The Matyas family suffered a major loss on Saturday, 28 Jan when the shop building that served as their home office and storage was destroyed in a fire. We are immensely grateful that Jason and Shannon and their children are unharmed. The fire unfortunately destroyed much of their equipment and seeds right before the planting season, and we want to help them through this time of adjustment and rebuilding.
The Matyas family has always jumped in and been willing to help when friends and neighbors are in need. It is our time now to help them, whether that is through prayer, donations, helping to rebuild, bringing meals, taking care of animals, and giving time to their children as Jason and Shannon plan out the best way forward.
All donations go directly towards the Matyas family. Thank you for your consideration, and God Bless.
Week 6 - Slow but Steady Progress, and God provides March 16, 2023
We are behind on starting seedlings. We haven't made much progress on cleaning out the burned shop. The gardens haven't been prepped yet.
Sometimes I find myself getting a little anxious about the future. I don't necessarily mean the next six years, but the next six months. I tend to be a person who works backwards in time and then puts the pieces in place. For instance I start with…"Ok, we will start school the third week of August…" I then put in the commitments in August, July, June etc. I start to realize that the pieces that have been delayed in January and February because of the fire, have affected my schedule in August and September and October. The problem is that my August dates aren't flexible and then I realize that late tomatoes and peppers means processing them during the start of school, which is a difficult set of overlapping duties. I then start expressing my anxiety about how in the world I will process tomatoes and peppers while teaching classes two days a week and helping seven children at home the other days. I look around, start cataloging the busiest season of our year and wonder how in the world we will get it done.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"
- Matthew 6:25-27
The fire, the clean-up of the destruction, the need to re-create our entire product inventory and create a new space for the business in the busiest time of seed buying season, a loss of customers and sales, a wrecked car…all these things are exhausting and valid reason for stress and anxiety, but more so, they are an opportunity to minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, submit to the will of God for our lives. We know that nothing happens without the hand of God. He has not turned his back on His people and he draws near to us even in the midst of fear and doubt.
It is important for us to catalog all that happens each week so we, extended family, friends, our children and future grandchildren can look back and see how God uses trials for His glory. So often we make life about us. The reality is that life isn't about our family. This world, and all of creation, including us, is about Him. When we take our eyes off of Him and look at ourselves, we have anxiety. Cataloging the details helps me relieve that anxiety for myself and family and hopefully is a blessing to many of you.
This week the kids and I went back to school. We do a hybrid style school where we are in class Tuesday and Thursday with other children and teachers, and home Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I teach a very rowdy class of 11 sixth graders, 8 of which are boys. Adjusting to this after an amazing vacation nearly led me to hand in my resignation after Tuesday's class, which my other teachers refused to accept. We started to hit a groove with school by the end of the week so I am hoping this should push us to spring break with less tears and frustration.
Jason worked many, many hours this week. Just keeping up with orders and marketing for the business is a full time job. Our two employees that work two days a week are amazing and manage to mostly keep up. Our children and a couple friends' children fill in the gaps after school work is done to keep us operating on the off days. This hasn't allowed Jason to spend too much time this week working on the construction of the new office. He did get the second window installed and all the parts ready to install the HVAC system.
Last week we told you about a deer strike totaling our older Honda minivan. After considering all possibilities, we decided to take the insurance money and start a search for a new van. This task has consumed way too many hours of my time this week. However, after deciding to venture to another city to car search, we were contacted by an old friend about the purchase of their vehicle. I will share more details once that transaction is completed, but this has been just another example of the very thing God told me weeks ago…"I am in the details."
Thank you for walking this journey with us through your support, prayers, and even just reading these entries each week and responding with encouraging words. Truly, send encouragement. It helps on the hard days.
Much grace, Shannon and Jason, for the whole family
Week 4 - Lights are on, moving seeds to new workspace, and a new need March 2, 2023
We have lights! Just a few days ago, we were able to hook up the lights and turn them on for the first time in the new shed. Seed for Generations is closer to having a new home (and getting out of my house)!
