As we close out 2018, our hearts are filled with joy and thanks because God has answered many prayers for our Church Ministry here at First Fruits Farm. The first of many was the addition of Mark and SaraLynn Bloodworth to our Farm Team. I prayed for three long years for God to send us someone to help carry the burden of the day to day operations here on the farm. Little did I know that God was going to bless us with a double portion because that someone turned out to be a marriage and both Mark and Sara Lynn are equally passionate in running for Christ!
Humbling yet Thankful Sweet Potato Harvest
The morning of our Sweet Potato harvest, I got in to my tractor and turned over a few rows. I stopped my tractor and lowered my head in disappointment because I didn’t see the large golden brown potatoes jumping out of the ground we had seen in the previous two years. This was a result of our sweet potato crop being plagued by late summer droughts and pressure from deer eating many of the vines in the field.
Tay and Mark saw me sitting there in my tractor crying and came over to pray with me. We lifted our eyes up towards heaven and gave thanks to God for our Sweet Potato Harvest.
This was the same test I failed in 2015 when our harvest was just as dismal. What I learned is that one may plant and one may water, but it is God that provides the increase. If God can take two fish and five loaves of bread and feed five thousand people, then surely He can take our humble harvest and meet the needs of the people in our local communities. Whether the harvest be big or small, it is our job to be faithful and give thanks. God will provide the increase.
The Amazing Graze Barn
When Tay and I made the covenant with God to call our Farm “First Fruits Farm”, I envisioned us giving the firstfruits of every harvest and marketing/selling the remaining produce to help fund our ministry and make it sustainable. Well, at the end of our first harvest in 2014, we saw the great need from our local communities and God placed it on our hearts to give away all of our harvest. We have given 100% of our harvest every year and to date, we have grown, harvested and donated more than 900,000 pounds of food from the fields here at First Fruits Farm.
Our passion for giving, yet our need for sustainability forced us to look around First Fruits Farm for resources to help meet those goals and we were naturally lead to consider our old dairy barn. After prayerful consideration, God gave us an awesome vision for the Barn in that we could not only use the barn for agriculture, but for ministry events to feed the community as well as an occasional venue space.
While working in the Barn one day, I said to myself, “Hundreds of dairy cows once grazed in this barn but now God’s people are going to be fed and graze in here. This is a Graze Barn. An Amazing Graze Barn!” A light bulb immediately went off and I said, “That’s it! That’s what we’re going to call our barn. The Amazing Graze Barn.”
Visit: www.amazinggrazeevents.com for more details. If you know of a newly engaged couple looking for a venue or an organization looking for a corporate retreat for team building, please share.
Christmas at the Barn
We wanted to do something special for Christmas and host a live nativity scene amongst our barnyard animals seemed like a great idea. Hot Chocolate, cookies and other sweet treats would be served for fellowship in the Graze Barn. Village Rolesville UMC partnered with us to host an evening Christmas service in the loft of the Graze Barn.
Being our first Christmas event at the Farm, we were hopeful to expect a decent turnout of maybe 200 guest.Somehow the word got out and the spirit of Christmas took over because nearly 1,000 visitors from near and far showed up to have fellowship with us at the Barn.It turned out to be an amazing evening and we definitely threw Jesus the Birthday party he deserved
Goals for 2019
Sharing the love of Jesus Christ and giving with a cheerful heart will always be our foundation here at First Fruits Farm. For 2019 and beyond, we know that we can love more and give more through discipleship and teaching others to duplicate our efforts. Just like the wise adage, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
We are going to expand our community gardens to offer more service project opportunities for youth and school groups. Although there is more work to be done, we don’t want our mission at First Fruits Farm to be burdensome to our volunters. For this reason, fun and more relaxing agritourism opportunities will be available as well. In addition to our sweet potato crop, we will also have a large watermelon patch, a large pumpkin patch, and in the fall, we will also have a five-acre corn maze. These opportunities will give our guest and volunteers an awesome balance between work and play.
Special Thanks to our Volunteers
We could not have done it without you; from the fields to the barn. To everyone who was so giving of their time, large and small, we thank you.
Catch us in the news
PBS Growing a greener world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIypW41_AwI
Jason’s testimony will be featured in the January issue of Billy Graham’s publication “Decision Magazine”
January episode of Oliver North’s “American Heroes”
Please partner with us. There are several ways you can support our Ministry!
Donate to our Wish List
Monetary Donation; no gift is too small
Make Checks payable to: “Wisdom for Life” and mail c/o 421 S. Garnett st. Henderson, North Carolina