Plants and Jesus.

Forgive me for taking so long to write again, but as it goes with life, time passes quickly by.And….my computer charger is busted. But Santa has received a special request for a new one to come early this year and I think he will follow through. :)

Life now looks different than it did just one short month ago, but it is beginning to look more and more familiar each morning we wake up. Routine is developing and we are warmly welcoming it after months of change upon change. Prayers have been answered as we have both found our place in ministry here and feel God has us exactly where He designed for us to be. We feel His touch in our lives and see His hands at work around us and are ever humbled by our Savior’s faithfulness.

Today, I will start with Taylor.

Taylor caught Living Way in a transitional period as they are relocating and awaiting the next class of students. Between building houses and carting desks and moving tunnel parts in our “bukkie” (a.k.a. truck), Taylor is hard at work in the greenhouse tunnels. There is a sweet, wonderful man by the name of Sarel who is responsible for developing their system of production, and Taylor is blessed to be under his instruction as he attempts to soak in all of Sarel’s knowledge. (I might have to adopt him as a surrogate grandfather because he is so cute!)

sweet Sarel! What a blessing!

There will be a class of students arriving to attend the business academy in January, and Taylor will have the privilege of overseeing their work in the tunnels, which serve to provide them a stipend for the duration of their time in the program. Joining the program means giving up work temporarily to equip yourself to find more permanent jobs in the future, so initially it’s a tough choice to make, but the stipend is able to help the students maintain support for their family. My hardworking man will be so great at working alongside these students and encouraging them as they develop their work ethic, attitudes, proficiency, and most importantly, a growing faith in our Father. What a blessing we know those relationships will be for both Taylor and the students! Taylor is already making treasured friendships that are mutually building faith and we are excited to see them grow, right alongside those plants!

WARNING: SCIENCE LESSON AHEAD!

Although I have agreed to be the written voice for us on this journey, I may have to recruit Taylor as a guest writer one day soon to more fully explain the magnificence of the greenhouses here…far beyond my brain’s limited science capacity. Operating on natural, earth-friendly, make-good-use-of-what-God-gave-us principles, the efficiency of the tunnels cannot go without noting. Here’s the brief, “I have a social work degree” version of what’s going down under those big ol’ pieces of plastic:

In the first tunnel, you walk in to see several rows of spinach and basil in black plastic bags of sawdust, each connected to water lines which feed them the nutrients they need to survive. This happens 4 times a day. To the right is a big wooden box full of worms, dirt, and compost. Under the box is a big tub of ”worm tea”…a.k.a. POOP WATER! It is full of God’s Hand-created nutrients that aid in the growth of our crops. Gross. But cool. In the far corner are two big pools with cute little fish swimming all around, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s for garden décor! The fish fertilize the water with their own waste and plants can grow right there in those pools, sitting in styrofoam and the roots just a-floating! So fascinating! We are in awe of the way our God allows His creations to promote creation themselves, simply and naturally. Just a bit farther down the road and you step into the boss hog of tunnels, home to nearly 3,000 tomato plants, which with proper handling can produce up to 22 pounds of that red, juicy treat... EACH! Just a few days after harvesting and the local grocery will have those veggies on the rack for sale. Walk just a few more steps over and you will see a garden full of the workers’ favorite foods that they wish to share with their families or sell within their communities, giving them a sense of ownership in their work here and restoring just a piece of dignity that has so long been lost.

"worm tea"

fish "ponds"

spinach

strawberries

Growing in the fish ponds!

Pruning the tomato plants

Taylor is absolutely in his element and I have so enjoyed watching God send His touch into my husband’s life. He is learning, growing, changing, leading, and loving. We are thankful to even play a small part in the things God is doing.

Here in Africa, resources are low, jobs are sparse, disease is real, injustice is evident, poverty is rampant, and pain is familiar.

Here in these tunnels, Jesus is shared, disciples are made, character is built, Truth is told, pride is earned, friendships are forged, and creation reveals its brilliance.

God is good. ALL the time.