Tuesday, July 16, 2013

harvest at the church garden

This morning the church members came together to harvest the maize from the church garden.  At the beginning of the season we decided to put in a 35 meter by 35 meter garden and use Farming God's Way as our method of farming.  Grass is getting hard to come by in Obule so a garden that size was pretty ambitious, but we were feeling adventurous so we went for it.  We were able to get enough grass to mulch half of the garden.  It took us several more weeks to get enough grass together to mulch the second half of the garden.  We received good rains during that period, but it turned off dry before we could apply the mulch to the other half.  Those few weeks proved costly as the half of our garden that didn't get mulched until later in the season did not really produce any cobs.  The maize stalks on that half of the garden were short and stunted.  The dried out a lot quicker than the other half of the garden.  They appeared stress, etc.  So we learned a valuable lesson about mulching, and that is TO mulch, to mulch often, and mulch heavy.

The yields we received from the producing half of our garden were completely unremarkable except for the fact that we did yield something.  That part is remarkable, because of everyone in the village who planted around the same time as us, we were the only folks to yield anything.  Thats right -anything.  So rather than looking at our moderate yields and wishing they were better, we have chosen to thank God for the gift of maize when everyone else is yielding nothing.  This "wet" season has been pretty dry.  Very few folks, except for a handful of folks who planted early are suffering because no one is going to get a crop.  People are already talking about famine.

Charles holding up a couple of our better maize cobs.  
We are blessed in that we were able to produce some maize because we put ourselves in a position to receive God's blessing of moisture when He sent it.  Through practicing good stewardship we were able to capture some of the early rains and retain that moisture long enough to get a crop.  Most people didn't get one.  Very few farmers in this area are in a position to receive the blessing of rain.  Most folks are praying for rain and then when God sends the rain, they sit helplessly by and watch the soil from their fields wash away as the majority of the rain erodes away their land.

our maize drying in the sun
We in the Obule church are so thankful God has chosen to bless us with knowledge that we need to be stewarding His creation rather than using up and wasting "our" lands.  I recently have had the opportunity to watch our Pastor Charles share the Gospel with several primary schools as he teaches Farming God's Way to the primary schools in this area.  Charles has been sharing Proverbs 3:5-6 with the children and their guardians.  The verse says " Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, But in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  When you look at the way the farmers struggle to work their fields.  The way they sweat and toil to work the land, and then they wait and hope and pray to get a good return on their efforts.  But sadly more often than not they get a yield that is less than what is required to properly feed and care for their families.  It is apparent that we are working and farming by leaning on our own knowledge, that we haven't stopped to ask God how we should care for His creation, and we don't trust in the Lord with all our hearts or otherwise we would consult Him.  I hope more folks in Obule and in Teso will begin to see their gardens as God's land, begin stewarding that land, begin to turn to the Lord and seek Him and His way, and stop leaning on our own limited understanding.
Charles and a group of primary school students praying for their land, repenting for all the blood shed on this land, repenting for all the witchcraft and blood sacrifices offered in the hopes of a good harvest, repenting for not looking to God, repenting for not trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and in all our ways.  

It is so encouraging to see the folks in the Obule church trusting God and seeking his guidance and wisdom over their own.  It is also encouraging to see their faithfulness and commitment be rewarded with a yield, even if those yields are below average because God was faithful and provided.

Euria's well

A few weeks ago we finished a well for a man named Euria.  Euria is married to a lady named Margaret and they have ten, yes ten (10) children.  Ten children by the same women is pretty incredible.  Here in Uganda you see men having ten children, but they usually have more than wife, but not Euria, he is a one woman man.  Euria's well was particularly challenging.  We spent the first two days slamming a pipe in the ground and only went one meter.  Not a great start!   Fortunately things got a little easier as we went on.  After two weeks of drilling we were finally able to case the well at 18 meters (~60 feet). We would have loved to have gone deeper, but we hit granite bedrock and God gave us enough wisdom to know when it is time to call it quits.  After casing the well, we took our time washing the well and conditioned it to make sure it produces a lot of water.  Today I was able to stop by Euria's home to get some pictures of the completed, cemented in, final product.  Euria was there along with a few of kids and his mother-in-law.  They were all very happy with the well and were very appreciative. I thought I would share with you about Euria's well and let you see some of the pictures.  Enjoy! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mommy and Me Time On The Bike

