I awoke in the early morning hours of Monday, April 13 with a deeply troubled spirit. When I heard from our leadership in Honduras I quickly learned why. The San Lázaro Coffee farm, high in the La Botija mountains, was on fire.
The videos and images that I received in the middle of the night early Monday morning were heartbreaking. The massive flames devouring the large old oaks and pines were devastating. It was clear that there would be no way that our coffee plants, or at least not many of them, would survive this fire. This time of year is especially bad since we are near the end of the dry season and all of southern Honduras is like a tinderbox just waiting for a tiny spark to ignite.
We are not sure how the fire started, perhaps innocently by children who use the pond on the opposite edge of the property for swimming and fishing. What we do know is that it started it quickly got out of control. This forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the biodiversity on the mountain. It’s an amazing place but extremely isolated. And in this isolated location our farm is an invaluable source of diversity but more importantly employment, most especially for women. Who’ve found transformation through sustainable employment.
In the midst of tragedy God blessed us in many ways. Some thirty people from neighboring farms joined our employees to battle the blaze until around three in the morning. They did not have the benefit of machinery or water tanks. They did it all with machetes, rakes, shovels and a deep desire to help their neighbors and friends at the farm.
For a fire of this size it was unlikely that they would be able to contain it, much less control it completely. The fire breaks that our employees clear every year around the coffee in production are helpful for grass fires but are hardly a defense for flames that are devouring pine trees that are 40 feet tall. And as you can see in the picture the fire jumped the road on the farm with ease.
It was late Monday afternoon when I finally got word on the damage and the current situation at the farm. In the end approximately 1/3 of our farm property had burned, over 100 acres of land.
We thank God that not a single person was injured, not a single structure was lost, and, by the grace of God, all of our coffee plants were spared. It was literally as if there was a wall around our coffee, the fire came right to the edge of the fields and didn’t cross over. None of the old towering trees that shade our coffee were burned either.
We don’t have an explanation, except perhaps the scripture from Isaiah 43:2.
“When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. And all of this, Isaiah reminds, comes because God is with us.
At some level we must believe that God protects businesses like ours that are not only focused on the financial bottom line, but also focused on transforming lives now, and for eternity, on this mountain. Our coffee operation was spared, as were the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on this ministry. How could God not have a hand in this?
Coffee trees in our region bloom once a year, from mid to late April. For only about 24 hours the mountain looks almost as if it has snowed and then quickly it goes away. Yesterday, almost like a sign from God, the bloom started on much of our farm. These coffee plants remind me of how God can make all things new, as it says in Jeremiah 33:11 “For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.”
We thank God for His miraculous intervention in saving the San Lázaro Coffee farm. We thank Him for the love and support of our neighbor farmers when we most needed it. They risked their lives to help save livelihoods of their neighbors. We thank you for your prayers for our employees and our leadership team. And, we thank you for your support of our coffee company. To celebrate God's divine intervention all of our coffee is 25% of with discount code Fire, enter code at check out for the discount.