Stories of Courage

Courage to Trust

by Dodong Cacanando

“The purpose you choose to pursue in life will determine the way you live and do business. My purpose is to be fruitful for the Lord. In whatever, I do, I want to take care of the seeds I have and grow it, so I can bless others. And when you bless others, they will bless you in return.”

Dodong was a successful corporate man. He was Assistant Country Manager for a multinational company based in Manila, and was on his way to becoming promoted to Country Manager. Opportunities were endless for Dodong, yet he felt burdened. Without having so much time on his hands for family and for God, he would constantly hear God asking him “What is standing between you and me?”

In 1997, Dodong felt a strong urge to resign. He made a promise with God that he would go wherever God wanted him to go and do whatever He wanted him to do, as long as he removed the heaviness in his heart. When Dodong made this promise, he did not know what it meant, but it soon ushered in a series of events and miracles that led to him being given anopportunity to put up and manage his own farm located in the remote, distant town of Bukidnon in Mindanao.

“The best way to follow God is not to ask Him for detailed instructions. If we want to do something great, it is much better to ask Him to walk with us, rather than ask for specific instructions. And so that’s what I did when he was making me go to Bukidnon – trust and obey Him. To walk with Him,” Dodong shares.

As a corporate man all his life, Dodong didn’t know anything about farming. He had to compete with wealthy and established farmers from Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. Aside from them having better lands, they were also well connected and had access to more funds. They had greenhouses and tractors, and were able to hire agriculturists and consultants to run their farms. Dodong didn’t have the resources they had; he had to be creative, using the resources available to him to make his farm prosper.

To Dodong, he acknowledged that he was neither the most intellectual nor well-equipped. He compensated by being diligent and by working hard. He studied agriculture himself. He read old farming books and studied how people from the past survived with meager resources. Guided by the realization that God was the true owner of his farm and he was only its steward, he managed the farm guided by everything God taught in the bible. “I’ve learned that God has entrusted us with talents which He expects us to use and grow by using our abilities. God wants us to produce an abundance by using the resources He has given us,” Dodong shares.

By marrying biblical principles with Dodong’s hard work and relentless determination to learn more about how to excel as a farmer even with little resources, Dodong’s farm grew to become a model farm in Mindanao. At one point, they became one of McDonald’s largest suppliers for lettuce. Today, most of Dodong’s competitors have ‘closed shop’ because when calamities came, they couldn’t pay their consultants. They didn’t know what to do. His farm continues to thrive, and Dodong has extended his business with his foundation, Semilya sa Kinabuhi (Seed of Life), to share what he has learned to help others live a fruitful and abundant life. They also develop leaders by growing their character first before equipping them with the skills they need to do their work excellently.

“I was a very ordinary person with ordinary credentials. If God can make me fruitful, He can do the same for everyone — anyone who is willing to be intimate and obedient to Him,” Dodong ends.