It is hard to believe that it was just one month this past weekend that the fire happened. It has been the slowest and fastest time of our lives. The daily check list can be overwhelming at times and yet we can see progress, so that keeps us hopeful. We have continued to work towards finishing the shed for the business and not spent time cleaning out the fire damaged shop.
That job is huge and looms over our heads, but for now has to take a back burner to getting our business set up again to serve our customers well. Jason works very well under pressure which has allows him to keep plugging away, turning a bare shell of a shed into a beautiful work space. Slowly but surely, he's making progress. We had a couple men come this weekend and lend a hand, for which we are very thankful. This is both a blessing in fellowship and labor.
Today we were able to move the main counter cabinet into place against the long wall of the shed and move seed supplies into place to start filling our first orders out of the new building. We have a lot of finishing to do still, but at least we have a more usable space with some more breathing room.
Before the fire, I planned a vacation with six of the kids to visit family. I made plans like I was 25 and not nearly 45, and created a whirlwind of an adventure for us. Though feeling slightly guilty for leaving Jason and our oldest daughter Lydia all by themselves to handle farm chores, lambing season (we've had ten already!), and the shed finishing, we sought sunshine, sand and fellowship with some of our favorite people. So I put my kids on a plane for the first time, drove many miles, enjoyed several beaches, some major league baseball spring training games, and dear friends and family.
It has been a rejuvenating, fun and exhausting time for us, and we truly are so thankful. Reacclimating into the stress and rigor of daily life will be hard, but life is meant to be filled with joyful tasks, so we will work at being thankful for some much needed rest and forge ahead with what we know is before us. Jason and Lydia will be very glad to have us home again.
Many of you have asked how you can help, so we will be transparent. This is unrelated to the fire specifically, but it is definitely a need. We need to new minivan. We have been driving an older minivan that Jason's parents so kindly gave us a couple years ago. Last week, a deer jumped a fence into our van while Jason was driving home and insurance has totaled the vehicle. Though valuable to us, not very valuable to the insurance company. They are giving us a settlement but it's not that much, and definitely not enough to cover the cost of a new (to us) van. If you know of someone who has a used minivan they're willing to sell, please let us know. (We are looking for a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna in the late 2000s range.) If it is far from Virginia, we can arrange for transportation to get it here. If you have a van that you think that would be suitable for us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pray with us to find the right vehicle quickly.
Thank you again for your care, concerns, offers of help, donations, prayers and seed orders. We appreciate you sharing our company and story with your friends and allowing us to serve you.
May you turn to the one true God who can make beauty of your ashes.
"He has sent me to… To [b]console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Week 3 - Setting up New Office and Re-opening for taking orders! February 24, 2023
This week we have successfully turned Shannon's home office and the landing of the upstairs of our house into the temporary Seed For Generations office. We have spent countless hours cataloging, printing and packing inventory. On Saturday, we had a happy group of youngsters from Shannon's homeschool co-op class come to the house and happily pack thousands of packets of seeds so we could re-open for business.
They were incredibly attentive, taking care to the details and made few messes. Proof that a little healthy competition is good for production. An 11 yr old girl, with a naturally competitive spirit, out-packed her competitors by at least 30%. These students were so eager to help. Every day Shannon went to class, they would ask how they could help us and were waiting in the que for an opportunity. Truly, we are thankful for their joyfulness and help!
Another young man from co-op helped our older sons dig the trench to run internet underground to join the main trench that was dug for the electrical lines. Many hands to make light work is a truthful saying. What is often forgotten is "Many hands make light work and a bit of chaos." We're almost ready to cover the trench to the shed, which was delayed due to needing a longer internet cable. Still, we are thrilled to keep making progress.
We've been blessed with finding supplies that we need for great prices. Jason scored a great deal on a pre hung door for his office. We also found an amazing deal on used, commercial style cabinets in nearly perfect condition located close to Jason's parents. They were troopers and happy volunteers to fetch them. They arrived with them Thursday and are staying for a few days to help with installing them and finishing the shed. This was a huge answer to our prayers, as new cabinets are very expensive.
