Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Hopewell Farms produce is now found on the plates of the top restaurants in Nashville. We are growing roughly 10,000 pounds of organic produce per ½ acre. But what excites us the most is what’s happening in the hearts of our people, and that’s not something that we can solely take credit for on the farm.
All of our seven employees take Bible classes each semester at the Institute for Global Outreach Developments International. We do this because it is the foundation of what we do and thus we want to learn! To some this may seem backwards. Shouldn’t we be taking classes on composting or seed starting or pest control?! Sure, those things are important when it comes to food production and those classes do happen. But we recognize that a farmer can’t do his or her job the way God desires unless they have the Word of God written on their heart. God’s Word is the bedrock to developing a farm full of people that are concerned with loving their neighbor through enacting love, justice and righteousness through their work.
One example from Hopewell Farms is employee, Michael Watkins. Before enrolling at the Institute in the fall of 2012 he struggled in high school so much that he promised himself he would not attend college to avoid the educational experiences he had been exposed to. Yet his story is one of redemption as the Lord brought him to Tennessee to attend college at the Institute for G.O.D.
This began the process of Michael developing and maturing into a more confident, compassionate, sensitive and determined individual. When he began his education at the Institute for G.O.D. he was terrified to speak in front of others but it was learning God's Word that changed him. He now joyfully leads volunteers every day on the farm, facilitates young students in service projects around Nashville and holds other lead roles on the farm. Michael has been developed by the Lord and is therefore invaluable to our agriculture team. Not only is he learning how to produce food efficiently, effectively and sustainably but he is driven to do it out of a sincere desire to love and serve others.
It has been several years since Michael’s initial arrival to G.O.D and he is a new person. He loves taking classes at the Institute and is headed to El Salvador in June to help further G.O.D’s agricultural efforts abroad. It is clear that the love, justice and righteousness that Michael has learned from God’s Word has made its way into his day to day efforts on the farm and in his life. He’s not motivated by a paycheck. He’s not motivated to build his resume. Michael's work is motivated by a desire to learn thus becoming a resource to people around the world who would not otherwise receive such a gift.