Live Updates on Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

Written by Christi Huizenga on October 19, 2016 in General, News & Events

Version 2

Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in Haiti at 7:00 a.m. on October 4, 2016. Plant With Purpose partners with farming families across the country, helping them to restore their land, sustainably improve their farms, produce more food, build resilient economic opportunities, and grow in hope and faith. Plant With Purpose farming families have been working for several years to improve the resilience of their farms and surrounding lands. We are hopeful that Plant With Purpose families will weather this storm. However, Hurricane Matthew has the potential to cause large landslides to already vulnerable lands, destroy crops, and leave families in need.

Please join us in responding to the situation in Haiti. There are a few ways you can help.

  • Pray. Join us in praying for Haiti. We are praying for stability and hope for families across the country. Sign up for the Plant With Purpose monthly prayer letter to receive regular updates.
  • Give. Donate today to help build strong, resilient farms and communities. Help us restore the land and equip families to be strong and resilient in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather.


10/19/2016 at 3:00 p.m.

This brief narrative from Director of International Programs John Mitchell provides an update on the situation of our partners in Haiti and has been reviewed by Haiti country director Guy Paraison, Technical Director Bob Morikawa, and Latin America Programs Officer Milmer Martinez.


Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on October 4 and reports from our colleagues on the ground started coming immediately in the form of pictures and general impressions based on field visits and first hand accounts. By October 8 a modified assessment tool was developed to give a more statistical basis for designing an appropriate program response. With data coming in piecemeal due to mobility and connectivity limitations, and with methodology clarifications and analysis performed remotely within two weeks, we can state the following findings with confidence.


Based on telephone reports within the first 24 hours, three of the four regions where we work in Haiti (Fonds Verettes, Grand Colline and Cornillon) were considered to be badly affected by the hurricane and likely to warrant emergency response programming.

On the fourth, fifth, and sixth days following the hurricane our field staff carried out 50 interviews/questionnaires in each of the three regions. The survey questionnaire was modified from the earlier emergency response efforts following the earthquake in 2010. Survey participants were randomly selected but an effort was made to get a wider sense of the damage by including both regular program participants and non-participants and by including no more than 5 respondents from each of 10 communities. Communities were all places where Plant With Purpose was working prior to the hurricane. Data was entered digitally on days 8, 9 and 10 following hurricane Matthew and discussed/analyzed on days 11, 12, 13.

Additionally, regional staff conducted community leader interviews.  In Fonds Verrettes 25 leaders were interviewed, Cornillon 23, and in  Grande Colline 31. This helped us to get a more general, encompassing perspective. This data set served as a point of triangulation for reported damage by households.

Key Findings:

  • No fatalities reported in any of our usual working areas. One person was reported lost in Kanje, Bainet.
  • 6% of households reported injuries while 40% reported someone with cold/flu. Also elevated levels of fever at 22%
  • 33% of households reported damage to home and 22% lost roofing or experienced other serious damage
  • Most households (71%) reported trees blown over. 65% reported fallen avocado trees, 26% citrus. On average 7.7 trees destroyed per respondent.
  • In the immediate aftermath 95% of households reported that their access road was impassable due to damage
  • Of great concern is the extensive damages to staple crops. 75% report damage to pigeon peas, 79% to beans and 89% to bananas.
  • Data so far does not show that participants suffered less damage than non-participants.
  • 99% of households reported financial losses from hurricane damage.
  • Grand Colline (including Bainet) appears to have more severe damage (houses destroyed, animals killed/lost and crops damaged)


Lastly, we are getting new information about changes in food prices as we monitor local market days. First to report from Cornillon indicates that the average increase in a bundle of daily essentials is 11% increase in the two weeks since the hurricane.

-John Mitchell

10/12/2016 at 2:44 p.m.

On Monday, four teams of ten people each began work on the road from St. Etienne to Cherident. They worked to restore half of a kilometer near Lonpre. Yesterday that team was expanded to five groups of ten people, who cleared 1.2 kilometers.


To facilitate communications, we have asked Taylor Pizzuto, who was serving with us as a communications fellow in the Dominican Republic, to move to Haiti and help us with updates, and reports. He arrived in Port au Prince today and we expect his first report later today.

