A Field Planted in Faith
You have been so generous! We are almost there. We had Pastor Stephen (the owner of Faith the cow) over to our house on Friday. You would like Stephen. I know we did. He has a big smile. His love for God is evident. He talked about Jesus often. He pastors a local church. I'm not sure if he gets paid or not for this. My guess is he does not since it is a small church. But, he is clever. He has invested in these cows and has built a nice life with his growing family where they work hard, but get by. This allows him to pastor the church, his obvious passion. Stephen and his wife had four children and then recently adopted five orphans. These were street kids he couldn't leave behind. When I meet the adopted kids, I thought they were younger than they were. They each were a foot shorter than their better fed, younger siblings.
We discussed once again buying his cow, Faith, and the costs of food and upkeep. Stephen agreed to deliver the cow and feed and continue a relationship with the orphanage and train them on how to best care for a true milk cow. We have found out through discussions with others that Stephen is giving us a good deal on the cow. He could probably get closer to $3000 for the cow, but a fellow pastor sold Faith to him to help him get started when he was adopting his orphans for $2000, so that is all he was going to charge us since we were helping orphans. His generosity of spirit is inspiring.
After Stephen left we look at the numbers. Because Faith produces 35 to 40 liters of milk a day, we calculate the orphanage can buy all of the food for Faith, sell their excess milk of 20 plus liters a day and end up with an extra $170/month. In typical Wallace fashion, Amy and I have a huge, detailed spreadsheet with every contingency in it. We had some worries that the orphanage would not have the proper facility to care for the cow, and we wanted to make sure we are giving a gift that is appropriate and sustainable for the orphanage.
The cost of impregnating Faith with a guarantee of producing a heifer (did you know they can do that?!) is just under $100. So, we are planning that, so the orphanage will get a two-for-one! We also estimate we could afford about 3 months of food for them to put in storage.
So, we decided it was time to call the orphanage and ask to meet with them to make sure they could handle this nice of a cow. I remember they had a small barn for cows, but could they house this nice of an animal? Could they store the excess food like we would require?
I called Pastor Peter from the orphanage. Peter speaks good English, but it is much harder to communicate in a foreign language over the phone. After one or two minutes of him not being able to understand my English over the phone, I handed the phone to Stephen. Thirty seconds of Swahili later, we had an appointment to go to the orphanage on Saturday morning.
Stephen picked up our entire family early the next morning in his dated SUV. His youngest son George came along. The four Wallaces jumped in, and we headed down to the Beat the Drum orphanage.
As soon as we arrived, Amy's friend from our last visit ran right up to her and jumped in her arms.
We exchanged a few pleasantries. I told Peter of our intentions to buy this nice cow. We learned that he had spent some time taking agriculture classes. He had been praying for four milk cows. He was overwhelmed with the cow we were talking about.
When Peter and Stephen met face-to-face, they realized that they had met six months ago at a local pastors' meeting they have a couple of times a year. Peter had mentioned to Stephen at that time his dream of being self-sufficient with four milk cows. Stephen had told Peter about the cows he had and Peter said he could only dream of having something like that.
Pastor Stephen is dressed in white, Pastor Peter in pink.
It was time to see the facilities. First, we visited the barn. It had four, very nice stalls for the cows to sleep and four individual stalls for them each to have a perfect place for them to eat.
Then, we turned around and saw a room that could hold a storehouse of food. They even had a cutter for the maize like I saw at Stephen's. I asked Stephen what he thought. He said this was really, really nice. He was impressed.
Then Pastor Peter wanted to show us his fields. He planted three fields. Two of them, he planted in December. What did he plant? Food for cows. He planted a field with napier grass. It is nearly ready to harvest.
Behind that field is another grass field that can be harvested for cows.
And in faith, he planted a third field with maize for the cows.
So, he has prepared for having cows. Amy and I then realized that he planted the first field in December in faith. That is the same month that we received an e-mail asking about coming to RVA. I think God was up to something there.
They even have a greenhouse.
We stopped in to visit the orphans. This was a sweet girl named Mary that connected with Amy on our last visit and just HAD to show Amy her drawings on the wall.
We returned inside and looked over our spreadsheet.
Peter's wife handed Amy her 4-week old little boy named "Blessing." They prepared some chai for us. It is customary that the guest drink the chai prepared by the host.
We even discussed their future plans to try to make something that could collect the bio-gas from the cow manure to fuel their buildings to provide energy for cooking and lights. Stephen has also had a similar dream to capture bio-gas. This would be an $800 venture, but would save his family around $50/month. So, we are confident in the ability of this orphanage to take our gift and turn it into something self-sustaining.
We are comfortable with the 3-month supply of food we are giving Beat the Drum orphanage. The $2500 USD we estimated we would need was an excellent estimate. We are $100 from reaching that goal. We have decided that if we raise any more money than the exact cost for the cow and its provisions, we will donate the rest to helping Stephen realize his dream of a bio-gas facility at his house. This is a man of God we really would like to help.
At the conclusion of our meeting, we discussed delivering the cow to them next Saturday. We have had further discussions, and it looks like we will be able to afford three months of food stores from the donations we've received.
We drove Pastor Peter into town to show him where to buy the good, bagged cow food.
Then, we went over to visit Stephen's church. They just built the structure a few months ago. I have the distinct feeling this church is going to grow under Stephen's leadership.
The day wasn't over yet. Amy made a chocolate cake for Stephen's family. So, Stephen took us to his house to meet his family. His children stood up and sang for us. How precious! They even recited Bible verses in English. We ate chocolate cake together, and then went over to Mary's house. Mary is our worker in our house. She is a great cook and baker. She lives on the one-acre country plot with Stephen in a separate, little house. Again, we were invited to stay for chai. We couldn't say no.
Mary has a little gas stove in her house, but the gas is too expensive to buy. So, she also has kitchen outside. It is a little outside building that has a fire pit in it.
So, we are writing a check to Stephen tomorrow to buy the food supply and pay for his cow. He will deliver the food this week to the orphanage. We will deliver the cow you helped us buy next Saturday.
Finally, here she is with Mason. The boy who started this whole crazy adventure and the cow he decided we should buy.
Finally, look how much milk Faith will produce!
Pray for next Saturday when we deliver Faith the cow to her new home. The food should be delivered and ready for her arrival. We hope to have a little party with the orphans including chocolate chip cookies (since cookies started this whole thing) and delivering some toys. Pray that we can help these two orphanages become more self-sustaining. We really pray that Beat the Drum will get their four milking cows. I believe that would relieve their financial pressures.
You can donate by paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send a check to 604 Alexandria Pike, Anderson, IN 46012. If you donate, please e-mail us at email@example.com to let us know.
Thank you for partnering with us financially! You are the best! We have been overwhelmed with your generosity to our new friends. If you would still like to give towards this project, just let us know. All proceeds should be given by July 2 so we know before we leave. Everything donated will go to a good cause here. We promise.