These last couple months have been my most challenging since coming to India, and that’s saying a lot considering May I spent recovering from my broken arm during a record breaking heatwave in Delhi and July I spent most of my days trying to clean mold and mildew off of everything in my house! When the monsoon season ended and my arm healed I thought I had been through the worst of it. But then in September PPR Virus (also known as goat plague) hit my newly established goat herd. For two months I have been traveling every day to my farm and spending hours there treating the sick goats, trying every kind of medicine possible to keep them alive, including some strange local treatments, and then losing sleep at night thinking about which ones were going to die next. In the end we lost 18 out of 27 goats, and some are not quite out of the woods yet. It has been a devastating blow to my project. We were just about to distribute many of the goats to villagers when the virus hit. We were also just about to start breeding the goats which would have meant lots of babies for future distributions. All of our bucks died except for one young one, and the goats that are left are in pretty poor shape.
What have I learned from this trial? So many things! But the main thing I have learned is that we can make all the plans we want but in the end it is truly God who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
My plan was to have a beautiful demonstration farm that others could look at and learn from. God’s plan was to humble me and show me that I still have a lot to learn. My plan was to distribute 24 goats before the end of the year to families in the village. God’s plan was to teach me patience and to trust in His timing. My plan was to show everyone how effective western methods and medicines are. God’s plan was to teach me about the local methods and medicines and enter into a wonderful exchange of knowledge with the local people. If all of my plans had come to fruition I would have never learned these valuable lessons nor turned to God in such desperation and humility. My small team would have probably never started praying together regularly. We would have been full of pride about how well our farm was going instead of full of humility and dependence on God. No matter how difficult things can be, I always find that God’s plans end up being far better than our own. Maybe one day when I have a successful thriving farm I will look back on this time and remember the humble beginnings from which we started and God’s faithfulness in growing us through this challenge.
If you want to hear more from Melissa, check out her webpage and her blog, Road Less Traveled, which is where this post originated from. And if you feel led to contribute to purchasing new goats for distribution to families in the village, then check out her Himalayan Livelihood Special project page and donate.