the soil, the goats, and the trees

What do goats and fruit trees have in common? They live together on Haitian soil.

contemporary leaf painting by sue kemnitz

When I wrote my fund-raising letter for my recent Haiti trip, I mentioned our newly formed partnership with World Relief in Haiti with intentions to deliver goats and fruit trees to Haitian families. The exciting part of this partnership is that is fits so well with my passion to see the “greening” of Haiti. And the invitation to name our goats (Ole and Bertha) was just too much for some to pass up. Yeah, God!

On Thursday morning of our trip, we literally walked next door to an agricultural school. It houses a three-year program to teach good agricultural practices to the Haitians. There are approximately 40 students (70 goats, and hundreds of seedlings) enrolled. As we watched the goats in the pen, I quietly named goats for my sponsors, Olé and Bertha, several names are yet to come.

The goat portion of the program, goes like this: A pregnant female goat is given to a family – usually goats have twins. Five qualifications apply. The recipients must:

  1. be willing to receive education on how to care for the goats and help them to flourish.
  2. have a small piece of land for the goats to graze on. After all, the goal is to raise a flock, not a pet.
  3. pay it forward by returning a pregnant female to the program at some point. There is a vet that travels and helps bring this about. To be honest, they are still working out some kinks on this point. Lets send prayers up!
  4. have shelter available for the goat from nasty weather and perhaps the mid-day heat from the sun.
  5. be in community. In most cases this is the local church. World relief has found this to be a key ingredient so they can help each other.

At first these requirements seemed demanding, but our contacts told us a story from a few years back in another country. They gave the goats out. The farmers, not knowing any better, thought the food contained enough moisture to sustain the goats and the goats did not need any more water. Because of this misunderstanding, all the goats died off. So – education first to prevent a similar ending. These are the “5 commandments” so to speak, for the good of all in the program, humans and goats alike.

In the middle of the week, our World Relief workers Nathan and Cecelia had the pleasure of relocating 20 goats to new homes. God is good!

I just love the baby fruit trees. Truth be told, I’m way better with plants than pets. Perhaps because they only need watering once a week—they thrive on light and minimal care. Seeing so many baby trees in one spot is just plain cause for celebration! In this dry country, the baby trees had a net over the top and are watered in the beginning. They are symbolic of the harvest to come.

The seedlings remind me of a favorite parable, the sower and the seed. This parable holds me accountable. Is my soil suitable, rich even, for God’s purposes to thrive in and through me?

I was not eager to go to Haiti this time around, especially since my hubby decided not to go along this year. But I received a prophetic word that I would be incredibly blessed for being obedient to the Lord and the leaders. As I decided to go with high expectations, the Lord totally rearranged my heart. Rumor has it I showed compassion (kinda rare for me) and I fell head over heals with the country and the people, especially our excellent young translators. I honestly did not have a care in the world while there. Everything was good! And I believe it was because I decided to “break up the fallow ground,” abide in steadfast love, and seek the Lord.

While there, I read these words, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

Rain on our soil, sweet Jesus! Reign over all, King Jesus!

(Next week I’m blogging on the healings Jesus did! I’m bursting to share!)

Only Believe.

contemporary leaf painting by sue kemnitz
CFAI.coDaily Painters of MinnesotaInternational Abstract Artists

  1. I am so enjoying your posts Sue. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Stephanie
    • March 8th, 2012

    “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

    What a great reminder! Also reminds me of Jamie VanGelders talk at NDSSM last year. Cultivate your garden…

    So excited for the new goat and fruit tree program for Haiti! Go God!

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