Survey work continued as well. We still have not heard any news of fatalities, despite some rumors. Most of the loss of life was farther west than where we work. However, we are seeing terrible destruction, like this church in Boucan Chatte, where a couple of our village savings groups meet. The first set of pictures are of the church just over a week ago, during one of our meetings, and the second set was taken last Friday.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 2.50.37 PM

However the real destruction has been to the food supply – crops that people were depending on are badly damaged. Yesterday, I spoke with a friend who is originally from the village of Kavanac, near Grande Colline. He said, “Fortunately we didn’t have any death, but the damages are very considerable. I wonder what people in the community will eat in the following 3 months.”

I pray that we can help to answer that question. We hope to provide cash-for-work for the next several months so that people will be able to buy food. However, for that to happen we will need to raise considerably more money than we have to date.

If you want to help, our donation page is set up so you can create your own fundraiser for Haiti relief. You can also make a direct donation.


10/12/2016 at 9:37 a.m.

I have time for just a quick update today.

We still have no reports of fatalities in the communities where Plant With Purpose has been working, which is a blessing. However, crop loss has been extensive. Guy has been working on getting a complete list of damages, which includes injuries, damage to homes, loss of crops, and loss of livestock. We work with 40,000 people in Haiti, so this list is long.

Yesterday Guy organized a work party, which is hard at work repairing the road to Grand Colline. We are paying people for their work with the money we are raising right now, so they will have money to buy food. He is giving preference to the most vulnerable families in the hiring process.


This system of cash-for-work is one of the most effective ways of getting food to people without undercutting the local farmers and merchants with food to sell.

In the meantime, we have a lot more pictures to share.

Cornillon did not have as much damage as Fonds-Verrettes or Grand Colline, but the damage is still significant as these pictures show.
IMG_7534  IMG_7522

IMG_7517 (1)


10/7/2016 at 11:29 p.m.

Hurricane Matthew was the biggest storm to strike Haiti in 52 years. It destroyed thousands of homes and farms and killed more than 800 people. The damage reports are just coming in and the toll is expected to increase. The storm has made lives of rural Haitians much, much worse, as torrential rain caused widespread flooding and mudslides on Haiti’s steep and deforested hills. Even worse, this storm comes on the heels of a five-year drought in Haiti, which caused widespread food insecurity. The best hope for a good harvest has been destroyed and hunger will be a big problem in the months ahead.

Plant With Purpose is already responding. Our local Haiti team is reaching out to affected communities, working through well-established community relationships to clear impassable roads and quickly begin the process of helping farming families rebuild their farms and lives.

The families we work with are some of the hardest working and resilient people you can imagine and they will find a way to move forward. But this has been a huge setback and Plant With Purpose cannot idly stand by when so many people we have come to love and work alongside are hurting.

Our immediate goal is to raise $100,000 in order to:

• Help impacted families access seeds to replant crops lost in the storm
• Hire workers to build 15 miles of soil conservation barriers
• Plant 25,000 trees to replace damaged trees and build environmental resilience

Read about helping Haiti to recover from Hurricane Matthew.



10/5/2016 at 11:29 p.m.

I spoke with Guy early Wednesday evening.

He had just returned from driving out to Cherident. The road was a mess, but he was able to make it as far as Meyer with some difficulty. The video I shared earlier shows the road near the Plant With Purpose office. They had to move downed trees and use rocks to fill in gullies caused by the rain. It took him two hours to get from St. Etienne to Cherident. People said his was the first car to come through.

He saw lots of downed trees, homes without roofs, and badly damaged crops. Avocadoes, corn, and beans were all in bad shape. He also passed two of the program tree nurseries that were completely destroyed.

The good news is that he has not heard of any deaths in the area. All of the staff is safe and accounted for. Although he saw a lot of dead animals, even livestock loss may be less than we originally feared.

In Cherident, the roof and one of the walls of the school had been blown off, and the cistern had blown off of the roof our office. However, there did not appear to be too much damage to the clinic.

The big challenges will come in the days ahead. After two years of drought, food security has already been an issue throughout Haiti, and now with severe crop loss, hunger is a real problem.

