An Olive Press Destined for Mexico Makes Dreams Come True in Haiti
God has a plan.
All in God’s time.
God doesn’t waste anything.
In my heart, I know these things are true. Yet, sometimes, I struggle to believe them. Sometimes it seems like what must be God’s plan stalls, and I begin to wonder whether it’s really His plan at all. That’s why I love stories that illustrate the above truths…like the story below. Read on to see how a disappointment in Mexico seven years ago will contribute to forever changing the lives of thousands of children in Haiti.
Following their meeting during the inaugural Rooted discipleship class at Mariners Church in 2010, Ash Narayan and Bill Largent were inspired to travel together to Miracle Ranch Children’s Home in Valle de las Palmas, Mexico. The home sat amongst a grove of olive trees from which the owners had been producing tiny batches of high-quality olive oil for years. Yet, the home struggled to make ends meet. Over the next several months, under their new ministry the Gethsemane Project, Ash and Bill developed a sustainable business plan to help Miracle Ranch monetize its 120 acres of mature olive trees in an effort to help them move from financial crisis to financial independence. The plan included the purchase of a Pieralisi industrial olive press to maximize the financial potential of the olive harvest.
The olive press purchase was completed in 2012, but it was never put into operation at Miracle Ranch because of some changes in the leadership at the Children’s Home. The press was warehoused in shipping containers in Lake Elsinore, CA as Bill and Ash looked for other opportunities to put it to ministry use.
Over the following years, the Gethsemane Project successfully developed sustainable agricultural business plans for the Donela School in Bomba, Uganda; the Ape Kedela Children’s Home in Sri Lanka; and the Grace Fields Ranch for victims of human trafficking in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. However, during this time, the olive press remained in its shipping containers.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)
Five years later, in 2017, Gethsemane Project was invited to consult with the Haiti Ministry of Mariners Church on Pastor Samuel’s vision for a sustainable school in Torbeck, Haiti. As those plans developed and the vision began to take shape with the acquisition of land for the school, the team talked about the need for additional, significant funding to make Sam’s vision a reality. During a visit to Haiti in January 2018, the team prayed that the olive press could be sold and the proceeds used to help fund the school’s construction. God heard that prayer, and just four months later, a potential buyer came forward. In November 2017, the olive press was sold and the money—$65,000—was deposited into the ministry’s account.
God is so good! Thanks to the sale of the olive press, the Mariners Women’s Christmas Brunch (which raised $12,000), and several other large donations (including the Hirst wedding registry donation of $4,000+), construction of Phase I of the school (kindergarten through 4th grade) will commence this month!
What once seemed like an impossible goal, raising $1.5 million for a self-sustaining, premiere private school in Haiti, is proving possible with the grace of God! We still have a ways to go, but I’m now more confident than ever that it will happen…according to God’s plan and in His timing.