This is the first story I ever read that ignited in me the desire to help others in a significant way. I remember reading this story in a church magazine about a couple who helped a village learn to feed themselves by teaching them how to raise rabbits and plant gardens. I was newly married at the time and something in me awoke.
I had for years known that i was born to be a mother and to travel. I loved children and people. It had not ever occurred to me until that day that perhaps I would enjoy travelling and serving at the same time. When I expressed these feelings to my sweet-heart, he whole heartedly agreed that that should and would be a family goal of ours.
With this future goal in mind, I consciously tried to actively collect in my head simple ways people have been able to make a change in the community that they live in.
After many years of trying to remember what I have learned, it occurred to me that I should somehow collect these stories so that I could use them later. I am very slow as you will notice since only now (about 13 years later) am I starting to ‘collect’ these stories. Here is basically the very same story I read so long ago-it took me a long time to search it out (I love the internet) so I hope you enjoy it. (I have to admit I do worry a little about what if any ill effects the rabbits might have on the local environment. I have come to realize that sometimes foreigners set up programs with great intentions and those programs often have an negative effect on the very people they are trying to help)
Not long after arriving on the island of Samar in the Philippines, Henry and Janice Peacock of Lindon, Utah, described the island: “There are no jobs, no industry, no trade. The people live on a diet consisting almost completely of rice. Although fish once were plentiful, due to fishing practices that damaged the surrounding reefs, few could be found now. And because there is little capacity for refrigeration, meat cannot be stored easily. The lack of protein has left many of the children with severe learning disabilities.”
Then Sister Peacock thought back to her childhood in Lindon. She remembered a neighbor who had an orchard of fruit trees. There he raised rabbits. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. They bred quickly and provided an excellent and inexpensive source of protein.
Brother and Sister Peacock went immediately to work on the idea. “Meetings were held, people were taught and motivated, information was gathered and published, bureaucracies were approached and influenced. Miracles began to happen,” Sister Peacock later wrote.
The Peacocks not only introduced rabbits to the people of Samar, they began encouraging people to grow vegetables as well. “Vegetables appeared on the tables where once only rice was present,” Sister Peacock said. “People were nourished and budgets were supplemented. Sales of vegetables, meats and hides started.”
At the end of the Peacocks’ missions, more than 700 families were raising rabbits and more than 1,000 had gardens. Looking back on the hundreds of lives that had been blessed by their service, Brother and Sister Peacock began to understand why the Lord had sent them to the Philippines.