Category Archives: Newsletter

05Feb/16

Newsletter: January 2016

We arrived back from an extended time in the UK on Saturday, January 9th, and are now adjusting to the familiar way of life, and also the altitude again. We had a very fulfilling time in UK, spending most of the time with the family. We were in Reading so that we were near Jenny and her family. Greyfriars church lent us the curate’s house for the duration of our stay and it proved a wonderful base for which we are very grateful.

In September Becca started at Northampton University where she is reading Human Resource Management. She had about a month to adjust to England before we took her up and settled her in to her accommodation on campus. She is enjoying the independence and has settled into university life, and seems to be enjoying her course.

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

After her maternity leave of one year, Jennifer resumed work in September for a couple of months before taking maternity leave again in November. During this time she was able to leave Robert (Bobby) and Jessica (Jess) with us during the day, and they adjusted well to their grandparents! They soon got to know us and it has been wonderful to be there in the transition from babies to toddlers. Now that we have returned to Kenya we will miss them greatly.

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Jenny’s husband, Tich had broken his leg so when we arrived in UK he was somewhat incapacitated, but this meant that we had had quality time with the whole family.
We knew Jenny was going to present us with a new grandchild in December so we had extended our stay an extra month to be around for the birth. Christian came quickly into the world on Christmas morning, weighing in at 4kg – a wonderful Christmas gift for us as we remembered another very significant birth together. Mother and son are both doing very well, and we are very glad we were around to be with them at this time.

Being in England for a longer period enabled us to catch up on the fast changing thinking of the society, especially in the very mixed environment of Reading. As noted above, our focus of time was very much on the family, and we are sorry that we didn’t get to meet up with many folks we would have liked to see during the time.

 

We are now back in Kenya, picking up again with the part of the family that is here as well as catching up on the work. Manny, Grace, Naomi and Faith have been in Nairobi, living in our house since May last year as the situation in Mundri has been very tense, so we had a warm welcome from them on our return. It has been good to pick up with another part of the family as we have had to leave those behind in Reading. The girls in particular are very excited to have us back.

Photo of Naomi and Faith

Naomi and Faith

While we have been away work has continued through the team both in Nairobi and those based in Kisumu. The rains have been heavy and have continued for an extended period, so this has been a good time for planting Vetiver grass, and the team have been busy helping those who have nurseries to use the grass to protect their land. This has been a good opportunity to extend this teaching. There is a growing understanding amongst those with whom we work that our neglect of God’s wonderful creation is causing more and more problems. The message of good stewardship of God’s world has always been central to our teaching but is now being understood by more and more folks. Climate change is indeed a Gospel Imperative. This is a message we will continue with into 2016 in our teaching. We believe this to be a significant part of practical discipleship as we talk about living as God’s people.

Rosalia has been very active in training on Natural medicines over the time we have been away and the message is spreading both in our catchment area and further afield. She was able to have a week training amongst the Maasai on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in October and has been training in churches round Kisumu the last couple of months. The photo is of Rosalia with
some of the Maasai trainees.

It has been encouraging to hear what has been going on and Roger will be travelling to Kisumu next week to spend time with the team there and strategise for the time ahead. We have an intensive one week Natural Medicines seminar planned for March, and registration is underway, and we expect a good attendance.

We are still facing serious challenges of funding, and although we made some good contacts while in England, this is something we are still focusing on. We have redone the REAP website, so we would encourage those who can to get on there to get a clearer overview of our current work. We have also been able to establish a link for donations online which should now be working. We are more and more dependent on personal giving for continuing the work. REAP is eligible for Gift Aid claims. Challenges of South Sudan

One of the things that has really saddened us while in England is hearing of the deteriorating situation in Mundri. While on the national front peace negotiations have continued and seem to bearing fruit, in Mundri the situation has seriously deteriorated. The clash in worldview between the agricultural people of Mundri and the cattle people coming from the areas to the north has led to a lot of destruction in Mundri. As a result the population of the town had to flee to the bush, and some people are only now returning. As a result all schools, including Mama Keziah Nursery School have closed. This was only weeks after the nursery school had finally opened, so was particularly disappointing for Jos. However, since the building is out of town it has not suffered the destruction that other buildings have. Manny was in Mundri when the fighting escalated, but was able to get a flight out to join his family in Nairobi, where he is now getting involved in temporary sports ministry prior to home assignment later this year.

