they believe in the holistic approach of Plant With Purpose’s program. From agronomists to accountants, from pastors to farmers, our staff are living out the philosophy of Plant With Purpose and are dedicating their lives to effect transformational change and to impact the lives of their fellow countrymen (and women), all while restoring the environment.

It has been said that our international directors are our heroes. Well, their team members don’t fall far behind.

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Ketty teaching the community of Yeti about making organic pesticide.

Ketty Alexandre is the lead agronomist for the Fonds-Verrettes regional office in Haiti. You’ve probably seen her picture. She’s holding an avocado seedling with an infectious smile. That smile captures the deep joy that bubbles out of Ketty. Spend any time with Ketty in her element and you’ll see the profound respect that partnering farmers have for this woman.

Daughter of two rural farmers, Ketty was enveloped in an agricultural lifestyle from a young age. She shares that farmers are “my heart and blood.” Once she was old enough, Ketty traveled to Port-au-Prince to study agriculture and returned to the countryside to share her new knowledge.

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Ketty is no stranger to picking up a pickaxe and working alongside partnering farmers.

As a Plant With Purpose staff member, Ketty makes the three-hour journey to Fonds-Verrettes every Monday and returns home for the weekend. She is an empty nester with a son who is attending school in Florida. Her motherly countenance is reflected in her interactions with the Fonds-Verrettes staff. And community members warmly greet her as she conveys advice or teaches lessons on sustainable agriculture.

Community leader Macius Louis reports, “Mrs. Ketty is a very good teacher; she’s very encouraging.” Another offered that upon her suggestion, they planted trees surrounding their home, which protected the structure from storm damage.

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Ketty and the Fonds-Verrettes staff

Ketty’s heart for farmers and her work is spurred on by her faith. Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” Ketty’s response: “This is not just a job for money. I see my work as ministry and when we work with families to restore their land, it is establishing God’s Kingdom here on earth.”

And partnering families recognize this calling on Ketty’s life. Ilande Jean Paul shares, “Thank God for sending Plant With Purpose and Mrs. Ketty!”


 

Join us on October 8 for the Planting Hope Gala as we share stories of transformed lives and land as families grow out of poverty.

 

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International Day of Peace


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 21, 2016 in General

By Owen Clarke

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Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

 


 

Peace isn’t something that can be bought. It can’t be paid for, it can’t be given out, or delivered to a central African village like a truckload of rice or maize. Events aren’t held to “Raise Funds for Peace” and children don’t mail packages of peace to orphanages in Guatemala. Yet Plant With Purpose is making great strides in the practice of peace. From the Dominican Republic to Burundi to Thailand, Plant With Purpose is sowing seeds of peace, bringing people together through love, community, and the Word of God.

Peace doesn’t exclusively refer to an absence of physical violence or war. It refers to an absence of strife of any kind—be it mental, emotional, or physical. For a rural Haitian community to be at peace does not simply mean they aren’t quarreling with anyone, it means that they are able to care for themselves and their families. To be at peace means to be comfortable, to be secure in one’s own living situation.

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Mr. Veerapaan with his wife and son, outside of his home in Huay Pong.

Veerapan Bunsupa, a 32 year-old farmer from Huay Pong, Thailand, has been partnering with Plant With Purpose for three years now. In this time, he has seen peace grow in his community and shares, “People have better relationships through community activities such as planting trees, forest protection, village cleaning, and network activities. And our children now regularly go to school because the parents have better support for schooling.”

Families at peace don’t have to worry every day about where their next meal will come from. Families at peace don’t live day to day, without savings or resources to fall back on in the event of a problem.

Through services such as Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) which provide a platform to save and fair loans at low interest rates, Plant With Purpose is fostering peace. Groups of people that would have never interacted are now saving together, reaping the benefits of their saved funds together, and are able to acquire affordable loans to help themselves grow economically. Thanks to VSLAs, Plant With Purpose partners can rest easy at night, with their savings tucked away, knowing that their lives aren’t solely dependent on the harvest of a single crop or produce.

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Community members working together to plant trees in Nasai, Tanzania.

A Plant With Purpose partner from the Tanzanian community of Nasai said, “Plant With Purpose has restored joy to our community by joining various households into one big happy family. We work together every week and while working we become friends.”

The International Day of Peace is more than a celebration of all the goals humankind has achieved. It’s a reminder of how far we still have to go. There are trees to be planted, crops to be grown, and walls to be torn down. And Plant With Purpose will be there every step of the way.

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Fall Interns: Endlessly Enthusiastic


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 19, 2016 in General

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Fall is in the air. Students are back at school, the weather is changing, and we’re gearing up for the Planting Hope Gala. Our new class of interns are jumping right into the mix of excitement in the office (and have picked out their favorite gala auction item to be pictured with). These six interns bring amazing experiences and great enthusiasm with them as they use their gifts and talents to support and further Plant With Purpose’s efforts. Read on to learn more!


