Celecia Ossborne, Outreach Coordinator
What does a mangrove tree have to do with a heifer? More than you might think...
Heifer International provides sustainable hope for communities around the world by partnering with local families to empower them to achieve their goals of self-reliance. Using the philosophy of “teach a man to fish,” the founder of this organization inspires the mission of aiding people to utilize local, natural resources in such ways that help to alleviate hunger and poverty. The methods used create countless opportunities for individuals to care for the Earth, allow for human dignity, and foster community.
While many are aware of the cows, buffalo, goats, sheep, chicks and other animals that the funds provide, some may like to also note that various countries use other means by which to assist the families. Building toilets in India, developing dairy projects in East Africa, and advocating marine conservation in Ecuador are just a few other ways in which Heifer International is helping others around the world.
A special article of the fall issue of the WorldArk, the official magazine of Heifer International, highlights the importance of maintaining livelihood for families in Ecuador who depend on the mangrove tree as a natural resource. Since the mangrove tree thrives in this tropical, saltwater environment, growing them in areas with little protection politically and legally along with overfishing and industrial development has proven to be difficult. The organization is taking a multi-tiered approach to diversifying income by preserving and replanting, connecting local fisherman, establishing other income sources, and supporting education regarding these practices.
As part of God’s creation, the mangrove tree tells a beautiful story! Each of these plants were specifically designed by God for their saltwater life, and each one rids itself of the salt in a unique way. While certain mangroves have the ability to excrete salt out, the red mangrove does not have the same specific mechanism. This type of mangrove will have leaves that turn yellow among the lush green foliage. The one yellow leaf takes all the salt of the plant upon itself, dies, and falls off (taking all the salt with it) so that the rest of the plant can continue to live. WOW! That’s an amazing story!
“He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness of our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s.”–1 John 2:2 (Living)
What a beautiful example of how God reveals his truth and love for us through the magnificence and complexity of His creation! The yellow leaf provides an example of what we can be as image bearers of Jesus Christ, our atoning sacrifice. Perhaps as we see all the bright yellow leaves falling from the trees around us now in Jackson, we might be reminded of all God’s good and gracious gifts... or maybe even a heifer! Praise be to God!
As you are preparing to bring your buckets of change for our next Heifer Ingathering on Sunday, November 9, please pray that this offering means more than just loose “change” in financial terms, but also the “change” that takes place in the lives of those who are given these gifts! If you would like more information about Heifer International, please visit online at Heifer.org