‘Road to Terra Numa’ will be a series of posts and other content (ie: podcast episodes, etc) laying out the vision, journey, and process by which this ministry unfolds.

Note: Two months ago I awoke early in the morning and fell into a kind of poetic reflection on our past experience living for ten years on a farm owned by friends of ours – an older Christian couple who we shared a kind of ‘unintentional’ Christian community with. This meditation is also about the future of our farm ministry and our efforts to get back on the land.

This was written six weeks before we had to move out of a cabin we had been renting for several years. Our search for a long term housing that would work for farm ministry turned into a scramble for short term housing. As I write this we find ourselves over three weeks in to an experience of being without stable housing. I hope to write more on this experience soon and how God is dealing with us in this unusual time.


It’s 5:24 am. I can’t sleep. It’s the second night in a row I’ve woken and laid in bed wondering why my brain won’t go back to sleep. But it’s not just me. The air feels stirred. A dog barks intently in the distant darkness – as if alarmed or offended. Another dog answers back, equally intent. A car quietly pulls into the gravel driveway, the unmistakeable sound of heavy tires popping and clacking the small cracked rocks. The cats stir in the house and wonder why I am getting up. They silently leave their posts for a snack, or to keep watch elsewhere in the house.

I grab my journal, my Bible, and a few books. I descend squeeky stairs as stealthily as possible, but it feel like an announcement to a house full of sleepers. I hope not to break their fragile dreams. I make my way to the dark living room and look out the large front window. I can see down the hill that the shop garage door is wide open and all the lights are on – bright lights contrasted against the dark night. Living on the same property as your place of work has it’s benefits and drawbacks.

I turn on a lamp. It clicks loudly as the lightbulb sweeps away the night – small but mighty. Maybe it’s because I am trying to be as quiet as a mouse but sound seems amplified. One of the cats is crunching and rifling through a bowl of dry cat food. There is a slight ringing in my ears; the silent morning pressing in on me. I sit on the long couch. Across the room a stout bookshelf is filled with sturdy white liquor boxes – full of books.

I know why I am awake. My spirit pacing anxiously while my body is curled up in a blanket. We were told we have to move out of this cabin we’ve been renting for the past three and half years. We have six weeks left before the move. I am wrestling with God. It’s bad enough that the rental market has priced us out of viable housing for our large family. We’re also hoping for a miracle of sorts – to find our way back to farm life that has eluded us for six years. Fear grips my stomach and I force it back.

We have a vision for farm ministry that we can’t let go of. In fact, we’re not even holding onto it. It has become a part of who we are. We have some of the vision written down, but it’s more like a memory that I’ve relived a thousand times. The wind stirs the chimes on the front porch. And this vision, at once future, and past, animates my mind.

In this headspace I see me walking with an empty steel milk bucket swinging in my hand, one of my sons at my side. Soon I am in the barn with the milk cow. She is contentedly chewing on alfalfa pellets, the bell hanging from her collar in a muted musical staccato tone. It’s a peaceful chore but we are racing to finish before she does. When we are done I reunite the milk cow with her calf. They’ve been separated all night to prevent the calf from taking the milk before we arrived. I carry the now heavy laden bucket carefully back to the cabin to filter the fresh milk.

I snap back into the present moment with the excited yipping from a pack of coyotes echoing in the valley – stirred up by the blasting horn and rumbling of a speeding train. It’s sounds like that of an angry monster. The coyotes almost sound afraid. I slip back into memory.

I can see the fenced garden near the barn and chicken house. In Spring and Summer it swells with plants reaching, vines climbing, leaves spreading out, bright greens, reds, oranges, a beautiful tangle of ripening vegetables. The garden framed at thirty by a hundred feet is brimming with steady activity throughout the growing season. I am working until dusk when the mosquitos make their invisible presence known. I am planting, weeding, harvesting, watering, in a kind of circular dance. Pam and the kids joining me off-and-on in the sunkissed revelry. We eat by the sweat of our brow – but the taste of our sweat becomes part of the flavor of our days.

Sheep and goats are grazing on the hill. Chickens peck around in the compost pile. Nothing is still, but there is no frenetic pace. It all moves serenely, sometimes sporadically, but like a constant give and take, driven along by rain and sun and the breathe of God. New lambs and kids make their debut, adored by my own children, friends, and farm visitors.

Seeds become seedlings and mature with fruit , feed us, and then pass back into the soil. Converging creeks sparkle and meander in delight, while other times, swollen with rain, go raging through, unstoppable, maddened, and inconsolable – sweeping along large rocks as they go loudly cracking by in the rush.

I can see a table full of food. Nearby a fire throws sparks upward into the starry night. Conversations overlap in a ragamuffin patchwork of laughter, inquiries, and ricocheting stories. Teenagers and young children play games in the dim lights here and there. Mothers nurse their babies. Men are speaking passionately of how the world should be. Everyone drinks deep from the overflowing cup of fellowship around the fire. Time seems suspended in eternity.

I am back in my living room, weeping. Tears of bitterness mix with a well of longing. I have to put the lid back on the memory because I don’t want to wake the house with sobbing. I sit dazed with tears running down my face. My chest burns as I contemplate what is so easily lost: community, friendship, intertwined lives. I feel alone in the dark morning. I have to move on. I bottle my despair and force myself back into these distant thoughts – both memory and prophecy.

I can see a couple fighting, then embracing, then sitting on a bed facing opposite directions. The space between them widening. Their house becomes pressurized and begins to crack. They open the front door to leave and a great groan of mourning rushes into the empty suburban streets. Suddenly I see them on the farm. And at once they disappear. In their place I see a young man, confused, wondering what’s next. His form fades and a young family appears, looking for solid ground. These are the wounded, stuck in the ‘in-between’. These are the weak, those on a long journey looking for rest and healing, care, and space to breathe again. We are eating together, comforting them, praying with them, encouraging them. Their demons no longer dominating them. Their past no longer defining them. They are ready for the journey again. We bless them and feel blessed by them.

Again I slip into the present. I can’t shake the sense that these aren’t just memories, I am speaking of the future – of what could be. I can’t shake this vision of a farm – like a city on a hill, like a lighthouse in a storm, like a monastery in the midst of a collapsing empire, like an outpost in the wilderness, like a colony of a distant kingdom, like a garden where we walk with God. If there is any substance, any truth to what I see, may it resonate, may it be a signal, a bell ringing, calling those who are willing to a life of worship, service, and sacrifice.

 -JDF, Bedford, Virginia

Jason Fowler

Jason Fowler

Terra Numa co-founder

Jason and his wife Pam have been experimenting with church planting, house church, intentional community, and living a whole-life Christian faith for over two decades. Husband and father of seven, he is an artist, agrarian, and storyteller at heart. The Fowlers live and work in Bedford County, Virginia plotting a course to establishing Terra Numa Farm and Retreat. If failure could be a credential he would be a PhD.

You can reach him at:


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