The First Farm
by Myron Horst
In the Spring of 1993, my son Joel and I were walking in a corn field behind our tiny little house near Clarksburg, Maryland. I’d had a deep longing to farm for about 15 years. In our financial situation, there was no way for us to be able to have our own farm. Standing there in the corn field, we prayed what seemed like a foolish and impossible prayer, and asked God to provide a farm and the equipment to farm it.
In the next three years, two more children were born to our family, and they were packed like sardines in a six and a half by thirteen foot bedroom in our tiny two-bedroom home. I became anxious as time passed and the Lord had not provided another house. About that time I heard a sermon indicating that to exercise faith in God, we have to let go of something. I realized I needed to let go of our search for a house, foolish as that seemed, and wait on God to provide.
After about four months of resting in the Lord, I felt the Lord releasing me to look in the paper for a house to rent. Several weeks later we saw this farm advertised in the paper.
We inspected the house and property several times and wrote up a detailed proposal/bid of what we would repair and fix up in exchange for the rent we would pay during the five year lease.
The house and barn had been severely vandalized by some persons armed with shotguns. Many light fixtures, appliances, and walls had been severely damaged and broken glass was everywhere. Old wallpaper needed to be removed and discolored carpet torn out and the old heart pine flooring refinished. The boarded up windows made everything seem worse!
We saw the hand of God working miraculously on our behalf as we were selected out of almost 20 bidders to receive the property, a 25 acre farm, with no rent for two years and a very small rent for the next three years, in exchange for restoring the house.
We received possession of the property the week of Thanksgiving, 1996. The next five weeks were filled with the blessing of the hand of God. Despite many unforeseen problems, such as finding approximately 20 frozen pipes, and no heat for the first three weeks, the work rapidly progressed. God sent a number of people at the right times to help us repair and clean up the house. We also saw God’s provision and answers to prayer in providing incredible deals on supplies and in providing many things free of cost.
God can be trusted fully to provide all our needs if we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
God directed me to seek first Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness in going to a four-day work week so that I would have the time to do the things that He called me to do: research issues facing the Church and share them with others, and to start Heritage Music, a small family business selling decidedly-Godly music.
The decision to seek first Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness, and trust Him to provide for the needs I am tempted to provide by selling my soul to a career, has been one of the best decisions we have made. As we have been doing what Jesus has called us to do, we have seen our needs supernaturally provided over and over. God be praised! Jehovah-Jireh Farm, the Lord will provide!
Our Farm Story – the Current Farm
In the early part of 2006 our landlord, Montgomery County, in a new lease negotiation stated that the rent amount on our new lease would be increased by 2300%. They gave us the offer that we could restore the barn and do some other improvements to the property on a dollar for dollar exchange. This rent amount was for a farm in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, an area set aside to preserve farms from urbanization. The rent was much more than what we could make with the farm. Despite newspaper articles, letters written by seven different citizens groups, and appeals by many individuals, Montgomery County refused to budge on the rent amount. We started looking for another farm. Each morning I would search 20-25 newspapers and online classifieds. We looked in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania for a farm to rent. For months we looked and could not find anything that fit our needs. We were offered five different places where the owners really wanted us to rent from them, but in each situation there was something significant that did not fit our needs. We could find farmland, but no house to go with it. And we found houses without farmland. We felt God had called us to farm and we were to continue farming, but it seemed impossible. Each time we turned down an offer, we would ask ourselves, “Now what”? We had just cut off all hope.
In August, two weeks before we had to move, we had to ask Montgomery County for a month’s extension because we still had not found a place. They granted the extension. We set a date that if we did not find another farm by then we would sell off all the chickens and remaining livestock and close down the farm. We were discouraged. But God had not forsaken us. He had a big surprise for us.
A day and a half before we were going to sell off our remaining chickens and livestock and prepare to close down the farm we were contacted by the Director of Land and Property Management with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They had seen the before and after pictures of the house we had fixed up for Montgomery County. They had a house and farmland that they wanted us to be the curators for under their Curatorship Program.
The house is a historic two story four bedroom house. Part of the house is a two story log cabin built in the late 1700’s. The main part of the house was added around 1900. The house was in fair condition and had been sitting empty for about a year. It needed lead paint abatement work before we were able to move in. It is part of the 2100 acre Monocacy Natural Resources Management Area and adjoins the Sugarloaf Mountain property. The purpose of the Natural Resources Management Area is to preserve the agricultural and natural resources of the property. Our farm fits nicely into the goals for the use of the property.
Our discouragement changed to great excitement. We knew in our hearts that this was what we’d been waiting for. We felt this was the place God had for us.
As curators of the property, we restored the house and are maintaining it as long as we live here. It includes a lifetime occupancy for as long as either Cathy or I live! There is twice as much pasture as we had at our first farm. It is a beautiful setting. Plus the layout of the pastures are much better suited for us than at the other farm. We have been able to set up a much more efficient operation.
DNR asked Montgomery County to extend our lease until the end of the year (2006). Montgomery County consented. For three months we spent every available minute, except Sundays, fixing up the house and setting up the farm. On December 20, 2006 Governor Ehrlich, Maryland’s Comptroller, and the Treasurer approved our curatorship lease. We moved just before the end of the year.
So where is this farm after we had looked high and low in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania? It was right under our noses! It is located eight miles from our first farm just over the line into Frederick County.
We feel like God clearly answered some of our questions. “Are we to continue farming?” Yes! “Are pasture raised eggs important enough for us to go to the extra work to produce them?” Yes!
Why did we have to wait to find this farm?
Isaiah 30:18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
What if we had not waited, and had taken one of the other five situations offered to us? There were a number of coincidences for each situation that made them look like they were God’s provision, but we knew down deep in our hearts that they weren’t. It would have made it easier at the time. But we would have missed out on such a great blessing. We would have been much further from our customers, our expenses and delivery costs would be much higher, and our farm setup would not be nearly as ideal. Waiting on the Lord was one of the most difficult things we had to do. It was a real trying of our faith, but it was really worth it!
The name of our farm proved to be correct again: Jehovah Jireh Farm – The Lord will Provide!
Our children are now all grown and have left home each pursuing their own career. We downsized the number of hens to about 2000 and added some equipment so that Cathy and I can continue to produce those wonderful pasture raised eggs that so many of you love.