Written by: Vanessa Edmondson
Nutrition is something that is dear to my heart. As someone living with an autoimmune disease, the Lord has shown me ways to minimize my pain and maximize my endurance to continue to serve him. One of those ways is through nutrition and boosting the immune system, specifically through fermenting fruits and vegetables. I wanted to share this with our friends in El Salvador because malnutrition is a major systemic issue that people in rural areas face. Malnutrition weakens the immune system which can make you more susceptible to infection and infectious disease. We can try to combat it by adding a variety of beneficial bacteria to the digestive system which can aid in lowering inflammation, help with boosting the immune system, and add nutrient dense foods to their diet.
Our team already has an organic garden with a variety of fruits and vegetables on our property in El Salvador. Our cooperatives and interns there are learning the importance of properly nourishing their bodies so that they have the strength they need to serve God and his people. Julie Watson, a leader on our LA team, and I held wellness seminars for the interns and cooperatives on the digestive system, immune system, and how they can utilize their garden for making gut-healthy ferments, as well as other vegetables and fruits. They loved learning how easy it is to make fermented vegetables by using water and salt as a brine and adding it to whatever vegetables they pick that day or have on hand. They loved knowing that something that takes little time and money can have such a positive impact on their bodies and overall health.
Lorena Mejia, team cooperative, shares about the workshops (translated from Spanish): “I want to share my gratitude with the team that gave the fermentation workshop. I was very excited to have the workshop to prepare ferments together, it is something that I had always wanted to learn! Since the workshop, I have tried to practice, which has resulted in me having my own ferments at home that we eat with different meals. I know the importance that it has and the good bacteria that we can obtain from them and, personally, I want to continue practicing and learning to take better care of and nourish my body and my family. It is something very simple to do alone, but you need to want to do it to be healthier. I can practice and teach others the importance of their health and motivate them to try fermentation. I am happy that the team has taught this to us and I am willing to continue doing it. I am very satisfied with the ones [ferments] I have done so far because they have been delicious and this first experience in doing so motivates me to want to do more!”
It was a blessing for Julie and I to share the knowledge that God has given us with our friends in El Salvador, so that in return they can be an example to their community--because when we do God’s work, listen and obey him we become a light to the world. Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are a light to the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God.”
Those who have been called by the Lord to serve him and his people have a responsibility to uphold his reputation and represent him well. That’s what our friends in El Salvador are doing. It is my hope that they will be a light to their community and they will share their knowledge with others, about God and health.