Future Home of Banister Oak Farms
I grew up in the Bay Area, over the hill from Berkeley. I moved to Washington State in 1966 to live with my grandparents. I have lived in Washington State for 51 years–minus three years in Virginia when my husband was in the Army there, and back and forth to Alaska commercial fishing.
Until a couple of months ago I could not have imagined moving back to California. Now I can’t imagine NOT moving back.
Tim and I spent most of last week with our friends, Todd and Sherry in Northern California. We had been anticipating this trip for months, planned it twice and cancelled it twice. The Lord’s timing is always perfect, though.
We have been talking to Todd and Sherry for a couple of years about the business and ministry they are establishing in the hills in Bangor, not far actually, from the Oroville Dam. We had two goals for our visit with them. The first was to pray with them over the property and the plans for it. The second was to seek the Lord on whether or not He wants Tim and me to be part of what Todd and Sherry are doing.
The irony of having our trip cancelled twice was that the week we actually went was the week that people all over the world were praying for Oroville. The massive evacuation because of the possibility of the dam failure was just four days before we got there.
The property that Todd and Sherry bought was dedicated to the Lord years ago. When I set foot on the ground I could feel a special stillness of peace I have never experienced anywhere before. When we met the former owners we heard some of their stories about the property. They bought it to establish a place for ministry and worship. The stories were wonderful, delightful, and affirming that the Lord has a plan for this property. It is a place where people will come for prayer, for healing, for wholeness, for Jesus. But they, the former owners, knew that they were not going to be the people to maintain the ministry there. They were starting a work for someone else to take forward. They sold the property five times. Each sale failed until Todd and Sherry bought it.
The Lord has given Todd and Sherry a business plan and a ministry mission.. Todd and Sherry have written and illustrated, via PowerPoint, the outline of the mission/business. It is called Banister Oak Farms. They printed copies of the plan into a beautiful booklet. Sherry’s dad is a retired investment banker. He told Todd and Sherry he has never seen such a well presented business plan in his whole career.
Todd’s vision is to have a successful business—farming, that supports the ministry. The business part—the farm–will milk cows and goats, raise chickens for eggs, and grow food. Todd and Sherry are already doing the first two parts of that business where they live now. They are milking eight cows and four goats and distributing the milk themselves. The are raising about 300 chickens. The business is doing very well. It was fun for us to see it because it is so similar to the way Tim and I started Grace Harbor Farms 20 years ago.
The food growing part of the business will start under the direction of Todd’s cousin, James. James is a grower. He started out growing marijuana in the sixties—got in trouble, went to jail, got out, started doing things right and now he grows orchids, currently 93 varieties. He has wowed the orchid world with his flowers. He is already building the soil for the food gardens at Todd and Sherry’s new place.
The Lord has shown Todd and Sherry what the ministry will be. We have been talking to them about it for years. We share their passion.
Todd and Sherry will be working for the next few months to get the new property ready for the cows, the chickens, and themselves. Their plans are beautiful, and so is the property. Todd has been collecting equipment for years for this project—heavy equipment like excavators and a saw mill, along with hundreds of tools, and commercial appliances. He, like his dad was, is also a skilled, creative craftsman/designer.
I think you may be anticipating what the answer is to our second reason for going to visit Todd and Sherry–asking the Lord whether we should get involved with this project.
We believe this is what the Lord wants us to do next. We don’t know exactly what it is going to look like, but we know that we are going to go to California and help Todd and Sherry get started.
The first thing we will do is move out of the condo. We will move our stuff back to Grace Harbor Farms. I will go to California. Tim will go back and forth from Custer to California. Since we decided not to sell Grace Harbor International (GHI, the skin care and MSM cream business) to David, I have been taking care of the website and working to get GHI refocused. Julie, my gifted manager, will continue to run the daily operations of GHI. The website stuff I can do from anywhere. Tim is still the bookkeeper/accountant for Grace Harbor Farms (GHF, the dairy). His son, David is working on buying the property and the dairy business. Last time I talked to David about that, he hoped to close those deals by the end of March. But we don’t know if that will actually happen then. The Lord knows. Even after David buys the dairy business, until a new bookkeeper is hired, Tim will continue to work for GHF.
That’s the outline of the news. I will go to California as soon as we can get moved out of the condo.
We are on a short term mission. We will wait on the Lord to show us what’s next.