Monday, July 17, 2017

Missionary Visit

A few days ago a friend's brother, Davis, visited the farm to tell us about his mission work in the middle east. He was recently in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Israel, some of the most war torn corners of the earth. The conversation was mostly about the children he had worked with, the relationships he had built with some citizens of those countries, and of course the tense moments he experienced in those tumultuous areas. The first trip he was part of was a couple of months, but now he has committed to go back for two years to help a family in Jordan. I don't use this space to get political or religious. I will provide his information so that if anyone wants to read about his mission work or donate, you can do both by clicking here.(if donating designate for Davis Knowles)
Many things struck me about this conversation, but one thing resonated above all else. It was the ability of this young man to:
- Recognize his desire to serve in this way
- Face a real danger and fear
- Decide to fulfill that calling regardless of the fear and danger
I'm thankful for our encounter with Davis and I'm glad we have folks like him around the world. Building bridges and relationships with people that don't look like us could go a long way toward a more peaceful existence.
It made me start to wonder if I would be able to look fear right in the face to accomplish a mission that I felt strongly about. I would like to say, yes I definitely would. However, the reality is that most of us rarely, if ever, will encounter a life threatening situation to accomplish a calling. But remember, we all have a calling. There is usually a fear of some kind standing between us and our calling. What I saw in Davis is someone that recognized the danger, felt the fear, but moved forward anyway.  
In some ways running a family farm is like taking a baton from the previous generation, running for a while, and then (if you are successful) handing the baton to the next generation. My calling right now is to continue the success of our family farm, and to provide our customers with best clean food available. I will do this in the face of whatever uncertainty arises. However, I think back to the fear that must have been ever present when my grandfather started our dairy in 1946. He was just back from the war and decided to take on a big debt load to enter what was a fairly new industry. We have handwritten letters between him and my grandmother as she was questioning the decision and they were both hoping they had made the right choice. He was a persistent man, and because of him Carlton Farms exists today. As I often do privately, here I publicly tip my cap to my grandpa in Heaven. Thanks for facing your fears to accomplish your mission. 
What is your calling??