Seeing the Hand of God

Throughout our years on the farm, the Lord has provided many remarkable “coincidences.” Today, as we have traveled far along our faith road, we call these divine appointments.

They serve as regular reminders that our farm ministry is under his control, not ours. As the years have flown past, we not only welcome such appointments, we depend on them.

The return of a friend from Germany recently brought old memories of such a divine appointment back to life.

Ziegfried, or Ziggy, as we call him, is a German engineer who is a missionary to Africa. Occasionally, he visits a fellow engineer here in Maryland who has devoted several months every year joining him and others for African missionary work.

In addition to introducing people to Jesus, they also build small hydroelectric plants and telecom towers, and teach welding.

Several years ago, before we knew Ziggy, we bought a German potato harvester, a Grimme 1700. As with all old machines, it needed some work. Unfortunately, the manual was in technical German and not written for laymen. What to do?

A couple of weeks later, we were invited for dinner at a friend’s house. Who was there? Ziggy. As the evening progressed, we discovered that he understood technical German, had grown up around potato harvesting equipment and knew a lot about the Grimme 1700.

Oh, and yes, he had the desire and time to help. Within a few days, the machine was ready for work. What a “coincidence.”

Surplus of Spuds

We saw the hand of God at work in another circumstance last season when we had a very rewarding potato crop.

It was almost hard to keep up. Just as we shipped out several trailer loads, the barns would refill as hundreds of volunteers and two Lockwood windrowers kept the wagons filled and moving.

After a particularly busy harvest week in late September, we found ourselves with about 200,000 pounds that needed to be shipped out before the arrival of scheduled volunteer groups.

That evening, we found out that one of our major distribution partners couldn’t take any more of our potatoes for the remainder of the season.

We were out of available storage space, so planned potato production would have to be rescheduled. Not good.

Late that night, trying to puzzle it all out, we reached out to one of our board members — more to vent, than for advice.

After we hung up, Bill called back. After a moment of prayer, he had a revelation. Why not call some of the areas with chronic hardships that had been hard hit by summer floods?

Through his connections with various archdioceses, within an hour, we were in contact with brothers and sisters in West Virginia and North Carolina who were in true need.

The West Virginia story was especially powerful. The southern area of that state desperately needed the potatoes but had no resources to come get them.

Enter a friend of the farm, Rob, whose trucking company provided the tractor-trailers free of charge. Praise the Lord.

Just then, a new obstacle emerged, our West Virginia friends couldn’t find a working forklift or skid steer for multiple locations.

Twenty four produce bins full of loose potatoes weighing around 1,100 pounds each were not something you lift off with people power, not unless everyone looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The next couple of days, multiple volunteer groups stepped forward and bagged more than 50,000 pounds of potatoes that had been sent in two separate trips to our new friends in West Virginia.

Today, that relationship has grown and we are sending help to our friends there almost every week. Was this part of our operating or strategic plan? No, but it was part of his plan.

Fortunately, we were listening and obeyed his command in Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

Praise the Lord, who is endlessly patient with his servants. He often gives us unwelcome circumstances that prove it is by his power that we are able to accomplish anything.

In John 15, the Lord reminds us that he is the vine, we are the branches. With that connection, the Lord promises we will do mighty works in his name and for his glory.


this post was originally published September 30, 2017 at Lancaster Farming.