Prayer Pointers

We want to give thanks to all those who remember us in prayer, and we are very aware of the importance of this, as we look back and see God’s hand in leading and providing:

  • We PRAISE God for the time we had in England, and especially the quality time we had with Jenny and Tich and their family. We give a special thanks to God for our new grandson, Christian.
  • Please PRAY for Becca as she adjusts to not having us in the same country, and that she may really benefit from the university experience.
  • Please continue to PRAY for us as we seek to find more resources to continue the work, and indeed to expand to new areas.
  • Please PRAY for the REAP team, for good health and safety as they are involved in travelling and training.
  • Please PRAY for Roger as he presents a paper at the ECHO symposium in March, and for the Natural Medicines training the week after that we may be able to maintain the holistic message.
  • We continue to seek PRAYER for South Sudan; that peace may prevail. Please PRAY especially for the situation in Mundri and for Manny and Grace and the family with the challenges of being displaced to Nairobi.
  • Please continue to PRAY that the process we are involved in with others may wake the church to our responsibility for our Father’s property in relation to the environment, and for follow up from last May’s conference. Please also PRAY that the holistic message we teach may get across and those we work with may see their responsibility to God in all they do.
30Nov/15

Newsletter: Spring 2015

Kajulu Farm

Kajulu Farm Pic1 smallREAP has employed a new enthusiastic caretaker. As February was very dry, he was able to make good use of the water abundantly available to irrigate different sections of the garden, while Vetiver grass kept the soil covered with mulch.
The many trees planted are now developing and self-seeded leguminous trees add fertility as well as a pleasant environment for visitors. They are experimenting with a new species of Artemisia for hotter areas, also trying some other interesting crops.

Kajulu Farm Pic2 smallBuilding of the conference centre on the farm is progressing well. Six youths were trained in making the interlocking compressed blocks for the walls. This is a project with the Ministry of Housing, who trained the youth and each received a certificate.

Training

February ECHO Symposium
Roger attended the Arusha ECHO Symposium and presented a plenary session on ‘A Biblical Basis to Motivate Rural Change’. The presentation showed how the Biblical references are very much used in the REAP program. Many participants expressed appreciation and good contacts were made. Roger sees a challenge of transferring interest into actual relationships and follow-up.

March Natural Medicine Seminar
Participants came from many countries to a week’s ANAMED Training Seminar on Natural Medicine. Practical participation was excellent and well taken. Closing session comments reinforced the importance that REAP puts on a Biblical background for its teaching. All went home with books, planting materials, seeds and samples from the practical.

May Creation Care Conference
Preparations for the Creation Care Conference in May have been encouraging. CCC is experienced in running these seminars and will cover the administrative side. It has been very good developing strong links with other Christian organizations with a similar philosophy. Beyond the conference they are looking to set up Creation Care or Christian Environment networks in various neighbouring regions, as well as taking the environmental message to city churches.

Family

Roger expects to return to UK mid- August, to strengthen REAP support and help Becca settle into Uni. Jos continues her support for the new school in Mundri, and Tich and Jenny with their twins Robert and Jessica are happy in Reading.
PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for the success of the Creation Care Conference and follow up
  • Thanks for the involvement of Jenny and Tich who volunteered to assist REAP
  • Prayer for Roger and Jos’ promotional activities during their visit to the UK this summer
  • Praise for the positive responses from recent seminars and the steady spread of REAP teaching
  • Thank the Lord for His faithful provision over many years but funding is urgently needed to enable the work of REAP to continue
19Jul/13

Newsletter: Summer 2013

Training Seminars

Picture1During May REAP held a weeklong training seminar on Natural Medicines with Anamed.

