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

Bountiful Winter Harvests, Increased Bread Distribution and War Displaced – End of Winter 2024 Update

Amidst the ongoing regional tensions and escalating conflict, we are thankful the Lord has enabled the team here to be able to serve in such a time as this. We are also thankful for His continued provision to be able to do so!

It’s been a full and busy month since the last update, with some new challenges, new opportunities and answers to prayer for a productive winter with the farm and bakery ministries.

This short update intends to provide a brief summary of the current situation and ongoing assistance to the poor and refugees via the following:

Seeing Newly Increased Displacement From The War

The new conflict in this region continues to ebb and flow over the days and weeks. Some periods the intensity increases, while other times it is relatively quiet. Our team is far removed from the active border areas involved in fighting, but that means we are in a prime destination for those fleeing from the war.

In the past month, there’s been a notable increase in locals displaced by the fighting. They are fleeing out of fear they might end up in the cross-fire of the conflict in their border district. We’ve already begun helping one family with a place to stay, bedding, food and other needs that came to us seeking help. They had airstrikes a few blocks from their home one night and left terrified the next day to find refuge elsewhere.

We do not know how many more families may come to our area seeking help, but we are praying the Lord may use the compassion shown them in this time for their temporal and eternal good.

Thankful For A Bountiful Winter Harvest To Share With The Poor

We are thankful that we had an unusually good winter harvest this year. From November until this month, we had regular harvests of crops that totaled 4,180lbs of fresh produce! It was a wet, but relatively warm and mild, winter this year. The mild weather, coupled with intentional adjustments to push back our winter planting schedule to begin earlier in September last year, meant that by late December and early January we had a bumper crop to begin to harvest.

What do you plant in the middle of winter in the Middle East? Essentially, the same types of things you may plant in the coolness of spring in the West or in more northern regions. We had fresh cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and kohlrabi in plenty, plus a smaller amount of late-summer butternut squash, beans, peppers and eggplants that kept growing up until around Christmas.

A refugee woman chopping up vegetables we gave to her that day to make a dish for her family

We were able to provide regular distribution of bags of fresh vegetables to many families of refugees and poor locals during this harvest period. We’ve heard from some poor families that fresh vegetables are becoming too expensive in the markets and they can’t afford them. We’ve noticed that too. Buying enough veggies just to make a fresh salad for a meal can cost upwards of $10 or more for the vegetables.

When people usually make less than $10 in a day at menial labor jobs, affording fresh nutritious vegetables for their families and children is near impossible. We are glad that the Grace Farms initiative can provide fresh, nutritious produce to these poor families during a time many can’t afford it!

For all of last year (2023) the farms initiative was able to produce 11,685lbs of fresh produce (approx 5.8 tons). With a good start to 2024 and a bountiful winter harvest that carried over into the early months of this year, we are hoping the Lord will enable us to produce even more than last year! Thank you to all who pray for this project, and for those who have contributed to the needs to help provide seed for the sowers (both literally and metaphorically).

Giving Out More Daily Bread To Families In Need

One prayer we had for this year was to be able to try and increase the amount of bread being given to needy families each day via the bakeries charitable distribution. As of this month, we are thankful the Lord helped us to get the process efficient again using the new oven and begin distributing about 2,500 pieces of bread a week. That works out to about 312 parcels of bread weekly to 87 different families that receive bread twice in the week on a rotation. We are hoping to increase this yet further to more families as the Lord provides.

Part of the challenge in past months was the need for new equipment to handle “proofing” the bread that enables it to rise before baking in the commercial oven. The proofer at the bakery was small and acted as a chokepoint, slowing down production each day. The Lord provided via a church in America that covered the cost for us to hire a local factory to fabricate a commercial-sized walk-in proofer for a very reasonable sum. That got rid of our chokepoint and helped us move forward rapidly this month with increased distribution.

The final outcome is bags and bags of fresh, tasty, daily bread ready to be distributed!

We still find the charitable distribution of bread a good way to continue to serve the refugees and poor in the community as a compassionate witness. This is especially so during a period of significant nationwide poverty where even affording staple items like bread can be a challenge.

While the cost of goods continues to rise locally due to the war affecting shipping lanes and other global/regional economic factors, a “good” job right now for most refugees can get them barely $200 working 7am to 11pm each day. When rent can be $50-$150 a month, there’s not much left over for food and other essentials. Times are tough, and we are praying the Lord would use the kindness shown here for eternal good!

Thank You For Reading, Praying and Helping!

Thank you for taking the time to read this update, and thank you especially if you also take time to pray for these needs! We are surrounded by an ocean of need, both physical and spiritual, and only the Lord can begin to meet such a measure of needs. We appreciate all who pray and support the small attempts on our own end to help with some of these needs for the Lord’s name.

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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