Dave writes from the USA:

I’m in the USA at present en route to UK & Europe to minister and check on the orphanages which are experiencing such cold and snow at the moment. It’s been a very tough winter there. I’m in Bloomington, Illinois, south of Chicago. I had a meeting for the students at the local university last night. That was precious, with a great hunger from the guys and girls there. They were so open to the worship and the ministry of the Word. I am ministering at present in some very needy places here. These small churches here are so needy and want to learn how to bring many to Jesus.

Also here is a report on the Uganda Orphanages Agricultural Project we have embraced:

Orphans in Uganda – Agricultural Project

Late last year a longstanding friend from South Africa, with whom I’d worked in many Youth for Christ outreaches, contacted me and asked if I’d be able to help with a very urgent project with an orphanage in Eastern Uganda.

“Paul and Sarah Kiviiri are based in a small rural village in Kiboga District in Eastern Uganda. They run a primary school for orphans and poor rural families in the area – there are 287 kids in the school – of which 47 are orphans in Paul’s care. Paul had been negotiating with a funder from the US regarding funds for food production for the school in 2009. Some man in the US had promised funding by November (which Paul was counting on) but which he never got – I assume due to recession issues in the US. So they are now pretty desperate as they look to 2009. Below are the real numbers:

Regarding an estimate for food cultivation for our feeding plan in 2009 the following can give you a true picture of what can be done and I do not know how much you can possibly raise. Please consider quickly what you could possibly afford and we will start implementing this before rains waive out.

1. $1400 can maintain 2 acres of food production. (This can help us feed our kids for a school term).
2. $ 2000 can maintain 2 and half acres of food production i.e. Cassava, sweet potatoes etc. (this can feed our kids for 2 terms).
3. $2500 can maintain 7 acres with food and vegetables (This can feed kids a full year).
4. $3000 can help clear over 8 acres for growing Cassava, sweet potatoes, beans and a well managed poultry breeding project (this enables enough food and some produce to sell and provide for future crops).

Note: In our circumstances the seasons mean beginning of the rains, and in such areas we do not have irrigation facilities, so we use inexpensive labour of the local people. We need help almost immediately before the rain season ends.

We opted for the 4th option above for long term benefits. It was a struggle with all the winter needs of the Orphans in Eastern Europe, but God challenged us to stretch our faith and make the commitment. We sent them $3,000 US.

What a difficult task it was getting the funds to them. Their local bank didn’t have an IBAN number or a larger correspondent bank through which to make the transfer. So we opted to transfer the funds with a costly charge via Western Union before the weather window closed on them.

Paul Kiriivi wrote to me recently – “You requested some photos and a report for accountability. This has taken long because I still use an old type of camera. I load film and wait till it is full. We have no processing plants within our rural village. I take it up to 90 km and stand in a long line to have them developed. I then go to a cafe down in the city where we take hours attaching photos and report and most cases fail“.
I have sent to you also a report on how this fund was used. (The reports have been authenticated by the local town council and my South African friend will be there next month to verify all of this. I have no doubts about the integrity of Paul Kiviiri). Paul writes, “Attached are recent photos of what and how this fund was so effective. Furthermore I have also attached a proposal which with kindness I request you to consider or are able recommend us to any other possible Christian organisation for partnership. May the Grace of God bind us together. Once again, may we invite you to come to Uganda one day.”

The crops and poultry are growing well. The children are eating again and their health is improving. We want to continue this project and help them do well and be a witness to God’s goodness to the local government and the local people.