 

CAMERON WILKINS – MARKETING AND OUTREACH

Hello! I’m Cameron Wilkins, one of the new marketing and outreach interns for this fall! I am originally from Orange County, but I moved down to San Diego to get a degree in international studies from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Being involved with homeless ministry on campus has given me the skills and passion to help poor and desperate individuals living on the margins of society. Pairing this with the classes I have taken regarding human rights and the environment, I feel equipped and informed on the economic and political problems of the world. The only missing piece was a way to make change happen. That’s when Scott Sabin came in to talk to my “environment and people” class about the work he is involved in abroad. I was thoroughly inspired that Plant With Purpose was making real long-term change instead of simply giving handouts. That’s when I first heard about Plant With Purpose and I can honestly say that God has placed me in all those classes and ministry roles for a reason: to reveal and foster my passion for the restoration of relationships with God and the environment that he deeply cares for.

The theologian Beldon Lane writes, “Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty and all embarrassment into laughter.” I am happy to have found a team of heroes at Plant With Purpose who are working hard to all around the world by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

 

BROOKE PEARSON – FINANCE

My name is Brooke and I’m a senior at San Diego State University. I’m currently working hard to get my finance degree this May. In my spare time, I mentor and tutor freshmen students at SDSU in writing and communication courses. I love helping students transition into the exciting new world of college. Other organizations that I’m apart of at SDSU are the Financial Investments Society and a Panhellenic sorority. These organizations have helped me grow and stay connected to campus. Some of my hobbies include learning to cook, dreaming about traveling the world, and obsessing over every dog I come across.

Growing up I always enjoyed mathematical puzzles and finding ways to collect data to create graphs. I’m very passionate about using my mathematical abilities to solve problems and I hope to use these skills as part of my career. My dream is to become a Chief Financial Officer at a company that helps others. Keeping an aspect of humanitarianism in my life is important to me because it drives me to work harder knowing I’m making a difference.

I’m excited to experience the real world of finance at Plant With Purpose this fall and learn the software and processes including this year’s accounting audit. I also can’t wait to further get to know all the amazing people that work so hard to contribute to Plant With Purpose’s success.

 

WALT HOLMES – GRANT WRITING

Hello — I am Walt Holmes. Joining Plant With Purpose as an intern is a new step in my life after teaching children with disabilities for many years. I have loved helping students and now I hope to serve people around the world through writing grants.

The holistic model of Plant With Purpose really appeals to me. I am excited to learn more about how we can care for God’s creation so that lives are made better.

I still like working with kids, so I volunteer at The Bridge Community Center in Escondido. Here, children get help with their homework and socialize in a friendly and supportive setting.

 

SIERRA HAMILTON – GRAPHIC DESIGN

My name is Sierra Hamilton and I’m currently finishing my fourth year at Point Loma Nazarene University. I’m delighted to join Plant With Purpose as the graphic design intern this fall. I’m studying graphic design and hope to merge my love for creativity, along with my deep affection for people post graduation.

I have always been intrigued with nonprofit work and have a heart for communities, especially those stuck in poverty. Along with being interested in people, I also enjoy the outdoors and nature. The love I have for both of these led me to seek out Plant With Purpose. I am passionate about preserving God’s creation, along with using the resources he has given us. My dream is to bring awareness to the poverty throughout the world, with the need of caring for the environment.

In my free time you will find me relaxing in the sunshine or swimming in the salty ocean water. I love to bike, hike, run, surf, and any other activity that gets me outdoors. Living in San Diego is the best and I take full advantage of our sought out weather. I also love experimenting in the kitchen and creating fun “healthy” food with my six roommates.

 

OWEN CLARKE – MARKETING AND OUTREACH

I’m an environmental studies major with a journalism minor at the University of San Diego. I love to rock climb, backpack, and write stories. I grew up enjoying the outdoors, and from a young age my parents fostered in me a strong appreciation of and respect for the natural world. My dream is to find a career where I can utilize my passion for writing to aid in environmental protection and stewardship. Additionally, my ultimate goal is for my life to be one that benefits and improves the lives of others. Thus, the opportunity to intern for Plant With Purpose, with their trifecta mission of environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal is an incredibly exciting opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Plant With Purpose and excited to see the new experiences this fall holds for me.

 

JAMES CHAPLIN – (REMOTE) RESEARCH INTERN

imageI am a graduate with a of bachelors in environmental studies and a masters in geography specializing in GIS and remote sensing. I was lucky enough to be born a Kiwi and grow up in rural New Zealand. My upbringing and education give me a clear understanding of the relationship between people and the land and how important it is to be good stewards of the earth and to preserve it for the future.

