Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Its about the Relationship

Although our friend Vlad does everything that a general manager or In Country Director does, He was given the job title of Youth Worker ! 
We could call him a Farm manager , or a guest house operator, But first and for most he is a youth worker! Project coordinator, or Business manager would be a good title, but he is our Youth worker . 

There are so many other job titles that we could come up with that would all reflect what his responsibilities are, but we don't ever what to loose sight of what we are about at the farm.  Its about the kids we work with .  We don't need the best gardens, or the most cows or the perfect guest experiences if we do not have our priorities in line .. We are called to care for, teach and mentor the kids that have no one else, and to bring them into a family that they know they are a part of. 
There is so much going on right now on the farm .. fields being watered, vegetables being harvested, guests arriving, vehicles being repaired, crises response with families in need, kids of to summer camps .. All are important , but none more so then taking the time to spend with the kids one on one in meaningful interaction.   

Yesterday Vlad and Russian went for a hike into the mountains to the lost lake.  Its about a 6 to 8 hour journey. Common goal and a beautiful outcome at the end.  Yesterday for Ruslan, it was reaffirmed that he is special, and he is part of something bigger then just him.   Thank you Vlad for taking the time to work on the relationship.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Wedding update

A few weeks ago, Bekah and Azamat got married in Kyrgyzstan.  It all happened in a bit of a whirlwind. So the general response has been "What Bekah is Married ?"   So here is the story.  Bekah and Azamat had been planing to come to Canada for over a year to take some continuing education, and where planing to get married while they were here.  Unfortunately they had visa difficulties so that did not work out.  They still had future plans to make it to Canada for a wedding.  Bekah really wanted her brother Ben to marry them.  Then fast forward to this spring, Benjamin and his family were coming to Kyrgyzstan for a visit, and a couple weeks before they got there, Bekah and Azamat got the idea that this might be a good time to get married .   

The wedding itself was up in the mountains and the reception was in at a very cool restaurant made up of beautiful yurts almost like a pioneer village , but very fancy.   So as we were all driving up into the mountain for the wedding, the sky started to darken and rain was threatening.  No problem, we just turned of on the next mountain trail and got out and had the service right there ..  

It was absolutely beautiful.  No one can decorate for a wedding like God. The mountains behind them and the valley before them made for the most perfect setting for the wedding.  We had a small group, about 20 of us gathered, and a bag of umbrella's on the ready, fortunately the rains held off and they were not needed.  After the service we drove back down to the base of the mountain for the reception.  

 Once we got to the yurts, other family and friends joined us for the celebration.  What a wonderful location to spend time together. 

Unfortunately ,  Granddad Bruce had passed away just a couple days before and we had to pack and go to get back in time for the funeral, so we did not get to spend as much time celebrating as would have been nice, and I was not able to get to much posting for those family, friends and supporters that have known Bekah for so long.   

Since that time I have had people contacting us asking how they could get greetings and a gift to them for this special occasion, and in particular what they might need .  I talked to Bekah about this, and they are all set in their new apartment, But  they are heading on their Honeymoon in another week.  It all happened so fast that they could not book off work right away and get that part of things organized.  She said that the last gift I sent will go towards that, and any others would be great to use on the honeymoon as well.  There was a bit of apprehension for her because she felt a bit funny feeling like she was asking for wedding gifts.  But thats what you do before a wedding .. let people know what you would like.  So it was decided that she would  have a couple options.   If some one wanted to send a small gift but would rather other then their honeymoon,

  There is someone that is Very dear to her.  Melody has been a good friend and like a little sister to Bekah for about 10 years now, and in fact they have had supper together once a week for the last couple years .  Melody has been excepted to a fantastic private school in Cincinnati Ohio.  This is such a blessing as she has so smart and a great student but has faced terrible bullying buy her teachers in the past because of her beliefs.   So as a second option she would be happy with donations to the scholarship fund, starting with the rest of Melody's expenses .. If you would like to send a little something you can donate at this link as well you will be given an opportunity  to "add a note" where you can send them personalized greetings.  and they will be sure to get them.  

