Yes, I’ve waited so long between updates that now you get a twofer. Wow! Are you blessed or what?! Don’t worry, the first update is short. Kinda.
Update #1 – “I’m outta here!” No, really, I mean it this time. Really! I am headed to Austin, TX on October 28 for a few days and then (drumroll please) on October 31, 2013 (cymbal clash) I will fly from Austin, TX to San Pedro Sula, Honduras (trumpets sound, bugles blow, & angelic choirs sing). Yes, except for leaving every 90 days to get my passport stamped, I will be there for the next year. See!! I really am outta “here.” And just in time too. “Here” is the Colorado mountains, and it snowed “here” last Sunday night. Snow! In September! I’m shocked and outraged. Well, not really shocked, but I am outraged. Okay, I’m not outraged either, but do you know why not? Because I’m outta here! YES! Let my whining end. I’m outta here! Oh. Umm. No offense meant to those of you who still live in this winter wonderland called Summit County, Colorado. Please enjoy it, but as for me and my house, I’m outta here!
Before I go on to Update #2, I need to make my first apology to all the supporters of Food 4 Kids. I am sorry that it’s been so long between updates. I kept putting it off, hoping to announce a departure date. And now I have one, I see that I waited too long because Update #2 should have been out a long time ago. Sorry.
Update #2 – “Bricks and Sticks!” It has come to my attention that many people misunderstood me when I said that the Lord had provided all the funds I needed for my year-long stay in Honduras. Several thought we had all the funding we needed for everything, including the construction of the aquaponics farms. Unfortunately, the Lord has not provided those funds – yet! While God has provided for all expenses needed for traveling to and staying in Honduras for a year, we still need funds for the projects we want to do while there. This is my second apology, I should have corrected this misunderstanding earlier. We still need money for the “Bricks and Sticks” part of the mission to Honduras. Funds will be needed during the next year for the aquaponics farms and the solar energy system. Until Father God provides these funds, I am blessed to proclaim that our mission to Honduras will go on. As soon as I arrive, I will start planning and building the small gardens for the gardening school. More on that later.
By the way, from now on, I will write all the updates in first person plural. Why? Because I, Gideon Cooper, may be the one going to Honduras, but this is not just my mission. All of you have made it possible by giving your money, your encouragement, and most importantly, your prayers. This is your mission too. From now on, you will get to read about what “we” are doing on the Food 4 Kids’ mission to Honduras. I may be the boots on the ground, but “we” are the army.
As soon as we get to Honduras, we will begin to seek out the best method, the best location, and the best vegetables for our gardening school. Everything we do will be with an eye toward self-sufficiency. We have already purchased several packs of heirloom seeds for this reason. What are heirloom seeds? Well, most seeds are Genetically Modified Organism or GMO seeds. Companies genetically modify their seeds to prevent diseases and to increase production. The process also prevents people from saving the seeds at harvest and planting them the next growing season. Some of us may not know this, but most of the seeds we buy from our local store are GMO. Heck, we can’t even save unused GMO seeds plant them the next year. Most, if not all, GMO seeds have a built-in expiration date. If you don’t plant them during the current season, they will be unusable before the next season.
Not so with heirloom seeds. Most heirloom seeds are saved from private gardens. They may be a tiny bit more expensive, but the extra cost is recouped when we harvest the seeds to use in our next crop. Part of what we will teach in our gardening school is how to save seeds and store them until there are needed in the next garden.
We will also operate by the self-sufficiency model when it comes to fish. One of the important things we hope to do is install an inexpensive tilapia nursery. Currently, Open Door Ministries must purchase each new batch of tilapia they wish to raise. Installing a nursery will free their money to care for their children’s other needs.
Back to the gardening school. First we’ll build small, raised-bed gardens. Each small garden will be about four feet across and then marked off into small sections one foot across. We’ll give each child one of the small sections and let them grow plants of their choosing. (The older kids will be encouraged to help the little ones) Those who show a passion for gardening, a desire to help younger kids, or other, as yet unidentified actions and attitudes, will be rewarded with extra sections to garden.
Once Gideon Cooper, our man with boots on the ground, learns to truly communicate in the Spanish language, we will use the gardens as tools to disciple the children about our Lord Jesus. While we have many ideas and plans, most of our final plans will be made after we are in Honduras. This is to ensure that our plans fit in with the vision that Open Door Ministries has for their facilities and the kids under their care. We already know we are in agreement with them in the general concept of the gardening school, but before we get specific, we want their input and we need their permission. Remember, our goal is to actually help, not just do something to make ourselves feel good. Such an attitude would only create problems that Open Door Ministries would have to deal with once we’ve returned to the USA. None of us wants that.
“Lego Farm On Display” Please lift these upcoming events up in your prayers. This weekend, the Food 4 Kids new and improved Lego aquaponics farm will be set up at the Church at the Agape Outpost. On Saturday, September 28, it will be on display for the member churches of the High Country Baptist Association. On Sunday, everyone at the Agape Outpost can see the new additions we’ve made to the model. We’ve added small gardens like those we will use in the gardening school, a solar electricity system, a compost bin, and a barrel garden. Later in October, we’ll set the display up once again at the Agape Outpost for the Fall Festival. This just in! On October 6, Gideon Cooper will be speaking at High Country Church in Frisco, CO. He will share his testimony and talk about our vision for Food 4 Kids. He may even set up our Lego model. Prayers for new prayer warriors, new short and long term missionaries, and new donors who want to give to the Kingdom work in Honduras.
Most of us still wonder this, “Why did the Lord give us the vision about Food 4 Kids through Gideon Cooper? Is it because Gideon loves kids? Or is it because Gideon is the biggest kid of us all? Many have verbalized their puzzlement (and maybe their jealousy) that Gideon is the one called by God to play with our Legos. Gideon would tell you that being the vision-bearer and the Lego-builder is a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Be blessed fellow missionaries to Honduras, and as always,
Don’t drop your swords.
Gideon Cooper (Writing for the Food 4 Kids Team.)