After university, I decided to see what opportunities lay overseas. I started my journey looking for work in Australia as I had family there but unfortunately, spent my savings while looking for work so I changed course and went to teach English in South Korea for two years. This was a wonderful experience and I managed to save enough money to make it to Canada this year to look for an internship that could get me back into environmental work.

When I found the internship with Plant With Purpose, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was inspired by their holistic vision and practical methods that enable rural communities in undeveloped nations to lift themselves from poverty while protecting and enhancing their local ecosystem. Their work instantly reminded me of my research trip to Nepal I did for my masters. I witness great poverty in the in the rural communities of the Himalayas. But I also saw the staggering beauty of the landscape as well as communities that used ecotourism and sustainable agriculture to live relatively prosperous lives. I feel very privileged to be working with an organization that does such vital work around the world. I hope this experience will lead to more fantastic opportunities in the future.

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Exceptional Service: Cindy Outlaw


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 15, 2016 in General

 

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The Adrian Award for Exception Service is an annual honor awarded at the Planting Hope Gala to someone who has deeply invested his or her heart into Plant With Purpose. This year’s recipient has not only served on our board of directors but co-chaired our recent Plant For Tomorrow expansion campaign, and was instrumental in launching Plant With Purpose Tanzania. Read on to get to know our deserving recipient and join us on October 8 to celebrate Cindy Outlaw in person.


 

Summiting six of the world’s seven highest peaks is just one of the accomplishments checked off of Cindy Outlaw’s bucket list. While adventuring around the world, this Solana Beach local’s heart for serving others can’t be denied. Her day-to-day life is just like any average American. As a stay-at-home mom, Cindy engaged in her children’s activities by volunteering in their classrooms, acting as troop leader for the Girl Scouts, and teaching Sunday school. Conquering supermom duties, Cindy still managed to travel to Tanzania in 2000 to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Cindy’s interest in individuals and heart to help surfaced. While trekking, she got to know her Tanzanian guide. He shared about the dilapidated state of the school in his village and the lack of opportunities for education. Just three weeks prior to Tanzania, Outlaw had been hiking and met Fred Schnitzer, who built schools in Africa.

Returning to San Diego, her first call was to Fred followed by a second call to Point Loma Nazarene University (Cindy’s alma mater). One year later she found herself with a group of students from PLNU on a Love Works trip constructing a school on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. During the three-week trip, Cindy was struck by the malnutrition she saw in the children and the deforestation of the local rainforest.

Back home, once again, Cindy recalled Plant With Purpose as an organization that is addressing the very issues of poverty and environmental degradation. A meeting was arranged with executive director, Scott Sabin and followed by Plant With Purpose’s board approving an exploratory trip to Tanzania in 2003. One year later the Tanzanian program launched!

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As the program took root, the burden of poverty for these rural families began to ease. Cindy recalls visiting with a young Tanzanian mother. During this heart-to-heart conversation between moms, Cindy learned that in the past this Tanzanian mother could not feed her children enough food to keep them nourished. Malnutrition left her children weak. After walking to school, they would fall asleep lacking the energy to learn. Plant With Purpose taught her how to grow enough food to feed her family. Her children are now thriving—vibrant and doing well in school.

 

This mom in Tanzania is just one of the more than 8,000 families who are experiencing a brighter tomorrow because of Outlaw’s vision for those living in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In Tanzania alone, 7.5 million trees have been planted restoring farms and providing an abundance of food for families in poverty.

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Thirteen years later, Plant With Purpose celebrates the impact that Cindy, a local hero, is having on Africa. Executive Director Scott Sabin shares, “During her service she has been a tireless champion for the work in Africa and instrumental to its rapid growth.” The Tanzania program has acted as the launching point for country programs in Burundi and most recently the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

One trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and a genuine interest in the people Cindy encounters while trekking allowed something extraordinary to happen. Plant With Purpose looks forward to celebrating Cindy at this year’s Planting Hope Gala.

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Exceptional Service: Don and Doris Adrian


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 13, 2016 in General

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For more than thirty years, Plant With Purpose has worked to provide lasting solutions to two of the most critical issues around the world. We would not be where we’re at today without those who built a strong foundation. The base of this foundation is the belief that transformation is possible for the rural poor and it can simultaneously happen while restoring the environment.

Don and Doris Adrian have been involved almost since our beginning in 1984. Don read about the organization in the San Diego Union Tribune in 1986 and wanted to help. In addition to being important financial supporters, Don and Doris made numerous trips to the Dominican Republic and Mexico, often carrying seeds or forestry equipment to the program in their suitcases. Doris knew the name of every partnering family, translated documents from English to Spanish, and single-handedly put on the annual gala. Don served on the U.S. board of directors and became an expert in agroforestry and tropical fruit. Both served on the Dominican Assembly and were tireless cheerleaders for the organization.

