Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Beauty from Ashes.

It was a pretty powerful day today.  When the team from Espanola heard about this babushka losing her son and her home in a fire, they right away agreed to help us repair her home so she would be back in by winter.  At the same time we had been working on getting fire equipment for the fire department so that  they would be able to enter buildings to save lives.  Today that all came together .  Through a donation from the Dummer fire department, the team was able to bring the much needed equipment.

What you don't know about this day is that the last time this fire department was here , our Babushka was totally devastated, and she took that out on the fire chief. .. She blamed him for not sending his men into the fire to get her son out.   Going in would have meant certain death for his men, but that is hard for a Mother to grasp in the moment.  

Today we explained to her that not only did we want to help her get her home back, but in honor of her son, we wanted to give the fire department the gear necessary to prevent others from dying the way her son had.   We shared with her how difficult the decision was for the fire department to not go in after her son and that is why they had contacted us separately to ask for help.. even before we had met her ..   She agreed to have them come to her house to receive the equipment. Today there was not only a degree of healing , there were concrete steps that will most definitely save lives in the future.

A special thank you to our friends in Dummer / Norwood area who provided the suites, as well as those in the Espanola area who raised the funds to rebuild this home.  and I would be remiss if I did not thank all those who donated funds to pay for the over baggage fees to get the suits here..

Today, beauty was raised from Ashes 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Team on the way .

This is an exciting week for us on many levels .    First I want to tell you about an incredible group of people that have been on this journey with us for many years now.  They are from Espanola, Light house.  Kyrgyzstan has so worked into their hearts that you can not visit the Light house with out seeing evidence of that.  The first flag you see when you come in is the Kyrgyz flag, and along with regular seating, Kyrgyz tushuks are used as well .  We make it up to see them at least once a year, and we come away blessed and recharged . People from the Light house have supported so many of our projects as well; from the farm and chickens to the hospital project, the men's home and the seniors home, praying young boys home from slavery, and so much more .   After many years investing in the people of Kyrgyzstan they have decided put feet on the ground..  5 hours ago they departed from Toronto. 

Whats really cool is that for this trip, they have partenered with Sam and Possibilities International .. many of you know Sam and what an incredible suport PI has been to us over the years .. It will be great to have Sam back here with this team .. Joining then is also a mother son team .  Rose helped in summer camps here in Kyrgyzstan Many years ago.. In fact the summer camp she helped at is just 15 k from the farm .. She is excited to bring her son with her for his first trip to Kyrgyzstan .

We will be heading out to Bishkek in a few minutes to pick up Bekah and drop off Nick, then we will head out to the airport from Bekah's around midnight to get them .. Stay tuned . this is going to be an incredible couple weeks .. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More hay.

The next field was bailed today .. it is really good hay .  The new barn is not quite finished , but we had to start moving the hay in.  At least the roof is on.  We have about $400 worth of work to do to finish the second level walls and a couple more windows and doors.  but It can stay like this until something or someone comes along. 

.the boys were hard at work loading and un loading the truck today as the hay was brought in 

the second crop of cucumbers is almost ready .. perfect timing for the team coming next week.  They can help pick and prepare them for pickling. 

 We were getting some supplies for the team and Bekah found one of our friend Sam's favorites 

Monday, September 19, 2016

a great opportunity to help a small home orphanage.

At one of the small home orphanages we work with, they are bursting at the seems .. they have about 14 kids living there now, and are quickly running out of space.  On the property they have this structure that was started many years ago by a team that had come .. long before we have been here , and it has sat unfinished.  They are hoping to be able to finish this building so that it could be used as a pantry, for storage , for clothing and washing, as well as a room that could be used when  child shows up in the middle of the night .  this would free up the space they need in side .  Originally when we were pricing this project out about 6 or 7 years ago,  it was going to cost about $7000.  but since that time, we have developed relationships with good contractor, and we have the boys at the farm that can help with  lot of the work. Also the director has been able to source most or the materials from local donations.  What is needed to complete this building for them is $800. 

We would be ready to begin construction on this project in about a month .. which is about the amount of time it takes a donation to make it through the banks and tax receipts registered.. If anyone is interested in this , please let us know and we can start getting ready. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Afternoon

Nurik was excited to see Julie today 

the boys are making hot sauce 

already moving the hay in 

the roof is on, but we have run out of money for the top walls .. So we will stop here for a while .. it will be about $750 to finish 

lots of room here for the sheep and goats. 

latest batch of soap .. Red pepper and Oregano 

Jengish and the boys worked late into the night last night bringing in the hay 
late night 4x4 run bringing hay out of the mountains 

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Yesterday was another food drop day at Olga's center.  there are about 30 families now that come out.  As well Olga now has some help from the Red Crescent.  they have volunteers that will bring food t the homes of the seniors and those in need , so Olga is working with them where possible. 

