Saturday, March 4, 2017
Nothing is wasted; chickens and God
As you may know, we are in partnership with the Egg Farmers of Canada and the International Egg Foundation and Commission. Through their support we have been able to build two egg barns, each holding 2,500 laying hens. This has allowed us to provide close to 4,500 hardboiled eggs EVERY DAY to the orphans and vulnerable children of Swaziland through our 31 church partners for the past year.
Now that I am married to a farmer 😊 I can tell you that a “laying hen” will produce an egg every 26 hours and will do that until they are approximately 70-weeks-old. After that, their production starts to slow down and so it is time to bring in a new flock, who are young and ready to pump out eggs!
Our next flock arrives on Friday of next week, so we are in preparation mode for that. What does that mean? Well, first, we had to “deal with” the 2,500 chickens that have finished their original purpose … laying eggs. Then we have to clean and disinfect the barns. But unlike many hens in other parts of the world, the breed of chicken that we have still has a lot of meat left on it, and they are very worthy of eating. So we needed to “harvest” the 2,500 birds.
We had several people offer suggestions on the latest chicken slaughter/plucking machines, but I knew in my heart that we have the very best (and fastest) slaughter/plucking machines already on Project Canaan … our Swazi’s! I have never seen someone slaughter, pluck, disembowel and chop up a chicken faster than a Swazi woman. And so the task began early Tuesday morning, and was complete by 9PM Wednesday evening. It wasn’t pretty, but was it was incredible to watch.
Our children eat 1,200 drumsticks every month, and so the drumsticks were frozen in large bags together. Our Aunties eat the thighs and wings in stew and so those, along with the breasts were frozen separately. The livers and hearts are a great source of iron and so they too went in to separate bags and are being added to our children’s menu (we love liver and heart here). Our freezer is almost full!
Then there are the intestines, the other organs and the feet. Those are decidedly the “best parts” according to any self-respecting Swazi, and were cooked up immediately so that everyone could enjoy a “take-out” plate with them when they finished work on Wednesday night.
I had hoped to get a large stockpot full of bones so that I could make a big pot of chicken broth, but I was reminded that nothing is wasted by our Swazi family, and when it comes to chickens the Aunties and Uncles will even enjoy chewing on the bones when the stew is finished. No chicken broth for us this time.
Not to link God to chickens, but this week I was reminded over and over again that He also wastes nothing. This week we also saw lots of hardship, heartbreak and suffering, but through it all we also saw the hand of God in so many ways. We received two babies (a 3-month-old girl and a 2-year-old boy) and through their tragic stories we saw salvation, redemption and renewed hope in the eyes of Doctors, Social welfare officers and Great Grandparents. God wastes nothing.
There may be things in your life that are not pretty, do not smell good, and seem like a total waste, but I promise you, God has a plan, and he uses everything. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Let us not rush through the lessons that we are being taught now. But let us persevere SO THAT we can be mature and complete, and lack nothing.
Live from Swaziland … I think we will have chicken for dinner.