Another year has passed, and time keeps moving on, never to be recovered. I am reminded of the song: “Wasted years, wasted years, oh how foolish, As you walk on in darkness and in fears; Turn around, turn around, God is calling, He’s calling you from a life of wasted years.” While many around us are groping around in darkness and fear, how is it with our souls? The world situation with wars, natural disasters, and political unrest, can be quite disturbing if we are only living for the present age, but I like what it says in Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” I believe God wants us to face the new year as Joshua was told to do as he was faced with the challenge of taking the promised land: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
We would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your prayers and support throughout the past year. Please continue to pray for the church here as we face this new year. Rina has decided that she no longer wants to serve God. The world is just too alluring, and so she has gone to San Pedro Sula, and left her 3 girls be themselves. On the positive side, Randy, who started attending about 2 months ago has not missed one Sunday. He is so thankful to God for giving him the opportunity to serve Him with a new understanding of what God expects of His children. Since he does not have much Spanish, I have been trying to have bilingual services, which also has its challenges. His friend Pedro has not yet been able to come, but we are praying that he will be able to come soon. He spends most weekends in the hospitals.
Some of the children have enjoyed visits from their birth families. Erick also went to visit his grandmother and cousins, spending a night at his grandmother’s house. Both Christmas and New Years, we had some of the church and neighbors here for supper, so it has been pretty busy around here the last while. We are also glad for a visit from our former school teacher Hannah Yoder, now married to Conrad Schmucker. They came for a two week visit and have been helping out with the work here. Tuesday we had one of our jersey cows fall over a cliff, and then as she tried to get up, she worked her way on down into the edge of the pond where she was found at chore time. She appeared to have a broken bones and was not able to get up, so we ended up killing her and skinning her out that night and then cutting her up on Wednesday.
Our neighbor Carlos, who I had mentioned as having had an accident while intoxicated, contacted me and wants to sell his farm. He just can’t seem to find victory over his problem with drink. He lives in town and just doesn’t want to continue driving back and forth and be reminded of what happened. He has around 20 acres that is close to our farm and would be an ideal place for another family to live and help in the work here. It is off the main road with a small road going past our farm entering his, with an area along the road that would be nice for a shop or business. There is not much land that comes up for sale close to us except for smaller lots. You can continue to pray that God would send another family to help in the work here, and also whether this farm should be considered for the future of the work here. Also pray that God would help Carlos find freedom from his slavery.
We are thankful for a neighbor, German, who has been helping us on the farm. We have had various others over the years, but it is very hard to find one that can be trusted. German is in an evangelical church here, and has been real good in working with the boys. We would like to get them started with raising produce on the farm, and he has had some experience with that.
The end of November, I made a trip to MS to load a truck with a Nissan pickup, and some farm equip. to be brought down. We were donated a plow earlier in the year, and then were able to buy a Nissan pickup very cheap, so we wanted to get that down here. About the same time, a flat-bed truck came up for sale and we had an offer from someone to buy the truck for resale here. We decided this would also be a good time to replace our 1954 Ferguson tractor, and found a little larger Ford that was offered to us very reasonably. Even though this one is close to 30 years old, it is still over 30 years newer than the one it is replacing. Although our Ferguson is still in excellent condition, it’s use has been very limited because of not having a high/low range, so its ground speed was too fast for mowing and tilling. The Ford has a little more power as well as slower gears, and the wheels can also be moved out to make it more stable on the slopes. It was interesting to get everything loaded and ready to come down. A neighbor from down here, brings vehicles down and he was up at the time, so he went by and picked up the truck to bring it down. The truck got here on Saturday and we were able to get it unloaded here with the help of a chain hoist suspended between two trees. We want to thank those who have made this load possible, and also those that gave of their time to help get everything together and loaded.
As the children get older, we feel the need to help them get involved in work that they can support themselves . We also want it to be something that they can continue on their own within a healthy environment. Farming seems to be one of the better options, but it takes time to get the soil built up to where healthy crops can be raised and then a market established. Here in HN there is a lot of spraying done for most any crop, but there has to be a better way than all that chemical exposure. So we want to start with a few crops that are a little easier to raise without too much spray, while we continue work to improve the soil. When the children were all still in school, it left me free to do more visiting and often they could also go along. Now that we have four out of school, it is a challenge to be able to work with them at getting something started and yet we do not want to neglect the visits and work of the church.
Thank you all for your continued prayers for the work here. Without Him our work is in vain, with him there is victory.
May God bless each one of you in the coming year.
PS – A report from the secretary for the last quarter of 2022 will come later.