In the past our soil conservation measure – rock barriers, contour canals, and living barriers have gone a long way towards preventing crop loss. We are hopeful that the farmers we work with will be more resilient, with both their soil conservation and their savings. Nonetheless, we will need to take steps to ensure that people are able to get enough to eat. This will mostly likely be in the form of a cash for work program.

One of the most immediate orders of business will be to organize people to repair the road so that tap taps and other vehicles can get through. (This was also the first thing that our local staff organized after the earthquake in 2010.) This will probably be set up as a cash for work program to get some money into the pockets of those who have lost crops.

Guy will also be working to survey the surrounding communities, and to find out more information about the situation further down the road, and especially in the coastal communities of Bainet and Breziliyen, which were more exposed and likely suffered more damage.

-Scott Sabin



10/5/2016 at 4:05 p.m.

Guy, Plant With Purpose’s Haiti country director, made it to Grande Colline this afternoon with some difficulty. He is hoping to give us a report this afternoon when he gets back to Port au Prince, but it has been a long day for him and it isn’t over yet.

See the video on Plant With Purpose’s Facebook page.



10/5/2016 at 11:06 a.m.

This is the first picture we have received of the impact in Fonds-Verrettes. It was taken this morning on the farm of Camene Novembre, a member of the Akolad VSLA in Terre Froid.


These bananas represent a devastating loss.

We are still waiting for news from Grande Colline and Bainet, which were more directly in the path of the storm. All of the farmers will need help to recover.

Donate here:

Scott Sabin



10/4/2016 at 10:54 p.m.

We spoke with Guy again this afternoon. He said that it was still raining hard in Croix de Bouquets. He had been able to get no news from Grande Colline or Bainet. They are not answering their phones, and the roads are still impassable. Following things on Twitter it appears that a couple of bridges are down on the highway so he may not be able to get there right away; however, he will try to contact them via phone or text again in the morning.

Our regional coordinator in Cornillion sent us this video in which he is bravely attempting to show how the soil erosion control barriers are making a difference. As you can see it is still not easy to do much.

In ordinary times, one of the biggest problems that Haitian farmers face is the loss of topsoil and the rapid runoff of rainwater. To combat this, we work with them to create erosion control barriers of various kinds – the construction of contour canals, rock barriers and living barriers which make use of trees and grasses to stabilize the hillsides.

During catastrophic events such as a hurricane, one of the biggest dangers is mudslides and flooding. During these times, these same barriers often become lifesavers. In 2012 following Hurricane Sandy, the Plant With Purpose farmers suffered far less crop loss than their nonparticipating neighbors. Many who would have gone hungry had food to eat. It ended up being one of the most effective local advertisements we have ever had, and led to a dramatic increase in interest in the program.

I hope to have more news tomorrow.

If you want to help us respond go to and write Haiti in the comments.

Scott Sabin



Letter from Scott Sabin, Executive Director of Plant With Purpose

10/4/2016 at 1:17 p.m.


Tree nurseries taking the brunt of the storm.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall at 7:00 a.m. this morning, as a Category 4 just west of Les Cayes, Haiti. It is apparently the strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in 52 years. The storm has since moved over the Gulf of la Gonave, but will likely drop a lot more rain before it completely leaves Haiti.

I just got off the phone with Guy Pariason, the director of Plant With Purpose Haiti. He is in Croix de Bouquets near Port au Prince, but has been communicating with the regional directors by phone and text message.

This information is very incomplete right now. With the isolation of the communities we serve, it may take a few days to receive a full accurate picture of the damage. We are closely monitoring the situation and preparing a response.

Here are specific updates on the regions where we work:


Bainet, is located on the southern coast and closest to where the eye made landfall, has had flooding and landslides. Information is still incomplete, and I expect we will be hearing a lot more about damage and possibly loss of life.

Read about a recent visit to Bainet and learn more about this community.  


The phones are apparently out and roads are impassable, so Guy has no concrete information.


Our regional director Smith reports that the wind is still very violent and there has been a lot of rain. Many farmers have lost crops—particularly bananas and beans. Also, many of the tree nurseries have been destroyed. However, the contour canals and soil erosion barriers have been effective in reducing soil erosion and crop destruction.


