Hold with Open Hands

Hold with Open Hands

I continue to marvel at the deep wisdom and elegant simplicity of the FRB model; all it asks is that we hold before ourselves open hands and see what it is that we have to offer. For some it is the knowledge and love of farming, for others it is land or seed or the machinery to plant, tend and harvest a crop to be grown for the benefit of other farmers in places where hunger stifles potential and erodes hope. For others it is skill in fundraising or having financial resources to contribute. And for some like Dale Goodman it is the network of relationships from which one can invite together a diverse group to hear about FRB and see what might happen. 

Dale heard about FRB in 2004 from his friend, Dr. Shannon Jung, who was then the Director of the Center for Theology and Land at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He immediately went home to Strawberry Point and set up an introductory meeting of people from his congregation. The group pondered long and hard that night, and once they said ‘yes’ they were all in. They decided to invite the other churches in the community to join them. Dale, the Executive Director of Ewalu Camp and Retreat Center, approached his board with the request that they donate the use of the camp’s tillable acreage. They agreed, and the Strawberry Point Seeds of Hope Growing Project was off and running.

But Dale wasn’t finished. He saw the potential that plot had to teach campers about the difficult issue of world hunger in the context of being able to effectively do something about it. He trained the counselors in communicating the power of empowering others to feed their families. Each group of campers visited the FRB plot and prayed for the crop and its eventual beneficiaries. Dale invited the campers to invest in the project in their own way, by foregoing one or both of the canteen treats they were allowed each day and having that money go to the mission instead. In this way thousands of dollars have been raised over the years in ‘candy bars not eaten’. 

And still Dale wasn’t finished. He introduced FRB at various Lutheran regional and synodical events. Dale, his wife Susan and others from Seeds of Hope traveled in NE Iowa to share their experience in being part of a lasting solution to hunger and last winter hosted a regional FRB meeting that brought together growing projects, FRB staff and keynote speaker Gary Cook from FRB’s long time partner, Bread for the World. 
In September Dale retired from his ministry at Ewalu. A group who had supported and benefitted from the camp’s many ministries gathered to wish Dale Godspeed and to welcome the new Executive Director, Clark Baldwin. I introduced myself to Clark with the intention of telling him about FRB and the camp’s long history of support. But, of course, I didn’t need to; Dale had done that too. 

While I hope that FRB has not seen the last of Dale and Susan Goodman, I do think it a good time to celebrate this long partnership and lift up a great example of what can happen when we figure out the piece we have to offer and do so with joyful enthusiasm. Thank you for your partnership!

Joan Fumetti, FRB Staff

10/29/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment