A reflection from Sarah Gibbs, Project Eden Plot Holder
Our family loves to be outside together, but as our boys get older, their outside time seems to be spent with neighborhood friends, running and playing and swimming and doing all the fun things little boys do; nonetheless, Jeff and I were looking for a way to spend more quality time together as a family outside. We wanted to serve together as a family, spending time in God’s creation, loving those whom God has called us to serve. And along came Project Eden…
We’re so thankful for our spring and summer in the garden. It provided time together away from the world, away from the noise, away from distraction. At first, we thought our boys would be bored with the gardening, but the more we were there, the more their intrigue and interest grew. What a precious gift! We loved that time picking and talking and tasting new veggies. I absolutely adored the questions the boys would ask us about plants, about the apple trees, about why we compost. And boy, am I thankful for all that I learned as Jeff answered all of their questions!
We were also able to bring both sets of our parents out to the garden, which was heart-warming to see our kids working alongside their grandparents, telling them all about why we do Project Eden and how we pick green beans, tomatoes, and tomatillos. All generations can benefit from time spent in creation; I’ve loved how throughout the weeks our parents will ask about the garden and want to know, “Did you get more beans this week? How are your tomatoes?” It’s so neat! God is good.
Probably the best gift of all this summer was the opportunity to teach the boys about “first fruits.” One Sunday after church we were driving out of the parking lot, when we saw a young couple with three children standing in the grass next to the parking lot, holding a sign that read “Need food, need a job, Please help.” When we saw it, we had just picked our first squash of the season. The boys were beaming with pride that we’d picked four AMAZING squash. We donated 3 of the 4, but we still had one in the car to take home and cook. I knew immediately that this family needed our squash. When I told them that we were going to circle the church and give this family what squash we had left, the boys were upset. “What? You mean we can’t take this one home? We gave the others away already.” They wanted to know why we had to give the one that we had left away. I explained to them the concept of how God calls us to give our first fruits, our best blessings, to Him. I explained how giving that squash away was our first fruits, and if we are faithful in giving our first fruits away, He will bless us in many other ways, with many other gifts. And boy, was I right. Giving that squash away is something I’m so thankful for, as it was a chance to model sacrificial giving for our kids, to show them the importance of Kingdom values over those of this world.
Looking back over the whole summer, I realize that giving our first fruits harvested an abundance of blessings for our family. For that, I thank God, and I thank Project Eden for the chance to serve, for how it has left a lasting mark on ours and our boys’ hearts.
Join us next year out at the Project Eden Gardens! Sign up for a plot or to volunteer by completing this form and be a part of what God is doing out at the gardens!