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Saturday, June 25, 2016

The police brought the baby to our front gate at dusk.

Ian explaining to the Minister of Agriculture how the Sanovo egg boiling machine works with solar power.
Yesterday was a wonderful and long anticipated day at Project Canaan.  It was the official opening of the Egg Barns on Project Canaan. VIP’s flew in from all over the world (Canada, US, Denmark, UK, Holland and Australia) and they were joined by the Minister of Health, the Minister of Agriculture, our church Pastors, long-term volunteers and our oldest children.

The night before the event I had a dream that someone brought an abandoned baby to the event!  I couldn’t see who it was, but we were all equally shocked and excited to receive the child. As we awaiting the Ministers to arrive I got a call from a Social Welfare officer saying that he was bringing a 9-month-old abandoned child directly from the police. I had goose bumps all over my body.

As is common, the event started an hour late and lasted two hours longer than expected, but the speeches were excellent, the tour of the egg barn was impressive and our children’s performances of “I know a chicken” and “the chicken dance” were truly the highlights.

The Ministers got up and did the chicken dance with the children.
Below are a few words that Ian spoke as he presented some interesting statistics from our first six months of egg distribution. 

“Welcome Honourable Minister of Health Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, Honourable Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilikati, Dr. Bitchong and Dr. Pawelos from RFM Hospital, Chiefs from our surrounding communities, Bishop Masilela, President of the Swaziland conference of churches in Swaziland, Pastors from our partners churches, International visitors, all of our guests and of course, our beautiful children. 

This is an exciting day and one that we have been looking forward to for a very long time.  We are thankful that you can all be here to celebrate this day with us.

Project Canaan is a place of hope.  When we first bought this land in 2009 it was Swazi bush.  There were no roads, no buildings, no fields and no electricity.  Only bush!  And now, just look around and see all the God has done in six short years.  It is incredible, impossible and it has been an honor for us to be a small part of a big plan.

Several years ago our friend Chad Gregory introduced us to Tim Lambert and the Egg Farmers of Canada.  Shortly thereafter Tim came to Swaziland to visit with a team of egg farmers and they were moved by the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable children of the country.  These tough businessmen were literally brought to tears when they visited homesteads and churches and met the children who are being fed by the pastors who are sitting here today.  Many people who come to visit us are moved, but unfortunately few are moved enough to go home and take action.

When Tim and his team went back to Canada they started to work on a plan to get a hard boiled egg in to the hand of every child that we feed through our 31 church partners.  They wanted to provide the perfect protein to feed a hungry world … otherwise known as “the humble egg”. 

Today we have 2,500 laying chickens in the barn to your right behind this building and on July 7th we will receive our second flock of 2,500 to go in to the barn to your left.  I want us all to understand that we are producing 2,200 eggs every day and ALL of those eggs are for distribution to orphaned and vulnerable children in the most rural areas of Swaziland. They are also being distributed in partnership with the Social Welfare department and we are excited to announce our partnership with the work that Dr. Pawelos is doing with malnourished children at RFM.  We will be providing an egg a day to each child in the pediatric ward to help ensure that every child gets that perfect protein every day. 

While we wish we could help every child in the country who is in need, that is not possible. But we do what we can with what we have. So let me give you a few statistics of what we have been able to do to feed children just since January of this year.

We currently feed 3,100 children every week. They eat 11,300 meals per week, (78% of our church partners are serving more then one meal a week).  Our delivery truck has drives 38,500 KM (24,000 miles) every ten days to deliver food to our 31 church partners. We have distributed 250,000 or 21,000 dozen hard boiled eggs, 1 ton of sugar beans, provided almost 300,000 hot meals since the beginning of the year and we look forward to increasing our egg distribution next month.

In closing I would like to thank the Lord for His provision. None of this would be possible without His hand and favor.  Thank you to everyone who is here today who has made this dream a reality.  This dream has brought hearts together from around the world and today’s guest list clearly reflects that.  Thank you Tim and Chad for opening your eyes and your hearts to the people of Swaziland and for standing with us in unity as we do our best to help “the least of them.”

Thank you.”

The event was followed by a lovely lunch for 130 people at the Oasis and tours of the property.  As I was preparing to welcome our 29 visitors to our home for a short visit before dinner I got a call from a police officer who had a 3-month-old baby boy who had been dumped with a note from the mother. She wrote, “I hope someone can care for my baby so I don’t have to kill him.” 

The 9-month-old baby that we heard about in the morning hasn’t arrived yet, but the 3-month-old arrived at our front gate at 5PM, complete with court order. Chad and Amy Gregory were with me for pick up and we have named the child “Gregory” in their honor. 

Amy and Chad Gregory with baby Gregory

Live from Swaziland … looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow.


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