Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


As a child, I loved goats. Odd, I know, but it’s true; I had a strange fascination with goats. They were cute. They had floppy ears. And I wanted a herd of them in my family’s backyard.

But my father refused to even consider buying me a goat. “Goats are big pain in the butt, Matthew,” he’d tell me every time I asked. “They eat you out of house and home. They poop all over everything. And they jump up on cars and scratch the metal with their hooves!”


I didn’t have a car, so Dad’s advice never persuaded me to stop dreaming about one day having a goat as a pet. Or even a goat farm (now, my wife, Jessica, refuses to let me have a goat–boo! “They stink!” she says.)

Still, I think goats are wonderful creatures.

But it wasn’t until I saw the movie Cold Mountain that I learned that my father was wrong (that didn’t happen very often!). But he was very wrong! Goats are far from useless!

In Cold Mountain, there’s a scene where “Jude Law” visits with an old mountain woman named “Maddy.” Maddy is a bit creepy, but she has a slew of GOATS, which made her less creepy to me.


While petting one of her goats, Maddy says, “I’ve learned a person can pretty much survive off of a goat. A goat gives you company, and milk, and cheese… and when you need it, good meat.”

The scene takes an ugly turn after that, which sort of makes Maddy creepy again. However, Maddy’s words opened my eyes to just how amazing goats really are.

This past May, when I was in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, the bloggers team and I visited one of the island’s many World Vision goat farms. And I was in Heaven heaven. Seriously, I was the first person to jump off the bus and run over to the gated goat farm.


Me appearing far too excited to be posing for a picture with a goat.

Me getting pooped on by a goat and not caring one bit. "You can poop on me again little goat."



As crazy as this sounds, goats save people’s lives. At the very least, goats help families living in poverty to pursue a better way to live. They help people pursue sustainability.

I’ve witnessed this happening with my own eyes. I’ve seen it happening in Nicaragua. I’ve seen it happening in Uganda. And I witnessed it happening in Dominican Republic.


Goats are wonderful creatures! Not only do they provide nourishment through milk, yogurt, and cheese, but they also give a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market (via). But as World Vision also points out, goats are practical animals — flourishing in harsh climates while producing valuable manure to fertilize crops and vegetable gardens.


My father was right about one thing: Our family didn’t need a goat or a herd of goats. That’s probably true for most of the people reading this post. Honestly, most of us don’t need much of anything.

But many people all over the world need a goat. Because they know and understand the importance and value that livestock can do for their family’s livelihood.

When I was Uganda, a little girl presented me with the gift of a live chicken. From her perspective, there was no greater gift that she could give me than a live chicken. Of course, I accepted the gift with much gratitude, knowing there was no chance that I was going to be able to take the chicken home with me. With the chicken tucked in the back of one of the World Vision vans, we left the little girl’s hut. We decided that we would take the chicken and offer it as a gift to a woman–a grandmother who was raising four grandchildren she was raising (the children’s father and mother had both died of HIV). I wish you could have witnessed the joy and excitement when one of the team members presented the grandmother with the chicken. She lifted her hands in the air and screamed with joy at the top of her lungs. You would have thought we’d given her a check for a large sum of money.


But it wasn’t a check. It was just a chicken.

To us, it’s just a goat, a creature that poops all over the place and jumps up on cars. But to the recipient of a goat, it’s so much more.

It’s a gift! And unlike so many of the gifts that we will receive on Christmas morning, a goat is a gift that keeps on giving!

Will you consider giving a needy family the gift of a goat this Christmas?

For only $75, you can do just that. (CLICK HERE TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW.)


“Gifting a goat” is an easy and affordable way to say “Merry Christmas!” to a family in need, a family you don’t know, a family that will jump up and down and celebrate when they receive a goat as a gift.

This week at my blog (as well as few other blogs!) it’s “Gift a Goat” week. This is an idea that I’ve wanted to do for a while now… why? Because I love goats. Because God made goats to be so helpful to people! And because to so many, receiving a goat is one of the best gifts you can give…


So… would you help me make a bunch of families all over the world have a brighter holiday season? A merrier Christmas? Would you consider giving a goat? Heck, maybe you could give two goats…

Or a herd of goats!


You can do that right now by clicking here…

And then would you help me spread the word?


Would you consider Tweeting this post (hashtag: #GiftAGoat)?

Would you consider posting a link to it on Facebook?

Would you consider writing a post on your blog?

Would you add the “GiftAGoat” Twibbon to your Twitter and/or Facebook picture? You can do that here!

Thank you. You guys are awesome. (And goats are awesome, too!)

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posted November 15, 2010 at 8:56 am

One of the most useful charitable ideas I’ve heard of yet. I think I will gift a goat.

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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted November 15, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thank you, Noelle! Means a lot…

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posted November 15, 2010 at 10:19 am

I love goats! I’ve had goats (and experienced much of what your Dad told you about them). I think I’ll do a blog post on this. What a neat charity!

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Ashley Blair

posted November 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

This is so awesome! There was actually a kid at my church that heard about how useful goats are, I guess, and he went to school and church and raised money to by goats for the families he would meet when he and his dad go to Kenya every year, so now our church is gifting goats too! They are such a blessing to so many people!

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posted November 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

Reminds me of my Nigerian friend from residency, Ade (pronounced Oddy. Short for Adedapo). He was pining for food from home one day. Said he missed plantains and goat meat. I told him he could find plantains at Meijer (as any good Michigander knows, if you can’t find it at Meijer, you don’t need it). Where, he asks. Next to the bananas, I say. But they are not bananas, he says. This is the store that stocks the Jesus candles next to the pinto beans, I say. The what? he asks.

Anyway, he tells me the next week he found the plantains, now he just needed the goat meat. I don’t think he ever did find it. This goat I send out in honor of Ade, to a family I hope will enjoy it even more.

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oh amanda

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Never thought I’d say this: I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT BUYING A GOAT!!!

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Crystal Renaud

posted November 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I love how practical this kind of giving is.

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posted November 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I’ll spread the word for you Matthew. My family sent three goats to Ethiopia this year with a UK based charity. My Gran every year for her birthday ask us to send an animal to another third world country. We have sent cows, coups of chickens, goats and pigs to nations where they are used more productively. It’s amazing what we consider good for our tastebuds can do so much much more for the less fortunates lives :)

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posted November 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I challenged our small group a couple weeks ago to come up with something we could do as a group to actually help someone and this idea of giving a goat came up. It’s a perfect idea for our small group so we’re gonna do it.

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