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Don and Doris ensured that work would continue and the organization would survive through several low-points. It is not an exaggeration to say that Plant With Purpose would not be here today if it were not for the compassion, energy, and support of Don and Doris Adrian.

In 2014, Don was awarded with the inaugural Adrian Award for Exceptional Service at the Planting Hope Gala. This award will be granted annually in honor of the Adrian’s legacy of exemplary leadership and service. Bill Hahlbohm of Sundance Organic received the award in 2015. On Thursday we will be announcing our 2016 recipient.

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She gave me her hand.
Me dio la mano.
Her hand…
Rough
Callused
Toughened by
Work in the fields
Husking corn
Chipping firewood
Making tortillas.
She placed her work-hardened hand in my pampered hand…
My Ivory Snow hand
My Oil of Olay hand.
I wondered about Mary’s hands…
Mary, the mother of Jesus…
Mary, the peasant girl from Nazareth.
Were her hands the pampered hands of ease?
Were the hands that held the Baby Jesus
Soft, lotioned hands?
Or, were they work hardened hands
Like the hands of this woman from Oaxaca?
– Doris Adrian

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Payday in Guachupita:
What a VSLA Payout Looks Like


Written by Taylor Pizzuto on September 6, 2016 in General

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At Plant With Purpose we love to celebrate the success of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). In rural areas, where access to affordable loans and bank accounts is limited or even nonexistent, community members are joining together through VSLAs to build savings and borrow affordable loans to accomplish their dreams. So when we hear about families beating the odds and overcoming rural poverty, naturally we’re excited to celebrate. And naturally we’re excited to share.


 

In the community of Guachupita, the members of the “Camino del Luz” Village Savings and Loan Association (translation: Path of Light) have just completed their first year-long savings cycle. For an entire year, group members have met weekly to lend, borrow, and repay affordable loans among one another. In doing so, many have put a large amount of their family’s income and livelihood on the line to invest in their dreams.

After enduring that first year, a year of uncertainty, patience, and faith, the day has come for members of Camino del Luz to witness the culmination of all their savings and training. It’s payday.

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The meeting takes place at a nearby home about a quarter mile or half kilometer from town. In front of the home, tucked among the trees, stands a structure with a tin roof and blue plastic tarps fastened atop logs and rough-cut lumber. Several linen cloths draped together act as a backdrop of green, white, yellow, orange, and red between the structure and the house. Balloons hang from the ceiling.

As 11:00 a.m. approaches several group members are still arriving down the dirt path leading from town, but most are already seated in plastic chairs under the shade. Most of these group members are women, including the majority of their self-elected leaders who hover above a table, counting and recounting stacks of colorful Domincan Pesos. The members watch, whispering excitedly to one another. Everything is in order for the meeting to begin promptly on the hour.

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The stacks of counted pesos will be distributed based on the purchased shares and collected interest of all 39 members of Luz del Camino. Originally, one share cost RD$50 (about $1 USD). After the year’s interest, that share is now worth RD$62.08 (about $1.35 USD). Many members have purchased around 300 shares.

Antony, Plant With Purpose’s economic coordinator for the region (pictured above), and the staff member responsible for training and guiding the group, opens the meeting in prayer. He follows by explaining the process, touching on the importance of discipline and responsibility that led the group from its formation to today’s celebration. He then invites other members to share their experience and opinion.

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An older man jumps to his feet (pictured above).Rafael de Jesus is 64 years old. “I see this group as a great opportunity. Before this group I used my money for cigarettes, lottery tickets, and my coffee plants. But then this group formed. A group in our own community, with our own name, and our own leadership,” he says excitedly. “I’m so grateful to God to participate in this group. Now, I don’t buy lottery tickets. I’m smoking less. And I have more money to purchase coffee!” Everyone laughs and applauds.

“I was able to take out a loan to repair the roof on my family’s home,” one of the group’s accountants shares with pride.

A younger woman stands and timidly mentions, “I received help from the group’s social fund to help pay for an operation for my mother.”

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“The majority of us didn’t have a good experience economically before this group,” says the group coordinator. “We didn’t have much confidence in loans and savings.”

One last woman steps forward. Her name is Luz, and she does not belong to this VSLA group. Instead she comes from the nearby community of La Rosa, where she experienced her own success through VSLA. Feeling a personal debt of gratitude to God and Plant With Purpose, Luz felt called to promote the VSLA program to other nearby communities, including here in Guachupita.

“This first year went perfectly,” says Luz regarding this hesitancy that accompanies a new savings group. “And I thank God that you have accepted this idea and were able to take out loans and carry out your goals.” The group responds with applause. “The greatest benefit of this group is being able to meet. This shade is an example. Everyone came together to purchase and construct the metal and wood for this meeting place.” As Luz points around the structure where the group is seated this closeness and unity is clearly visible, and nearly tangible.

