Vegetable Demonstation Farm the Evangelistically Feeds Syrian and Iraqi Refugees
Perhaps our most strategic work with the refugees is in the Middle East where we are partners in a vegetable farming operation that serves as both a demonstration farm and an experiment station for the local farmers--with all of the produce going to evangelistically feed thousands of Syrian refugees through local churches. The farm is on approximately 10 acres of land which originally had 3 greenhouses and 7 acres of open crop land when it started in 2014. During the 2016/2017 growing season, we were able to evangelistically feed fresh produce to 15,561 refugee families for a week. With the average family consisting of five persons, this equates to 77,805 refugees fed for a week, 389,025 refugees fed for a day, or roughly 1,167,075 meals! This crop produced over 172 tons of fresh produce while also training more than 50 local farmers!
New crops and new varieties of existing crops are being introduced to determine which are the most productive and profitable in highly saline saturated soils. Farmers are learning new ways to take better care of their land by reducing salt input, which if not changed will eventually make their soils utterly unproductive. By implementing a rotational system that rests land by planting rainfed barley one year in 4 and rotating between different crops, salt levels are being reduced and soil health is being restored. By teaching new methods of adding organic matter into the soils and utilizing mulching methods to reduce evaporation of water (which is critically short in this region), farmers are learning to produce more, while improving the condition of the land they depend on for a living and for feeding the people of their region. Also, the introduction of the new hydroponics system and other improvements not only saved water that is very rare and valuable in the critically dry area, but it also eliminated the risk of soil viruses which plague the region.
New fertilization sources and applications are being introduced and utilized, soils are being improved, harvests are increasing, and new technologies such as hydroponics that reduce water use and to eliminate the risk of viruses in the soils are all improving the health of the land. All of this is being done to help the local farmers to improve the fertility of the land which increases production and profitability, while also providing hundreds of thousands of meals for desperate refugees.
Soon after the farm was started, Cattle for Christ purchased a pickup truck to provide a more cost effective means of taking supplies to the farm and for delivering produce from the farm to the churches that distribute the food to the refugees. This purchase saved the farm $1,000.00 per month in hired transportation. In 2014, the first year of the farm, it produced 7000 boxes of produce. This equates to 525,000 meals for desperate refugees!
This past year, the second year of the farm, Cattle for Christ purchased two additional greenhouses, the plastic and supplies to replace needed covers on the other 3 existing greenhouses, seed for planting, a greenhouse sprayer, and a new 2 1/2 ton truck to handle the increased production from the improvements to the land from the year before and the addition of the two new greenhouses. The season for distribution just ended the end of May 2017 and 1,167,075 meals of fresh, nutritious vegetables were produced to evangelistically feed the needy refugees.
Two of the greenhouses have just recently been converted to incorporate the hydroponic technology mentioned earlier. This practice is expected to really catch on with the local farmers, is relatively inexpensive compared to purchasing so much 'sweet water' to irrigate with, an eliminates the threat of damaging viruses in the soil. This practice alone is expected to increase greenhouse production 50% which would increase our evangelistic feeding to well over a million meals per season at the current rate of production from this initial farm. We have already invested $5,000.00 for seed that was recently planted on this farm for the 2016/2017 growing season.
Later this year, we are helping to start a second farm in the same country but in a different geographic region. We have already obligated $18,000.00 to build six new greenhouses on this farm and to purchase the seed to plant them. Since the geographical region is different from the first farm, the growing season is different which will allow us to feed year round instead of just a 6 month season. Next year, we are expecting a significant increase in food production which we hope will produce in excess of 2,000,000 meals for refugees whose situation is only getting more unpredictable and less hopeful with all the violence from ISIS and other terrorists groups in the region. The increased and more widespread terrorists activities and violence around the world, especially in this region means that there will be more refugees in the future and they will most likely live out the rest of their lives as refugees!
This second farm will also incorporate a wheat trial where new fertilization practices will be incorporated, that according to some U.S. grain farming experts who have visited the area, are expected to potentially double the current production. Local farmers now only plant wheat every other year to conserve precious water. We are looking at the possibility of introducing no-till farming practices in the future that we believe, will allow a wheat crop to be grown every year instead of every other year. This could potentially quadruple their current production!
