Koinonia Farm’s vision statement is “love through service to others, joy through generous hospitality, peace through reconciliation.” All of our guest rooms are named after people who have come before us and embodied these ideas. These peacemakers are from all over the world and from all different periods of history. This “great cloud of witnesses” and their stories encourage us to keep pursuing love, joy, and peace in our life and work.
James Earl Carter, Jr. (better known as Jimmy) was born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924. His family owned a peanut farm in Plains. Carter graduated high school and went on to attend the United States Naval Academy. He married Rosalynn Smith in 1946 and they had four children. Carter served on submarines in the U.S. Navy for seven years until his father died in 1953 and he and his family returned to Plains, Georgia to take over the peanut farm.
In Plains, Jimmy Carter quickly rose from a community leader and businessman to a Georgia Senator in 1962. From the Georgia Senate, he became Georgia’s governor in 1970. In December 1974, Carter announced his run for president and he was elected in November 1976. As President, Carter worked to negotiate peace in various situations around the world. One of his greatest accomplishments as President was the Camp David Accords,in which he brought Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin together to discuss peace between their countries. President Carter also maintained a focus on human rights throughout his presidency.
I have one life and one chance to make it count for something . . . I’m free to choose what that something is, and the something I’ve chosen is my faith. Now, my faith goes beyond theology and religion and requires considerable work and effort. My faith demands — this is not optional — my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.
President Carter was not re-elected in 1980, but his work for human rights and peace around the world was only beginning. In 1982, he founded the Carter Center, which works to “resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions.” The Carter Center focused much of its health and disease work on eradicating the Guinea worm disease, an initiative that has been very successful. The Guinea worm disease may soon become the second human disease in history to be eradicated. The Carter Center also focuses on election monitoring to bring about peace and democracy all over the world. Both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter travel around the world working with the Carter Center on their health, human rights, and conflict resolution projects.
With Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds safe, affordable, decent housing for people in need, Carter builds houses around the world. Carter has been involved with Habitat from its early days and continues to work with the organization today. President Carter also teaches a Sunday School class most Sunday mornings at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.
In 2002, Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for “”for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” Even in his nineties, Carter continues to work to bring about world peace in local and international ways. He is the epitome of a peacemaker and is motivated by his deep faith and commitment to the ways of Jesus Christ.
The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.