June 21, 2014

The New Jerusalem Land Bank

Woodland 2014 HANDS Team:

Today our team had a potentially transformative experience when we travelled up into the mountains northeast of Matagalpa to visit the New Jerusalem Land Bank.  Four years ago, 24 families joined this land reform project sponsored by three different aid agencies including World Renew.  Each family left a large commercial farm where they worked for a single land owner, and took the risk of owning and operating their own small plots of land at the top of a mountain.  We had the opportunity to meet with many members of the community, see their small Christian school build in part with the help of Edudeo, see their two acre model farm where community members can learn new techniques for crop rotation and soil conservation and finally we were able to 'tour' a 2 acre farm close to the school.   Farmer Miguel showed us a small part of his farm including some of the 5,000 coffee plants that he has planted and  is currently tending.  We found out that after planting a coffee plant, you need to wait four to five years before it really begins to produce crops, and we were told that the families expected to be hungry at times while waiting for those future crops to come in.

We also met 21 year old Jose and his mother.  At age 15, Jose convinced his mother (who had worked as a farm labourer on a large hiacienda for 24 years) that they needed to leave the only life she had known and join the New Jerusalem community.  Both spoke of the enormous risk of making that change and all that they needed to learn once they joined this new farming paradigm.  Both also stated that today they were much better off for making that move and they spoke of their thankfulness to God for the new opportunities in their lives.

Now, five hours later, we find ourselves back in our guest house in Matagalpa.  Day 4 is coming to an end and it has been a day like few others.  Again today we have met people whose life experience is shockingly different than our own.  Again today we have met people of vision and faith and we have been witness to the powerful results of the fusion of those two.  And once again, we find the boundaries of our understanding of this world pushed back.

 We have much to think about.








Jun 21, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Sounds like quite the eye-opening experience! Thanks for sharing.

Jun 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Sounds like an interesting day. Can you post some pictures of your work and experiences?

Jun 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm

This sounds like a wonderful answer to prayer that eyes are being opened to see the world in such a tangible way! May this experience for each be for the glory of GOD.

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