There has been a lot of rain but no specific reports of damage yet.



Soil conservation barriers channeling water away from farms.

Acul du Nord is furthest from the center of the storm. It has experienced mostly rain and wind at this point. We had been planning on holding a training seminar on ecological latrines led by Jorge from Plant With Purpose Mexico this week. At least one Plant With Purpose partnering farmer has arrived for the event, but we had to delay the training until we know more about the situation.

Meet Eugène Seide from Acul du Nord and watch his story.  

Thanks for your prayers. I will keep updating this through the day and week as more information becomes available.

Please join us in praying for Haiti. Also, we could use your help as we respond to the situation. Strong winds, landslides, and other devastation have the potential to destroy farms and set families back into poverty. Plant With Purpose’s programs are specifically designed to help families better weather storms like this.  We are hopeful, but there is a lot of work to be done in the broader communities where we work.

If you wish to donate you can go to our online donation page and write Haiti in the comments section.


Scott Sabin

1 comment

Haiti and Hurricane Matthew: My Experience and How You Can Help

Written by Taylor Pizzuto on October 17, 2016 in General, Haiti

July 2016 marked the beginning of Taylor’s adventure to the Dominican Republic as our first Field Communications Fellow. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, it has been a blessing to have Taylor travel across the border to Haiti providing valuable support to our staff and dispatching updates on our partner’s. Today we share Taylor’s most recent reflection with you.


In the short distance of tarmac from the plane to customs, I looked out the the bus window at pallets stacked high with USAID boxes, organized in rows between CH-53e helicopters. The early morning sunlight glinted off the taut saran wrap. This is what I will forever remember as the moment Hurricane Matthew’s impact became real to me.

On the morning of Tuesday, October 4th, Hurricane Matthew barreled through Haiti. Heavy rains, winds, mudslides, and flooding had destroyed thousands of homes, demolished critical transit, and wiped out agriculture. Even after a week, damage assessments were still certain, and the numbers of dead and displaced were still rising.

For a nation still trying to cast off unfortunate identities of “food-insecurity,” “international aid,” and “poverty,” a hauntingly familiar wave of news headlines dragged the battered country back into the spotlight with echoes of destruction.

With Matthew throwing its weighty wrench into the already complex machine of Haiti, many deeper and more complex issues remained in its wake. Sadly, they will remain for much longer.

From the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic, my own first hurricane experience consisted of nothing more than heavy rain and a couple inundated rivers. DR had experienced some damage and impact, but it was considerably nothing compared to what occurred to the neighbors farther west. I just couldn’t comprehend what “worse” might look like.

Larger organizations began reporting complete destruction of agriculture. From what I saw, however, news outlets were still focusing mainly on the immediate impact of death and damage, and just beginning to touch on the dangers of a cholera outbreak. For vulnerable subsistence farmers, though, especially those isolated in the most rural areas, rebuilding their farms and livelihoods would far outlast the timeliness of these headlines.

A natural inclination began to rise in my gut. It was my familiar desire to amplify the voices of those who most needed it. In this case, the impacted farming families. And why not? I was already geographically so close! But the more I thought about it, what could I really do? I’m not an expert in humanitarian logistics. I can’t navigate Haitian Creole. And I’m still just an amateur photographer and writer (if I can even claim that).

I had heard far too much of the dangers of international aid and people wanting to do the right thing before fully thinking things through. Plus, through Plant With Purpose in the DR, I was already communicating on behalf of farmers building resilience against such instances in the future.

Ultimately, I decided that others with far more experience were already taking action. So I tried to quell my inclination.

Meanwhile, Plant With Purpose was one of those organizations taking action. A disaster response had indeed been announced to assist affected farmers and community members, and it was thought-out, thorough, and sustainable. But it needed funding, stories, data, and information. Someone on the ground. That’s when I got a call.

The first conversation was to see if I was even interested. That former inclination in my gut reawakened, boiled over, and spewed out with an immediate “yes.” But the bigger question was IF I could even go. A lot of logistics needed planning, such as airfare, housing, translation, and roles. And there were many other unknowns requiring great flexibility. I could at least provide that.

