Greetings from the Farm! We pray that all is well with you and your dear ones. It is incredible that this year is already coming to a close. As we wrap up the year, we want to share a little bit of the Farm with you in our annual newsletter. I pray that you enjoy reading about the happenings here on the Farm and are blessed through your encounter with Christ on, and through, the Farm.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the changing leaves, the sweet smells of autumn, and the bustle of last-minute activities to get the farm ready for the coming winter months. Fall is both a time for activity and a time to contemplate the past Farm Ministry season. As we wind down the season, I am amazed at the volume of food we have sent out to feed the hungry and hurting and number of times that we spiritually been able to sow into someone’s life. Year to date, we’ve distributed nearly 80,000 lbs. of canned goods, over 2,000 lbs. of vegetables from our garden (a garden which had almost no rain), well over 1,000 lbs. of meat (mostly from the Farm), and countless other food stuffs. What’s even more awesome than the amount of food we have sent out is that we’ve had almost 2,600 instances of being able to sow Jesus Christ into someone’s life. SCORE! While the Covid pandemic, and my health, have meant a vastly different type of season for us, the ministry hasn’t slowed down. Double SCORE! We are doing more, feeding more people, and telling more folks about Jesus than we’ve ever done here on the Farm. Thank you to everyone for sowing into this work here in Ida MI.
“…yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” ~Habakkuk 3:18
There is something powerful about lifting our voices, in praise, to the Lord during hardship and uncertain times. It’s as if, when we choose to worship God instead of focus on all that is wrong, we join with our faith in a tangible physical expression of our trust in the Lord. It is in these moments, that we find that God moves in both ordinary, and extraordinary ways. One only has to look at Acts 16:25-26 to see a real example. Paul and Silas where in prison, mistreated, beaten, and had every opportunity to sulk and chew on the injustice done to them. Instead, with their hands and feet shackled, they lifted their voices to the Lord and praised Him. With a mighty movement, Paul and Silas were set free and their jailer became a believer in Jesus. There is something that happens in us, and around us, when we let our hearts praise the Lord and not our circumstances.
Today, we have a similar choice. Covid-19 is running rampant in our society. You only have to turn on the news to see that riots abound, discord and injustice is running wild in our community, and malcontent lurks under the surface of our society. We can choose to stay locked in our homes and chew on our circumstances, or we can come together and lift our praise to the Lord of Heaven, to Jesus Christ and cry out to God in worship. Here on the Farm, we are choosing to lift our praise and worship the Lord. You’re invited too.
August 15th, from 3 PM-7 PM, we are hosting a praise and worship event. We will be practicing social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer will be available, and we will rock the Farm for the glory of heaven.
Plus, I’ll feed everyone that shows up. It’s the Merrywhether Farm way. SCORE!
This is a free event but tickets are required. Please click the link below to go to Eventbrite and reserve your space now. Space is limited.
There is a mighty oak in the back of my property. It stands alone in my hay field. The oak is a solitary, lone watcher of the world/ A quick search online, and some hasty math, reveals that the oak in my hay field has likely been in place since before the Civil War. Since that time, as the world battled wars innumerable, several pandemics, social unrest, and the industrial revolution, it has silently stood. It has endured epic snow storms, hurricane force winds, blistering heat, and droughts aplenty all of which have brought down lesser trees. Yet in all of this, this beautiful oak was not always an oak tree. At some point in the distant past, it began as an acorn. It is a reminder that great things do not begin great. They begin as small, insignificant things. Yet, within them, is the potential, the promise, to be a mighty oak.
This past week, Nicki Gorny and Jeremy Wadsworth from the Toledo Blade joined us on the Farm. Jeremy joined us for Church on the Farm and Nicki stopped by to say hello and to learn about what we do on the Farm. Between Church on the Farm (and the subsequent discussion of Ezra), and my conversation with Nicki, I was reminded that, just as with the Oak, God begins His work in our lives as an acorn.
King David, a man after God’s heart, began as a shepherd. His entrance into King Sauls royal court, while epic ( I dare you to call his encounter with Goliath anything but epic) still began humbly with David being but a servant. It would be 20 hard years before he ascends to the throne but God showed himself faithful and what He began as an acorn in David became an oak of righteousness. Abraham, as a wanderer in a foreign land was a seed of righteousness, he was an acorn to the promise of Israel, the line oof King David, and the coming of Jesus. What began as a small thing became a nation that led to Jesus, the hope of the world. Jesus, is our mighty oak of righteousness. When Ezra wrote of the foundations of the rebuilt temple being laid, there were those that wept at the small beginning (they wept for other reasons too, such as remorse and repentance for the sin that brought them to that point). Yet, we read that the rebuilt temple would be 60 times bigger than Solomon’s temple. As small beginning becomes a massive temple to the Lord. Our lives are no different than that of the patriarchs. God begins with small things and, through His might and holiness, and providence, makes them grow and become mighty oaks.
I said that our lives are no different. For those that have walked this earth for a while, take a moment and look at where you were and compare to today. For Victoria and I, what started as a lark to move to Michigan, became our passion and purpose. What began with inviting people over for a farm visit and sharing the Farm and it’s bounty became a ministry; to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Through every step and twist and turn, God has shown himself faithful and what He began here in Ida Michigan is becoming an oak. We are not there yet, but we are seeing the shadows of what is to come. In Jeremiah, the Lord tells us that what He is doing is even now springing forth and that He has plans for us, you and me. Therefore, do not eschew your beginnings, or where you are now. For God has plans. I encourage you, open your eyes, take a look, and see where God is. If you’re having trouble seeing, reach out to us, I would love to help you see how your acorn is going to become a mighty oak of righteousness because God has a plan for you.
“…They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” ~Isaiah 61:3
Nicki and Jeremy, at the Toledo Blade, wrote an amazing article with fantastic pictures. You can check out the article here. Also, the picture below, was taken by Jeremy Wadsworth at the Toledo Blade.
One of the things I love about serving the Lord, is that He often gives me the opportunity to see that He always shows Himself faithful. In the good times and the bad, He is Lord. In the midst of the pandemic, when people could have hid themselves away, I watched as His faithful followers stood up and said to the Lord, “send me”. Over the past 2 months, collectively, we received and distributed 3 trucks loaded with food totaling over 75,000 lbs. of food. We received and distributed countless amounts of canned goods and food donations through our partners at Proclaim FM. Through community partnerships, we distributed over 602 gallons of milk and hundreds of pounds of meat. I have watched as pastors from different churches stood shoulder to shoulder and said fear will not have a hold on this city as they joined us in this work in prayer and support. I was humbled as godly men and women stood in the gap to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Thank you to all of you for serving in this time, for supporting us as we strove for the kingdom of Jesus Christ. To quote Mordecai in the book of Esther…“For such a time as this were you born…”
To check out more of our favorite pictures, check out our Facebook page … click here.