We also have gotten help from several people from church to work with Jason to continue to make progress inside the shed, which will be the new home for the seed business. We have run electric, installed insulation, and begun to install paneling. Lights are starting to be installed and HVAC comes next. We'll then install the cabinets and countertops. We should be able to move the seeds and other office supplies into the building within the next week or so, allowing us to start doing fulfillment in a spacious new area instead of the cramped quarters we're currently using inside our house.
Due to the arrival of our bulk seed supplies and the diligent work of our children and many others helping, we were officially able to open the Seeds For Generations online store again and begin taking orders last weekend, just three weeks since the fire. Even though the new office space was not ready to move into yet, we did not want to wait and delay the arrival of seeds to our wonderful customers. By leaning forward like this, the process has been a little more stressful having to juggle fulfillment operations at the same time that we're finishing the new office space, but we hope that our customers appreciated us prioritizing their needs.
We would very much appreciate you all sharing with your friends and family about our family business. This is our busy season and we had a significant delay in our ability to take and fulfill seed orders at a critical time of year when many people are buying seeds to start seedlings inside. You can share us via email and on Facebook, Instagram, Gab, Telegram or any other social media platform you can. This will help us get back on our feet.
This is the primary income for our family of nine and we depend on the business of faithful customers to make our small business a success.
Above all, please pray for us. We are almost a month into this trial, and we are tired. There is so much work to do to start the business up again from scratch, including preparing a new office space, nevermind the time-consuming challenge of cleaning up and inventorying everything damaged and destroyed by the fire. This is a long road, and we are very grateful for your prayers and support for us.
As we move forward, our desire continues to be that we would honor God and walk uprightly through this process, bringing glory to our Creator and respecting those around us. We know we aren't perfect, far from it, and have failed those around us, but we do desire for the love of Christ to overcome all of this with stronger relationships. Our friends have come around us and helped so much, but we desire not to take advantage of anyone's generosity. Please pray for wisdom for us to know when and how to move forward in a laborious process and that all relationships would remain intact. This trial is not just for us and it impacts so many people in and outside of our family.
"Teach me Your way, Oh Lord; I will walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart. And I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is your mercy toward me, and you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol." Psalm 86:11
"It is not always easy to know whether a thing we long for is a temptation from Satan to distract us from obedience and make us discontent, or something God actually wants to give us and therefore wants us to pray for. There is no such thing as something "too good to be true." God is loving and lavishly generous and has promised to give what is good--that is, what He who is omniscient knows to be good for us."
"No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" Psalm 84:11.
ELISABETH ELLIOT~ From her book, The Path of Loneliness
Much Love and thankfulness, Jason and Shannon, and all the children
Week 2 - Shop Fire Recovery & New Office Building February 15, 2023
It's been a very busy week - so busy that it took us a few extra days to get this update done!
The adrenaline has worn off. Really what that means is that we are tired, sore and feeling the weight of the project before us. What it also means is that we've been a little more short with each other, having to respect each other's limitations with grace, telling each other we love each other, reassuring the children of their safety, wiping a few more tears, sleeping a little better, settling in to a new routine and trying to keep the kid's lives are normal as possible.
Weight does not necessarily mean bad, but can also mean responsibility. Sometimes added weight makes us stronger, like if you were to go to the gym every day and slowly adding weight to a machine to increase strength. Typically we wouldn't choose to add too much weight too quickly, but in this case, we didn't have a choice. So weight it is and we will be stronger physically, spiritually, emotionally and business-wise for it.
We're thankful to stand on truth and in no way believe this trial is in vain, and we know that day by day, the Lord will equip us with what we need.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
2 Corinthians 4: 7-10
This week we have made some giant steps forward towards getting a new office space set up and taking and shipping orders for customers. This would not have been possible to do with peace of mind without your many prayers, words of encouragement and donations.
