1. Winter 2009 A Publication of Floresta USA, Inc. Sharing Vision, Sharing Hope Planting Hope Gala Meets Director’s Corner with Unprecedented Success By Scott Sabin, Executive DirectorWhat a great week! The hotel was in a beautiful spot, overlooking arocky cove with a secluded beach, amidst lush tropical forest. Not theHaiti of popular imagination, but the perfect spot for Floresta’s FifthInternational Meeting. Although not expensive, the hotel was niceand other than a few UN workers, our international delegates hadit to ourselves. We had come from Thailand, Tanzania, Mexico, theDominican Republic, the United States, Canada and Haiti to be here inJacmel for the Floresta International meeting. After dinner the ﬁrst evening there was a small combo playingmerengue and konpa music on the patio, and gradually I noticed thatthe saxophone player was in the midst of an extended solo. What Iwasn’t prepared for, when I turned around, was the fact that the soloistwas none other than our Dominican director, Carlos Disla, sitting in withthe hotel band. Shirley and Barry Billingsley Floresta would like to give special thanks to all of our Gala Volunteers for making the night a truly unforgettable evening. Thank you, volunteers! We couldn’t have done it without you! continued on page 2........................................... In This Issue: DEPARTMENTS: Director’s Corner ................................. 1Tui (Thailand) Raul (Mexico) Albert (Tanzania) and Edith (Tanzania) enjoy a light Volunteers of the Quarter .................... 3moment at the International Meeting Faces of Floresta ................................. 4 It was just one of the many moments that made our time together FEATURES:special. Others included multilingual devotions in Floresta’s new Planting Hope Gala Success .............. 1-2ofﬁce in Grand Colline, learning old Haitian folk songs from one of Haitian Hope ....................................... 5our Haitian board members and visiting the villages to see both old Village Spotlight................................... 6 Breaking Floresta News ....................... 7continued on page 4..............................................................................................Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Winter 2009 | 1
2. Planting Hope Gala Meets with Unprecedented Success photoessay continued from page 1 Gala Successes! Planting Hope Gala held on Oct. 4th at the San Diego, Marriott, La Jolla its programs around the world donated to the live and silent auctions Relief in Haiti Friends join together for a group shot during tables—thank you Table Hosts! the gala excitement Murray Decker, Board Member, and Chris Elisara Jeff (Board Chair) and Sally Busby, Shirley John and Sarah Lord, Brad Lewis, Scott Sabin, Rich Houk Billingsley, Gala Committee Chair, and Doug Gala Volunteers Satre, Floresta staff member “Now all glory to God who is able through His mighty power at work within us to accomplish inﬁnitely more than we might ask or think.” -Ephesians 3:20 The Village Market featured distinctive crafts from a variety of villages where Floresta works around the world. Throughout the evening, a buzz grew as guests compared colorful Thai scarves, authentic corn husk dolls from Mexico, and beautiful wooden crosses from Tanzania, among other unique gifts. Chris Castillero and Cristina Terry proudly display their village market purchases2 | THE SOWER Winter 2009 visit www.floresta.org
3. Volunteers of the Quarter:The ‘Planting Hope’ Gala CommitteeThis year’s Planting Hope Gala was an extraordinary suc-cess. An unprecedented number of Floresta supporters,friends, and family joined in on the memorable evening -ing programs. This memorable evening and fundraiserwould not have been possible without the hard work anddedication of this year’s Gala Committee. The committee, Some of the committee members at the post-gala appreciation dinner. Front row: left to right, Susan Forrest, Marlene Dominy and Eloise Housman;a vital role in the planning and execution of this fabulous Middle row: Barbara Anderson, Kathy Harvey and Shirley Billingsley;event. Under the detailed and dedicated direction of Shir- Top row: Linda Smith and Dianne Johnsonley Billingsley, the committee planned the décor, recruitedguests, generated enthusiasm, and secured donations for Shirley Billingsley, Committee Chairthe silent and live auctions. They also planned and pro- Barbara Anderson Kathy Harvey Francie Murphyduced the Village Market, which allowed guests to step into Kelley Carder Eloise Housman Stephanie SelarkaFloresta’s villages around the world by purchasing distinc- Joanie Crawford Debbie Inada Linda Smithtive crafts such as hand-crafted pine needle baskets, deli- Marlene Dominy Cecily Jaynes Pearl Wongcious Floresta coffee, and colorful Thai scarves and napkins. Susan Forrest Dianne Johnson The committee contributed invaluable insight, time, Aimee Halfpenny Brad Lewisand resources, many even