24 orphans, 1 liter of milk, unacceptable. Let's buy a cow.
We previously shared about our visit to Beat the Drum Orphanage where each child had HIV. God stirred something in Mason's heart when he saw that their only milking cow was about to die. Mason decided to try to buy them a new cow.
I almost stopped him and told him he couldn't do that. A cow would be too expensive. Thankfully, I stopped myself because, too often, I get in the way of what God wants to do. Mason's plan was to make chocolate chip cookies and sell them to RVA students.
He has done so most every Tuesday and Thursday during the morning Chai time. Every day at 10:30 a.m., we have chai time at RVA. The students and staff take 15 minutest to fellowship while drinking this sweet milk & tea combination. On Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, a snack is provided. Not so on Tuesday and Thursdays. Enter Mason and his cookies.
He sells each cookie for 50 shillings. This is around 50 cents in the U.S. His cookies have been very popular among the students. So far, he has raised just over $500.
So, I found the phone number for the orphanage and made a call. I didn't want to commit to buying a cow just yet, so I was a little cryptic. I talked to Pastor Peter who runs the orphanage. We met when we visited previously, and he remembered me. I told him we were praying for his cow that was sick. How was it doing? He told me that it had indeed died. They could use another one. I told him I would be praying for him but did not yet hint that we might try to help.
This was the cow the orphanage had that was dying.
So, what are the 24 orphans at Beat the Drum doing for milk? The orphanage can afford to buy about one liter of milk a day for all of them to share. This is NOT acceptable to us. We read one time in a really important book that we are supposed to take care of widows and orphans.
So, we began asking around, where can we buy a cow, and how much do they cost?
We started asking the locals we knew. Michael is a worker in the RVA science department. He said his brother-in-law has cows and knows all about them. His brother-in-law is Pastor Stephen. Stephen and his wife have three children of their own and have adopted five orphans. They are nearly beginning an orphanage of their own!
So, on Friday afternoon, I went to see a guy about a cow. After school, I got on the back of Michael's piki (motorcycle), and we went down the bumpy Kijabe road. This is the same road we went down to go to the orphanage the first time. What was I thinking?!
After we went three fourths of the way down the road, about 20 minutes, we turned off onto a dirt road. After four more turns on dirt roads, we arrived at Pastor Stephen's house.
Kijabe is a small place. It turns out that Michael's mother-in-law is Mary, one of our house workers. Mary is a wonderful cook. Mary's house is right next to Pastor Stephen's house. Pastor Stephen is Mary's son. So, I got to learn about cows and visit my good friend Mary, see her humble home, and have a cup of chai with her! Mary said she would like to have our family down for lunch some day. I began thinking that his could be difficult since we don't have a vehicle. Mary said not to worry, it is only about an hour walk down the hill and about an hour and a half up the hill. "Oh yeah," I thought. "Mary walks this every day to work at our place!" I think maybe we will try to get somebody to drive us down there.
The bottom line for this story, though, is God seems to be working here. We know Michael and Mary and trust them. We have the right people helping us buy a cow, since this is not my area of expertise.
Now, to the cows. Stephen and his wife have several Fresian cows. These cows are not usually around this part of Kenya. They need to be brought in from another area. These are very good milking cows and can produce between 40-50 liters a day! They are willing to sell one of their good milking cows to us. They are hoping to earn enough money to finish building the "house" for their newly adopted orphans. The cost of this cow is $2000 US or 200,000 Kenya shillings. We don't have that much yet.
We are still praying about it, but we are feeling led to buy this cow not only to help the Beat the Drum Orphanage, but to also help Pastor Stephen and his growing family! We want to buy the cow and enough food for the cow to ensure that it thrives during this current drought. We are told that if this cow produces 35-40 liters a day even during this drought. We think the orphanage can drink some of that milk and sell extra milk and cream to help feed the cow. We are hoping to help them to become self-sustaining.
There are local cows that are cheaper, but they do not produce nearly this much milk. The local cows are more for grazing off the grass on the hills and for meat production. The local cows we have seen have been very scrawny. The Fresian cow we are looking at looks much more like the cows I'm used to seeing back in Indiana. Here she is. This is Faith. This is who we want to buy.
Pastor Stephen and his wife are hoping to finish off this house on their property for their children to have a safer place to live. The children are currently living in metal dorm-type houses. This is the stone house where they hope the orphans can live. It is attached to Pastor Stephen's main house.
So, now our goal is to buy a cow for milk for the Beat the Drum orphanage AND help build a house for Pastor Stephen's newly adopted children. We can do both by buying Faith the Cow! Isn't it interesting how God works?
Pastor Stephen lives just a few kilometers from the Beat the Drum orphanage. Our plan is to try to buy Stephen's cow. We will ask him to train the Beat the Drum orphanage folks on how to properly feed and care for the cow. We will ask him to stop in once in a while to help look in on the cow to make sure it is properly cared for. We will also seek to buy and provide Beat the Drum with enough food for Faith the cow until Kenya weathers this drought and the next harvest comes in. We will pay for the cow's feed until that time.
So, we are looking to raise $2500 to buy a cow and make sure it is fed properly. We have $500 so far. Mason hopes to sell another $200 in cookies in our time here. So, we are going to give you, yes YOU, the opportunity to bless some orphans in Kenya. I know there are a lot of worthy things to give your money to, but if God is telling you to be a part of this one, then welcome aboard! I will make sure that the names of everybody who gives over $50 to the cause will have their name permanently branded onto the side of Faith the Cow. Just kidding!
We plan to buy Faith the Cow in the next two weeks to get this all in place before we leave Kenya. If you'd like to help us buy a cow so that we can give milk to one group of orphans AND help us build a house for another group of orphans, the time is now.
We would gladly accept your donations. If you want to donate to help buy Faith the Cow for the Beat the Drum Orphanage, you can send us money on Paypal (email@example.com) or if you don't want Paypal to take a cut, you can send us a check to our U.S. address (604 Alexandria Pike, Anderson, IN 46012). That will work just fine. If you donate, just be sure to let us know you sent a check and how much at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make sure it gets to the orphans.