Seeds are amazing things: from a tiny beginning comes growth, blossoms, and fruit. In a way, Spirit in Action is a seed that Del Anderson planted in the world. He was fascinated with the way that nurturing people and developing encouraging relationships could produce fruit far greater than what we see in a humble seed.
This past July, the SIA Board of Directors met for a weekend retreat at a Board member’s home in Placerville, CA. During our discussion of Spirit in Action’s heritage and future many of our thoughts related to seed and growth metaphors.
We saw the grants we give and the projects we support as seeds. Indeed, we often call them “seed grants” because they are meant to be a beginning from which much can grow. We nourish organizations at the grassroots (seeds!) level with small grants, information, encouragement and sustaining relationships.
Then we draw hope from the inner Life, as describes in the devotional book God Calling, “Think of the tiny snow-drop shoot in the hard ground. No certainty even that when it has forced its weary way up, sunlight and warmth will greet it. What a task beyond its power that must seem. But the inner urge of Life within the seed, compelling it – it carries out the task.”
Growing and Outgrowing
We see some of these grassroots organizations growing bigger than Spirit in Action. One beautiful example is Samuel and Rhoda Teimuge’s Samro School in Eldoret Kenya. Del Anderson shared with and supported this couple many years ago and they have since grown independent of SIA, building a model school self-sustained though school fees. The Teimuge’s are also spreading the SIA seed to another generation – our Small Business Fund Coordinator Dennis Kiprop was trained and mentored by the family.
Indeed, our Sharing the Gift program spreads the seeds of opportunity beyond the people who receive SIA Small Business Fund grants to other people in their community as business groups pay-it-forward to others in need.
Bearing Fruit (& Vegetables)
In a very literal tie to seeds, one of Spirit in Action’s first activities as an organization was to send donated seeds to contacts overseas. For 16 years we have received seeds from Thomsen’s Garden Center in Alameda and sent them to people starting kitchen gardens and community gardens.
We are always thrilled to hear of their fruitfulness, like this note from Canaan Gondwe in Malawi, “Tell Aileen Gillen [SIA’s seed volunteer] that we are greatly surprised with the performance of the seeds that we received from her. The vegetable seeds of tomatoes, pumpkins, onions, cabbages, and all other vegetable seeds are good.”
SIA started as a seed planted and tended by Del. Now, we take new directions, incorporate new ideas, and send up new shoots. Gardens of supporters grow throughout the US, nourishing gardens across the world. Spirit in Action is a healthy plant and we appreciate all your loving care.