Garden Participation

By: Natalie Musche

Participation and co-operation is something our team has been learning a lot about as we live together here in El Salvador.  I have realized how essential it is that our team continues learning how to participate with one another so that we can image God here on earth. Fulfilling God’s vision necessitates that we love one another, and this requires our participation. I have learned in the scriptures that God’s image is seen on earth when people image his character in community. I am reminded how God desired Israel to represent him on earth, and now how he desires all of us to represent him on this earth.

As our team has been learning how to live in community we have attempted to include friends of ours in Milagro de Dios to participate with us. We have been spending a lot of time with one particular couple (Santos and Paula) sharing stories with them, eating with them, going to the market with them, and even reading the bible to them.  It has been encouraging for me over the past few weeks to witness Santos’ and Paula’s increasingly enthusiastic embrace as we continue to visit them each day.

A few days ago we presented the idea of helping them produce more food from the small land they call home. With open arms and sincere hearts they welcomed the idea and said that they are willing to be taught,  so our team worked together in creating a small ‘key hole’ type garden in the area allotted. With all of us working together the garden only took the day to construct, including the planting of different produce.

The next day when we returned to see Santos and Paula we noticed something that for me demonstrated they both were extremely enthusiastic about the new garden, as well as participants in it with us for its success. Surrounding the small garden was a well-constructed fence made of bamboo and tarps. Santos had spent the night in the dark after returning from his 12-hour shift to build a fence around that garden to protect it from the chickens, stray dogs, and random weather conditions. Now, as small sprouts have already begun to break through the soil, I am reminded that something special is happening in our relationship with Santos and Paula.

The fence represents to me how Santos and Paula have decided to participate not only in the garden, but with us and the ideas we brought as a team. Together now, with our team and with them, we have a shared value in the garden. This process has brought joy and has encouraged me on many levels, especially the hope that they will be fed via this garden. I am excited to see what this kind of participation will hold for the future, both for our team and the people in El Salvador.