As we look toward the future of this great work, we want to do all that we can to increase the sustainability of the work. We are increasingly handing over more and more responsibilities to the local brethren and actively working to reduce their dependency on the missionaries. As a part of that, we are also working to cut costs at the school and increase the amount that it can support itself.
Towards that end, we are improving and expanding the farming/gardening project at the school. We spent a portion of last week hosting and meeting with some interested parties from the US that are going to help us with this by supplying funding and expertise. The future in this area is very promising.
Expanding our food production will help the school in two ways. First, it reduces the cost of feeding the students and staff. Secondly, whatever can be produced above the school's food-needs can be sold to further offset expenses. In other words, once the operation is in full-swing, it will both sustain itself and contribute to the fiscal health of the school.
One area of food production is livestock. Currently, the school has a medium-sized chicken house supporting a little over 100 broilers. We would like to drastically expand that to include as many as 1,000 layers and 1,000 broilers. We are also exploring the possibility of adding pigs to the project. They would be highly profitable in the market here. Plus that would give us a place for the prodigal to work until they repent. (Just kidding!) We could also marginally increase our cattle stock, but our grounds cannot support more than a few more cows.
The other area of production is garden crops. This is the most immediate area of focus. Our guys have been building these raised, drip-irrigation beds. Netting is placed around crops like tomatoes that are particularly vulnerable to pests. At this point, we have about 25 of these beds prepared, but we having funding now to go ahead and cover a full acre.
Another great advantage of this project is the training that it provides to the students. The Lord's church is growing so rapidly in East Africa, that we cannot graduate guys fast enough to keep up with the tremendous demand for trained evangelists. However, most of these needs are at very small congregations that cannot afford to support a man full-time. As our students learn these gardening methods, they gain a skill that will allow them to feed their families while they are serving at a local congregation.
As you can see, these efforts represent a positive step forward in the area of self-sustainability of both the school and the students entering the work force. Join with me in praying for God's continued blessings on these efforts.
Josiah Update: He continues to have episodes periodically, and we are anxiously awaiting his next round of testing on August 3. Thanks to some very kind friends, I am going to have the opportunity to make a short visit to the US soon. I will arrive just in time for Levi's birthday (my youngest son). I will be able to be there for Josiah's hospital stay. As a bonus, I will have the opportunity to attend Polishing the Pulpit before rushing back to teach my 3rd quarter class at ACSOP. It will have been a full 2 months since I have seen my wife and kids, so I am very eager and appreciative of the opportunity to visit.
By the way, if I was not able to get to your congregation on my last furlough, and you would like for me to visit with you next month, then please contact me and I will be glad to try to work you into the schedule.
To see Daniel’s report with pictures, please click here.