This week, we have been able to: 1. Order many seeds, envelopes, books, shipping materials, printers, computers etc. to replace the items burned in the fire. 2. Received as a GIFT a large box of new T-shirts from the lovely company we work with (King Screen in Roanoke VA. Check them out!) 3. Slowly began to clean safe parts of the shop with the help of friends and often overzealous children. 4. Purchase a 12x24 shed to use as the new office for the business. 5. Grade the spot for the shed, have gravel delivered and spread on the shed location and parking area. 6. Shed was delivered and set on Wednesday. 7. With a gift of laminate flooring from a good friend, Lydia (our oldest daughter) with the help of a friend installed the floor in the shed. It ended up being EXACTLY enough - there was literally not a usable piece to spare! 8. Electric wiring was run during the weekend. 9. Had a trench dug for electrical to the shed by some guys who providentially were here on Saturday to trench for work the electric company hired them for. No waiting, no asking, no renting equipment. God put them here at the right place and time without us doing anything. Our God is so good! 10. Received help from a few friends, perfectly suited for the jobs that needed to be done. Friends that are flexible, strong, bring their gifts with them and a willing spirit. It's been a blessing to watch.
As we continue to do the work before us, we would covet your prayers for endurance and joy in the process. We want to create new and better habits, run a better business, serve our customers faithfully, love our children and family well, graciously and humbly accept the help offered, and give God the glory every step of the way.
Lord, remove our pride, make us humble, overtake us with your presence so that others may see your works and what you have done. Amen.
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed Because His compassions fail not."
- Lamentations 3:22
We have committed to, Lord willing, journaling each Sunday an update about the fire recovery process, getting Seeds For Generations up and running again, progress on our lives, and the rebuilding of our shop building. Our desires for this is because we want those who have supported us to know that we do not take for granted the generosity of your giving and want you to see God at work in the area of "restoring what the locusts have eaten."
First, there are no sufficient words to describe our thankfulness to so many people who have shown up physically, financially, and prayerfully this week for us. We have seen the hand of God. We have felt carried through your prayers, emails, messages, phone calls, meals and acts of service.
Here is a short list of tangible ways we have seen God's hand this week: We have had 15 people drop food and treats at our home in eight days. We have had gifts of honey, credit added to two accounts that we use for bulk food pick up/delivery, the company we order our T-shirts from printed and mailed us a big box replacement shirts, a friend fabricated a jig we need for printing seed packets, and obviously donations that have astounded and humbled us.
We met with a few folks from our church, one of which has been through a fire, whom we trust to get advice on how to move forward. We desire accountability with the donations that have come to us and to honor God with our actions. The consensus from everyone was that getting the seed business up and running as soon as possible was the number one priority.
We went to work cleaning the house, basement and storage area to move things into as we clean out the shop. We have literally not stopped cleaning and organizing since Wednesday. We are tired. We have purged, donated, cried many tears, cleaned up messes, done more loads of laundry that I can count!
With the funds donated, we have so far been able to replace Jason's computer and monitor, printers, seed envelopes, and ordered what bulk seeds we can replace. But the most significant thing has been the Lord's provision of a 12x24 shed that we will use to set up our business in temporarily until we can rebuild the shop. The Lord provided an almost new shed for us from very close to our home and a person willing to deliver it for a great price. We spent the past few days clearing the area that the shed will be placed, a load of gravel is being delivered Tuesday, and the shed should be delivered Wednesday. Things are moving quickly! We will need to finish the inside of the shed to prepare it for setting up the business again, and we hope to be moved in and be able to receive and ship orders within a couple weeks. Your donations have made it possible to accomplish this quickly so we can serve our customers again without having to wait on the slow insurance process to play out. This has been a huge blessing and stress-reliever for us!
Thankfulness Many of you have stayed at our home in the guest space above the shop, eaten meals at our table, and found respite here in the mountains of Virginia. We cannot wait to have that available again. One thing I have thanked God for over and over again is that no one was in the shop when it caught fire. Fire is not merciful and spreads so fast. Lives were spared and protected that day and I am eternally thankful for it.
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."
- How Firm a Foundation by John Rippon, 1787
We will keep you updated as much as possible through this journey. We covet your prayers. We trust God that His glory will be shown both in our physical and spiritual lives. We love you all and thank God for your support, friendship and care for our family.
Click the Pray button to let the campaign owner know you are praying for them.