There were participants from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Sudan, a Dutch couple working in South Sudan, a Japanese volunteer working in Kenya, a Jesuit Catalan father from Kakuma refugee camp and the others from Kenya. They ranged from a university professor and community health workers to several youth. All were keen to learn of the holistic approach to REAP and actively requested Biblical input.

Following the success of this training seminar, we are planning to hold another one in November. We are thinking of having a similar type of training relating to the Stewardship program, and are exploring this idea with some Christian NGOs.

We have also been asked to do a week’s training on Natural Medicines in August at the AIC missionary college in Eldoret.

Staff Activities

Picture2George and Rosalia spent a week training in Central Pokot in April. This is most encouraging as they were from a remote area where people are able to see the value of taking control of their own situation.

Domitilla was able to visit Wau in South Sudan for a follow up on her training on stoves. She found the people there were much more focused on this occasion. A third visit is planned.

Rosalia and Monica will be conducting a training group for the Lavan Children’s Ministry in Kilimambogo on 10th June.

There is much interest in REAP teaching in Ukamani, south east of Nairobi. An established trained Ukamani contact is already using REAP teaching and planting material at his home. He would be an ideal person to take our teaching forward in this area.

New vehicle

Picture3Donations have been received to cover the cost of replacing the REAP vehicle. This is currently being imported from Japan and should be in use shortly.

Other opportunities

In his capacity as a board member of Across, Roger has been able to visit South Sudan in order to interview the new Executive Director and Personnel Director, and will be returning to Juba later in June for meetings with the Across management and board members.

We have currently had positive interaction with CMS Africa, in relation to both natural medicines and environmental teaching. We would like to learn from each other without duplicating.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Praise for the positive responses from recent seminars and the steady spreading of REAP teaching
  • Prayer that REAP will shortly obtain written final approval for building the much needed Demonstration and Resource Centre on REAP’s Kajulu land
  • Thanks for the safe delivery of Faith Ruby Sharland on 3rd June; Roger and Jos’ second grandchild
  • Pray for the success of the REAP stand at the Kisumu Show during the first week in August

 

11Mar/13

Newsletter: Spring 2013

Stewardship Seminar

Last November’s four day seminar to train twenty key contact people in REAP’s holistic methods has inspired much activity as participants have keenly put their newly honed skills into practice.

Thanks to funding from Spring Harvest, REAP was able to gather together twenty key people from various locations in northwest Kenya.

The seminar focused on how to become good stewards of God’s creation. As a result of four day’s intensive training the delegates have since enthusiastically shared practical help with less fortunate farmers who live in their communities.

This teaching took place at Ukweli, close to REAP’s Kajulu garden plot, so the delegates were able to benefit from witnessing REAP concepts already being put to use.

Seminar attendees dig up clumps of vetiver grass from the REAP farm, to start a new nursery at the Ukweli Centre

Seminar funding

When REAP is not holding seminars on behalf of other organizations or within supporting churches, participants often require funding.

REAP’s only limitation in spreading news of proven, low cost, methods that vastly improve the lives of the poor is funding.

The full cost of bringing together a group of twenty committed rural leaders for four days of intensive training is £3,000. Sometimes churches and individuals are able to contribute to their own attendance, but often delegate sponsorship is needed.

Kajulu Developments

Picture1

Kajulu plot with proposed new building in the bottom left hand corner, close to the road

REAP’s plans to develop the Kajulu land by erecting an eco-friendly and cost-effective demonstration, training and resource centre, await final permission from local authorities.

This building will enable non-residential training for visitors throughout the year.

REAP staff are currently locating paths to enable the plot to be toured logically. The farm and building will clearly demonstrate to visitors diverse methods of soil conservation, farming, mulching, natural medicine, recycling and domestic ideas that are being used.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for the development of REAP’s seminar program and necessary funding to sponsor delegates from the poorest communities
  • Praise for the encouragement of seeing many REAP’s ideas put into practice to improve the life’s of Africa’s poor
  • Prayer that REAP will shortly obtain written final approval for building the much needed Demonstration and Resource Centre on REAP’s Kajulu land.