Improved farming techniques, management practices, and the conditions of the soils, along with introducing new crops and varieties of crops that help the local farmers become more productive and profitable is a noble task. These improvements alone have potential to preserve the land for future generations, provide more income for the basic needs of the farmers and their families such as clothing, housing, nutritional needs, medical care and the opportunity to get an education. But, perhaps the most important results will be that these Muslim farmers will have the opportunity to hear the Good News and see it lived out on a daily basis. The Syrian, Iraqi and a smaller number of Sudanese refugees who receive the food are not only getting the much needed physical nourishment they need, but they are also getting an opportunity to get the spiritual nourishment they need. This would have never happened without the farm and those who manage it and support it, as well as the churches that distribute the food and do the follow-up. This ministry not only helps the local farmers, their families and the refugees, but it also helps to strengthen the local churches that are intentionally immersing themselves as never before in outreach, sacrificial service and evangelism among a population who are in many ways viewed as a threat to their existence.
Please contact Glenn today at 334-333-4400 to see how you too can partner with Cattle for Christ International to minister to physical and spiritual needs of millions of displaced and desperate refugees.
School for Syrian Refugee Children
The International children's ministry that we are currently most heavily involved and invested in is a school that we fund in a Middle Eastern Country (that will remain un-named for the safety of the workers and the children) that currently has over 135 Syrian refugee children enrolled, grades K-6th. This school is located in one of the most dangerous cities of the host country and only miles from the Syrian border. Like the schools in Peru, these children are getting a quality education in a Christian environment and focus. We just completed the construction of a small playground at the school. This is the only playground in the entire city. Not only are the children being reached with the Gospel, but so are their families.
This school offers the use of washers and dryers for the mothers to wash clothes (where else can the refugees go?). While the clothes are washing and drying, the mothers are offered classes on grief, family and other related subjects dealing with their status of refugees and also get to watch the Jesus Film. These classes help them to deal with the challenges, sorrows and traumas associated with their current situation and all that they suffered during the bombings of their homes, the loss of family and friends, the loss of all their earthly possessions, as well as, their treacherous journey through the harsh and dangerous desert to get to their country of refuge. During these sessions, the younger children are enrolled in an excellent preschool program where they have a safe, secure and happy place to play (with toys) and begin to learn songs and Bible stories to help them deal with their grief, but also to begin to teach them about the one true God we worship, His love for them, and the hope they can have in Him. The idea of a God who 'loves and cares for them' is new to them, but is indeed Good News!
It is amazing to see the relationships that results from these sessions. Home visits are made by the school staff to share God's love and to identify specific needs. Medical care, medicines and hygiene packets are provided as needed (and as funds allow) and fresh vegetables are distributed from our partnership farm in the same region. (You can read more about the farm and the hygiene packet distribution under those tabs on this site.) Many of the families have come to Christ and attend discipleship classes at the school. In many homes, some family members have come to Christ but cannot let anyone else in the family know because of fear of the consequences.
I can tell you from personal experience that when you visit the home (a tent or crowded, barren apartment) of a Muslim that has come to faith in Christ, you know them when you see them. Their whole demeanor is different. If you visit the refugee families in their homes where they can speak freely and hear their stories for yourself, the experience will forever change your life!
For many years Cattle for Christ has been involved in schools and orphanages among Muslims in Mauritania, India, Nepal, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Uganda and Ethiopia and in Middle Eastern countries. Due to safety concerns for those who are being served and to protect the identity of those doing the work, we cannot show the best pictures of this work on the Internet. We do show some of these pictures in small groups or in churches upon request.
Most every refugee child is a victim of one or more of the following: abuse, neglect, poverty, grief, fear, violence and abandonment. Many of the girls in Muslim cultures are not even allowed to be educated, so we are making provisions to educate them under the radar. We are also helping as many other refugee children as we can to get health care, hygiene packets and to attend school who do not live where they have access to our Christian school in the other city. Many of these children and their families are coming to faith in Christ due to the home visits by our partners on the ground who coordinate their care and who love them with the love of Christ.
The opportunities to bring these children into loving, safe, Christian environments where they can be loved, fed, educated and shown the love of Christ, will prepare them to be well educated Christian agents of change in their own cultures. Nobody can reach Muslims as effectively as Christians who were once Muslims and who know the Islamic religion and the Koran, but who also now know Jesus and the Bible. We refer to these Christians as Muslim Background Believers and Cattle for Christ has worked since our incorporation 2001 to help these new Christians be established in their faith and trained to reach others.
