Photo: One of our workers is so happy to see another harvest. She is thankful for the wages that the farmland provides for her and her family.
Today we are happy to report that the 7th annual harvest at our Myanmar rice farm took place in late December. The crop yielded approximately 4.4 tons of rice at the 14 acre farm. Heavy rains during the harvest affected our yield, thus we were not able to gather as great of a yield as we have in previous years. Even so, we are thankful for a good crop that will provide a key staple in the diets of 133 orphans and the staff in our 5 orphan homes. Another benefit to growing this staple grain is that it stores well over the year in our orphan home pantries. We are praying for a more bountiful harvest of rice after the next planting season which begins in June or July.
Part of the rice harvest yield produces byproducts referred to as “broken rice,” “rice husks,” “rice bran,” and “hay straw,” all suitable for various types of livestock and poultry feed. The harvest in December profited our native team $250 from the sale of these rice byproducts. To keep these amounts in perspective relative to the local economy, remember that the average weekly income of a Myanmar citizen is around $37 per week.
Christmas has passed since we last shared a report from our Myanmar programs, so we want to give you an update on how the children enjoyed the season. Our native team organized a Christmas party for 65 of our children (ages 3-17) in December where they enjoyed playing football and other fun games and dancing together. The children were served a delicious meal of chicken, pork, and milk, and they were grateful to receive Christmas gifts of new clothes and shoes.
All of our children are back in school where they are studying their native Burmese language, English, math, geography, history, physics, chemistry, and biology. Our primary and middle school students took their end-of-semester exams in February, and now our high school students are putting in extra hours of study in preparation for their end-of-semester exams this month. When the children are not hard at work in their studies, they enjoy watching TV, cartoons, and movies, and playing football and singing together to relax and have fun. We are seeking to raise $250 to purchase 5 children’s bicycles and $400 to purchase 5 adult’s bicycles for our children’s and native team’s enjoyment and convenience of transportation. In addition, we are seeking to raise $300 to purchase 3 guitars as two of the children want to learn how to play music during their summer break.
Today we want to share the redemptive story of 14-year-old Hlaing* who lives at one of our orphan homes in Myanmar:
Hlaing came to live with us when he was 8 years old. He initially struggled in school because he did not have access to an education in his home village as there was no school located there. His village was also filled with chaos and unrest due to violence between local ethnic groups. Hlaing and his family were always worried about how they would make a daily living — they never had enough food or clothing.
But now Hlaing is thriving, living at one of our orphan homes. He is doing very well in school, receiving A’s on his school work and exams. He is currently in the 7th grade and his favorite subjects are his native Burmese language and math. After he graduates from school, he wants to become a school teacher. When Hlaing is not studying, he loves to read and play games outside with the other children. His favorite foods are pork and bananas, which he is very thankful for as he often went hungry in his home village.
Hlaing’s life has been transformed since coming to live with us — he is grateful to God for the provision of clean clothes, school supplies, and healthy meals every day. He is also thankful to have been taught about the love of Jesus through Bible studies which he says fill his heart with peace and hope. After he becomes a school teacher, he wants to go back to his home village and teach the local children who do not have a way to attend school. He wants to thank you for your prayers and generous support in his schooling.
In other news, this year we hope to be able to move to the 5 acres of land our native team acquired last year outside of the city for their new campus. It will become the new location of our primary orphan home with many improvements and much more space. In order to move, we need to raise $75,000 to construct a two-story building, including a bathroom and library. We also need to raise $24,000 for a transformer in order to supply electricity to the new campus. We realize that for an organization our size, such funds would be a miraculous provision, so we are extremely thankful for your loving generosity to help us in these important endeavors.
In the words of our field director: “By the grace of God all of the children are doing well and growing physically, mentally, and spiritually in wisdom and knowledge. They are all hard-working in their lessons and are looking forward to their summer holiday coming up soon.”
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* Story names are changed to protect our program participants.