THIRSTY GROUND UPDATES

Refugee English Classes, Expanding Farms & Ongoing Needs – Summer 2022 Update

As we head into the end of a hot and challenging summer, we are thankful that the Lord has brought us through thus far!

As anticipated in the spring, this summer was marked by a fluctuating bread crisis due to lack of flour available in the markets. Thankfully, right now there’s enough supply from the local government that, though costs are higher than before, bread is once again available.

We continue to bake bread daily to distribute to refugees and locals in the community. During the height of the crisis, our little bakery was one of the only – if not the only – bakery open in this mountain region serving bread. On certain days when the need was greatest, they would make enough bread for 250 families in our single bread oven, working from sunrise until the night! That’s about 2,000 loaves of flat bread in a single day, more than we used to make in a week. As the crisis abates, we’ve been able to take production down to 600-700 loaves a day, a much more manageable workload to maintain for the long term.

However, there’s a whole lot more that’s happened this summer than just the bread shortages! We’ve been able to resume refugee English class outreach, we’ve more than doubled the farm land we are working, and we’ve kept up with the ongoing medical needs continuing to be presented to us almost daily.

Summer English Class Outreach

One of our summer volunteers going over a worksheet lesson with the younger kids English class.

Since early July we’ve been thankful to have volunteers out here helping our team teach multiple English classes to Syrian refugee children. Many of these refugees are also kids in our EAP program that we’ve known for years. It is a great encouragement to see some of these kids come back year after year with better English than before, and also with a greater knowledge of the Truth that they learn about during these summer courses.

This year we had enough teachers to split into two larger groups with around 50 kids in total coming each day to the classes. This week marks the end of the summer classes, with a week-long kids outreach event scheduled immediately after it for all the families involved. Pray for these times and for these kids! Summer English classes have often proven to be a very good initial point of contact to get to know new families in the community better and develop long term relationships with eternal purposes in mind.

More Land to Farm, More Harvests to Gather

A view of the lower half of the new land under production, currently producing beans, chick peas, okra, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, cabbage and broccoli.

This summer we’ve also been busy with expanding the farm operations into a neighbors field that we were able to rent. This has more than doubled the total land under production! It’s been a lot of work, but the Lord has blessed us with some skilled foreign volunteers and some dedicated local workers willing to face the brutal summer heat.

This additional land allowed us to scale up our distribution of nutritious food to refugee families much more than last year. We now have a dedicated delivery guy coming three times a week to gather up the bagged produce after harvests and bring them fresh to people’s homes before they spoil.

We’ve sought to strike a balance in our fields of one-time producing crops like hummus (chick peas), potatoes, cabbages, and such with that of crops we can harvest throughout the season like tomatoes, eggplant, beans and peppers. This has given us a fairly steady flow of fresh produce throughout the summer, and initial estimates put the production at a couple tons harvested already.

During the summer harvest peak, by God’s grace we’ve been able to gather in large amounts of produce like in the photo above at least 2-4 times a week to bag up and distribute to Syrian refugee and local families.

We are still working on restoring and preparing several of the old, broken down terrace sections on the new land for planting. We hope those will be ready for a winter crop, and set us up to have all of the fields fully developed by next spring so that we can harvest even more food for people!

Ongoing Medical Needs & Challenges

Post-op recovery after heart surgery for the man who had the heart attack in our ministry center earlier this spring. He had multiple stents and a bypass in order to stabilize his condition. He is now doing well thank the Lord!

This summer has not only seen bread shortages but pharmaceutical shortages as well. Certain medications are simply not available on the market any more, while many others become scarce and costly. This has brought even more people to us seeking help, as they cannot afford their medications due to continuing hyper inflation.

In addition to medications, we are still helping with needed surgeries and treatments for serious conditions. We’ve been able to continue helping the two women battling cancer. The woman with a lymphoma has responded well and, despite a bout with COVID last month, seems to be regaining strength. She actually came to some of our church meetings recently, and felt well enough to stay the entire time.

The second woman battling metastasized cancer is not doing as well. We’ve pursued every avenue of treatment available here with little effect. Some of the best doctors that remain in this country have said she just needs hospice and palliative care, as there’s nothing more that can be done. It is a sad realization to know all earthly efforts are at an end. Pray the Lord may help her to pass on from this world in peace.

We are thankful to report that the heart surgery for the man who had the heart attack earlier this year was successful. He sends his thanks to everyone who helped support that surgery! We have several others like him – though thankfully without yet experiencing a heart attack – waiting to see a heart doctor. One man has a cardiac cath scheduled this week and likely needs multiple stents.

The young woman with thalassemia that we’ve helped with blood transfusions for the last 5-6 years is facing a tough time right now. Her chelating medications are not available here anymore, and her condition is steadily worsening. We’ve given up on finding definitive treatment for her here, as has her doctor. We’ve waited several years for the UN to supposedly handle her case to get her out of the country, but nothing’s come of that. We are trying to take steps to file an immigration appeal for her to travel before she dies. She is barely in her 20s with a condition readily treated abroad, but that has become a death sentence for her here.

If anyone reading this knows of or works at a hospital able to treat thalassemia AND believes their facility would be willing to provide pro bono treatment if we coordinated all the travel, please contact us immediately.

Thank you to all those who continue to faithfully give during these hard economic times so that we can help these people. There are many who would have died without the help provided through this medical ministry, and also several who have found new life, eternal life with Christ, through further follow up after the initial contact from our medical help. Please keep praying!

More Updates to Come!

It’s been a busier than usual summer, and I apologize for the lack of more regular updates. In coming months, the intent is to update this entire site to provide more updated information and a clearer picture of all that’s going on right now with TGI. I hope to also provide more frequent – but shorter – updates segmented into a single focus point from the various aspects of ongoing compassion ministries. Thank you for your prayers, patience and support. May the Lord bless you all!

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