As we plan our trips each time with the missionaries we work with we are typically given a number of different projects on which we might be working. The possible list for this trip included working with a home/ministry for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Because of unusually heavy rains we ended up spending all our time working for and with this ministry called La Cosecha (The Harvest). One of our goals was to build them a system of rabbit hutches, which we purchased along with the rabbits for them to raise to sell as a source of much needed income and for them to eat.
The Lord began this ministry about five years ago using a saved, former alcoholic and drug addict named Otiniel (Oti). They have two properties. One is nearer town where most of the men live, work, eat, sleep, and worship. The second is a piece of land farther out where they raise Talapia, pigs, corn, and now rabbits and chickens. It was a wonderful experience to get to know the men, to work with them and for them, to encourage them, and to worship with them.
The rabbit hutches were designed with an area below them to collect the rabbit’s droppings. To this area we added three kilos of worms/compost from a worm farm out in the country and some dirt. This will provide a place for them to compost their kitchen scraps along with the rabbit´s droppings to produce a nutrient-rich compost for them to use as fertilizer for their crops. And, as the worms increase in number they will be fed to the Talapia and the chickens they are now raising to reduce the amount of fish and chicken feed they must purchase.
The picture to the right is a picture of the first three rabbits and their cages that we purchased and delivered. Kerry Johnson is on the right, Felipe (his “Timothy”) is to the left, and Oti is in the middle.
Toward the end of our week there we visited a chicken hatchery and met a Christian named Julio Jorge and his wife. After visiting with him, we were given 2,000 newly hatched chicks. The folks of La Cosecha came to pick these up in their pickup and delivered them to the farm site. The men had prepared an area inside a small shed/barn for the chicks. We prepared feeders and waters for the chicks under the supervision of Bobby Highfill, who had forty-two years of experience working with raising chickens. (I am always amazed how the Lord directs the right people to be a part of each mission trip I have been a part of.) To the left is a picture of the chicks before we got them out of the crates in which they were delivered. As the chicks mature a coop will be built for them.
One of the many ways that Kerry ministers to the poor throughout Oaxaca, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Africa is with water projects that make safe to drink the contaminated water that most of the world’s people have available to them. One afternoon we installed a water filter in the kitchen for La Cosecha that will enable them to filter all their drinking water for many years instead of purchasing bottled water, as they now must do. Based upon their current usage of potable water they will be able to save over $1,000 per year using the filtered water instead bottled water.
While Bobby, Mike Raybon, and I were working with the men our women were ministering with Mauri Johnson to women associated with La Cosecha. To the right is a picture of Oti’s wife (Gabi), Mauri, Gabi’s sister (Mili), Dianne Lawrence, and Elizabeth Highfill. Our ladies bought the material and taught a group of ladies to make blankets, that they can use personally or sell to help provide some income. They also showed them how to weave bracelets. In addition they conducted cooking classes.
We were so blessed to get to know men who just a few month’s ago were in the chains of sin, drugs, and alcohol. It was so thrilling to get to see these transformed lives and see II Cor. 5:17 in action. Please pray for these men who we met: Oti, Sofanías, Manuel, Polo, Juan, Antonio, Beto, Victor, Marco, Eutimio, and Ruebén.
While it is good to be able to accomplish projects like I have described above, we believe that one of the main reasons the Lord led us to Oaxaca was to love, support, and encourage the Lord’s laborers there like Kerry, Mauri, Felipe, Oti, Mili, and, Gabi. The Lord’s servants like these tend to feel alone in their work and overwhelmed by the enormity of the task they face. They always share what an encouragement it is for believers from the states to come and minister along side them.
Written by Mike Lawrence – (pictures forthcoming)