There it was again. I watched the Monarch butterfly descend from the flower and I wondered how much time had gone by as I was captivated by its beauty. Being here, working the land, it is easy to get raptured in the majesty of God’s creation. It was all too easy to miss when I ‘didn’t have time’ to stop and smell the roses as they say. The gift of simplicity, or simple living, is something that I have cultivated during my time here at ECHO. There is a serenity that comes with the act of growing food, one that sets aside all the distractions of our modern world and allows you to hear and feel God’s presence. It has had a profound effect on the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of my family and I who just returned from a hard two years of missionary service in the Middle East.
Then of course, there are also the lows of agriculture. Each time a chicken coop is ravished by raccoons, when your whole crop fails, or when you feel overwhelmed by all there is to yet accomplish and you don’t have enough hours in the day. This experience, is perhaps more valuable than what is described above, because it has given me the gift of empathy. Empathy for the poor, small-scale, sustenance farmer living and working in the developing nations of our world. Experiencing the heartache of crop failure and animal deaths has put me more in touch with their plight and has increased my desire to be a part of the solutions.
Before arriving at ECHO, I believe I was going fast. Too fast. I have since been blessed to learn the gift of community as an intern at ECHO. With its emphasis on broad exposure to agricultural practices, appropriate technologies, and underutilized crops/plants, I have learned just how much I still have left to learn! The reality is that none of us can do it all. We need others around us who can offer their strengths, resources, and expertise to accomplish the monumental task of ending hunger. You need a mission-driven community that supports one another in both times of need and times of prosperity. I now know that I want to go far. How about you? Do you want to go fast or far?