This need is ongoing and can be expanded as much as funding will allow. We currently need to raise a minimum $50,000.00 per year just to fund our current work we are already doing with Muslim children--yet there is so much more to be done if we just had the funding to do it. Nothing will deter the threat and oppression the world faces from radical Islam like the Word of God and love and Gospel of Jesus Christ--but they have see and they have to hear! The younger they hear Biblical teachings and the more they see true Christianity lived out, the more open they are to the Gospel and the ways of Christ. Just like ours and every other culture, the most critical and strategic time to reach Muslims with the Gospel is when they are young.
Please contact Glenn today at 334-333-4400 to see how you too can partner with Cattle for Christ International to minister to refugee men, women and children in the Middle East and in Africa.
Hygiene Packets and Medical Care for the Refugees
When refugees cross the deserts and enter their countries of refuge, many are either sick or injured, but all of them are severely traumatized, starved, thirsty and come with only the clothes on their backs. All of them are suffering from severe grief from the loss of family members and friends, as well as, all of their earthly possessions. Those that are met crossing the borders are taken to refugee camps where they are registered and given some basics by the UN and other international relief groups: tarps for a tent, a small propane or butane stove, and a blanket.
They are also given a monthly food card (originally equivalent to about $34 U.S. dollars--but now only equivalent to about $24.00 U.S. dollars). These cards can only be used for food-which means that for all their other needs, they have to sell a food card (for usually about 60% of the face value). Any hygiene products, medicines, clothes, etc.., have to be purchased with the proceeds from the sale of food cards (making our farming project mentioned above even more important). The refugees (who now make up about 50% of the country's population) are not allowed legally to work because they take jobs from the citizens of the host countries. With no relief or income, they are left without the basic necessities of soap, toilet paper, feminine products, laundry detergents, diapers, tooth brushes and toothpaste, and most importantly medicines and medical care.
This is where the hygiene packets, medicines and medical care that Cattle for Christ and our indigenous partners are able to provide help to bridge the gap for the basic necessities of the refugees. The hygiene packets we help to purchase costs contain all the items mentioned above and cost us about $9.00 per family, per month. Due to the lack of funding, we are only able to purchase a few thousand of these packets, but millions are needed. Medicines and medical treatment is also a major need among the refugees, but then again, the lack of funding is the only thing that limits how many we can help. We could literally help millions of people get the basic medicines and medical care if we only had the money.
Keep in mind that the hygiene packets and the medicines and medical care are coordinated during home visits (meaning that relationships for sharing the Gospel and the love of Christ are developed as we visit in the dwelling places of the refugees) to deliver the packets and identify and coordinate the medical care. For those that we have money to help, medicines and hygiene packets are delivered monthly which really helps with the evangelism and discipleship process, which is part of the overall strategy of our work to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these refugees and to reach as many as we can with the Gospel and love of Christ. These visits are made by members of local churches who can monitor the process and begin introducing the Bible and Biblical teachings (This is where the CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles and discipleship messages in Arabic and other languages fit in so well).
Please contact Glenn today at 334-333-4400 to see how you too can partner with Cattle for Christ International to provide hygiene packets, medicines and medical care to refugees in the Middle East and in Africa.
Evangelism and Discipleship using the CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered Bibles
One of the greatest needs of the Syrian, Iraqi, Fulani and Sudanese refugees is hope! They have lost everything that they valued most, including spouses, children, brothers, sisters, parents, friends, businesses, vocations, savings, and every earthly possession they had. They have lost their identity as citizens of their own country and most will never be able to return. They have no jobs, no income, no medical care, no chance for an education for their children, no vehicles, and no police or security force to keep them safe. Most realize that they will die as refugees, but they are searching for hope, for something to hold on to for the future. Nothing fills that emptiness and hopelessness like the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of a Father God who loves them and has a plan for their lives. A God who has made arrangements for them through the shed blood of His Son Jesus, to live with Him in paradise forever when this life is over. Though they may suffer and die as refugees, they will inherit eternal life through Jesus! That is indeed Good News!
Our partnership farm, school, hygiene packets, medical care, and everything else we do is to prepare them to be able to hear and accept the Gospel message about a God that most of them have never heard of before. As a Muslim, they share familiarity with many of the Old Testament stories, but their understanding is much different than that of a Christian. The CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio players that we provide contain a number of evangelistic and discipleship messages including a full Bible in their native language. As the churches build relationship and trust with the refugees, they can then offer the CFC TRAILBLZAERS so they can learn about this God who loves them so much.
