“Thus Far Hath the Lord Led Us”
DSI and the Bountiful Blessings Farm & Training Center can trace its roots back to 1991 when Dr. P.W. (Bill) and Yvonne Dysinger found their dream retirement property in Middle Tennessee. After a career spent circling the globe in public health education and international health training, Bill decided to return to his roots. The dream property – 190 acres of wooded hills and rolling pastures, complete with springs, streams, and ponds . What they were going to do with 190 acres in retirement, only God knew. But the price was right and it was love at first sight!
When they retired, their four children were scattered all over the globe (Tanzania, Guam, Kenya, and Maryland), but Bill and Yvonne began to “woo” their flock to the farm with a promise of 10 acres each, plus all the benefits of country living.
John and Pam arrived in 1995 with two young children in tow. After teaching missionary’s children in Kenya for six years, they were ready for a change of pace. John took a job teaching at the local church school. This lasted for two years until growing convictions about spending more time with his family led him to resign. The next question was, “Now what?” God began to teach them in earnest what it means to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” In the fall of 1998, the Lord finally convinced them that He wanted them to go into organic farming. This was a huge leap of faith, but they claimed the many promises of God’s blessings on the land, and jumped… thus Bountiful Blessings Farm was born.
The early years were spent learning numerous lessons in the “school of hard knocks.” It was a struggle, but God was faithful. After eight years of on-the-job training, John and Pam (with four children now) were beginning to see the fruits of their labors. The farm was coming of age, but they longed for someone to help “hold up their hands.”
Meanwhile, Edwin and Jennifer, with their three children, had made a career of international development work in Sudan, Tanzania, and Yemen. After 16 years in hardship posts, they too were feeling the need of change. They returned to the U.S. and spent three years in Oregon with Jennifer’s ailing father, then two more years teaching at Ouachita Hills College. In 2006, they also felt the call of God to “put their hand to the plow.” That summer they moved to the farm and a partnership was formed.
Since 2006, Bountiful Blessings Farm has experienced steady growth. Crops are now grown and marketed year round through a Summer and Winter CSA, an online Farmer’s Market, and wholesale accounts. Through God’s blessings, the farm has achieved an excellent reputation and loyal customer support in the greater Nashville area.
In 2008, the Dysingers were approached by a young lady, wondering if she could come to the farm as an apprentice. There was already a growing desire and conviction to share the blessings of an agrarian life with others, so this request was viewed as God’s leading. This young lady, along with three Dysinger youth, became the first class of the farm training program. Since then, many others have followed. Along with plenty of “hands-on” training on the farm, there has also been class time devoted to the study of agriculture and God’s plan for man.
Little did Bill and Yvonne know how the Lord would lead when they purchased their retirement property more than twenty-five years ago! They now have two sons and their wives living on the farm – plus eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Their daughter, Janelle, lives close by with her husband and five children. Their other son, Wayne, has lifestyle medicine as his passion, and lives with his family in Loma Linda, CA. Truly the Senior Dysingers feel bountifully blessed!
Where do we go from here?
Bountiful Blessings Farm and Training Center now stand poised for the next step. After more than 15 years of experiencing the blessings of an agrarian life, DSI has growing convictions that it is time to share these blessings more widely. We believe there’s never been a more important, even urgent, time to experience all the reasons why God created man to live and work in a garden. We have been inspired anew by reading the counsels of Ellen White on true education. We have also gained inspiration from studying the history of Madison, with its emphasis on a practical training of self-supporting missionaries. It is now time to go higher and farther with our training program.
Agriculture will always remain the foundation of our training program, but we are broadening the training to include an introduction to more manual skills, like mechanics and construction, along with more intentional training in home skills like cooking and food preservation. In addition to this broader practical training, we are placing more emphasis on “primitive godliness,” which to us means having a personal relationship with a very personal God.
We have been pressing forward with this vision and mission, and are now in our fourth year of six-month apprenticeship programs which began in July 2012. We have completed the construction of one simple, rustic cabin for trainees and are currently building our second cabin. We have also completed a large 6,000 square foot Vocational Training Center which contains an apartment for apprentice families. Also housed within this building is the independent business, Farmer’s Friend. In addition, the training center is being used for teaching, seminars, and events in the areas of country living, alternative energy, agriculture, cooking and canning, simple home treatments, etc. We hope to have construction on the office space in the training center completed soon as funding is available.
How Can You Be Involved?
Just recently, we held a week-long agriculture seminar on the farm. Not only did the participants learn practical gardening skills, but we praise God that they really caught the vision for why agriculture is to be the A, B, and C for our education. It’s not just about learning to grow plants! It’s about character development, learning to trust God, filling the niche God created us to fill, and so much more.
If God impresses you to get involved with our agriculture program and ministry, here are a few options to prayerfully consider:
- Share our vision and mission with young people you know.
- Pray for God’s guidance and blessing on our planning and efforts.
- Participate in one of our weekend, week-long, or six-month seminars and apprenticeships.
- Volunteer to help with the building of trainee cabins or other farm related projects.
- Donate towards our ministry – the farm, the vocational training center, trainee cabins, etc.
We believe in simplicity, and plan to keep our needs simple. We also believe in being self-supporting – which for us means that our salaries come from the farm. Any donations will be used for infrastructure development and/or training program expenses.
Thank you for including Bountiful Blessings Farm and Training Center in your thoughts, prayers, and giving!