With Antony’s suggestion, the process of distributing money begins. The group’s registrar calls up each individual member, one by one, to collect her or his respective amount.

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“Estebania!” A woman in an ironed pink tank shirt and spotless white pants hops up and strides to the table (pictured above). She stands eagerly before the accountants, bouncing on her heels as they count and record the money. Finally, the money crosses over the table. With a wide grin Estebania collects her stack of bills, turns around and shows it off to the group. Someone seated in the group yells, “un aplauso para Estebania!” and the entire group erupts in clapping and cheering.

Estebania poses for a photo, jokingly fanning herself with her collection of Dominican pesos. This stack of bills represents the interest collected from a loan she borrowed to repair the roof of her colmado, her convenience store and her source of income. A sarcastic remark is made, and everyone laughs as she returns to her seat. Nevertheless, in this moment she beams with pride; she is untouchable.

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This continues for all 39 members. Through the long process, the members strike up side conversations, share snacks, pass a newborn baby to be cared for and adored. But when the time comes for another member to receive their payment, everyone stops and offers applause equal in volume and admiration. Everyone applauds for the money they’ve earned together, the dreams they’ve begun to achieve, and the unity they’ve strengthened.

Finally the last member, Altagracia, is called up to receive her payment. After her applause dies down, she remains at the front to thank her fellow members. “I’ve loved participating in this group with everyone this past year. May God bless the years to come. Gracias!” Another applause erupts as she returns to her seat. A huge smile on her face.

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But perhaps the most crucial moment of the day has arrived: lunch is served. Everyone enjoys a collective meal of chicken, rice, beans, and salad. And of course, the meal will end with dessert: reading from the Bible and prayer. Antony stands before the group and reads Proverbs 30: 24-28.

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the rocks; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in formation; a lizard can be caught easily, yet it is found even in kings’ palaces.”

“The point of VSLA is to grow,” he adds, “in equity and in membership. But also in unity. With the strength of this group, when you support and believe in one another, you can come together to achieve your goals. Today is an example of that.”

With another round of applause Antony asks if anyone would like to close in prayer. Altagracia again rises. “I thank God that each day we have grown closer in unity. We are a community, neighbors, a family. I ask that we may always remain together. Today, tomorrow, and always.”

This celebration in the community of Guachupita is just an example of the success that occurs through the model of VSLA. Savings groups around the world, just like Luz del Camino, are uniting to provide loans, accrue interest, and build a financial safety net together. For all the communities completing their first cycle of VSLA, congratulations. Here’s to the success of year number two, and beyond!

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Pray With Purpose This September


Written by Plant With Purpose on September 1, 2016 in General, Prayer Letter

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September 1 is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which starts the Season of Creation for many Christian traditions. In an address today, Pope Francis shares,

This Day offers “individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

And invites us to pray:

O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth” (ibid., 246),
God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness
and convey your mercy throughout our common home.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

It is also the day that we share our September prayer letter. On the first Friday of the month, we invite you to join the international Plant With Purpose family as we lift up these prayers and praises.


 

Burundi

We praise God for:

  • The successful and timely establishment of tree nurseries in our priority watersheds.
  • Local churches are changing their attitudes and actions to protect the environment. Some churches have even established tree nurseries with the support of our team.
  • Protecting community lands against bushfires in this dry season. In one community there were two attempts to start fires but the entire community worked together and extinguished them.
  • The security situation in our country is gradually improving.
  • Our colleague Daphrose Niyuhire’s new baby.

We pray for:

  • Greater peace and security in our country. Please pray that our economy will recover quickly.
  • The successful conclusion of peace negotiations that will allow displaced people to return to their homes in Burundi.
  • The Lord to continue to protect our forests against bushfires during the dry season.
  • The growth of seedlings in our tree nurseries. Please pray that these trees will grow in good health.

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo

We praise God for

  • Peace and security in our region.
  • Awareness through “Theology of Work” training where five new Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups are ready to begin.
  • The fruit trees in the nursery are growing well.
  • Three consecutive evenings of prayer for our project in DRC and the Plant With Purpose family.
  • The new staff joining our team.
  • A meeting that was held with all the leaders from partnering communities in the Kakumba watershed to discuss bushfires.

We pray for:

  • Peace and inclusive dialogue in our country.
  • Transparent and peaceful elections in our country this November.
  • Plant With Purpose programs around the world.
  • All program activities planned for this quarter.
  • Spiritual revival in the Kakumba watershed.

 

Dominican Republic

We praise God for:

  • The Vision Trip groups from churches in Washington and California who witnessed testimonies of transforming lives. Praise God for safe travel, mutual encouragement, and their continued support.