But chalk it up to the Plant With Purpose team, and frantic emailing, I received another phone call within just a couple short days. This time, I was told to stuff some things into my backpack, and to be at the airport the following morning. I was going to Haiti.

Now, at the time of writing this I’ve been in Haiti for several days. Having seen the USAID boxes, military helicopters, and white UN vehicles streaming through Port-au Prince, I understand the chaos of a natural disaster response. And now that my idealism has calmed to realism, I understand the responsibility and the honor of representing Plant With Purpose.

But most importantly, after hearing a couple farmers whose crops and livelihoods had been destroyed in the hurricane , the need for Plant With Purpose’s response is critical. And it is promising.

So with an initial goal of raising $100,000 here is what Plant With Purpose is planning to do:

  • Help impacted families access seeds to replant lost crops
  • Construct 15 miles of soil conservation barrier
  • Plant 25,000 trees to replace damaged trees and build environmental resilience

    This is already being implemented through an immediate and effective cash-for-work program. This way, impacted Haitian farmers and community members can get back on their feet quickly to feed their families and repair their homes. Long-term, this will also allow their farms, livelihoods, and local environment to recover sustainably. But this needs financial support. Here’s what YOU can do:

    Please consider donating to Plant With Purpose’s Help Haiti fund here.

    – Taylor



    Azougene: A Haitian Story of Hope Amid Destruction

    Written by Kirstie Hibbard on October 14, 2016 in General, Haiti
    Azougene and her sons smile despite their loss

    Azougene and her sons smile despite their loss.

    Hurricane Matthew has proved one of the deadliest storms ever to hit Haiti. Azougene and her family anxiously took cover in their home as trees fell and wind and rain devastated their farm.


    Azougene’s mother-in-law’s house was completely destroyed.

    The roof of her mother-in-law’s small house next door collapsed, and their outdoor toilet was shattered. Out of the family’s four goats, three were lost. She says almost one hundred percent of her farm is destroyed. The hurricane took almost everything from her family.

    Why in the world do they look so happy?

    Azougene hasn’t lost hope. Through hard work and her partnership with Plant With Purpose she built what she had before the storm. Today, her family is safe. There is a lot of work to do, but Azougene trusts in a faithful God and knows what it takes to get back on her feet.  Plant With Purpose will be there with her.

    Just weeks ago Azougene and her family were finally in a good place. With the help of Plant With Purpose their farm flourished with fruit trees, coffee, cacao, breadfruit, banana, corn, and beans. Azougene felt like things were good with her business, her own small store, where she sold their excess produce.  During months when their farm was heavily producing, she even sold the excess at the local market.

    For so many families in Haiti, this is a time for despair. With their crops destroyed, Azougene’s family has lost their source of food and income. Even if the family was able to replant their crops right now they would go hungry before the farm begins to produce without help.

    Luckily, Azougene isn’t alone.

    Azougene knows that what she needs right now is work: anything to earn fast income to provide for her family. She explains that she would do anything. Anything from planting trees to building soil conservation barriers, anything. With the Plant With Purpose cash-for-work program, Azougene can get cash in her pocket to feed her family while their farm is replanted and rebuilt. All she needs to do now is join a group.

    This system of cash-for-work is one of the most effective ways of getting food to people without undercutting the local farmers and merchants with food to sell. Plant With Purpose is helping families like Azougene’s get through Hurricane Matthew by using funds given for hurricane response to provide day labor for the most affected families.  Azuogene can find work clearing roads to market or building soil erosion protection to ensure that the community is better poised for future storms. Donations to Plant With Purpose Haiti help fund the capacity to produce more jobs and pay participants.

    Plant With Purpose’s goal is to empower families to grow out of poverty and to flourish, and also to build resilience in times of disaster.

    As a member of the local VSLA (Village and Savings Loan Association), Azougene has the security and support of her local savings group. Come January, her group will reach the end of their savings cycle, and she will be able to access her savings.

