Give thanks in all circumstances 1Thessalonians 5:18

It’s hard to give thanks when you feel things are going so wrong – the world certainly is in a desperate state at the moment. We aren’t called to give thanks for everything, but in everything because Jesus is always here for us. And, despite all the terrible things that are going on at the moment, we can still work together to help those that God puts in our path.

Alistair and I hope to travel to Zambia soon, where our contact is struggling to feed an orphanage attached to a hospital. The usual rains (November to April) have not come and they approached us for help in December for grain to plant, hoping for rain in January. Unfortunately the rains have not come – Zambia is in drought partly due to the El Nino phenomenon which has been worsened by climate change – so the grain planted has been lost. The country has declared a national emergency over the drought and we will visit to assess how Jacob’s Well Appeal can help. Please pray that the rains do come and that we can help this hospital and orphanage in this dire situation.

We are still sending regular aid to Ukraine, although not at the level we were previously. This is partly due to increased difficulties in getting aid into Ukraine with items such as food etc becoming too expensive to send. We are still sending a lot of medical aid including colostomy, which is required after blast injuries. We have also sent a recent container to Congo Brazzaville.

In the last few months we have completed another reusable sanitary pad project and received very positive feedback from the regional educational administrator who reports that the retention of girls in schools once they start their period has improved from 50% to over 85% with this intervention. Each girl retained means a whole family has the prospect of an improved home situation. She will not only be better educated to educate her children and hopefully send them to school, but will be in a better position to get employment if need be. Research has proved many times that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. As part of the reusable sanitary pad projects the girls also get sex education and advice about contraception which should also improve the outlook for their future families.

We have also built a toilet block for a school in Northern Ghana. The pupils, 78 boys and 87 girls as well as teachers were having to go to the toilet in the bush. They struggled to clean themselves and risked snake bites etc. Some would go home and not return. Retaining teachers was becoming a problem.

Pictures of the teachers ‘toilet’ with straw around it and the old (unusable) toilet below:

Pictures of the bush that the children have to use:

The new toilet block:

Thank you to everyone who supported this and any other of our projects. There are many desperate people in the world that unfortunately we are unable to help, but it is good that there are still many that we can. We thank God for the partners living in very poor parts of the world who enable us to reach these poor communities.