devoting hundreds of hours to Next year’s Gala Committee is already hard at work plan-making this year’s gala a success. We are incredibly grateful ning Floresta’s Planting Hope Gala 2009. If you have a knackfor the Committee’s priceless contribution and thank them for event planning or just love getting involved, contactall for putting on a magniﬁcent event. Thank you, GalaCommittee! be a part of Floresta’s biggest event of the year.Ron Kimura and Lola Jordeth Donna and Jay Shirley Albro Lundy with daughter, Neva, and son, Aldon. Neva shared about her internship experience in Tanzania last summer. Save the date for next year’s Planting hope Hope Gala. It’s sure to be a night to remember! PLANTING Planting Hope Gala 2009 October 10, 2009Clay Westling, Sarah Ward, Nicole and Dave Franco San Diego Marriott La Jolla GALACall 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Winter 2009 | 3
4. ..............................................continued from page 1 and new friends. It was a blessing just to be Faces of Floresta: here in Haiti – we had twice scheduled the Albert Samson, Mbwambo, Tanzania meeting here in the past, only to move it Whether on the soccer ﬁeld or teaching sus- due to political unrest. After the hurricanes tainable agriculture techniques to farmers in of August, we had brieﬂy considered the ﬁeld, Albert Samson Mbwambo is a team postponing it again. However, despite player. Combining his love for the environ- hurricanes and economic crisis, Floresta- ment and desire to serve those in need, Haiti was eager to host the growing Floresta Albert works as Floresta Tanzania’s Agrono- family. mist. Thanks to Albert’s agricultural expertise, Our international leadership meets as a hundreds of farmers are increasing the yields group every two years to solidify vision, enjoy of their farms and gardens and learning to fellowship and learn from the experiences take care of their land for future generations. of the host country. This year, we spent two and a half days in meetings, three days Birthplace: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania visiting the ﬁeld and another two days Currently working in: Floresta Tanzania. enjoying Haiti’s surprising tourist attractions. Years working with Floresta: Albert teaching on the beneﬁts of For me, perhaps the most gratifying Job title: Agronomist planting trees aspect was seeing the interchange between Brief job description: I am responsible for group formation and training countries, as people from around the world on environmental conservation techniques such as family gardens and tree worked to overcome language and cultural planting. barriers to share what they had learned about ﬁghting poverty and deforestation How you became involved with Floresta: I was working with the Bureau of and to enjoy one another as brothers and Forestry on a study tour to Kilimanjaro when I saw an advertisement for a sisters in Jesus. Everywhere I looked there job at Floresta. I applied and the rest is history! were informal meetings taking place, as Motivation for working with Floresta: I wanted to work in the Kilimanjaro people from seven very different countries region and wanted to improve my skills. worked together to solve common problems – a single team was being forged. And Environmental conservation and as I enjoyed the miracle of collaboration improving agriculture. I like the job because I have direct contact with that was taking place, I remembered farmers and I enjoy the teamwork. how important our partners in the US – Favorite Floresta memory: supporters, prayer partners, volunteers and banks that grant loans, accumulate capital, and help community members donors – are to this team. groups! my family Favorite book: Books about agriculture and environment; a book on the __________________________________ edible trees and shrubs of East Africa The Sower Issue #83. The Sower is published quarterly Favorite quote: by Floresta USA “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” In other words, “Work hard so you 4903 Morena Blvd., Suite 1215 may eat.” San Diego, California 92117 I am from the same tribe Ph: (858) 274-3718, (800) 633-5319. Fax: (858) 274-3728 auctioneer to raise funds for our VICOBA groups. Some Roman Catholic E-mail: email@example.com sisters from the event were so impressed they asked me to raise money for www.floresta.org one of their projects.4 | THE SOWER Winter 2009 visit www.floresta.org
