John Stonestreet and David Carlson on Running Into the Coronavirus Crisis With Lettuce and Love

YWAM Emerge in Colorado Springs grows lettuce in a commercial aquaponics system. | Instagram/YWAM Emerge

Mr. Rogers used to say that in a time of crisis, we should always look for the helpers. Throughout history, in times of crisis, Christians have been among the helpers and, often, leading the efforts and innovation in order to bring relief and healing to victims. In the early days of the coronavirus crisis in Wuhan, China, Christians were helping. Today, American Christians are helping their neighbors.

For example, when Rev. Charles Cheek of the Peninsula Baptist Association in Hampton Roads, Virginia learned that local homeless shelters were closing on account of the pandemic, he and his church “started a community donation drive to help get food for those who are impacted.”

Another example is the Alabama megachurch, Church of the Highlands, who turned their parking lots into drive-through coronavirus testing centers. Within two days, nearly 1,000 people across the state had been tested for the virus in an effort staffed by two doctors and church volunteers dressed in protective gear. This effort was not wholly unexpected for this church who, since 2009, has operated a health clinic that sees 18,000 patients a year.

And then, there’s a remarkable story happening in my backyard. Not only in Colorado Springs, but about a stone’s throw from my house, my friend Josh Imhoff and his group YWAM Emerge is being used by God to bless my community… through lettuce…thousands of heads of lettuce.

As Josh told me on the latest episode of the BreakPoint podcast, YWAM Emerge works in 15 countries around the world teaching orphanages, churches, widows’ homes, and more how to grow self-sustaining food through aquaponics. Aquaponics is a system for growing vegetables that involves raising fish, whose waste produces fertilizer for growing vegetables hydroponically, and the plants, in turn, purify the water for the fish.

YWAM Emerge has sustained its ministry of training others through their own lettuce production. Their greenhouse produces 2,700 heads of lettuce a week which, until just a few weeks ago, was sold to restaurants and colleges and other local ministries and businesses. But when the coronavirus hit, and restaurants and schools had to close down, nearly all of their accounts were cancelled within days. As Josh told me, “We lost a lot of money.”

Fearing he’d have to shut down the operation, Josh went to God in prayer. “Actually,” Josh admitted in our podcast interview, “I went in to cry and give up.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and David Carlson