Here is a link to our November Newsletter.

http://eepurl.com/bEDywH

One of the projects that we are conducting in our village is a demonstration tank for fish and aquaponics.

Our tank is 6000 liter20150606_090312s (about 1500 gallons). I must confess that it is much larger than I was first planning. Things sometimes just happen. My original plan was for a 2000 liter (about 500 gallon) tank for the creation of fish for a small family. After calculating the needed diameter several times, I lost my presence of mind and marked out an area much larger from memory. Yes, I was already tired when I marked the circumference. After the brick-layer began the work, I just decided to let it go. We now have a tank for a large family.

For those who are not acquainted with aquaponics, this is the raising of crops with the water from a pond or fish tank. We are experimenting with 2 systems. Our first system is a buoyant system which is basically a floating garden. The fish water is the food for the plants. No soil is needed. We are using small pebbles in order to give some kind of footing for the roots, but officially, that is not needed either. The plants are in cups, placed in holes cut into the Styrofoam so that the cups are always below the water level. Holes in the cups allow the water to constantly feed the plants. Our second system uses a pump to lift water to a rock-bed tank. The water passes through the rocks and returns to the fish tank. The seeds are planted directly in the small rocks. So far, both systems are working and each have advantages.

20150630_070034 After demonstrating a means to produce fish for family consumption, we will be helping families who wish to do the same thing. Our promise to them is that we will assist with technical advice, some physical labor, and lending of starter fish. After 6 months the family must repay us with live fish so that we can lend them to another family. Each family must purchase their own bricks, cement, pipes, tarps, or other material for construction. The materials are minimal. It is important to us, though, to see each family contribute to the project so that they have a sense of ownership. Too many times we have seen projects start and fail here in the village because someone else paid all the costs.

Please pray for us as we work through the ins and outs of reaching the people both spiritually and physically.

20150416_064916 Beekeeping is something that has captured my attention at various times in my life. I like the idea of fresh honey. I don’t like the idea of being stung and I never wanted to invest enough money in protective clothing to keep from swelling up after getting fresh honey. So, I always purchased my honey. Here in our part of Brazil, there are 28 different varieties of bees, 27 of which DO NOT have stingers. Only the imported, and Africanized, Italian honey bee has a stinger. We are currently raising 3 types of bees at our house in the village, Tubi, Tiuba, and um, I don’t know the name of the third. Please 20150413_180008don’t ask for the scientific names, I don’t want to lie. One might ask why we would raise different types of bees. Good question. I happen to have a good answer. Each bee has a distinctive tasting honey. Tubi has a taste much like the honey that you buy in the store. Tiuba has a taste like, well…. It has a very different taste.  We have not yet harvested the 3rd variety of honey, so no comment as to the flavor. However, the ???? bee is very tiny. We are raising this bee just because it is something different.

I am currently looking for another bee to raise from this area. It is called Trombico. The honey from this bee has a sweet and sour flavor, similar to honey with lemon. We added some to our cold tea and each of us commented that the flavor was practically identical to canned Lipton Iced tea. (And, yes, we do like that flavor.) A stunning difference between our bees and those of the well known honey bee, is the form of the comb. Really, these are not like any comb that I have ever seen. To me, they are a mixture of Dr. Seuss and a bad Sci-fi movie.  20150615_093109

Now, we have fresh honey and no large investment for protective gear. I do have to wear a net over my head and long-sleeved shirts while messing with the hives though. Although the bees do not have stingers, some of them resort to hair pulling or a weak bite to defend their colony. I can live with that.

I remember when I was young I always looked forward to going to my Grandparent’s house in the country. During summers and holidays, I always got excited about playing with my cousins. Some lived near and others lived far away. I remember climbing trees, making tree houses, playing underneath the house, playing in the smokehouse and exploring down the dirt roads. We had hours of fun together. These memories were brought to mind several times lately as I thought about the life of our people group.

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In our people group the families are close knit. The families (based on the mother’s family) all live next to each other. The children (cousins) in the family group grow up together just like brothers and sisters. They have similar experiences to what I encountered with my cousins but for them it is a daily event. They are with each other most days. They may attend school with their cousins also. Their families also farm land in groups so each individual family would have fields next to the other families in their family group. It is fun seeing these kids exploring, swimming, fishing and playing together. It is also fun seeing our children being included as “cousins” also. It brings back a lot of fun memories.

We have had a challenging and busy year.  We are posting our end of the year newsletter. I will also be updating our prayer request page as well.  Thank you for your support through prayer and through the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.  Without your support we would not be able to reach the lost in Northern Brasil.

Pray for the CAM People

Pray for the CAM People

Family Newsletter Dec. 2014 #2

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