Incrementalism as a Tactic – Was Moses an Incrementalist?

Life is comprised of many small changes punctuated from time to time with rapid broad-scale change, usually precipitated by crisis. Incremental change is mankind’s natural preference when it is sufficient to relieve the discomfort of the moment and avoid major adjustments in the status quo.  However, when incremental change is inadequate to address a problem, society will opt for a major system overhaul.  That is to say, from time to time the pressure for change becomes so great that significant transformational change is required resulting in the cataclysmic transformational event, be it reformation or revolution.  Still, incremental change is the normative process and cataclysmic change is the exception.

So, incrementalism happens.  It happens naturally as a matter of course, even in the absence of any purpose or direction beyond that of relieving some minor discomfort.  But, must it only be accepted as the norm or can it actually be used intentionally as a tool to bring about significant transformation by the accumulated effects of many small measures over an extended period of time?  It is not only possible to use incrementalism as a tool but that it is indeed the wisest and most prudent approach in the majority of circumstances.  Later I will make the argument for the appropriate use of the opportunity for cataclysmic change. Continue reading “Incrementalism as a Tactic – Was Moses an Incrementalist?”

Incrementalism as an Effective Instrument of Social and Political Change

A recent Rasmussen poll says that 75% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction (The RCP Average of four polls puts the number at 67%). Observing the past may lead us to expect that as the current budget and debt crisis lessens in public visibility, by the adoption of some kind of debt ceiling modification and/or cuts in deficit spending, these numbers will decline – at least until the next big crisis brings itself to the fore or unless inaction on this current crisis immediately precipitates an even greater one. Still even if such radically high numbers decline they will only do so modestly in the foreseeable future and it is reasonable to expect that the desire for a new direction will remain high. Because the populace is so divided about what solutions are best and because the alternatives are at such polar extremes, there will likely continue to be a high level of dissatisfaction in the populace as a whole and a mood in the country for change in the direction and operation of our governmental systems. We should not expect that to subside into insignificance any time soon.

Some see the current crisis as the appropriate time to stand uncompromisingly upon their ultimate principles and hold their ground in hopes that the opposition will somehow cave and a new age of fiscal responsibility can be ushered in.
Continue reading “Incrementalism as an Effective Instrument of Social and Political Change”

Going to Texas

I will be in Texas July 1 – 19. I will speak at Lighthouse Fellowship in Azle on July 3 and be in Midland/Odessa the following weekend. I hope to see as many of you as possible while there.
Regards,
Leck

Small Farms Update

Luis and His Platain Crop
Our export channels are developing nicely with the first shipment of our Nicoya Coffee and now we are turning more attention toward the development of our small farms projects. Yesterday, Sunday June 26, I visited our friend and advisor Santos Lopez and had the privilege of worshipping with his church, Iglesia Jehova Jireh. After the service I visited our plantain farm with one of the workers, Luis Moreno.

The farm is a huge success as one of two prototype projects. This farm was begun in August 2006. It has seen two crop failures, one from fungus and one from high winds. It has fully recovered from both from its own profits. This project began producing again in May and is about a month away from full production from 2500 plants on just over 2 ½ acres. This kind of recovery is built into our model but this performance actually exceeds our expectations.

The farm provides income to Santos’ growing church and helps them advance their work in city of Leon and of his ministry as he works with Pastors throughout the country. In addition it has supported a number of workers over its nearly five years of operation.
Luis, for example, lives with his mother and young sister. He is their primary means of support and they are sustained by his salary. I’ve included a photo of Luis with his crop. He is so pleased with the fruit of his labors. He would represent a “hired hand” on one of the family farms we will establish in the near future. There are three such hired hands on this one farm plus a boy who is about half time. It dawned on me yesterday that our two prototypes are the perfect place to prove our first program participants. When I return to Leon in about a month, I will talk to Santos about finding some land and helping me oversee the placement of 3-4 families on small farms of about 7 acres each.

We need to start raising funds for that purpose so please start praying for us in that regard and considering whether you might participate in the sponsorship of a farm. It will cost approximately $4,000 per farm and is designed to repay over a seven year period. As the funds are repaid out of the profitability of the farm, they will be used to start new farms in various locations around the country.

In addition to our two prototype farms in Leon and La Conquista, we are in discussion with another ministry for the possible use of up to about 200 acres near Tipitapa (east of Managua). We have great advisors in each location who are more than capable of overseeing the development of these three locations.

Regards,
Leck

Leck, what are you doing in Nicaragua?

This letter was provided to an friend who wanted to know what we’re up to in Nicaragua.  I thought more of you might enjoy reading it too.

Edwin,

Thanks for your interest in our work and our wonderful coffee.

I am in mountain city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua (10 degrees cooler than Managua, yea!) to facilitate a vision for a Christian mission that will help the poor of Nicaragua.  We hope Cynthia will be able to join me in a few months and that we will be able to maintain our home in Azle.  We make our plans but he directs our steps.

Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in this hemisphere with half the country living on less than $2 per day.  It wasn’t always that way.  Nicaragua was once known as “the breadbasket of Central America.”  The vision for our work was birthed in the heart of Byron Easterling, a friend and confidant since the mid-90s, while he was in Nicaragua in 2000.  At the time he and I were serving as elders in Trinity Fellowship in West Fort Worth.  He had traveled to Nicaragua with a team from James Avenue Baptist Church.  Byron served me as a spiritual confidant and counselor during my service as Mayor in Azle and through the experience in church and with the city we learned to deeply respect and trust each other.

