Here is one of the destitute widows who will be helped by food from the farm. Dorcas is approximately 73. She had 12 children - 5 boys and 7 girls. TEN are dead. Two girls remain alive, are married and live in another village. Her income is from digging and planting or weeding in other peoples gardens.
Just an update on John, the Widows Farm Project, and Eunice Paul! It has been awhile since we wrote and people have said they haven't heard from us. Please accept our apologies for not writing sooner.
FIRST - John is doing very well. Last week he seemed to "turn a corner" and became very active. He worked in the yard/garden all last week. He spends several hours at a time arranging, digging, planting, weeding and general dressing up of the yard and house area. He seems to have more stamina than before the sudden interruption in his/our lives.
He has received an electronic device that he will use to download all the information that is stored in the defibrillator that's implanted in his shoulder area. Then he somehow passes that information through the phone lines to a central location where they will interpret the data. We will take it with us wherever we go. He has more to learn about it so that we know for sure it will work from Kenya. Right now he has to pass the information on every three months. It may be variable by a few weeks - we don't know yet. It is a big learning curve. On the other hand, we may have to schedule our lives around these periodic downloads. We will see.
Meanwhile, life returns to normal in all respects. We will most likely be returning to Kenya in Late July.
We are driving up to Pennsylvania - from Florida - on March 18 and returning April 2. We will be having our very-much-delayed Christmas with the family in PA and going to two of our supporting churches. We'll do some catching up with friends and family and wrap up our trip with the DOVE Christian Fellowship annual International Leadership Conference.
SECOND - Now concerning the Farm! Because John couldn't go to Kenya in January as planned, a new approach is coming together as we plan on how to develop the farm until we get back at harvest time. WE ARE GOING TO BE PART OF HARVESTING THE FIRST CROP TO FEED THE DESTITUTE WIDOWS OF KADAWA AND ADJACENT AREAS! WAHOOOO!
John has contacted Joseph, a man who leads one of the Restoration Community Church (RCI) cell groups in an area adjacent to Kadawa. He has agreed to lead the team that we are forming to see that the work on the farm will proceed in our absence. This team will consist of a team leader, a man in kadawa who is experience in horticulture and agriculture, a widow from Kadawa, a cell leader from the city of Kisumu who will be the communications coordinator, and the assistant pastor from the Magwar church - a daughter church of RCI that is located in another adjacent area to Kadawa. The farm is intended to serve widows from all areas reached by RCI, including widows who are not part of the church. Widows from the community have been identified to the church by the chief and assistant chief of Kadawa.
We have just released funds to Hesbone and Violet to have the 1 1/4 acres plowed a second time (two plowings are needed to prepare the ground properly), and to purchase the seed and fertilizer for the planting.
The congregation of RCI is being encouraged to be actively involved in the farm project and be part of the process to feed their own widowed neighbors. We anticipate, amongst other ways of them being involved, that cell groups will join together to plant, fertilize, water, weed and harvest the farm. Just picture it!!! Instead of meeting in a home for the weekly cell meeting, one or more groups will meet on the farm land! They can be working on the land, and praying for the neighborhood, for the widows, for any need that comes to minds; they can be worshiping - singing and praising the Lord while they are planting, fertilizing and weeding; they can even stop and have a message if they want. Other people in the area will want to know what is going on! Others will be touched by what is going on! Others - we anticipate - will emulate what is going on. We see this project as a seed that will multiply and spread beyond our little 4-acre plot.
So - we go on! We are excited and filled with what we see. We are calling that which doesn't exist into existence! We are looking forward to receiving photos of the plowed land from Hesbone and Violet so that we can enclose them in our next blog!
THIRD - Pastor Paul and Family. Right now, most of our communication with Kenya is through Skype. It is better for us to talk personally than via e-mail because we can get and give answers quicker; however, the language barrier, poor sound quality and the gap between sentences back and forth continues to contribute to the communications difficulties. So, although we have some update about Paul and Eunice, it isn't a whole lot. The funeral was a wonderful and exciting cultural affair. We will find out the colorful details when we see Hesbone at the Conference. There were about two thousand - YES 2000 - people who came. Hesbone tells us it was glorious. We don't know yet what all transpired; however, funerals in Kadawa that are led by RCI are major evangelical events. There would have been a wake for two nights prior to the funeral, and the second night would go all night long and there would be much mourning with loud, wailing and weeping but there would also have been worship and dancing and preaching - all night long. Many times people are saved at the wake. Then the funeral will start about 9 AM and last until sundown with testimonies, worship, speeches and a very spirited evangelical message where others also would give their lives to the Lord. The last thing before the actual burial would be Eunice giving a speech/testimony/eulogy (required of every widow). We are looking forward to photos of the event.
Eunice, Paul's widow, is doing well. She is a strong woman and is adjusting. Hesbone and Violet are watching out for her and the girls. When we see Hesbone and Violet in a couple of weeks we will get more pertinent information.
This is Margarita is approximately 82 years old. She had 7 children; all are dead. She relies on well-wishers for her income, some dig her land for her, but some want to be paid. She pays 10 shillings for 20 litres of water to be brought her from the river.
I thought that we had no photos to show you (we don't of what is going on at the farm, etc). But we do have photos of the widows and will continue to share them with you.
The next time we will have some more photos and perhaps will limit the blog to mostly those, with captions.
Be blessed, each and every one of you.
With Love and Grace,
John & Marty