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Finding Surprising Blessings in the COVID-19 Pandemic (an update from Scott Sabin)

December 8, 2020

An update from CEO Scott Sabin

Yes, 2020 has and continues to be a challenging year but it’s also been an amazing and surprising year in many ways. Jesus has been at work in the communities that we serve around the world. The passage that keeps coming to mind is John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

We have seen this again and again. One of our core messages is that the people we serve are our partners not our projects, and that has never been more real to me than this year as we have worked side-by-side through this global pandemic. Our partners have been such an incredible source of inspiration and blessing to me.

Far from anything resembling fear or panic, our partners have responded universally with clear-eyed resolve to do whatever is necessary, to take precautions, and to move forward undaunted.

In the process, we've learned a lot about how our program creates resilience. The fact that people plant crops that meet their own nutritional needs makes them more resistant to the loss of income from local markets. On average, our partner families have 2 ½ months of savings, making them able to address their own emergency needs. The Plant with Purpose model aims to help people through an economic crisis like the one we’re facing today. They aren't dependent on a bunch of Americans. Their own local teams and leaders are supporting them.

During this crisis, training has continued—led by local teams supported by phone or internet resources. Farms are still being transformed, trees are still being planted, savings groups are still meeting with appropriate modifications. Our partners have also become our teachers. As we walk together through this global pandemic, their spirit and resilience gives me strength and encouragement again and again.

About the Author

Since 1993, Scott has played a significant role in the progress and growth of our organization. Scott leads a wonderful team of committed individuals and partners along with our amazing colleagues around the world. Scott is overjoyed when he sees our partners blossom and become the leaders of this mission. Scott attributes the success of our organization to perseverance and willingness to ask hard questions about effectiveness and impact.

Through journal articles, public speaking, and his book, “Tending to Eden”, Scott has become an advocate for reforestation as a key component of sustainable community development around the world. Prior to working for Plant With Purpose, he served for seven years in the Navy. Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Oregon State University, as well as a Master of Arts in International Relations from University of San Diego. Outside of work, Scott enjoys sailing and spending time with his family. He also  believes that everything can be better expressed through a song lyric.

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