Monday, December 7, 2009

What Can Coffee Plants Teach Us About Families?

IMG_0846Several weeks ago the owner of a local coffee farm asked us to organize a seminar on family relationships for her farm workers. Bev and I talked through ideas and decided to focus on three main thoughts: we all need each other; there are good and pleasant things [gold] in all of us; and we must take care of our family.

Saturday, December 5th was the agreed upon date, so we started the afternoon with a ride in a pick-up and made the 1.8 mile trip up and over the mountain in 25 minutes. It is close to Jinotega, but the conditions of the road and the steep inclination increases travel time.IMG_0890

The Lopez family is concerned for the total well being of their farm workers. They have built 2 school buildings and continue improving conditions for their temporary workers [approximately 500] that come to harvest the coffee cherries. This interest resulted in our visit to share with the fifty permanent workers of the farm.

IMG_0925We started with a couple songs  and a dynamic of forming groups based on the parts needed to complete a body. Each person was given one of six parts and had to find five others with the pieces they lacked; united the puzzle was whole. We  need each other and are crippled when we are missing a leg or an arm. The same is true with our family relationships. Everybody has something to offer to make the family complete.

We also taught that the external appearance does not determine worth. It just so happened that the pretty flowered bag that everybody IMG_0924chose as their favorite was full of trash. The other two plain brown paper bags held something of value: a pearl [godly character] or a knife [God given talents]. We all have talents and the chance to develop godly character. So does everyone else. Let’s not overlook the blessing of God in others just because their external appearance is not attractive to us.

Tending young coffee plantsFinally, we made a comparison between the coffee plant and the family. Newly germinated plants are kept in a nursery and need careful attention, just as babies and children require special and frequent care.

Once the plant reaches 6-12 months it can be transplanted to one of the fields on the plantation. Although the plant is strong, it still needs to be watched and protected as it continues to grow. The tree needs 3-5 years before it produces fruit. Those years for a coffee plant were compared to the adolescent years. Our teens still need godly parental guidance and love as they  become more independent, ensuring a healthy future and the fulfillment of their destiny.

After the years of growth and maturing, the plant enters the productive years and bares fruit in abundance; as adults we marry and  have children. Our relationships must still be nurtured. We must care for our spouse and our children; they need our love, care and concern. With proper care, the coffee tree can produce for 25-30 years. The cutting of unnecessary limbs and two or three radical prunings gives new life and increases productivity. Likewise, in our lives there are distractions that take us away from the more important needs of family, wife, husband and children. We must eliminate them in order for the family to remain strong.

Coffee plant red berries 3As the plant advances in years it can still be productive if given individual attention. Our grandparents and the elderly have much to offer if we will just take the time to stop, help them, and listen to their years of understanding and experience.

The constant care and year long maintenance of coffee plants serve as an excellent example to teach us that we need to provide planned, continual care for our families.

We closed with a blessing for the community, the farm, the workers, the families, men, women, youth, teenagers and children. We are thankful for people like the Lopez family that are concerned for the integral well-being oIMG_1009f their community and workers.

The evening ended with a beautiful sunset, a fine meal and enjoyable conversation, a very tired little girl, and a slow ride back down the dark hill in a light rain. God has truly blessed us.

You can look at a few other pictures on Facebook [click here].  

IMG_1010Thank you for being a part of what we do in Nicaragua.

1 comment:

El Goyito said...

Excellent post, Earl.