( please note that Wedding gifts will be greatly appreciated, but we will only be able to offer tax receipts for the scholarship fund. ) 

Friday, July 05, 2019

"He was from here, and He made it !"

Its so wonderful for me to witness the kids growing up and maturing on the farm, and to see the produce that they are harvesting is amazing.  It is still so early in the season, but with the green house we were able to get a head start on many of the crops.

What is more wonderful is to see our kids return to the orphanages that they grew up in and bring fresh produce to the kids there.  The fruits of their hard labors returning to the only home some of them knew.  Its great for the kids at the orphanage as well, to say " He was from here, and he made it."  Its not like that typically.  The statistics are something like 80% will be in prison, prostitution, slavery or dead in the first year of leaving the orphanage.  But with just a little encouragement and someone in their court,  For many, things ca be turned around.  Yes we have seen some that no mater how hard we have tried, their futures were set a long time ago, ( and we still hope and pray for change ) but for the vast majority,  life is good !
one mornings harvest at the farm 

Dustan picking peas 

Squash and spaghetti plants

Yellow squash and zucchini 

Not all reports that come in are good ones .  I just received word about a single mom with three kids .. No family, and she lost everything, including her documents in a house fire.  Who? What? When? Where? and Why? and of course How much ?  All questions that we will have to look into, but for now , my heart still breaks for them.  We will share more when we can figure out how we can best help.  

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

From a guests perspective

From 10 000 km  away we look back and watch with both concern and   relief at how things are going on the farm.  It is a difficult thing to go and put your trust in the system that has been set up.  The farm is a place for kids to learn and to grow.  To learn life skills and how those skills relate to the world around them. Not everyone has to know and understand every aspect all at once, they each just need to do their part.  Along with personal life skills, the kids are developing their skills in gardening, caring for animals, carpentry, cooking, as well as hospitality.  We chat with folks on the farm via FB every day, but it is always nice when they send us some pictures in the update .  It is also a good indicator for us when we get updates from the guests who come visit the farm.  they are coming with fresh eyes with no preconceived idea of what the farm is about . The photos in this blog post are from around the farm today and here is an update we just got from our resent guests.

“I cannot recommend this place enough. The hospitality , the nature, and the animals are simply unmatched. We only spent a few days here but we were quickly sold on its charm. The people who take care of this farm have hearts of gold. Truly a unique experience unlike anything else. Take the time to read through John's description of the farm, it might just be the place away from the city noise for you! And on a personal note they write ”“Hi John, I think what you've done for these kids is wholeheartedly amazing. They are incredibly welcoming, polite, and overall the hospitality they provided was unmatched. It's clear that you and your wife have made a massive difference in each and every one of their lives. I don't think this AirBnB experience can be compared to any of the others that we've had because it was so unique in the best kind of ways. We hiked up the hills beyond the yurts, petted a wide range of animals, spent an evening having coffee with the English speaking ones getting to know them, and had delicious meals cooked with ingredients straight from the farm. Thank you for this wonderful experience. I can't think of a better way for my friends and I to have spent the last few days of our trip through Central Asia. Cheers, Matt”  
Many of you have sponsored the kids and the farm as well as so many other needs and projects in the past, maybe one day you will be able to come and be our guests and see and experience first hand life on the farm.  

This last month we have been able to pay the farm salaries as well as many of the food costs and other minor expenses from the farm with the proceeds from the guest house.  our dream is that one day the farm will become self sustaining.  We believe that by investing now in the lives of the kids , with things like health and education we will be able to do that. 

Currently we are raising money for the scholarship fund.  We are sporting kids from the farm, families in need as well as some of the kids of our coworkers who have opportunity to attend a great school in Cincinnati. 

If you would like to help us with this you can donate using the links on the top right hand side of the blog .