Christian Non-Profit Providing Disaster Relief, Development And Charity For Weary Bodies And Thirsty Souls

EAP Student Graduations, Urgent Medical Cases, Summer Plantings & More – Spring 2024 Summary Update

As we head into a full summer out here in the Middle East, we are thankful to still be serving out here despite the continual rumblings of war. Things are certainly not good or stable in the region right now. But, the situation could be much worse than it is, and the door is still open to keep helping the poor and in-need out here.

We’ve had a busy spring and summer is now upon us in full heat! There’s been a lot going on with medical needs, as well as the graduation of over a dozen EAP kids from different major grade levels, along with the continued compassion ministry via the farms, bakery, and more.  

This Spring 2024 summary update will cover the following areas:

Thankful to See 13 EAP Students Reach Their Graduation Milestones!

Students graduating from different levels of the Christian-run school; over a dozen of these students were ones that you all have helped sponsor over the years!

Earlier this month we were thankful to see 13 of the Education Assistance Program (EAP) kids graduate in a ceremony at the Christian-run school they’ve been sponsored to attend. Not all of the 13 are graduating High School and completely finishing school. Several of them were there to graduate kindergarten to move on to primary school, and others had graduated 9th grade and were able to move on to High School.

Out here, 9th grade graduation is a milestone, the end of primary school, with a big test accompanying it. Only after that test is passed are they able to enter High School, which is a level many from the previous generations in Syrian refugee families never completed.  

We had 4 EAP students in total that made it all the way to end of the program and graduated High School. For some of them, they are among the first in their families to complete schooling up to that level. However, even after the school portion is complete, they still need to study and sit for the national exams later this summer, so pray for them in that too!

These are our first EAP students that made it all the way through school since we began this program almost 8 years ago! Some of these graduates were among the very first kids we helped sponsor so long ago. It is a blessing to see them grow up and make it this far.

One of the EAP kids from the rehab school happily showing us the gift box she got during the end of year party on the last day of classes

Thank you to the committed sponsors that so steadily and quietly sacrificed all these years to help cover their school fees. You’ve given them a foundation to build upon for the future ahead and changed the course of their life! Please pray for these kids as they become young adults and have to make some serious decisions in the days ahead.

The smaller Christian-run educational rehabilitation school where we sponsor over a dozen EAP kids also finished out it’s year in recent weeks. They had a fun end of year party for the kids. This program filled a gap for children who were out of school so long they needed to learn the very basics to catch up.

Some of the younger children were also enrolled as they did not have admission in local schools for them, and the parents hoped it would be good preparation for them to enter primary school in the future if it opened up. It gave these children good structure and educational opportunities throughout the year, along with regular Chapel times throughout the week.

Continuing to Deliver Fresh Bread Daily to Those in Need

Fresh baked bread coming straight off the oven racks before being bagged up for distribution

The bakery project continues to turn out hundreds of loaves each day to deliver to poor local and refugee families. So far this year over 49,000 loaves of fresh bread have been delivered to those in need. These are small loaves, but each is filling enough for one person at a meal. The local refugee kids especially love these fresh baked loaves at their meals.

Due to the donation of extra equipment this year (a large bread proofer used to help the loaves rise before baking) we were able to drastically increase daily production and get more bread out to families each week than before. We’re hoping to increase that further with a few more pieces of equipment needed.

There are some concerns about possible flour shortages this summer as people are stockpiling locally in anticipation of a possible broader war in the region. We are hoping that the bakery can continue to function throughout the summer and provide an outlet for bread to those in need like in previous times of flour shortages. Please pray for the bakery this summer!

Finishing the Summer Plantings and Starting the Harvest

Terraced rows of shade-covered tomatoes and eggplants after our late spring plantings. This method continues to provide great outcomes for seedling survival.

We had a wet and muddy spring that delayed plowing some fields for summer planting. The seasons change quickly here, and there is little intermediary “spring” weather to ease seedlings into the hotter months.

We’ve continued to use the shade-cover low tunnels method to help seedlings stay cool and take root without withering in the intense mid-day sun. This helped us to get all the tomatoes and eggplants in the ground and rooted without major losses due to the heat. As of today, those plantings are thriving now in the hot summer sun and starting to produce the first fruits of what looks to be a promising crop!  

We are already starting to see initial harvests of cucumbers, squash and certain types of beans. The workers are regularly bagging these up and our team is getting them out to poor local and refugee families to help them supplement their nutrition with fresh vegetables.

Helpers sorting out squash and cucumbers before bagging them up.

So far this year, we’ve harvested about 1.8 tons of produce from the spring and early summer harvests. The majority of that is going out to those in need as charity. We even had a bumper crop of garlic that overwintered well, and is currently filling up the ceilings of our store room!