The new CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles are lightweight and can be easily packed in checked and carry-on bags. Solar powered is important because most of the refugees do not have electricity, nor could they afford batteries if the players were battery powered. They are small which makes them concealable and easier to get through customs and through the population when moving around. This also makes them easier to conceal among individual believers who cannot let their families know that they have turned from Islam and decided to follow Christ. You can hide 25-40 or more in the clothes you are wearing without being noticeable and without using much imagination. The sound quality and volume capabilities of the CFC TRAILBLAZERS enable a listener to listen in complete privacy at low volume or with the optional ear buds, but they can also crank up the volume and groups of 200 or more can hear the Word and discipleship messages as a group from one player. The literate and illiterate can all listen and learn together! No one has to be left out because they are illiterate--and this will be a growing number for the refugees since there is little or no access to education for the children of refugees.
The CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered players also help multiply the efforts of the few evangelistic missionaries and the local church leaders in Muslim countries. One player can serve an individual believer, an entire family and even a group of 200+ who want to listen. Various Scriptures and discipleship stories can be assigned for listening for a particular week and then the listeners can listen at their own convenience and times when their safety is not at stake. All the missionary or church leader has to do is meet to answer questions. This allows them to minister to many more individuals and groups because the players actually do the teaching in the native language--the Christian leaders just have to follow-up instead of doing all the teaching themselves. When churches are planted among the refugees, the players can be their teachers to help them grow in their new found faith without them actually having to be seen attending an established local Christian Church, which could jeopardize their lives or at least bring severe persecution from other Muslims.
Please contact Glenn today at 334-333-4400 to see how you too can partner with Cattle for Christ International to provide CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered players to offer the eternal hope of Jesus Christ to refugees in the Middle East and in Africa.
Providing Goats and Fresh Water to Fulani Refugees in West Africa
About three years ago, the terrorist group Boko Haram ravished a large group of the Fulani people in Western Africa which caused them to flee for their lives, leaving behind their cattle and other possessions. Most of these people are nomadic cattle farmers and were instrumental in converting much of West Africa to Islam. However, the terrorists groups in these countries attack their own just as they do in the Middle East. Until these attacks by Islamic terrorists, the Fulani people were not open to the Gospel, but this is just another window that is open to reach them while they are open and many have come to Christ and are now becoming Christian leaders.
Cattle for Christ has helped to replace a small number of the livestock and have helped to purchase a vehicle for the Christian workers who are reaching out to help them. We just recently funded the digging of a fresh water well and reservoir to support a training center that will serve Fulani people from eight countries in West Africa. As terrible as the terrorism activities have been, the Lord has used this to allow Christians to reach out to these Muslim refugees and share the Gospel and the love of Christ with them as we have never been able to do before. There is much more to be done in the group of approximately 20 million, (13 million of which are nomadic herdsmen of both large and small ruminants) but with your help, we can reach many of them and equip them to reach their own people--even long after the doors close for us to be there.
Please contact Glenn today at 334-333-4400 to see how you too can partner with Cattle for Christ International to help provide clean drinking water, a training center, replacement animals, CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles and other resources to reach and care for Fulani refugees in West Africa.
The current refugee crisis situation has been and continues to be one of the most tragic scenarios in recent history and the suffering and loss have been incomprehensible, but it has opened new doors for Christians to share the Gospel and the love and hope of Christ with so many of the Muslim faith. The doors may not be open for long, but they are open for now and we need to be 'all in' while we have this opportunity. Cattle for Christ and our ministry partners are fully invested, but we need your help to carry it through. Please don't let this opportunity pass us by. The eternity of billions are at stake.
Our work among the refugees is focused, but is strategically designed to not only meet the dire and urgent physical needs of the refugees (where they are), but to do so in ways that build relationshps for evangelism and discipleship. The Good News and the love of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can give them help and hope not only in their desperate current situation, but also hope for eternity in Heaven where there will be no more sin, death, suffering, war, grief or pain. Islam offers no assurance of salvation, so the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is indeed Good News to those are facing such tragic hopelessness and deadly situations each and every day.
Though we are doing some work with refugee children here in the U.S., the majority of our work with refugees is currently focused primarily in the Middle East and in West Africa. The work varies, but our priorities are as follows: