Peniel, meaning the “Face of God,” is the site named by Jacob after he wrestled with an angel through the night, declaring, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Misión Peniel, a ministry of the Peace River Presbytery – PC(USA) – is the site of a community garden in Immokalee, Florida that Cultivate Abundance maintains.
Each week, food produced in the garden is harvested and shared with farmworker neighbors. Despite being a farm town where much of America’s food is grown, Immokalee is a food desert. Besides hosting the garden, Misión Peniel serves as a food pantry where our team serves 300 to 500 people each Friday afternoon.
This is Peniel: the place where we see the face of God.
We encounter the face of God in the cute Guatemalan kids that come with their parents; or in an elderly Haitian woman. We often see God’s face covered with dust from a day’s work in the fields.
Often, God’s face is all smiles. Sometimes, God’s face appears resentful, hurt or even ungrateful.
Like Jacob, we are forced to wrestle. We wrestle with the reality that many of our clients have lived hard lives. We wrestle with the fact that we are not always entitled to a heartfelt “gracias” or “mèsi.”
Our role is to learn to love unconditionally and to appreciate any amount of love we happen to encounter at Misión Peniel.
— Rick Burnette
In January of this year, FBCP entered a covenant relationship to become an Encourager Church for Rick Burnette, CBF Field Personnel. We make quarterly contributions towards his ministry and partner with him in prayer. Rick is the U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator for CBF; Rick and his wife Ellen also direct a nonprofit, Cultivate Abundance, which addresses food insecurity among migrant farmworkers in South Florida. This is an article by Rick which recently appeared in the Cultivate Abundance e-newsletter and is reprinted by permission.