Growing With Others
His gardening aspirations began five years ago. Maurice Theriot was motivated by a desire to connect more with God’s creation and to develop this skill set. He decided to share his journey with his friends and family through his personal social media, inviting others to join in with him and also develop their own gardening skills. He made his first 4 x 8 raised bed garden, and since that process went well, it made him much more excited to continue sharing his experience.
As he shared his updates, however, Theriot’s friends and family began commenting that they did not feel equipped to begin their own gardens. When they shared that they didn’t have the skills to do this on their own, Theriot was happy to offer his services to them.
He began helping others create their own raised bed gardens, and what had once been a hobby became something much bigger. He named this endeavor the Theriot Farms No Excuses Partner Program.
Through this program, Theriot helps people get started with gardening by bringing the supplies needed, making their raised beds for them, tilling and making sure the soil mix is right. The only thing he won’t do is plant for people. Theriot and his wife, Maxine Theriot, M.D., work together on these partner gardens, and they have now partnered with over 20 other beginner gardeners.
Some of the people Theriot has been able to help in this process are friends and family, but this ministry also grew to reach beyond his own social circle and continues to expand. Because of this gardening partnership, he’s been able to form connections he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. He models his gardening venture after Jesus’ method of ministry.
Theriot often reflects on this observation from The Ministry of Health and Healing by Ellen G. White, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with people as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He invited them, ‘Follow Me.’”
Theriot believes that when a person’s physical needs are taken care of, it has a deeper impact and provides an opportunity to minister to those people in a much more loving way. As people commented that they were interested in starting their own gardens but needed help, he saw that this was a need he could address. Food is an essential part of life, so Theriot feels grateful to be able to provide help with this resource.
As he has continued to take part in consistently gardening his own food, this practice has shifted Theriot’s perspective on his food. He has intimately experienced nature’s provision, having been able to plant a seed into the ground and watch how it slowly grows into a plant that then provides fruit. In turn, it not only feeds him and his family, but also produces seeds of its own.
Helping other people experience the same process has enriched his connections to others as well. Theriot has been able to further connect with those who were already in his social circle by providing them with the practical service of gardening their own food. He has now also begun to expand his circle because of this program, as his friends share with their friends. As word gets out about his partner gardening program, more and more people are recommending him as a resource for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.
Theriot continues to increase his own gardening knowledge and strives to be a resource for others. The more he learns, the more he passes on to those in his community. He wants others to grow alongside him and share in this experience. He ministers to others by helping them plant their own food and connecting with God through this natural process.
“You retain information the best when you learn it and share it with someone else,” shares Theriot. Just as Jesus told his disciples to go and teach, Theriot feels motivated to go and teach gardening, showing people he cares for them.
Theriot plans to continue partnering with others across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and has even received invitations to travel as far as Austin and Houston. His mother, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, saw what he had been sharing and asked him to help her start her own garden too.
“People don’t care how much you know, they care how much you care,” says Theriot. “People would much rather see a sermon than hear one.” He hopes to live out a sermon through his actions toward others and to form a connection that provides an opportunity to share more about God. He is already providing for people’s practical needs through this program, and that truly is a Christ-like method.
By Brisa Ramirez. Ramirez is a freelance writer based in Texas. Maurice and Maxine Theriot live in Royse City, Texas, and are members of the Casalita Drive Seventh-day Adventist Church.