    With the money from cash-for-work and the savings she’s put aside in her savings group, Azougene will be able to sustain her family and slowly rebuild her farm. It will take years to get back to what their farm once was, but they have faith that God will see them through. Azougene’s children will go back to school next week she says. They will keep learning, life will go on. These are the type of stories that Plant With Purpose celebrates. Stories of comeback, of resilience, and of hope.

    Today is hard, but Azougene hasn’t lost hope.

    She will rely heavily on a God who is unceasingly faithful. In this hope, she recognizes options in a situation where others would find comeback to be impossible.

    1 comment

    Celebrating Growing Out of Poverty:
    2016 Planting Hope Gala

    Written by Plant With Purpose on October 13, 2016 in General, News & Events





    “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
    … to him be glory!”
                                                              – Ephesians 3:20-21



    At the Planting Hope Gala on Saturday night, we celebrated families growing out of poverty. We celebrated the fact that Plant With Purpose families cut their level of poverty in half-families like the Garcias.

    Alier Garcia used to think that he had to choose between providing for his family or living with them. Envisioning a future where he could provided enough for his family in the rural community where they lived was impossible.

    Everything changed when Alier met Plant With Purpose. His dream for his family shifted as life in his rural community seemed possible. He could provide for his family by restoring the land, planting a flourishing farm, and growing in his walk with God. And slowly he began to see that with God, he could to immeasurably more than he imagined (watch Alier’s story on YouTube).


    The Garcia’s are one example of God doing more than we can ask or imagine through the work of Plant With Purpose. We never imagined that trees and soil conservation barriers would build resilience on farms in hurricane-hit Haiti. We never imagined peace and reconciliation could come to the Kakumba watershed in war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. We never imagined that the poorest of the poor could save $2.5 million dollars through Village Savings and Loan Associations.

    Executive Director Scott Sabin shared these words from Birori Dieudonne, our director in Congo:

    “The way is still long but we hope to do better and save human lives. As you heard people from Kakumba singing when you were here, ‘Be strong Plant With Purpose. We are behind you.'”

    Thank you for being behind Plant With Purpose. Your vision and dedication to walk with Plant With Purpose is opening doors for God to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. The 2016 Planting Hope Gala raised $246,000 to go toward helping families grow out of poverty. And we cannot wait to see what he does next through the support of many.


    Help Haiti Recover From Hurricane Matthew

    Written by Scott Sabin on October 7, 2016 in General, Haiti, News & Events



    Hurricane Matthew was the biggest storm to strike Haiti in 52 years. It destroyed thousands of homes and farms and killed more than 800 people. The damage reports are just coming in and the toll is expected to increase. The storm has made lives of rural Haitians much, much worse, as torrential rain caused widespread flooding and mudslides on Haiti’s steep and deforested hills. Even worse, this storm comes on the heels of a five-year drought in Haiti, which caused widespread food insecurity. The best hope for a good harvest has been destroyed and hunger will be a big problem in the months ahead.

    IMG-20161005-WA0031 (1)Plant With Purpose is already responding. Our local Haiti team is reaching out to affected communities, working through well-established community relationships to clear impassable roads and quickly begin the process of helping farming families rebuild their farms and lives.

    The families we work with are some of the hardest working and resilient people you can imagine and they will find a way to move forward. But this has been a huge setback and Plant With Purpose cannot idly stand by when so many people we have come to love and work alongside are hurting.

    Our immediate goal is to raise $100,000 in order to:

    • Help impacted families access seeds to replant crops lost in the storm
    • Hire workers to build 15 miles of soil conservation barriers
    • Plant 25,000 trees to replace damaged trees and build environmental resilience

    Hiring people to build soil conservation barriers and plant trees gives those who have lost their crops an opportunity to put money in their pocket – money with which they can buy food to feed their families. This type of “cash-for-work” program is one of the most effective ways of getting food to people, without further damaging the local economy or driving other farmers out of business.

    Not only that, we have seen first-hand how effective this work is in building strength and resilience in rural Haiti. When the last major hurricane struck Haiti in 2012, people’s farms and even their lives were saved because the trees they planted protected them from flooding and mudslides. Crop diversity, soil conservation and savings groups are all critical tools to equip rural communities to prepare for and recover from natural disasters.