5. Despite Four Hurricanes, Haitian Hope and Tenacity Continues It is easy to overlook if you are not paying attention. People still smile and offer friendly greetings as you walk down the narrow paths. The sun is shining and corn is coming up on the hillsides. However on closer observation, the downed trees and ragged crowns of disheveled palms are everywhere. Late this summer, four storms hit Haiti within the space Maurice Decoline of Savanet with his children of a month: Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike. Gustav, they said, brought the worst winds, knocking down trees, leveling group has a tree nursery and a cistern. Their main source cornﬁelds and sending aluminum roofs scything through of income is bananas, breadfruit and corn, all of which were the air. Then Hanna came and stayed, with eight straight hit hard. The president of the group, Jean Francios, told days of torrential rains. That was what killed the animals. us that right now even the ﬁrewood is wet, so they couldn’t Homes are still missing roofs or walls, whereas on churches cook their food even if they could afford it. and schools, brand new aluminum stands out on the roof, However, in nearby Savanet we got some good news contrasting with the rust of older pieces. The fresh scars as we walked through a micro-watershed project. In these of new landslides are everywhere, and only one lane of the projects, Floresta brings together all of the landowners main highway to Jacmel is open. around a stream or drainage area and helps them to work When you begin to talk with people, an even starker together to apply soil conservation techniques and plant picture comes out. Most families are down to two meals a trees to protect the water source. In Savanet, ﬁfty families day. Contaminated water and disease are a big problem. are participating in the protection of the watershed, planting trees, establishing rock barriers and installing percent suffered signiﬁcant damage to their homes and contour canals. Jean Baptist, the president of the group, said that he was certain that the corn they had planted just are traditionally used as a savings account to be sold when times are tough, died in the hundreds. Most families have of rain that lashed the hillsides. However, he was stunned received no outside assistance, other than what Floresta that where the erosion control techniques had been has been able to offer. So once again the people of Haiti applied, the corn had sprouted and was doing well, in sharp tighten their belts and put a brave face on their hardship. contrast to the land around it. We visited Kanje, near Bainet, where a new Floresta Nonetheless, they have been heavily impacted. The secretary of the group, Maurice Decoline, showed me his home, with most of two walls still missing. Another Maurice Decoline, home had been leveled and the entire family was living in Secretary of the Floresta group in Savanet, in the separate kitchen. In spite of all this, the spirit of the front of his damaged Haitians is amazing. They remain positive and courageous. house At Floresta we are committed to serving our brothers and sisters in this difﬁcult time. As The Sower goes to press, Guy is distributing goats to families that lost animals. Later they will repay Floresta with the ﬁrstborn kids, which will be distributed to additional families. We are also buying seed to be distributed in time for planting. We hope to help help, please respond in the enclosed envelope or online.New roofs and ragged palms in Savanet which have been pledged to match contributions to Haiti hurricane relief. Thank you so much. Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Winter 2009 | 5
6. Village Spotlight: Church, Community, and Change in Loma Ardilla, Mexico Steep hills. Violent rains. Little access to the outside world. From an outsider’s perspective, the small Mexican hillside that renders the village inaccessible by vehicle whenever it rains, seems to have little reason to hope. But with the encouragement of Floresta, this isolated village has joined together to improve their lives and their land. Just last year, the Prince of Pastures Church, which sits on the precarious hillside of Loma Ardilla, embarked Members of the Prince of Pastures Church, Ananias is standing on an exciting new initiative called Church, Community, in the back center with the collared shirt and Change, which utilizes Floresta’s unique Bible study Pastures Church. The old church building, small and curriculum. The church members are now asking dilapidated, couldn’t hold the surge of new members, many themselves how they can act as an agent for positive change of them children who are now eagerly participating in the in their community. growing Sunday school program. “Since Floresta started working with us, the children’s ministry has grown a lot… We thank Floresta and thank God that a lot of children attend church now,” said church member, Juan Perez. The roof of the new building is completed, but it will be a year before the wood dries out enough to put up the walls. The church is not yet ﬁnished, but changes in the hearts and lives’ of community members in Loma Ardilla is already taking place. Community members put the roof on The Prince of Pastures Church, which will accommodate the growing number of active members The community has already united to build a tree nursery to produce countless seedlings that have been planted to reforest and restore the steep, eroded hillsides they