Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dan West: Heifer Project

A Gift of Life is A Gift of Love
These words, printed in large letters, greet you as you drive up the road to the entrance of HPI. They ring true as you tour the ranch and talk with its dedicated staff. As one member confessed: I formerly looked at our help merely as providing animals for those in need. Recently, I've come to see more - it also gives new meaning to life for those of who share with others through the giving of the animals.

The Dan West Education Fund, established as a memorial to the founder of HPI, is to be used to support volunteers who manifest his spirit and who are able to give training in animal husbandry to recipients of HPI livestock. Thurl Metzger said of these volunteers: [They] have an overwhelming opportunity and responsibility. They must gain the confidence of the poor and the respect of the powerful. In addition to being technically qualified they should reflect 'the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance' plus a good sense of humor.

These qualities "manifest Dan's spirit," whose gentle voice was rarely raised except when he talked about the accomplishment of HPI. Then he got really excited. "Too much has already been said as if I were responsible for this. The credit belongs to God and should be given to him. It was God in the hearts of farmers who actually raised the heifers and in the hearts of the many, many people who have helped."

responded an interviewer, "and God in the heart of a man who listened for the voice of God in the whispering grass and the wailing babies and the sobbing mothers."

Source: Passing on the Gift, Glee Yoder