    Despite our long-term hopefulness, Haiti needs emergency relief now. We are in a unique position, because of our long-term relationships and our prepositioned Haitian staff that is already at work. Furthermore, because our work enables us to meet immediate needs while also building disaster resilience, we have an opportunity to provide help that makes a lasting impact.

    Please join with us as we stand with Haiti’s hard working farming families. Providing seeds and money from meaningful work will meet their critical needs, and will do so with dignity and hope. Click here to transform the life of a needy family today.


    Scott Sabin


    Pray With Purpose This October

    Written by Plant With Purpose on October 6, 2016 in General, Prayer Letter


    On October 4, Hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti, leaving destruction and hopelessness in its wake. It is the strongest hurricane to hit the country in 52 years. In this time of tragedy, Plant With Purpose’s partnering families have experienced flooding, heavy rain, crop destruction, and ruin. We know that God is with them, so let us posture our hearts toward His love, mercy, and greater understanding as we pray for these communities.

    Lord God, we don’t know how to pray.
    This immense disaster feels overwhelming.
    We can only imagine how the victims feel,
    and we are so many miles away that we feel helpless.
    Surround those directly involved with your loving presence.
    Comfort the families of the dead and injured,
    Sustain those waiting for word of those they love.
    Protect, strengthen, and uphold
    the rescuers and emergency personnel.
    Help all of us to remember that your love
    is bigger and stronger than despair and destruction.
    Guide and strengthen us to reach out to those affected
    in ways that will bring healing.
    Give them and us a sense of your peace and hope.
    In the name of Jesus, our friend and healer. Amen.

    —Mary Lou Redding

    Thanks be to God, the author and perfecter of our faith, for continuing to shape our hearts towards compassion for our neighbors around the world.

    Please continue to lift up the following praises and prayer requests of our partner around the world.


    We praise God for:

    • His protection during many training activities last month.
    • Continual improvement of peace and security in our country.
    • Staff member Eric and his wife’s new baby. The baby arrived early after a high-risk pregnancy.
    • The start of the rain in some parts of the country after a dry season. This rain provides great hope. Our seedlings from the nurseries will be planted in the upcoming months.
    • Protection of all the people who were putting out a bushfire in our tree plantations in the Nyakazu watershed. One person was injured, but he is slowly recovering.

    We pray for:

    • The staff as they prepare to collect data for quarterly reports. Pray for security in all of the places they visit.
    • A fruitful and successful upcoming visit from Plant With Purpose staff members John and Jared at the end of October. Please pray that the Lord will protect them during their visit.
    • Protection from bushfires in our tree plantations. We expect the return of rains in all regions of Burundi.
    • Our plan to meet with World Food Programme to renew our partnership. Pray that they would again grant us with Food For Asset (FFA) or Cash For Asset (CFA) to motivate people while planting trees.

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    We praise God for

    • The good health of our staff.
    • New VSLA groups who joined the pilot project in the second year.
    • All activities in Kakumba watershed.
    • The successful meeting held in Kakumba watershed for peace and reconciliation with local leaders.
    • The security situation which is improving this week after the troubles in Kinshasa where many people were killed and injured.
    • The churches in Kakumba watershed that are organizing outreach events on peace and reconciliation next month.

    We pray for:

    • Continued peace and reconciliation in our country..
    • The next quarterly report submission.
    • The outreach event which is will take place in Kakumba watershed.
    • The Kakumba watershed program and all field visits.

    Dominican Republic

    We praise God for:

    • Protecting the staff members who travel by motorcycle to partnering communities.

    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.


    We praise God for:

    • Plant With Purpose staff members Milmer and Kristen had a safe trip to Haiti.
    • An electoral campaign without great hurt and violence.
    • A smooth, painless start to the fiscal year.

    We pray for:

    • A peaceful and democratic election on October 9 to elect a president and 16 senators. Pray for the acceptance of the verdict by all political parties. UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Matthew, the election has been postponed to a yet to be determined date.
    • A good and reliable relief program to assist the vulnerable family victimized by Hurricane Matthew.
    • New funds from agencies and supporters to implement a resilient program for food security in line with our areas of intervention.


