By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president


Have you heard of Jadav Payeng? His nickname is the Forest Man. He is known for turning a small island that had been decimated by erosion back into a forest.

He has planted over 1,400 acres with trees of all sorts. Jadav was born in 1963 near a small town in India. He loved the outdoors and playing in the forest. But this island close to where he lived was being destroyed by erosion.

In 1979 he promised that he would plant at least one tree a day on this island for the rest of his life.

It was difficult at first because he had little resources and no one to help him. But he continued to find seeds.

But he kept on planting seeds of all types so that the new forest would be diverse and helpful to the environment. There was plenty of water around so that was not an issue. Soon he could plant more than one tree a day and the last estimate is that he is responsible for 1.5 million trees planted.

The results are amazing.

With the trees come all many of wildlife that has returned to the area. There are now tigers, rhinos, rabbits and all manner of birds.

He would have gone on completely unnoticed if it hadn’t been for a herd of elephants that wandered into the area in 2008. He called to report the elephants and the forestry department didn’t believe him because they said there was not forest there.

But they came out to see and found this thriving forest. The media came out to see and the wrote his story. He was made an official forester for that islands forest.

Interestingly though he stated that he had asked for help for many years but everyone said that it was a waste of time. So he labored on by himself. As he has aged he still goes to this forest every day and is training his children to have the same love of the land.

Jeremiah speaks of those who trust in God.

Blessed in the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But it's leaf shall be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7, 8

Each of us can make a difference in the islands of our lives.

That is our sphere of influence. We can have faith in the roots of our lives being in Jesus and if there the seeds that are planted will bring forth fruit.

Keep planting, keep watering, keep being faithful to your calling that God has place on your heart. No one may notice or even care. But the harvest is still there. That is what total member involvement is the church does. That is what God is calling all of us to do.