This month Jonathan and I had the opportunity to meet with the parents of the children who studied at the village school. The point of the meeting was to discuss the problem of funding, politics, and the local Governments commitment to the children. The children will most likely return to nearby hostels in towns and cities outside of Mae Dtam. Parents will possibly send their children to and from home to the local government school themselves. At the very least the school succeeded for 3 years and the children had an opportunity to stay home and live with their families. We are sad to see this program come to an end, but we are hopeful that the local government will take over in April. We will work with the Director of the Mae Dtam school, encouraging them to partner with the local government to provide funding for transportation for the children. Our hope is that once the villagers can make an income they can determine themselves how to give further opportunities for their children to stay at home. In regards to our sustainable agriculture program, things are going well. At this time we would ask that you pray for Jonathan as he contacts international markets that may be interested in possibly purchasing coffee from our coffee group. We thank God for everything, and everyone who has supported us by prayer. Whether you have been involved with the school program or the agriculture program we thank you for the great encouragement that you have given us. We pray for your health and for peace in your households!
Now the villagers have begun to harvest corn. This year the market for Corn is not very good. Many of the villagers are stressed due to the low demand in the market for corn. The problem is that no matter what the price for corn is the villagers must sell corn. This is one of the biggest issues for monocropping corn. For those farmers who have lumyay, another fruit here in Thailand, in their orchards must hurry to finished trimming the trees this month, because this is the last month to do so. Because this is the last month of the rainy season weeds still grow at a quick pace, much of the villagers and my time have been spent cutting the grass. Some farmers have 50-90 acre’s of land to care for, so this could be a daunting task. Our real hope this that through these hard times villagers can begin to see the real value in diversifying their crops. Thank God that by Gods grace the villagers were able to sell over 800 banana bunches in Chiang Mai city this month. We sold bananas at 7baht per bunch making a total of about $180 in income for our group. This is not a huge income, but it is encouragement for the farmers to invest in more than one crop. Please remember our family in your prayers as we press forward to provide our people the opportunity to have options in their own fields. We hope that in proper stewardship of the land we can bring honor to our Lord.