This year has been a year of adding finishing touches to our myriad of building projects from the past 8 years. Too often when we urgently need to get to the next project, we've rushed past the finishing touches our spaces need. So this year we've painted walls that have never seen a coat of paint before, trimmed windows, and added on a much needed storage shed. We've finished off our community areas better too, which makes things run smoother for our Friday Night Youth Group. Currently we're finishing a road for better access to our agricultural projects and we're expanding and improving housing for our pigs.
An exciting addition here is that we recently traded out vehicles to purchase two 2001 Landcruisers. We're ecstatic after eyeing these for nearly a decade! These are the ultimate vehicles for us. They should last us 15+ years of daily use up and down our horrible road, which really says something. They can comfortably seat 10 people out of the daily rain showers, and with kids on laps, we've squeezed 14 people in just fine. These trucks have been such a blessing already! (So thanks to everyone who has donated towards vehicles in the last several years!)
Another big win for GiveHope2Kids recently, is that we were able to purchase another smaller property in our village. We are using this land for cattle grazing and other agricultural projects. And it's only a 10 min walk from home, which makes it quite convenient. Our cattle herd is really starting to multiply, and we're up to 30 head, so this purchasing opportunity was perfect timing for us.
Our top new investment though is in people: We recently welcomed in a new house-parent to our team, Grandma Gladys. We're also caring for three new siblings, Kathia, Dilmer, and Briana. Giving a stable home to these kids is why we push through all the other projects. This is the heart of GiveHope2Kids.
The bridge project was completely finished this week, and just after it was done we started to get our first big rains of the year. This bridge is going to be a huge blessing! Many thanks to the Sowers family and their expertise in these projects and the youth of Cornerstone Assembly of God for making this project possible.
In the past year, we’ve made incredible strides in producing our own food and working towards self-sustainability. This is an important value of Give Hope 2 Kids, for we try to stretch every donated dollar as far as possible.
Producing our own food also gives meaningful work to our Honduran staff and is something for them to teach our kids. We want to raise up good workers and not people who have their hand out, expecting life to given to them.
We have a new agricultural expert on our Honduran team, so we’re planting more of our own food. We recently moved the cows and sheep across the river, away since they kept eating everything we were trying to grow.
The animals are doing really well though, even though we relocated some. We’re able to raise a good percentage of our meat now. We have great laying hens that produce three dozen eggs every day. Our cows produce all our milk and most of our cheese and yogurt. We’ll be putting in more pasture for cows though, so we can keep up with our dairy demand.
Our best product to grow and sell for self-sufficiency is coffee. So, we’re planting more acres in coffee and learning better growing techniques. We've recently perfected our roast and we’re getting rave reviews on it.
In the upcoming months, we hope to raise the funds to add some solar panels to our buildings. We have a solar plan that should easily cover half of our electricity usage. Since we pay more per watt than anywhere in the US, this will be a big savings for us.
Please click here if you'd like to donate towards our solar panels.
It's been a really fun season right now as we're beginning to enjoy the literal fruits of our labor. We're eating as many delicious mangosteens, rambutan, and oranges as we can right now, with their bumper crops. With the container we recently brought down we now have the equipment to process a lot more of the food, thus we've been grinding cocoa beans for chocolate, dehydrating bananas, frying up yucca, and making sausage. We're trying to find the most cost-effective ways to feed our little band of workers, volunteers, and kids, which means a lot of eating from the land.
Note: We can't neglect to give David and the crew credit for maintaining the farming projects while Jason wears his other hats, like Jason the General Contractor, and more importantly, Jason the Dad to Abandoned Kids.
Last October we began working towards more self-sufficiency with our food and we started raising sheep. We started with 14 sheep last fall and as of this October, we have nearly 30 sheep, including 17 pregnant ewes.
Since the main motive for this project was to produce food, we butchered our first two sheep this past week and experimented with different ways to prepare the meat. Our first efforts included roasting, barbecuing, and making sausage, and all the results were tasty. Here’s a picture of us making sausage with David and Wilfredo (one of the houseparents).
This year look for us to make major strides in our food production ability -- in meat (beef, lamb, chicken, and fish), dairy, eggs, and fruits and vegetables. It’s not going to happen all at once, but we are growing in our ability to produce our own food.
We are celebrating five years of ministry! God has blessed us with a very productive season and we are thrilled as we look back and see how far we've come in our quest to care for children who desperately need help.
To celebrate these years we put together a memory book summarizing the time. These pictures show how we prepared to, and now are caring for abadoned children, and how we've reached out to our community. Click on this link, choose to make it full-screen from the bottom right hand corner, and enjoy watching a ministry be born!
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We now have three future milking cows living in the mahogany plantation with our sheep. With our 2010 Gift Catalog that we had up during the holiday season, people seemed quite excited about our dairy project. So, with the funds that came in for the dairy we decided it was time to add cows to our land. Thanks to all who gave towards our dairy project!
For significantly less than the price of a full-grown, good milker, we were able to purchase three cows that are a year-and-a-half old. They will be ready for milking in about another year. Since we’re not ready for gallons of milk every day at this point, we figured this would be the most cost effective way to go.
One interesting thing we’ve just learned is that cows supposedly make good shepherds. They are supposed to have a calming effect on a flock of sheep. Right now the sheep that we have are a bit wild and unused to being around people. They are quite literally very jumpy (who ever thought counting sheep jumping over a fence could be literal?).
The cows had their wild and crazy time too though, as our guys worked to get them to the mahogany field.