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Saturday, September 14, 2019

What did my mom and Ian have in common?

Planting banana trees in honor of my mom.
Tomorrow is Ian’s 54th birthday. It would have been my mom’s 88th birthday if she were still alive. But that's not all they had in common.

As I sit and write this blog I am looking out over the Project Canaan farm and thinking of these two very special people in my life and how they have impacted my life, and so many others – my mom and Ian.

My mom was a fearless genius, a brilliant pharmacist, a renaissance woman, and a stubborn/tireless advocate. She would have LOVED everything about Project Canaan, especially the impossibility of the whole thing.  She would have wanted to be covered in grease trying to fix the bulldozer, but then she would have been researching how to get better yields of tilapia in the aquaponics system. She would have reorganized our pharmacy and tried to find medications around the world that aren’t available here and then she would have been finding new varieties of vegetables for our fields.  Her surname was “Willis” and there was a family play on the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” that said,  “Where there’s a Willis, there’s a way”.  That was my mom.

My mom was also a mighty woman of faith and trusted in the Lord for everything.  I remember seeing my first miracle on her couch in the livingroom above the drugstore where we lived.  One of her friends was born with one leg several inches shorter than the other, causing a significant limp and pain. My mom was a “new Christian” and read that Jesus healed the lame, so she laid hands on her friend and prayed for her friend’s leg to grow so that she would no longer limp and be in pain.  I saw that leg grow with my own eyes, and I saw my mom jump up and down and shriek, cry and rejoice!  Her friend never limped again (but did have “growing pains” for a few days after the healing).
Mom with Spencer on his 1st Christmas.
My mom’s faith was unwavering and she taught me to believe in a God who never failed.

In that way, Ian is very much like my mom.  His faith is unwavering, and I see that every single day. AND he is really excited about the unknown and the adventure of learning.

For those of you who don’t know Ian personally, he is a very humble man who models grace, wisdom and hard work for those around him.  He loves to learn and is the first to admit that he knows nothing about many things that he is working on, but he is also the first to buy a book about butchering to learn how to carve up a cow or read the latest book on bees to learn how to get our Aviary back up and running.  He loves to learn like my mom did and I love that about him.

Hundreds of thousands of beet root seedlings preparing for the field.

Making our own minced beef after slaughtering a cow.
Ian is also a man of faith and believes in a God who answers prayer.  And why wouldn’t he?  He knows that it is impossible for us (Ian and Janine Maxwell) to start a farm in the middle of a tiny Kingdom in Africa and then rescue 247 orphaned or abandoned babies and commit to raising them to adulthood.  We didn’t know anything about farming, construction or growing fruit trees, but Ian had faith that God would send people who did and now we have field crops as well as hydroponics and aquaponics, we have built 63 buildings, and we have an orchard of avocadoes, papayas and have cleared land for a banana grove!

Ian is my rudder.  He is the calm in my storm.  He makes me laugh and consoles me when I cry.  But more importantly his faith is a constant reminder to me that God is in control, that He loves us and He is our provider. 

Will you join me in celebrating Ian’s life by buying him a banana tree for our new banana grove?  They are only $12.00!  That’s the best birthday gift ever because they will provide fresh fruit for years to come!

Tomorrow is also the birthday of our children Moses, Robert and Bernice so if you would like to buy them banana tree for their birthday or if you would like to buy one in memory of my mom, please click on the links below. Thank you!

In the US click here.

In Canada click here.

Live from Eswatini … banana pudding will soon be on the menu!


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