We pray for:

  • Upcoming training on the stewardship of creation taking place in churches in partnering communities.
  • The churches that are involved in the preservation of the environment projects.
  • The upcoming workshops regarding financial education, the Bible, as well as the marketing of agricultural products.
  • The training on agroecology and environmental protection that will be facilitated by Technical Director Bob Morikawa, Program Officer Milmer Martinez, and Jorge from Plant With Purpose Mexico.
  • Jorge and Milmer, who will also be conducting training on building ecological latrines. This training is taking place on the border with participants from both the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

 

Haiti

We praise God for:

  • The farmers in the Grande Colline region who are thanking God for sufficient rain during summer. They expect to have good crops.

We pray for:

  • Anazias Fils-Aime, our colleague in the Cornillon region, has severe pain in his thorax. He was able to go to the Dominican Republic to see a doctor. Please pray for God to heal him.
  • The two new communities of Kay Guy and Kay Marc located in the Riviere seche watershed where Plant With Purpose has started training farmers. Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for farmers and staff to lead the program in these communities and that it will transform the people and the watershed.
  • Jean Louis Assouman, a leader in Beli-Vyala community, whose oldest child passed away. The entire family is in distress because of the loss. May the family gain courage and be comforted as they mourn.
  • The confused political situation in Haiti that is seriously influencing the economic condition of the country. Massive numbers of younger men and women are hopeless and are leaving the country for Brazil and Chile to search for a better life. Their situation in Brazil and Chile is still precarious. Some have died of hunger or have been attacked by wild animals in the Amazon Forest. Pray for wisdom and mercy of the politicians to give freedom to the people.

 

Mexico

We praise God for:

  • God’s care for the staff, which transfers to partnering communities. Praise God for his divine provision and every donor who joyfully supports our work.
  • The work and visit of Tyler Overton. He is keeping his hands busy and will be returning to Oxford University this fall.
  • Participants of the Yuta and Yucuxina Farmer Field Schools. The farming plots are providing noticeable outcomes in comparison to plots in the communities.
  • The baby that will be born to our colleague Jorge and his wife Febe. God bless the entire family.

We pray for:

  • The visit of Plant With Purpose staff the second week of September. They will be collecting testimonies from program participants and producing a video. Please pray that God keeps them safe and their goal is met.
  • The visit of long-time donors and friends the Adrian family. Please pray that the Lord keeps them safe on their journey. We hope that their stay will once again be a blessing to the communities that they visit.
  • Steady rain in the Mixteca regions. There are areas where it has not rained enough for the planting season. If these crops do not receive rain, they will be lost. Pray especially for the communities of Nuxiño, Yucuxina, Buenavista, Santa Inés, and La Paz.
  • The family of Pastor Abundio Ruiz in the community of Chepeginio. Please pray for strength and encouragement as his mother is experiencing poor health and she is currently in a coma.
  • The start of the school year in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Not all schools and classes began according to the school calendar following months of protest and conflict regarding education reform.

 

Tanzania

We praise God for:

  • The good health of all our team members.
  • Accomplishing program activities for the month of August and the impact these activities are having on partnering families.
  • Consistent acceptance of Plant With Purpose by partnering communities as they learn and grow with the program.

We pray for:

  • Monitoring and evaluation exercises beginning next month. Please pray that they go smoothly and that we obtain valid and correct data that will be useful in improving our activities.
  • Data collection for our quarterly reports and report preparations.
  • Partnering communities to continue learning and applying various agroecology techniques to improve their livelihoods.
  • Good health of all staff so we may be able to continue working to heal the land and its people.
  • God’s hand in enabling the Tanzania program to accomplish planned activities this month.
  • The fundraising plans and initiatives undertaken by management and the board of directors. Please pray that these will result in support of the program.

 

Thailand

We praise God for:

  • The meeting of communities in the Mae Kok area of Chiang Rai between the government officials from the national parks, local administration, and military went well. The national park will provide a map for each village as to where they would like to set the boundary for the national park. Please continue praying. After each village receives their map, they will compare it with the current map and information they already have to be able to negotiate with national park officials again.
  • A successful event of planting trees and wildlife preservation conversations at Huay Lu village where six target communities came together with leaders from the local government, forestry department, and military. The concepts of local managed forest, as well as land and natural resource management was presented using Huay Lu Luang Community Forest Management as an example.

We pray for:

  • The upcoming two-day training for representatives from seven villages in Mae Fang and Mae Na Wang regions where Plant With Purpose is preparing to start work. The program will include a presentation about Plant With Purpose’s work, and promote the concepts of backyard agriculture and agroforestry.
  • A possible joint program between Plant With Purpose and Ethic People Development Foundation (EPDF) who work in the Mae Fang watershed. EPDF’s emphasis is on children and youth development and other human rights related issues. We see great opportunity in promoting our environmental, economic, and spiritual development program.
  • Safety of staff as they travel to target villages during the rainy season especially while visiting communities with muddy road and landslide.

