I am back where it all began – my farming journey, that is - in the place where I first discovered that my love for people was best expressed through caring for the land. I am in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, with my brother. Fourteen years ago, I traveled to an orphanage in this town and went horseback riding. I also participated in a mission trip in the surrounding area. Little did I know that all of these years later I would be back in this place where it all began, assisting WEGO (Worldwide Evangelical Global Outreach) with its 30 acre farm/property, which houses a school, feeding program, and community center.
I truly feel like everything has come full circle after working in a different rural area of Nicaragua with coffee farmers for the past 8 years. I became a farmer to help the poor. I sought to learn to do what they do. I never thought that what I have learned during these years would have given me the lens that I have now.
It is not just about growing everything and being awesome. It is about finding a niche, knowing your place and climate, finding the gaps and missing pieces, and filling it with life. It is not about raising fruit, cattle, chickens, beans, rice, mangos, and coffee. It is about creatively serving a need, inspiring creativity, creating vocations, and helping others to discover their God-given potential.
A former children’s home, Hogar de Gloria, sits on a 30-acre property/farm and now houses a secondary school and feeding program run by WEGO. This nonprofit has been operating since 1994 and is now run by my brother. El Centro, as the school is currently called, has 63 students and 8 teachers, and is also the home of the feeding program, feeding 190 children per day. Over 280 meals are fed out of the same kitchen daily during the week.
I spent my time last week working with the farm manager, one of his workers, security guards, maintenance workers, and also at one of the surrounding neighbor’s property. I made maps, identified flora and fauna, and taught for hours on ethics and farm design. We also talked about principles for earthen stove design and made some test cobb (stove building ingredients).
On the farm there are currently a few cows, 2 horses, mangos, bananas, avocados, and a few varieties of citrus. The farm has potential for some serious food production, yet it’s not in great shape and will require a lot of work.
The birth of Keipos and the ensuing 8 years of learning and hard work have prepared me for such a time as this. This past week I felt alive and I was doing what I was created to do, sharing with those who need it most in the poor and destitute rural Nicaraguan community. I hope that El Centro will become a beginning place again where Keipos can help other ministries soar with success through meeting the most basic needs for human survival and abundance - from our heart, in the city, and to the world.
This is why Keipos began, to encourage the healing of people and place through food, farming & education.
Fresh air. Clean water.
Living soils, thriving trees, animals, and community.
Adaptive and entrepreneurial marketplace.
Energy harnessing infrastructure.
Biblically based framework and apprenticeship.
This is why we have built our farm the way we have, a place for others to come and learn about food, farming, natural building, appropriate technology, animals, trees, water, community, and so much more!
Our hope is that Keipos can be a bridge and tool for connecting people vertically, horizontally, and futuristically.