Silas and I have been spending our days hanging around town these last few weeks.  The Land Rover is still in the shop.  It's been in there for one month but should be coming home this week some time and I couldn't be more pleased!  Colin takes the dirt bike to the village and Silas and I ride around town on my bike.  It is such a blessing to have a bike that I can use daily and I am so thankful for it.  
I went to one of the little shops just outside our gate and bought a green plastic chair so Silas could sit "safely" while we ride around.  I would have carried him on my back but haven't found a good  carrier for him.
So the green chair was the answer.  I had to have Colin cut the front legs off the chair because my flip flops were getting caught when I would peddle.  
I do make Si wear his "seat belt" when we go.  It consist of me taking one of Colin's belts and tightening it up around his belly and around the back of the chair.  This also helps to keep him from slipping down in the seat.
We have a good time when we ride.  I try and go in the mornings so the heat isn't too bad.  Thats more for me than for Silas.  I usually arrive to wherever we are going out of breath and pouring sweat!  I have a tendency to try and ride everywhere I go as fast as I can.  It makes for a sweaty hot mess when we stop.  Silas LOVES riding the bike with me.  He sings to me most days.  And he likes to point out the things he knows the words for.  I hear "You see 'em!  MOM, you see 'em!?" a lot.  And his favorite song "Happy happy happy happy happy happy, AMEN!"  By the time we get all our running around done,  I am loaded down with fruit and veggies from market, and we head home.  We usually make a trip to town 4 times a week.  Given the limited space I have for groceries I have to make more trips.  It has reduced our food budget for this month, and we are saving a ton on fuel!  Not to mention, my legs are getting into great shape!  Win win all around.   
I will be glad when the Land Rover is back, but I think we will continue to ride a few times a week just because.  I love the time I get to spend with Silas and this is just a cool thing that he and I get to do.        

And in other news...It hasn't been all bike riding for me.  I have been teaching Children's Church every Sunday and LOVE it.  I think there is about 50 to 60 kids each week.  We have started at the beginning of the Bible and will work our way through 75 stories of the Bible.  This past Sunday the Children did a small drama for the church.  I made signs for them to hold and we read through the story of creation.  It was fun and simple and just one more way that they got to hear the story and hopefully remember it!  
A friend and I are also teaching cooking classes each month at our church.  Last week we taught them how to prepare potato patties.  We used all ingredients that the ladies can get in the village.  From what we can tell, the ladies loved it and they have asked that we do it again this week.  So on Wednesday of this week we are going to go out again and cook.  This time however, the ladies that learned last week will teach the newcomers!  Should be a fun day!  I love my friends out in Obule.  They are so wonderful and I am just so excited to be a part of their lives.  I hear people say that we are a blessing to them, but I feel like we are the ones being blessed.  God has truly given us beautiful people to share our lives with here. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

God continues to bless us with more wells

Today I sat down and added up how many successful wells Water For All International and Global Care have been able to drill in Uganda.  The best I can figure, God has blessed us with 26 wells so far.  We are hoping to add 2 more wells next week.  We recognize that it is only by God's grace that we are living and working in Uganda.  It is only by God's grace that we have such a wonderful home church and an amazing group of young men that are willing to donate days and days of hard work per each well.  I don't think we've been able to drill a well in less than 4 days time yet, and some wells have even taken up to 2 weeks to complete.  That is a lot of time and hard work these guys freely give just to love and serve their communities.  We also recognize that the strength needed to drill through the tough marrum rock that covers everything here comes from God, the knowledge required to develop this simple technology comes from God, these wonderful smiling appreciative families were created by God and for God, it is God who puts the water deep down in the ground, it is God who made a way for us to be here, and it is God who invites us to join Him in His work.
I was told by these ladies that this well is serving hundreds of families over an area several square kilometers in size.

This family is already using their family well for all their household use, watering animals, and watering the father's orange and mango seedlings that he sells as a business.

Friday, July 5, 2013

the village workshop

For the last couple of weeks Dan, Emma, and I have been working in the shop fabricating drill bits (called rockets here), new heavy-duty pumps that will stand up to the community wide use our wells are seeing, and other odds and ends.  Neither Dan nor Emma knew how to weld a few weeks ago, but both have been willing to try and are picking it up quickly.  The workshop is equipped with just about everything you could want to do welding, cutting, and grinding work.  We are so blessed to have a place in the village where we are drilling where we can do this type of fabrication work, where our guys can learn new skills, we can store our drilling rig and materials, and where we can enjoy our beans and posho at lunch time.