 

USA

We praise God for:

  • A diverse community of supporters and donors who believe in the work of Plant With Purpose and make the program possible. We praise the Lord for his provision.
  • Our network of churches, businesses, and individuals who support Plant With Purpose especially during the gala season where so many of them give items to the auctions.

We pray for:

  • The right staff person to join our team as a regional representative in the Midwest. We praise the Lord for the funding to pursue this position and increase our national presence.
  • The regional event taking place in Houston on September 15. Please pray that there will be a positive response to the event and that many people will attend and further engage with Plant With Purpose.
  • The media trip to Mexico and that the team captures what is needed for a successful fall campaign.
  • Our fall interns as they join us to further the work and mission of Plant With Purpose.
  • Jared White (Africa program officer) and his wife Doreen as they go through the visa process to move from Uganda to San Diego.
  • The Young Adult Advisory meeting on September 20. Please pray that our local advocates will provide valuable feedback as we shape our messaging for upcoming campaigns.
  • The Planting Hope Gala on October 8. Please pray that all of the details fall into place and that there is great support and generous hearts the evening of the event.
  • Program travel especially the trip to the boarder region of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We are deeply grateful for your partnership.

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Lessons From the Farm: Growing Through Risk


Written by Melissa Coy on August 25, 2016 in Lessons From the Farm

This week our Development Research Associate Melissa Coy and Outreach Coordinator Kirstie Hibbard are taking over our blog and social media, sharing reflections from their recent Vision Trip to visit Plant With Purpose’s program in Dominican Republic along with friends from Mission Lutheran Church in Laguna Niguel, California. 

Stick around to hear more! And follow us on Instagram (@plantwpurpose) for additional posts!


 

In my role as the Development Research Associate, I am accustomed to thinking in terms of systems, equations, causes, and outcomes. The basis for this analytical frame of mind comes from my degrees in International Relations and Economics. A common topic of class debate was, “What is the most effective solution to poverty?” From my self-designated corner of the library to the impassioned debates with classmates and sure opinions of professors, the solution to poverty seemed to be an all-inclusive prescription.

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When I started working for Plant With Purpose, I brought this perspective with me. Sitting in my cubicle in our air-conditioned office it was easy to speak about our work in clear-cut terms: this three-part approach of environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal, is the most effective solution to rural poverty. During my recent trip to the Dominican Republic, the theory became a reality. The nicely designed Venn diagram of transformation came to life in the chaos and humidity of this Caribbean nation.

AndresCacaoOn our itinerary, was a visit to the community of Zumbador. The group piled into Chico’s bus, accented with frilly curtains, and drove along a windy road through rural Dominican Republic. Once there, we waited as community members finished their weekly Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) meeting. We were warmly welcomed by the community and quickly whisked away to see the cacao tree nursery. The enthusiasm of the community was overwhelming, and a frenzy of introductions and stories ensued. Out of the commotion, direction was set as Andres, a VSLA member, lead us to his farm, which he described as, “a child of the savings group.”

Unsure of where we were going, we followed Andres up muddy switchbacks to a small plateau where his own cacao seedling tree nursery stood shaded by giant plantain leaves. Each seedling was an investment in his farm, his family, and his community. Overlooking the watershed and the three rivers that run through the community of Zumbador, Andres shared his story. He had not always planted cacao–the chocolate producing tree–and only started doing so with the encouragement of Plant With Purpose agronomists and much consideration.

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For subsistence farmers, introducing a new crop or applying a new agriculture technique is risky especially when the results are not immediate–cacao takes almost three years to produce once planted. Andres’ neighbors thought he was crazy. But Andres took a risk and looking around his farm you could see ripening cacao pods. Those same skeptical neighbors are now buying cacao seedlings from Andres and he teaches them how to tend to their trees. Andres is not keeping his success for himself but is instead sharing it with his neighbors and the community.

“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

Andres, his wife Sonia, and their seven children are thriving in the rural community of Zumbador but the change does not stop there. Several of Andres’ children are attending university in Santo Domingo and one is even studying to become a doctor.

AndresSQWhen I think about poverty from a distance, it is easy to think in terms and statistics rather than faces and families. Yet it is people with personal stories where true transformation takes root. Any type of change takes courage and vulnerability. To know that you are enough even when the odds are against you, is a heroes mindset. Not allowing fear to hold you back is something I saw again and again. These farming families are embracing risk and seeing transformation because of their hard work and trust in Plant With Purpose. They challenged me to assess the risks in my life, knowing that if I push through, growth will also take root. In the Dominican Republic, I met the most courageous people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. And because of their courage, hope and dignity can now be found throughout the community of Zumbador. These acts of faith and strong results are proof enough of Plant With Purpose’s effective solution to poverty—a solution that I’m excited to have a small role in making happen.

