Community garden

Members of Houlka Church of the Nazarene stand in their community garden just south of Highway 32 in Houlka. The vegetables, fruit and flowers grown in the garden will be given free to the needy in the community.  (Floyd Ingram / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal.com)

Members of Houlka Church of the Nazarene stand in their community garden just south of Highway 32 in Houlka. The vegetables, fruit and flowers grown in the garden will be given free to the needy in the community. (Floyd Ingram / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal.com)

HOULKA — They gathered Thursday to pray for their community and the people that will be fed by a garden they have planted in Houlka.

Members of the Houlka Church of the Nazarene gathered on approximately two acres last week to see how their garden is growing and talk about what they are really trying to do with tomatoes, corn, beans and cantalope.

We live next to this field and we got to talking about needs in the community at our church,” said Jacob Samuell, of the Houlka church. “It all sort of clicked and we planted this garden.”

Samuell said the plan is to feed those with needs as referenced in Matthew 25:35-40.

’35 For I hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee hungering and fed Thee, or thirsty and gave Thee drink? 38 When saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in, or naked and clothed Thee? 39 Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.‘”

And while the garden the church has planted has yet to bear fruit, Jacob and his congregation have faith.

This is not just our church doing this,” said Jacob. “We’ve had other churches help and we’ve got a couple of classes from the school that have helped.”

They have planted tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, okra, string beans, butter beans, purple hull peas, corn, yellow squash and zuchinni. They have also planted a flower garden with daisy and sunflower.

And there is a children’s garden, too.

We planted cantelope and watermelon in the children’s garden,” said Autumn Samuell. “We are also going to give pumpkins a try a little later this year.”

Jacob said Derek Earp has played a key role in breaking ground and fertilizing. He said Earp brought equipment from Earp Farms to get the job done. They have tilled about an acre and may do more next year.

A lot of people have done a little and that’s the best way to do any big job,” said Jacob. “This is not just a garden for the needy, we want to minister to the elderly and those who just need a little encouragement.”

Plans are to have a Harvest Dinner in October and sell plates. Money raised at that event will be used to finance next year’s planting.

The church does need more hand tools, a couple of water hoses and several sprinklers.

Anyone who has a garden will tell you they can be a lot of work,” said Jacob. “We’ve gotten our youth involved and there are older people who know a whole lot more about farming than I do.”

It’s been neat to see the community come to this spot of ground, too,” he added. “First and foremost, the mission of the Community Garden is to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. All through the Bible you will find how it is our duty as Christians to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help those in need and visit the oppressed.”

And Jacob hopes that contact and witness will see people led to Jesus.

Anything the garden produces will be free of charge and no profit will be made from the garden,” said Jacob. ”If you feel led to give anything, please contact us. I’ll set up a time to pick up items.”

Jacob can be reached at 414-0436.

Business and individuals who donate will have a sign posted around the garden.

Most of all we want your prayers for this community and the people that will be fed by this garden,” said Jacob. ”We want to let the Lord lead and gain all the glory from what comes out of this garden.”

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