To our very dear friends,
I will do a quick update this time as my time here is short. I am here to pick up a small team to take up to our village. We are very excited to have our Pastor David and his wife Cathy, as well as our brother Mike and daughter Harley for a week. Our house was buzzing with enthusiasm when I left. This is something we have been looking forward to ever since we live here. We plan to work on the widow Alma’s house while they are here. She and her children are so excited about it. The whole community is excited about our pastor coming, and can’t wait to see them.
We are also very excited about the progress of the children’s home. We have got the footing in and have got a pile of blocks made for it. But now we are out of sand and gravel, so it will have to wait until the river goes down enough to get some more. This will probably be anywhere from a month to three month, depending on the rains. The people are so excited to have some work. The economy in our village is really improving since we are there.
The food shortage has been a problem for the last month, but the new rice is just starting to come in. To hear more and more of the rice thumpers (hulling rice by hand) early in the morning is like music to our ears, because we know that now another family’s rice has ripened and they too will eat good now. It is hard to see how much weight some of the people lost in the last month and a half, but we thank God for putting us here to help them during this difficult time. We are so grateful for the finances that that the Lord made available through you, for us to use for food. We have been able to feed the community two big meals a week for the last four or five weeks, and plan to continue for another week or so. Yesterday I was able to send up enough rice to feed another four times, but it left our account pretty much dry. Thank you all so much for making this possible.
Something I want to share with you, for you to pray about; With the rice coming in, we are reminded again how broken things are here. Most of the people will sell half or more of their rice to buy some other essentials like laundry soap, boots for the guys, a new machete, and such. There is no rice huller anywhere close so they sell the rice with hulls on for about $.20 a pound. Later after they have used all of the rice they kept, they have to buy the hulled rice for $.40 to $.50 a pound, or do without.
What I really would like to do is this; I would like to buy a small rice huller, about $1,700 for the smallest model or about $3,500 for a much better model. This would let them hull their rice before they sell it and get a much better price. It would also create a few jobs and a little income for our village, from the other villages that bring their rice to be hulled. Then the other thing I would like to do is the food coop I mentioned a while back. To buy the rice and beans that get raised to sell in the community, and store it until they need it again. That way it would completely cut out all the expensive boat fare of taking it down river when they sell it, and again when they bring it back upriver. This would make the food so much more affordable in the time when they need to buy it again. The amount we would need to do this is about three to four thousand dollars, besides the machine. I know this is a big undertaking, and at the moment we can’t, but that’s why I’m sharing the need, so the Holy Spirit will bring along the people He wants to be involved in this part, if indeed this is His will. There is a building in the community that we could store the grain for now, although in the future we would need to build a building for it. One other small benefit would be the rice hulls that would be generated would be perfect for covering and feeding the soil in the farming project.
The process of the medical building is still ongoing. We continue to pray and to praise our Lord for the outcome He has planned for it, and the people’s lives that will be saved through it. So far we have two RNs who have volunteered to help out for short term. We now also have connections with a group from this country who is interested in coming for one or two day special clinic days like dental or other needs. It is exciting to see the Lord bring it all together. Mary and Eva are scheduled to go back to the States with our pastor’s group, to take a short intensive medical course to help them gain some knowledge about some of the needs that we run into here. Thanks to New Harmony Church and all who gave for this purpose.
There is much more to write about, the exciting things and not so exciting things that we encounter every day, but time doesn’t allow this trip, so will close for now. Thank you for continuing to pray for our family as we continue to go forward in faith, refusing to focus on the negative, but looking on past the circumstances to the One beyond them, who knows the end from the beginning, and who desires to save these precious ones from the situations they are in.
In this past week the Lord has renewed my appreciation for all of you who pray and who give. Even though I knew and appreciated you, something that happened recently reminded me all the more. One of the people of our community, a family who have in the past been out to see what all they could get from us, by asking for it or stealing it, have been used by God to make this happen. One night the Lord gave the man a vision of our family, how we came here not according to our own will, but by Him leading us to their village. And how the evil one was trying to get to us, but he also saw our Pastor and many people standing there with their hands raised over us, and their prayers covered us like a cloud so that the enemy could not get to us.
This has encouraged us beyond words, but something that is equally encouraging is to see how different that family looks at us now. They have turned from the people who we didn’t look forward to seeing come to our house, little children and all who were taught to steal, to a family who has as much respect for us as anyone in the village. And they go to extra length to show it too, always bringing us little gifts of food, however little they may have themselves.
Let me say to every one of you, Thank you for what you do, it means more to us than everything in the world. I pray that the Lord will let you feel how precious you are. Please don’t ever doubt about the difference you can make by earnest prayer! In case you didn’t know, you are a special person that the God of this universe has personally chosen to pray for us and for the precious Miskito Indian people He has call us to minister to. I love y’all! Eli Lee and family