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Portraits From Palmarito


Written by Kirstie Hibbard on August 23, 2016 in General

This week our Development Research Associate Melissa Coy and Outreach Coordinator Kirstie Hibbard are taking over our blog and social media, sharing reflections from their recent Vision Trip to visit Plant With Purpose’s program in Dominican Republic along with friends from Mission Lutheran Church in Laguna Niguel, California. 

Stick around to hear more! And follow us on Instagram (@plantwpurpose) for additional posts!


 

Perhaps the most memorable day of our trip for myself was our visit to the community of Palmarito. Mission Lutheran Church has financially supported Palmarito for over a year. Our group had been praying months in advance for the families we would come to meet. To hear their stories of transformation, and to witness the pride and joy on their faces was somewhat surreal. I cannot help but smile (and sometimes squeal) in reflecting over their faces and their stories.

Palmarito is a small community—just 90 families—tucked in the mountains of rural Dominican Republic. Families in Palmarito rely on harvesting organic cacao for food and income, but a rugged terrain poses obstacles that local families must to overcome to make a living. Plant With Purpose partners with Palmarito to help the community restore their land and build opportunities for the future. Farmers are making exciting strides planting more crops, generating new revenue streams, and restoring the land.

Local families are strengthening their cacao farms by diversifying through agroforestry. Partnering farmers incorporate fruit trees in their plots including avocado, orange, and zapote. In their community nursery, neighbors are learning and supporting each other in growing high performance cacao seedlings.

Palmarito’s Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) equips over 50 families to save their income and access loans to invest back into their farms. As a result, the community’s food production, income, and resilience is steadily increasing. Today we hear from a few of these community members.


 

Juana AriaPortraits from Palmarito 4 - Juana Aria square

Juana Aria is a leader in the local VSLA group serving as the group accountant. Juana attests to the success of the group.

“We are a very happy and proud community. We see in this group the glory of God. The group has taught us responsibility, honesty, discipline, and solidarity. We love each other and we now know how to save. We no longer have to take outside loans from loan sharks. Plant With Purpose has changed our lives.”

Juana recently took out a loan so that her son could travel for work. Other members have used loans to support their own small businesses like the community grocery store and beauty salon.

Overcoming the cycle of poverty is reason to celebrate, and morale is high in Palmarito. “Before we didn’t celebrate, but now we are a celebrating community,” Juana says. “Now we celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the anniversary of our group.”


 

Jose Del Carmen BautistaJose Square

Jose Del Carmen Bautista is a founding member of Palmarito’s VSLA. He reflects on the groups initial meetings when members were hesitant to buy shares, lacking confidence that they could really save. Now each member contributes the highest amount of shares each week.

Jose describes the group as “inspired by God.” Before each meeting, group members read the word and pray. “If someone in the community needs help, we help them,” he says. In a given meeting the social fund collection can amount to $500. That money is then distributed among members who are in need at that time. Jose hopes that all 90 households in Palmarito will join VSLA.

“We are very grateful to God and for the opportunity to come out of poverty. Plant With Purpose is an inspiration from God,” he says. 


 

AlexandroAlexandro square

Alexandro is five. He never stops smiling. His parents and grandparents are all members of the community VSLA, and their family manages a small cacao farm. Alexandro doesn’t worry about where his next meal is coming from. His family is able to provide food for him and his siblings. He even helps out in the harvest.

Children in Palmarito feel safe. They enjoy a better life because of the investments their parents are making for their futures. We celebrate with Alexandro’s family and the many testimonies in Palmarito of families growing out of poverty.

 

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Announcing the 2016 Planting Hope Gala!


Written by Plant With Purpose on August 18, 2016 in General, News & Events

The Planting Hope Gala is an annual tradition that gathers supporters, advocates, and staff from around the country to celebrate partnering families Growing Out of Poverty and working to build vibrant, abundant, and self-sufficient communities.

Ketty (pictured) is working hard to restore lives and land in Haiti. 


More than an unforgettable dining experience and night of celebration, the gala raises funds to support Plant With Purpose partners worldwide.

On October 8, 2016 guests will have the opportunity to bid on a number of offerings featuring our favorite local eats, travel, and specialty items. This annual fundraiser furthers our mission to empower the world’s most vulnerable to lift themselves out of poverty while restoring the environment.
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“The gala is my favorite day of the year. I really enjoy catching up with and thanking donors and supporters who form our international partnership. They are an essential part of our overall team– the ones who make everything possible. This is the one time each year that we all get to celebrate together.”

Executive Director Scott Sabin

Scott and Nancy

Join us on October 8 at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa for the 2016 The Planting Hope Gala as we celebrate stories of Growing Out of Poverty and the individuals who make that transformation possible.


 

 Reserve your seats today!

 

Individual tickets costs $125

Sponsor a table of eight for $950

 

purchase tickets

 

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