This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.
As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPE. Join us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit." — Psalm 51:10-12 (NRSV)
Having grown up on the farm homestead of my great-grandparents in South Dakota, I have an appreciation for farmers: their work ethic, their reliance on sun, rain and productive land, and their resolve to innovate in order to improve their yield and product.
So when I was asked by Lutheran World Relief to see what LWR does with Peruvian potato farmers living at 13,000 feet in the Cocha community in the Castrovirreyna province, I was intrigued and curious. There I met Daisy and her family. Daisy, like me, is a farmer’s daughter. Her family returned to their native land after fleeing from the Shining Path, a terrorist group. Fear drove them away, but a more powerful emotion brought them back: hope.
They returned to their hectare of land that had lain fallow for many years. Their seedling potatoes for this high altitude had been lost. The rains came less frequently, and the snowmelt had also decreased.
Fortunately, LWR found Daisy and several other small potato-farming families, and they started to trust “outsiders” to help them develop their farms again. LWR provided Daisy and the farmers with better potato seedlings that survive in a very harsh environment, so they were once again able to produce native potatoes. We gave these farmers the expertise and innovation of capturing melting runoff and rains in a pond. Then LWR taught the farmers about irrigation, so their potato crops are more likely to thrive and mature. Additionally, other vegetables were added to their crops to help diversify their diet and curb childhood malnutrition.
So when I read the words of Psalm 51—“a new and right spirit,” “restore to me the joy,” and “sustain in me a willing spirit”—I remember Daisy and her community in Cocha, Peru. They returned to their native land and had new and right spirits. They had hope, joy, and willing spirits coupled with the guiding and skillful hand of LWR.
Their example leads me into this season of Lent, a season of reflection, renewal, and, ultimately, joy.
Where do you see steadfastness, restoration, and hope in your world?
Clean out, O God, the inner conflicts of my life. Search out, O Lord, the hidden motives of my life. Root out, divine master, the destructive actions of my life. May actions of faith, hope, and love increase in everything I am and in everything I do. Amen.
Louise Evenson serves as a Board Director for Lutheran World Relief. She resides in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she is a member of Ascension Lutheran Church.
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