THIRSTY GROUND UPDATES

Mid-Summer Update: English Classes, Medicine Shortages & Bountiful Harvests

We are thankful to share that, for the first time in almost two years, our summer English classes are back open again to the community! We had to pause them during COVID last year much to the disappointment of the children. Despite our prolonged closure it seems interest has not abated. We didn’t know if there’d even be more than a dozen kids interested, but it turns out we were wrong!

We have over 80 kids registered for classes and regularly attending. We had to stop accepting new children as we simply had no more room in the classes nor enough teachers to split to a third classroom. We could have easily had well over 100 and counting had we kept enrollment open.

We are thankful the Lord has opened this door back up. Our free English classes have been an important, and locally appreciated, part of our community outreach since our very first year here. Pray for the teachers and students to have a productive next couple months of classes, and for further open doors to share God’s truth with these kids throughout the curriculum.

Growing Medical Shortages & Increased Needs

As one of the symptoms of the continuing economic collapse our host country is experiencing, basic medicines are becoming increasingly hard to find for the average citizen, much less for impoverished refugees. In the past couple months, prices have skyrocketed, while some medicines simply aren’t available to buy anymore. Thankfully, the local pharmacist we partner with to provide medicines via our medical program has been able to help us find most chronic medicines necessary for life so far, although at ever increasing prices.

As others in the community learn we’ve been able to get medicines for sick people during this time, the number of requests and needs has increased exponentially. We find it hard to say no. People that have never had a need before in the community are now coming just for help acquiring medicines. We are hoping to help as many as possible during this period of greater need, while at the same time hoping this season passes quickly, for the sake of the country.

Continuing To Share The Bountiful Harvest

We are continually surprised – and thankful to the Lord – for the greater than expected crop yields from our market gardens. Given this is our first full season (last year land clearing went into the summer so the plantings were late) we did not know what to expect. As of this week, we found that we have harvested approximately 1.5 tons of produce (about 3,000 pounds) just since April of this year! Since the land under production is not even one full acre, this was well beyond our hoped for target for this season.

One family shared recently with us that a couple weeks ago they had run out of food at their house. They are Christians, and rather than say anything to ask for help, they decided to just ask the Lord to provide their daily bread. They said that one of the answers to that prayer was when our team brought them several bags of fresh vegetables from the farm the next day. They were able to live off those veggies for a couple days, along with some other food they got from a visiting relative, until the husband got paid from his job. We are thankful to see God using the Grace Farms project to fill needs such as this!

We are planning to rotate in new fall crops soon. We then plan on attempting a late fall planting in order to have a winter harvest. Our hope is to have the land in continual production so that we can keep up our rotation distributing food to the 150+ families on our relief aid list!

Please Keep Praying!

When we began this relief project in 2015 we had expected, like most crisis responses, that in time the needs would diminish as life went back to normal. Unexpectedly, it has gone in the opposite direction. Every year has become worse than the last in this country. Needs have increased, rather than decreased. The situation has deteriorated for both refugees and locals alike.

Currency inflation is triple digits. Minimum wage earned here is, in US dollar equivalents, now approximately $30/mo. This is essentially impossible for anyone to live on as most goods are imported at US dollar rates. A 5kg bag of rice that used to cost around $7 in local currency now costs about $70 equivalent at the official exchange rate for local currency. Imagine a bag of rice costing more than twice the official minimum wage! Electricity is only on a few hours a day in most places, as the government-run power plants can’t afford to buy fuel to keep power generation running. Household water is becoming scarce as city pumps don’t have electricity to run or parts available to fix them. Nationwide gasoline/diesel shortages mean generators can’t fill in the gaps any more for the frequent power outages. It also means there are often 1-2 hour waits at the gas station just to get a few gallons in your tank!

Many stories emerge of families only able to eat one meal a day. Or of having to choose between medicine or meals. Most have already had to make the choice between clean water or food, and usually just accept to drink contaminated local water rather than buy purified bottles of drinking water. It may sound too dire of a situation to be credible. I would find much of this hard to believe myself if I were not also out here living through these times with the locals and refugees. The hardships you read in the news are likely not only true, but barely touch the surface of what’s going on out here.

So please keep praying for those out here in this uniquely challenging time! The Lord is yet with us. We do not doubt that. Our hope is to help as many out here as we can in their distress and let His light shine forth in these dark days.

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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