After incubating his original vision for three years he called one day to say he had an opportunity to share it with some church leaders from across the nation and wanted to know whether I would like to go with him.  He, Paul Brownback, and I along with two others went to Nicaragua for the first time in November 2003.  It was on that trip that I saw God had given me some skills and experience that could help.  I said, “Lord, if you want me to do this for the rest of my life I will.”

Essentially the vision is for the restoration of the agricultural economy in Nicaragua with the Christian community as a key facilitator.  We have spent the past seven years developing the program structure and guidelines, which of course are always under review and being tweaked.  It was very important not to simply export an American plan.  What was needed was a program that is consistent with the  nature of the present culture and the Nicaraguan heritage, and something in which the Nicaraguans can take ownership.  We met several times over the next few years with groups ranging from 3 to 25 to consider the vision, applicable biblical principles, and how those could be put into a solid business structure to affect the change that is so desperately needed.  The result is a holistic ministry that brings the influence of wisdom and principles of the bible to bear on the every aspect of life, work, family, etc.  The core element is the development of small family farms in co-ops of 7 to 10 farms in a given locale.  We have tested our economic model on two farms and found it be very successful.  One prototype plantain farm has experienced total loss twice, once due to fungus and once due to hurricane, and has been able to start again from its own profitability without the infusion of new capital.  We are now approaching the time for full implementation.  Our model will allow us to partner with an impoverished family and help them move from poverty to economic sufficiency within 6 – 12 months.

To begin we have been working for almost a year to develop avenues for exportation so that when our farms have exportable produce and we have customers in the US we will be ready and able to affect the delivery of those goods.  That’s where the premium organic coffee comes in.  An industry journal reported last year that Nicaragua is the 12th largest exporter of coffee in the world.  Ours will be what is called high grown organic Arabica, and represents some of the finest coffee in the world.  We are partnering with Silvio Mendez of Café Kilambe’ in Matagalpa to produce Nicoya Coffee and have just released our inaugural Special Blend No.1.  Nicoya is intended to honor the heritage of the region which bore the name in pre-Columbian times from El Salvador to Costa Rica, including the mountainous area of Nicaragua where our coffee is grown.  A minimum of 20% our net sales will go directly into the development of the program and we hope it will support me and my wife, Cynthia, so that gifts given to the ministry may have maximum impact.  As we are able, we will increase that percentage given from Nicoya Coffee.

Nicoya Coffee is a blend of 4 select Arabica beans roasted to perfection to give an exquisite coffee experience.  It is now available from our online store at www.NicoyaCoffee.com.

For a presentation I gave to a men’s group just before leaving, and to see our first roast as it occurred, go to Men’s BBQ and Nicoya’s First Roast.

Again, thank you for your interest.  Let me know if there is anything else I can provide.

Thank you,

Leck

Nicoya Coffee’s FIRST Roast

Nicoya Coffee is roasting today. This is our first roast and our introduction of Nicoya’s Special Blend No. 1. The work is being done under the watchful eye of Silvio Mendez of Cafe Kilambe’, Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Patience and careful attention to quality has its reward.

Leck Heflin, Owner

Mission Team from Vacaville

The team from Deeper, The Mission’s school of supernatural ministry, departed today about noon to return to Vacaville.

Deeper School Mission Team from Vacaville - Nicragua April 2011

What a time!  They ministered to about 90 men and women at Peniel, a life rebuilding ministry that works with men and women with life debilitating concerns such as drugs, alcohol, and catastrophic experiences.  Peniel is also the home of one of our prototype farms.  The team was wonderfully received and  their ministry was very impacting.

In addition they blessed pastors and leaders from the Matagalpa area, more leaders and students the training institute of Avance Nicaragua near Managua, as well as the inhabitants of the “tent city” in Managua’s governmental district.

In the near future my focus will turn largely to getting our coffee business going as I continue to nurture and build relationships here.  I’m not promoting myself for “ministry” but will walk through open doors as they present themselves and they seem right.  After all, life is ministry, so I try not to live a segmented life.  I will value the production of fine coffee as much as I do teaching the Bible.  I do already have one request for an in home Bible study and an invitation to minister to a congregation in Matagalpa.  I’m postponing that for the present.

Our first roasting should occur this week and ship out next week.

God bless,

Leck

Starting to Get the Ball Rollin’

Yesterday was able to move into my new apartment at the home of Silvio and Johanna Mendez in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.  What a blessing!

Today Silvio and I spent a good 13-14 hours gathering up some loose ends and initiating some processes toward our first shipment of Nicoya Coffee to the US.  We picked up our packaging from, Carrol Porras, our new importer, and signed off on the label proofs from Printex in Managua. We should receive the labels on Wednesday afternoon and begin roasting at the end of this week or the beginning of next.  Shipping no later (fingers crossed) than the following week.

Tomorrow I will welcome a mission team from The Mission of Vacaville, CA and Deeper, their school of supernatural ministry, to minister in Matagalpa, then at Peniel, a rehab ministry run by Frank Vallejo where won of our prototype farms is located.  They will also minister to a number of Pastors at Avance Nicaragua, a training center by Iglesia Mundo de Fe of Managua.

Thanks for you interest.  Please pray for us.

RLH