Have you ever heard the phrase "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"? Well, recently we turned our lemons into honey and came up with a great plan B for Farm Camp that was rained out by Tropical Storm Cindy. Even with all of our modern technology, we cannot control the weather, and it has a way of changing our plans from time to time. It happens to all of us, and farmers understand keeping an eye on the sky more than most. In fact, that's Farming 101. Farmers make a plan for planting, fertilizing or harvesting. The execution of those plans are completely dependent on if, when and how much it rains.
In June we planned to take a group of students from south Dallas to Farm Camp, but the drenching storm had other plans and covered southeast Arkansas with flooding rain during the exact days of our trip. The morning our group was set to leave Dallas, a decision was made to postpone camp. Food had been purchased, speakers had been engaged, activities had been planned, and at the last minute all the plans changed. Not wanting to completely scrap the opportunity of our weekend, we quickly started to brainstorm about what we could do in Dallas on such short notice.
Marvin Walker and Reshod Fortenberry were set to be our health and wellness speakers for camp, and, as usual, were up for anything. They were willing to regroup with a remnant of our campers on Saturday morning and engage them. Also, Nature Nate’s came through at the last minute and offered to give our group a tour of their bottling facility, which is located on a lovely farm outside Dallas.
Having a few key components pulled together, lots of fresh food on hand and a group of adventurous students, we decided to go for it. That Saturday morning brought heavy rain to Dallas, but our team didn’t let that stand in the way and moved forward with umbrellas and wet sneakers!
First, we met for breakfast, games, and a devotion led by Marvin. He spoke truth to our students about their eternal value and the significance of each of their lives.
Next we loaded up our crew and headed to Nature Nate’s farm. Tim Spaight greeted us and handed out hair nets, shoe covers and release forms. His quick wit (and the fact that we were all feeling pretty goofy in our hair nets) quickly gave our group a light hearted vibe. Once we were suited and ready, he took us through their process of bottling golden, delicious honey from beekeepers around the country and preparing it to be distributed and sold. nationwide. Our students were intrigued by the automated bottle filling process and the fascinating life of bees. Tim shared lots of facts about honey, bees, and the hospitable culture of Nature Nate’s. He allowed us to ask questions and certainly made us feel at home.
After the tour, our group settled on a large porch to share a meal together. Any time we have a farm gathering, you know there will be plenty of wonderful, healthy food! From fresh tomatoes, corn, and blackberries to smoked turkey and fresh bread, we enjoyed a filling lunch.
Once we were full, Marvin and Reshod addressed our group about nutrition, stating that we are stewards of the bodies we’ve been given and have an opportunity to respond to God’s love by taking care of ourselves. Marvin and Reshod are both athletes and can speak first hand about the impact of food choices on a body’s performance.
Reshod's family lives in the Dallas area and they came to support him that morning. We were thrilled to host them as they encouraged Reshod. They added a great family dynamic to our group and even shared a few stories about their journey to health.
As our time wound down, the rain cleared and Nature Nate’s allowed our students to run on their spacious lawn and play a little football. Many of our students greatly appreciate the opportunity to play in a wide-open space and gather in safe environments. It’s always fun to see how a group of kids can come together with seemingly little in common and wind up laughing and playing before long.
While Tropical Storm Cindy kept us away from Farm Camp in Arkansas, our gracious partners and students rallied like champions and enjoyed a lovely Saturday morning together…and we all went home with honey!
We are so thankful to Nature Nate’s for their hospitality and to Marvin and Reshod for their flexibility!