Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Hot Day in Wangobo

This week I made the long journey to Bushfire's new site in Wangobo village. It is a log trip - not only because of the distance but mostly because of the condition of the roads. It takes a long time from the Bushfire Home to Wangobo. Although the land is near as the bee flies it takes almost an hour to circumnavigate a swamp via a very bumpy road.
We are planting low maintenance food crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes. My brother in-law Masiu Fine also came with me for a day of sweating it out in the hot sun. He is used to manual labour, being a Tongan where they also grow a lot of the similar crops a Uganda. We were also with our farm workers Wilson, Peter and Mutale. The Local government leader also helped us (as he usually does) to plant. We get lots of good time in the gardens chatting with the locals who come out to watch or to help. They get surprised to see Masiu and I digging -- thinking that most whites are the "softy" type. We often discuss many issues -- anything from witchcraft to politics. Our Ugandan guys are good at helping interpret and are good witnesses too. I speak Luganda to the locals which they understand, as the local language, Lusoga, is similar. They have lots of questions about what Canada is like and what we eat and what we do. It always amazes them to hear about polar regions that get periods of no light and continuous light.
We are now entering the next growing season so I will probably start teaching them to use the planting yokes in a week or so.
With OKM, Jane and I recently visited some of the families in Kangalumira but unfortunately some were not home. We also had a check on the poultry operation. It was good to see the birds are starting to lay but it seems we will have to find a new manager as the current one does not seem to be faithful and thus the operation is suffering. We will be again giving out improved seed to the families this season. We are in the process of also purchasing land (through OKM) for a community garden for a few of the families in the Kangalumira area. Pray that all of this goes well.
Thanks again to all of you for your faithful love and support.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July Newsletter

July Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family, July 2 2007

Greetings from Uganda and from Buganda! We have moved just a few miles to a place called Njeru (Google it – you’ll find it!) but this means we are now west of the Nile so we are in Central Uganda, Mukono District. We have also changed from living within the Busoga Kingdom to the Buganda Kingdom. We are enjoying our new home and the rare blessing of having power that hasn’t gone off in a month! This is probably due to the fact that we are on one of the main lines coming directly from the Dam. The move was necessary as there was no more room at the YWAM base.

Before we go into what we have been doing the last few months, we would like to thank all of you for your faithful prayers, letters, e-mails and support. We have been able to make a good start on the house and also purchase a family vehicle thanks to your generosity. We bought a 1993 Isuzu Big Horn in May and have been so blesses with the vehicle. The house will probably be up to the ring beam (top of the wall) by the time you get this letter. Thanks for your generous giving!
Since settling into our new place here in Njeru we have settled into more of a regular routine. Monday and Friday we have set aside for Orphans Know More work and Tuesday and Thursday we have set aside to go to Bushfire.

Recently we had the founder of OKM, John Peachy (along with his lovely family) at our home and we were able to get a really good idea of what the ideals and goals are of the project. The project actually originates from their daughter (she’s about 10) who felt God speaking to her about ministering and caring for orphans. We have a number of micro-finance projects lined up, including a community garden. We are now starting to work on a HELP (Home Economy Life Plan) plan for each family. This is an individualized plan for each family in the network which is holistic in nature. It’s goal is to help enable each family to reduce their living costs and increase their income.

With Bushfire I have been working with some of the Farm staff on making planting yokes for planting crops in rows. So far the people in the community (and Bushfire) are only using the plow for breaking land which still leaves a lot of work when it comes to planting, weeding and harvesting. We have also been working on developing a large piece of land in a nearby village called Wangobo. We will mainly growing basic food crops such as cassava (manioc) and sweet potatoes until we build some structures and are able to have staff to care for crops that need more intensive care. We have secured enough planting stock to have a 10 acre garden of improved cassava. This garden will serve as food for the children and a multiplication garden so that farmers in the district can benefit from the improved varieties.

This next week I will spend most of my time touring the Agriculture Show with various groups from Bushfire. I hope there will be some good ideas to stimulate some good thoughts and ideas about farming with the children.

Recently, when I was driving the VERY bumpy road (it takes 1 hour to drive the 20km) from Bushfire to Wangobo I was talking with Apollo (Bushfire Farm Manager) about why the locals seemed to be decent farmers yet their homesteads are so unkempt and do not reflect the apparent prosperity that should be a result of their good farming. He explained that witchcraft is extremely high. When someone develops a bit (maybe builds a permanent structure) they are put under witchcraft by jealous neighbors, so people fear to develop their homesteads. This has lead to a very backward way of living. In addition to this, it seems that when a farmer starts to do well, instead of putting the money into his home or family, he goes and marries another wife, largely neglecting the state of his original wife and children. Please pray for these people, that we will not just merely communicate better methods of farming but that the Holy Spirit will convict them as we preach the Gospel in various ways.

Also pray for Jane as she gets time with some of the girls in OKM and Bushfire. Many of them have big struggles with their past, difficulties handling the present and needing wisdom for the future. This is a very important aspect of our work, we want these girls who are “on the edge” to make wise and wholehearted decisions for God.

By the time we write our nest (3rd Quarter) Newsletter we will have my cousin Kerri living with us. Kerri has just finished grade 12 and will be helping to school and care for the boys a bit as well as helping out with the ministry we are doing as well. We are so excited to have her coming.

Other exciting news is that my sister April and her husband Masiu and children Sione and Ane have joined us in the work with Bushfire. They have been here a week and settling back into life in Uganda (April and Masiu have worked in Uganda several years before they were married)

Before we say goodbye we would like to let you know that we still need more monthly supporters. We have had very generous donations to help us with the vehicle and the house but we still need more money coming in monthly to keep up our salary and keep a reserve for any emergencies. We also need more fianc├ęs for the house so that we can complete it by he time our rental agreement expires in December.

Again, we love you all and thank God for all of you.
Love, Chris and Jane, Andrew, Kenny, Albert and Isaiah as well as Adrienne and Deborah

*Financial contributions can be sent to:
Equip Canada PO Box 683
Duncan, B.C.
V9L 3Y1
*In the US donations can be sent to:
Equip, Inc.
PO Box 1126, Marion, N.C.
USA, 28752-1126