depend on for their survival. In addition to the tree nursery, community members have constructed a Juan Perez, left, and Rodolfo, church leader, gratefully recount Floresta’s cistern to store life-giving rainwater, utilized fuel-efﬁcient impact on their community stoves to reduce the need to cut trees for fuel wood, built ecologically friendly latrines to keep waste products out of Floresta village sponsors can make a difference in village water sources, and initiated a chicken project that the lives of many other rural farmers and communities, provides both income and nutrition. “We participated empowering them to cultivate their faith as well as trees. in the nursery and reforestation. There have been many challenges but God has blessed us and the trees are Ardilla. You will receive updates of your village along with growing. Thank you for all the support; it has been a stories from farmers like Ananias and Juan Perez. First great beneﬁt to the church and the community,” said one time sponsors who sign up with our automatic payment farmer, Ananias. option will have their ﬁrst year’s donation matched! The community is coming together for another To learn more or sign up, please ﬁll out the enclosed construction project, but this time instead of a tree nursery envelope, visit our website, or contact us at or cistern, this building will be home to the Prince of6 | THE SOWER Winter 2009 visit www.floresta.org
7. Breaking News: What’s New at Floresta Artists Advocates in Action entrepreneurs to speak up for those who don’t have a voice, Vox Culture Houston has hosted two beneﬁt or more public charities. concerts on behalf of Floresta. A portion of the The Beneﬁts: In most cases, the transfer counts toward proceeds has gone to support Floresta’s Sponsor-A- your minimum required distributions, generates neither Village program in Ashira, Tanzania. taxable income nor a tax deduction, and may be in addition to or fulﬁll any charitable giving you have already partnership program. Derren Raser, a San Diego planned. based musician and our ﬁrst partnering artist, will The Next Step: Be sure to contact tax professionals be touring in the Midwest this spring where he and your IRA administrator if you are considering a gift will continue to share about our ministry and to under this law. encourage new supporters of our work. To ﬁnd out more about our artist partnership program, contact This fall Floresta’s board of directors unanimously approved the establishment of Endow Floresta, an endowment designed to perpetuate Floresta’s work of Floresta Happenings transformation in the lives of the rural poor. With a pledge changing work with the rural poor on a Floresta managed by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and will Vision Trip to the ﬁeld. 2009 Vision Trips: Tanzania, provide an ongoing source of revenue to support our core programs. We encourage you to consider adding Endow Floresta to your estate plans, and also to consider a designated gift to help us get the endowment growing! Please contact Doug Satre in the Floresta ofﬁce for more Christmas Gift Idea: give the gift of monthly information. Floresta coffee. In partnership with Just Coffee, we can now deliver a pound of delicious Fair Trade, Environmental tip of the quarter: Shade Grown coffee every month directly to your It’s not too late to order environmentally friendly Floresta Christmas Gifts! Searching for a special, meaningful Christmas gift for your Visit our blog at www. friends, family, or coworkers? We’ve got just the thing! ﬂorestablog.org This year, plant a tree or Sponsor A Village in honor of a loved one, and you’ll be giving some Christmas cheer peeled for our exciting new marketing campaign! month per village, you can give your family and friends a New ways to support Floresta: gift that reﬂects the true spirit of the season. With each Tax-free gifts from your IRA! gift purchased, you’ll receive a Floresta with individual retirement accounts. Thanks to the extended charitable IRA legislation, you can once again make outright gifts using IRA funds without for a stocking stuffer tax complications. If you are required to receive or to mail out as your minimum distributions from your IRA and you do regular holiday card. not need the money for personal use, consider using To learn more, log on those funds as a charitable gift. While you cannot to www.ﬂoresta.org or claim a charitable deduction for the IRA gifts, you will not pay income tax on the amount.Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Winter 2009 | 7
8. Planting Hope Gala a record-breaking success!Check out pictures from the memorable evening (page 2)Haiti hit by four storms...Find out how Floresta is helping Haitian farmers rebuild. (page 5) ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED firstname.lastname@example.org (858) 274-3718 San Diego, CA 92117 OCEANSIDE, CA 4903 Morena Blvd., Suite 1215 PERMIT NO. 236 PAID U.S. POSTAGE NON PROFIT ORG.