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Called to the Ozarks

What do you do when you feel God nudging you to pack everything up to leave the life you've only known for a new place never before seen or heard of? You go. That's just what Skip and Mary Badiny did almost 40 years ago. The Badinys left California after they felt a calling from God to move to a rural setting with plenty of rainfall to grow food. Believing in the Bible prophecy, they left the chaos of the city to set out to find such a haven and almost 2,000 miles later, they found Rover, Mo. They bought 53 acres of raw land tucked away on a private road, and they were home. This piece of property deserved a name with a special meaning, and Maranatha Farms was dedicated to God. 
Over the years, vegetable gardens were dug and expanded each year. Flower beds blend annuals and perennials. Herbs both medicinal and for cooking, and fruits were included. A couple of greenhouses provide early seed starting, and an outside shower for cool summer breaks all add up to the massive achievement that the Badinys built together with decades of hard work.
Sadly, in 2019 Mary lost Skip to cancer and was faced with running the farm all alone. God nudged Mary once again and with divine strength, she carried on and took full control of the farm as well as working part-time as a bookkeeper to ensure the gardens would live. In 2006, the farm was open to feeding the public fresh, organic produce, the main goal of Skip and Mary's dream, and God's calling. 
Today, Maranatha Farms supplies a wide variety of good quality foods to a healthy customer list. Volunteers aid Mary with the chores and upkeep that the land requires while some labor costs are necessary.
But, it's all Mary, the strength, the growth, and the day-to-day that keeps her here, giving labor of love a new meaning. Being a steward of the land is a lifelong endeavor with many hardships; drought, pests, and loss. When you arrive at Maranatha Farms you feel all the efforts, the pain, and the peace that grows there, it's truly a piece of heaven on earth.
Mary, being a gardener, is always planning the future with hopes of maybe offering classes on the farm so others can learn to grow food and herbs. The gardens would be a lovely backdrop for gatherings and social events. Mary hopes to have flower arrangements for sale one day and so much more.
I often wonder how people end up here in the Ozarks, for Mary it was indeed a higher power. So when you feel a nudge, pay attention to it, it may just take you home.  
You can learn more about Maranatha Farms and all they offer on their Facebook page.
Sue Neitzel is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in West Plains with her husband, a dog and her chickens.
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