There is a real need for temporary shelter in the city, so Olga is in the beginning process of setting up a temporary women's shelter .  WE are hoping to find a house to rent this week .  Our expected operating budget will be about $100 a month and be able to support possibly 3 women with their families at any one time.   I will share more as this project progresses.  Right now I am just planting a seed in case some one out there would like to help support that initiative. 

Last night we were in Bishkek at Bekah's , and celebrated a couple of birthdays ..  We gathered up all our kids that are now living in Bishkek and included them in the celebration.. It was great to have them all together again.

While we were doing that , Jengish was doing a little scouting for the up coming team we have coming in a couple weeks.  One of the days they will be doing some off road 4 x 4 into the mountain, and we thought it would be good to make sure that the road is still passable ..

A couple years ago at Christmas, we invested in a Cotton candy machine for a family we know.. The deal was that they would make cotton candy for all our parties that winter for us in exchange.. It worked out great, and was a tremendous saving for us . 

This fall we decided that a good treat for us to bring the orphanages and the institutions would be popcorn.. it is a real treat here.   As well popcorn would be great for a treat for the kids that visit the farm,   I was doing the math and figured that enough popcorn for about 1000 bags would cost us $200, including the cost of the machine.. where as when we do other treat bags, they usually cost about $1 each ..  so today I stopped at the market with Emma and we picked up this industrial popcorn popper. 

Ahhhh the sound of popcorn popping .

This morning, Jenish and the boys were working on the fields. When they bring in the large trucks to move the hay, it is both expensive and stress full to pull it all together. So this fall we are trying it with our own truck and trailer .. it may take a few more trips but will be a big savings ,, 

First load ready to pull out .. good work boys. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

a wonderful opportunity

"Hello, dear John! just sitting and relaxing after a long week at school. I realize that you gave me such a wonderful opportunity to live in this apartment )) I'm so grateful! thank you, John, very much !!!"

We are still looking for $80 / month in  sponsorship for this fine young man ..

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Education = future

I wanted to give an update for all those who have helped us this fall with education needs .    Between tuition and supplies, clothing, food and lodging, we have supported 28 kids this year .  The cost of that support was $9100 ($11,500 CDN ) pd to date  and our on going commitment is $430 a month   

It is always a stressful time of year balancing all this and getting money through the banks and to the schools by the cut off dates. but some how we always manage to pull it off with your help.  I think one reason it is so difficult is that it is such a busy time for people and they have added expenses getting their own kids back to school .. then it seems that banks hold money for longer and longer periods of time every year .. it now takes about a month to transfer funds through the banks ( they have to process through the banks so that they are eligible for tax receipting )  

as always , a large percentage of these funds come in Designated toward tuition and the balance comes from our general fund.  this year about 1/2 came from the general fund. 

The kids are all so excited to be able to study this year, and are thankful for all your support, whether it was to tuition or to general fund,  THANK YOU .. for the investment in the future of our kids 

some of the kids you have invested in .

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Such Potential

I shared a few weeks back about some students that we have that needed some help this fall with tuition and living .  It is always a stressful time of year meeting all the tuition requirements. Tomorrow we will cover the last one.  Then next up is living expenses and housing for them .  Here is one of the letters I received at the beginning of the summer. 

Hello dear John! my name is Jeenbek and I am a friend of Nick. I heard a lot of good things about you from Nick. and the reason of my handling to you is that I really need help. As I know you are trying to find a donor for Nick and I would like to ask you if you could help me with finding a donor. for me the donor is needed only for one year and after a year I will work 3 months and I will be able to earn for my contract which is 500 dollars and for my accommodation and nutrition.

 More details about me.I am 21 years old. I am a very talented student. for instance this year in entrance exams of AUCA I took 100 points out of 100 from mathematics. only 2 students could get 100 points from math among 2000 students and one of them is me. and from academic achievements I also get very good gpa, mine is 3.7. but I didn't try very hard to get 4.0 and next education year in case I find money for my education and accommodation I will study very hard and I think I will be able to get 4.0 gpa. To study very hard I need for this year about 1000 dollars for contract and accommodation and other money I will try to work in this season. In case I can't find money for my contract and accommodation I am afraid I won't be able to continue my study. so please help me this time and I will try to give you back all your money in 3 years.

Well he managed to work out his tuition, but was still with out a place to live.  Many of the apartments we found for Nick were about $300 plus utilities for one room and not near the school.  Then we found a two bedroom near the school for $240 a month utilities included .  It is in a great location.   We will put 4 students from the University there , and that will make it just $60 a month.  Neither Nick or Jeenbek have that so I will have to carry it until we are able to find sponsors for them .. The other two boys rooming with them have some money left from the summers work , and are hoping to be able to cover their own rent .. for now.  All four are great kids and have a lot of potential.  They have all agreed to keep us up to date with their University life, so you will be seeing a lot more of them .  They all speak English as well so they will be helping us time to time as translators when we have teams.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Moments in time

Iskra fire , 18 families loose their home, We were able to renovate an old hospital to accommodate them all 

There are moments in time that seem to stick with you.  Have you ever stood beside someone and physically felt the pain that they were experiencing ?    I have people tell me all the time " I love the passion that you have when you share about what you do." I always say I am not sure if that is passion or Post Traumatic Stress .    