    We praise God for:

    • For the environmental workshops taking place in the communities, and participation by community leaders, which have motivated them toward reforestation.
    • The formation of two new groups: one in the community of Mesbiljá, Oxchuc, and one in the community of Tzaquibiljoc, Tenejapa in Los Altos de Chiapas.
    • The Vision Trip that took place in September. We thank God for the blessing of receiving this group and for God’s protection during this trip.
    • Resumed classes in the schools that experienced strikes.
    • The life God has given us. Praise God for helping and protecting staff in Oaxaca and Los Altos de Chiapas.

    We pray for:

    • The churches that we are working with this year. May God bless them in their efforts to promote stewardship of creation.
    • The workers in the communities of La Muralla, Nuxaá, Monte Flor, and San Isidro Trementina, Tamazola. Pray that the families will be blessed and the workshops will bear fruit.
    • The upcoming Vision Trip in October. Pray that God guards this group and that the activities carried out will be a blessing for the communities and all of the participants.
    • Rain for the fields and seasonal crops.
    • The unity of the Plant With Purpose international family. Pray with us as we cry out to the Lord for his people and for those who need to be reached. We are experiencing a global crisis that goes far beyond economic and ecological problems. There is a crisis of values ​​and a society that is ignoring the biblical-Christian principles. May God give us wisdom and discernment of how we can be “salt and light” in these times.


    We praise God for:

    • The good health of staff so that we are able to undertake our day-to-day activities and help our communities.
    • The safety that God has provided to all staff members who were travelling across districts to support the implementation of program activities at the beginning of this fiscal year.
    • Successful data collection and monitoring and evaluation in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
    • Wonderful VSLA group members who are enthusiastic to learn and take an active role in implementing program activities.

    We pray for:

    • The continued good health of all staff.
    • Our supports, board of directors, and Plant With Purpose Tanzania management. We ask God to protect them and continue to provide for them, so they may continue to support Plant With Purpose Tanzania and the communities that we are working with.
    • Victims of the earthquake that took place in the northern part of Tanzania (Kagera region). We pray for those who were injured and those who lost their loved ones and property. May God be with them in these trying times.
    • A safe pregnancy and delivery for program officer Maria Mathias.
    • God’s guidance as we are preparing for a group competition event to be celebrated early next year.
    • God’s guidance in fundraising as we are planning to solicit funds from other donors.
    • Successful quarterly report preparation and presentations.


    We praise God for:

    • A meaningful training for the representatives of seven villages in Mae Fang and Mae Na Wang. People have shown their interest in our work. Pray for upcoming discussions between staff and the leaders of villages, which we expect will start pilot projects in the areas.
    • The successful training of 10 leaders from Myanmar on holistic development and mission. Pray for the implementation of projects that they have planned to start in their churches and communities. Within the group, three leaders also work for their denominations and represent more than 500 churches. Pray for their presentation on holistic development and mission in October when denomination leaders and pastors are gathered for an annual meeting and training.

    We pray for:

    • The internal audit to be conducted October 3-7.
    • A youth camp taking place October 12-14. We are expecting 300 youth to attend the camp.
    • Plant With Purpose Thailand partners, UHDP’s 20th Anniversary on October 15.
    • A meeting and training for program staff with Plant With Purpose technical director Bob.
    • A training for community and church leaders from the Philippines between October 28-November 3.


    We praise God for:

    • The upcoming addition of a Midwest Regional Representative to our team.

    We pray for:

    • God’s guidance for the upcoming board meeting this weekend.
    • The Planting Hope Gala taking place on Saturday, October 8. Pray that this will be a wonderful evening and a chance to thank our supporters, cultivate new donors, and educate attendees.

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

    1 comment

    Ketty … the Woman Behind the Smile

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

    Gala Promo

    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.

    Version 2

    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.


    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.


    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.



    International Day of Peace

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

    By Owen Clarke

    idp hug

    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.


    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.


    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.


    Fall Interns: Endlessly Enthusiastic

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


    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!



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.


    Exceptional Service: Cindy Outlaw

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



    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.


    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!


    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.


    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.

    1 comment