Do you know what the largest living organism in the world is?
Your first thought may be a blue whale—but that’s not the correct answer!
It’s a tree in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah that’s so big it even has a name: Pando. And it’s not a giant sequoia, commonly known as a redwood. It’s an aspen tree, more specifically a clonal colony of an individual male quaking aspen.
You could drive for miles until you come to the end of the magnificent site! The plant spreads across 106 acres and is thought to weigh 6,600 tons. That’s about 33 blue whales!
And here’s something about this tree that I find especially interesting: it has survived frequent forest fires because of its deep, wide-spreading roots.
When fires rage through Pando, its root system is protected from the heat. The underground life source of the organism thrives and eventually sends new seedlings up into the fertile soil the fire leaves behind.
By contrast, conifers, which also grow in that area, have shallow root systems. When a fire comes through, it consumes these trees entirely.
Roots are powerful things.
I have been considering the power of well-planted and carefully nurtured spiritual roots—or lack thereof—as we gaze into a rising tide of prodigals on planet earth!
When we started this ministry, no one could have told us just how many lies would permeate the culture by 2022. For example, words like pronouns or non-binary had innocuous meaning. Today, they are a source of incredible confusion. And the confusion about gender is not a small issue. It strikes at the very image of God as defined in Genesis where it reads, “So God created man in his image…male and female he created them.”
When we hosted the It’s Great To Be A Girl online Bible study, our team started to receive letters from moms that told us just how difficult the conversation about gender has become. Here’s one:
I wanted to thank you for this great study. It has been a topic heavy on my heart. Last year, we felt called to switch to public school after moving from Michigan to Tennessee. We were surprised with how much gender has become a factor. It truly feels like we are bombarded with untruth.
-Sara, a True Girl mom
We exist to introduce tweens and teens to the Truth that will set them free: Jesus!
Here’s how one nine-year-old girl experienced freedom during the It’s Great To Be A Girl study. Her mom wrote:
"We are so happy to be part of this bible study all the way from Honduras, Central America. My daughter Nathaly wondered if it would have been better for her to be a boy. But now it is wonderful to see her heart open to the Truth that God did not make a mistake when He made her a girl. Thank you, True Girl!
- A True Girl mom from Honduras
She wanted to be a boy, but you — through your support and prayers — changed her heart. I’m encouraged when I see the fruit of my ministry team impacting lives in 123 countries. But I have been asking myself this:
What’s our responsibility as parents and grandparents as we gaze into a rising tide of prodigals on planet earth?
As I was considering that question, I began to see a familiar parable from Jesus with fresh eyes. You know this one:
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I believe we’re seeing this parable unfold before us.
- The birds of prey are eating the seed.
- The rocky road of life is resulting in wilted shoots.
- The thorns are choking out the faith of our children.
Some scholars say that the rocks and thorns could represent difficult times. Well, we just lived through what could surely be characterized as difficult times. And it’s revealing a lack of roots in the belief system of our young adult children.
What should we do about it?
The last phrase of that verse reads: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” That might be better said, “if you understand this, do something!” We intend to, and we need your help to make it happen.
Introducing the Deep Roots Campaign!
For many years, I have been asked, “Are you a sunset ministry that will fade away when you grow older? Or are you a legacy ministry that will strengthen as you pass the baton on to others?”
I’ve prayerfully decided that God would have me poise this growing ministry to be a legacy so we can plant seeds of Truth well beyond my sunset years. I am working with my husband, Bob, to position it to be around to plant deep roots of Truth beyond my lifetime, Lord willing. We feel called to invest in two important resources: people and a place for the ministries to call home.
The People: I’ve spent the last three years gathering a team of moms on a mission, and plan to continue to do so. These women are younger than me and will plant seeds of Truth beside me for the next decade or two. I hope they will one day pass the baton to younger moms so that the roots of the next generation are nurtured in God’s Word.
The Place: As part of responding to this burden, a friend helped me and Bob purchase 80 acres of land where we will build a permanent home for our little family of ministries. True Girl, Born to Be Brave, and Grace Prep all fall under the umbrella of the Pure Freedom outreaches. We plan to break ground for Grace Way Farm, a multi-ministry facility, sometime in 2023 by God’s grace.
As you can imagine, this requires us to face the God-sized task of raising a lot of funding to support the vision. This year, we are asking God to help us raise $450,000 at year's end. We must have it all by December 31st.
Will you help us fill the next generation with so much Truth that there’s no room for the world’s lies?