Her apartment burned out while she was at her husbands funeral .. we were able to  fully renovate and get her back into her home 

For a few months now I have not changed my cover photo or my profile picture on FB ..

I could choose to forget things like this and just move on, or I could ask myself "Why did God choose to have me there"  I here people in the face of terrible situations ask "Where is God in this ?" but in reality the fact that they are asking that means that he is present .. if he was not . no one would ask. 

He uses everyday people like YOU and ME.. to show his love. 

In the above photo, as I stood at the door of this home something was going through my head .. 

2 weeks earlier I was asked to help the fire department find fire equipment so that they could go into buildings to rescue people.  I had made some calls but nothing panned out .. When we arrived in Kyrgyzstan we were alerted to a situation that had occurred just days before.  A man died in this fire because there was no gear to go in and bring him out.   This Babushka started her life in the orphanage, and now at 76 years old  she again had no family left and is once more on her own.  It was small solace that the fire occurred before I landed, however it is a reminder to me that things don't always just happen if WE do not do something .  It is easy to think " Well someone will take care of that " but that is not always the case.    These things remind me that we need to not just put things off waiting for others, but if we push forward regardless of resources, it becomes an opportunity for others to get involved as well and  great things can Happen. 

I now have 200 LBS of fire equipment packed in 4 hockey bags ready to travel to Kyrgyzstan in under 2 weeks .  the cost to get them here is $155 a bag.  money we don't have, but knowing the importance of their contents.. we will bring them anyways ..  I was so blessed this morning to get up and read that one of the bags has been sponsored already .. 

I KNOW that we can make this happen .. 

P.S.  A team from the Light house is coming with P.I.  in a couple weeks and will rebuild her home as well  .. watch here to see the progress. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

goats milk soap 101

The sheep barn is coming along well.  they will be starting on the second floor today, and I am going now to order the windows and the doors .  

Over at the green house, the last sheet of poly-carbonate went up today, and they have started parging all the walls with cement . Tomorrow they will start digging them out on the inside another foot, and preparing the beds

Emma has been busy making more soap.  She needs to do two more large batches, then she will be ready to start marketing and selling the soap.  Once we see the average cost over a large sample we will be able to set the price .  

I though you might be interested in a look at how its done .. I will skip past the raising the pigs for the lard and the goats for the milk, and the growing of the herbs, and the bees and go right to the process.

Making of the soap is actually rather scientific, and takes place as a result of the reactions of different substances and precise temperatures.  Even the type of pot each part is mixed in and the spoon used to stir  makes a difference.

the process begins with mixing the exact amount of lime with water, causing a reaction that produces a lot of heat . 

the exact weight is put into a cooling pot and put in a water bath until it gets to the exact temperature , and at the same time the precise  amount of lard is heated to the right temperature 

When each item reaches their own specific desired temperature , the ingredients are mixed. 

Once it cools to the next target temperature the desired herbs are added.  

The soap is then cooled a little longer, then is poured into the molds. 

the next day, when the bars of soap have begun to harden, they a removed from the molds and set out to dry for about two weeks before packaging and decorating .   Today's batch is oats and honey . 

We have a small room at the farm beside the guest house that we are in the process of setting up as a gift shop for all the items such as the soap that is produced at the farm.  this room will also have drying racks and work stations for making soap.  We have a team coming from Espanola Ontario that will be helping with this. 

Getting ready for the team, we have spruced up the out house for the kids so they will not need to use the guest washroom while the team is here. 

back in the kitchen they are busy making plum sauce 

Sergey has some sponsors that are helping with back to school for the orphanages as well as the kids from the farm.   The kids were so thrilled with all the awesome new supplies.. thank you Sergey and those you work with for this great blessings 

We loaded up with lots of produce , Potatoes, carrots and onions, cabbages and cucumbers , and headed over to Olga's women's support centre.   We had not called anyone to come today, but word is out that we are there on Fridays .  The older lady at the front left of the picture below filled her bag up then realised that she could not carry it. I put her in the car and drove her home. She lived about a mile away.  I wonder how many there are out there that are not able to walk that far to get there.   

Today was also coming home day for Aiperie and her baby .  Both mother and son are doing great 

Back at the hospital. they are just about finished the soffit and fascia , and are putting up the eves toughing now

The inside drywall is all up now as well.  We have made arrangements with the builder and Dr Anara for the team to do a little bit of work there .. She asked if any of our guys know how to do drywall taping .. I told her Every Canadian man knows how to.. It is a right of passage ,, hahah  I sure hope they don't prove me  wrong . 

Sergey was with me so we could go over the receipts and confirm that everything was in order, and leave some funds for the next stage.