We are also beginning to see results from grape and berry plantings put in last year. These were at a farm location that is chronically underwatered due to the well running dry in the summer. We sought to implement a permaculture approach to this location that focused on perennial plantings that could get deep roots in the thick clay and absorb moisture well into the blazing hot days of summer. Berries, pepper bushes and artichokes have proven to be the hardiest drought-resistant survivors thus far at this location. They’ve got their roots in deep over the warm winter, and are currently thriving.

We spent much of last winter rebuilding broken walls and collapsed terraces on the upper regions of the mountainous farmland. This is our first summer where we have at least 80% of the total farmland under production now, and we are hoping to see a good return from that. Pray for the farms this summer, and pray we’d keep having enough water in the well to cover all the plants needs!

A Surge in Medical Cases and the Lord’s Provision

It is well known that our ministry in the area assists the poor with medical needs. When medical emergencies happen we often get asked to help by those in the community who know us. These past months it seems we’ve had a surge in needy medical cases compared to previous periods. Thankfully, the Lord provided at the same time the means to help in all of these cases, sometimes quite providentially!

We’ve had several small children with serious conditions need prolonged hospitalization lately. There was a 7-month old boy who came to us last month with severe dehydration from days of prolonged diarrhea. A local doctor also suspected he may have hydrocephaly and could even need brain surgery. We were able to get the boy admitted to a hospital down in the capital city to stabilize him. He was not doing well when he first go in there, but he stabilized in a few days.

Follow up CT scans from a pediatric neurosurgeon we work with thankfully showed no hydrocephaly and the baby was cleared from needing any further surgery! The hospital stay gave many opportunities for our medical coordinator to sit with the worried mother, and share with her the Reason for why we seek to help the poor as Christians. We still see the family regularly in the community, please pray for them!

More recently, we had a 6-month old baby girl in need of help due to a rare anti-biotic resistant Pseudomonas bacterial UTI that wasn’t going away with normal out of hospital meds. How she got such an infection nobody knows! She is currently in the ICU receiving regular IV antibiotics to try and fight the infection. It is a difficult to treat bacteria, and we are praying she will recover.

We’ve known her family for the past year, as we also helped her mother six months ago after she gave birth. The mother experienced post-partum heart failure and needed to be treated by a cardiologist to stabilize her. She’s slowly getting back to normal with meds our team is helping her with after almost dying from the heart failure. Pray for further opportunities to help this family and bear witness through the medical care given!  

In recent months, we’ve also had several people with very bad arm breaks come to us for help. Sadly, these breaks were not fixable by casting only, and required surgeries, pins and rods. One boy of only 12 years old shattered his elbow falling down some stairs in a building. He had to get a rod put in his arm, but thankfully he got his cast off recently and is recovering well.

The unhealed break in the forearm can be seen where the plate failed to connect and heal the bone.

Another local middle-aged man had an unhealed arm fracture from a botched arm surgery he had gotten a year ago to try and repair the break with plates. He couldn’t afford a decent hospital and went to a very low quality place. When he fell on his arm last month, he discovered that the break had never healed, and he basically had his bones floating next to each other.

He needed a bone graft surgery to permanently fix it and allow him to use his arm again. He was very thankful that TGI was able to help him with this, and the successful outcome of the surgery has given him his arm and life back again. His sister and his step-mom are a local Believers and the opportunity to help him has been a good witness.  

In addition to these urgent cases, we’ve also been able to help dozens of people with diagnostic tests, doctor’s visits for chronic medical issues, blood transfusions, minor surgeries to help some women with chronic uterine bleeding problems, and the final chemotherapy treatments for an older woman who had blood cancer.

We also still have about 100 individual patients we help each month with their medication needs for heart conditions, diabetes, infections, etc… We’ve had opportunities to help people with dental extractions, as well as a few kids needing eyeglasses so they can actually see the board at school!

In the coming weeks, we have a few surgeries pending that need prayer. One is for a refugee man who is rapidly losing his vision to cataracts. He is the sole provider in the house and has 7 kids to care for. We were able to complete surgery on one eye a few months ago, and we are hoping for a good outcome with the surgeon on the second eye this coming month. There are other surgeries as well for various painful and debilitating conditions people are experiencing.  

Our medical interventions are generally focused on helping with serious issues involving life, limb or eyesight. People in these situations are desperate, and often have nowhere else to go for help. We are thankful God has kept us here to help. Pray that in these things the compassion shown would be used of God to open further doors into people’s lives!

Thank You All For Your Prayers & Support

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for those who continue to pray and help with the ongoing needs out here. We are encouraged to see the Lord continue to keep doors open, provide financially for urgent needs, and answer many prayers for the spiritual needs in this place. We are just a small part of what our great God is doing in this region right now, thank you all for being a part of it as well!

If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.

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