Work, Serve, Learn.

Shoveling sheep manure, watering greenhouses, and chasing after pigs that escaped their pen is not how I ever would have envisioned wrapping up 2023. However you’d think by now I would know that life can take unexpected turns.

Who thought feeding pigs could be so enjoyable?

We are in North Fort Myers, Florida undertaking a Missionary in Residence program offered by ECHO Global Farm. ECHO exists to develop and demonstrate sustainable, low cost ways of agricultural production for small scale farmers in developing countries. 
We are here studying, learning, researching, and trialing different ways to adapt gardening concepts for those with physical disabilities. The biggest question we get when we share this with people is… Why? 
Well, we are in the midst of transitioning our ministry to focus on those with special needs. In 2024 our family will be moving to Guatemala to partner with a ministry that fosters 60 children with special needs and assists an additional 200 families with members with special needs. Tom’s background in rehabilitation engineering will be put to good use in adjusting wheelchairs, as well as designing and developing equipment to help families care for their members. 

ECHO is a ministry focused on educating and empowering missionaries and farming families across the globe.
Guatemala has profound malnutrition (1 in 3 children are chronically malnourished and 1 in 5 die before the age of five due to nutrition-related causes). Food insecurity is the norm. When we visited Guatemala this past summer we saw garden plots at each of the foster homes. However they were overgrown and neglected. Not surprising, considering most of the children in their care were had mobility impairments and traditional gardens like these are not accessible. So the kids could not participate in the gardening, and it ended up just another chore for the already time-strapped care providers. 
But what if we could adapt techniques and tools for gardening to accommodate those with physical limitations? What if we could provide access to the mental and physical therapeutic aspects of gardening? Not to mention the possibilities when it comes to nutrition, food security, community gardening, and intersecting people’s lives for the sake of the Gospel…  
Work for everyone!
So we are here at ECHO to learn all things adaptive when it comes to gardening. And to develop a few ideas of our own.
As part of our time here we were extra farmhands to allow staff and interns time off for Christmas and New Years – hence why we are the ones chasing loose pigs and foraging for goat food. Our initial two weeks of taking care of the animals, tending to the greenhouse, and caring for the gardens were profoundly beneficial as initiation into all things tropical agriculture. We are now tackling a few projects of our own and helping out with many others during January and February. We look forward to sharing what we learn. 
In Christ,
Candice (and Tom and the boys)
  • Praise for the great start at ECHO.
  • Keep praying for the logistics and support necessary for all of the upcoming ministry plans.
  • Pray that the Lord will navigate our hearts (all six of us!) through the transitions ahead.