 

17Dec/12
image006

Newsletter: Christmas 2012

image006Dear Friends,

Once again we have entered December and Christmas will soon be here. Let us start by wishing you a very Happy Christmas and God’s blessing in 2013.

We look forward to celebrating as a family this time of year when we remember God’s wonderful gift to us, and how Jesus humbled himself to come and live amongst us.

image005Emmanuel and Grace and Naomi will be with us for Christmas, before proceeding to England for their ‘home assignment’, having just finished their time in Yei with Across. Grace and Naomi have been with us for a couple of weeks now and we have enjoyed spending time with them, and getting to know our granddaughter as a person. At 2½ she is full of energy.

Since getting back from England at the end of August we have had a busy time and have been seeking to fit in many different things. We had a good time in England in the summer, and enjoyed watching the Olympics on TV, as well as catching up with many people.

Encouragement in the work

Our work in REAP has been continuing to attract interest and spread slowly, though over the last year or so we have been rather restricted by lack of funds. We have not been able to reach out as much as we would have liked but this has also meant we have been able to develop the plot near Kisumu so that it is a very positive place to teach from.

Over the last few months we have been consolidating our teaching so that we can more effectively offer it to others. We continue to focus on the three core areas of sustainable agriculture, teaching through women’s fellowships and Natural medicines. We now have clear packages of teaching on each of these, and have been able to link the practical teaching clearly with spiritual teaching from the Bible. This holistic approach sometimes makes it difficult for us to attract the funding we need to expand, as so many see the spiritual aspect that we see as central, as being a diversion!

In November we had a grant to run a workshop on the Biblical approach to agriculture. We had 20 of our keenest contact people together for five days and were able to positively consolidate the teaching. One thing that we have been able to work on well this year has been getting Vetiver Grass out to many more people through encouraging small nurseries on many farms. This is something that is now a major focus of our extension work.

We have also been able to continue to do some teaching for others with Rosalia and George teaching in Pokot, and Domitilla teaching on stoves in South Sudan, both this last month.

Visits to South Sudan

2012 is the 40th anniversary of Across. While we were in UK it was wonderful to meet up with so many former Across friends for the day celebration in August at ‘All Nations’. In September both of us were able to travel to Juba for the celebrations there. It was a time of giving thanks to God for all he has done through Across and also an opportunity to look ahead.

The Executive Director of Across is not extending his contract after the end of the year, and so effectively left the work at the end of October to spend time with his family in Australia before returning to a new ministry in Juba. As one of the board members based in Nairobi, Roger has as a result been spending quite a bit of time in the Across office in this transition period. An interim ED has been found for a period from January 2013, which should reduce the time input needed.

Roger also made a visit to Leer in Unity State for an evaluation of a Community Midwives Training School with the Presbyterian Church. It was good to visit a new part of South Sudan and, as well as looking at the project there, to be able to get a feel of the development of the new nation from a remote part.

Jos was hoping to visit Mundri in November to move forward her vision for starting a nursery school near our home. She has some funding to start building and was hoping to get things started. However, her eyes have been giving her trouble and she had a cataract operation in one eye at the beginning of November, and since the eye is very dry it is taking time to heal. So she is now hoping to go in the new year.

Family News

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We are looking forward to catching up with Manny when he joins the rest of his family here next week. They have finished their time with Across, and are looking to the way God is leading them in the future, probably in further sports ministry in South Sudan. They are still with Pioneers.

While we were in England in July and August we were able to catch up with Jenny and Tich. Since we came back to Kenya, they have moved to our house in Reading and both of them have new jobs, which build on their experience and lead more towards their career expectations.

Becca continues to enjoy being at Braeside School in Nairobi and is preparing for her IGCSEs next summer. This is an important year for her, and she does not find it easy to commit herself to study.

Prayer Pointers

· We continue praise God for the new country of South Sudan.

· Please pray for Roger’s continued input into Across, and for wisdom for the board in appointing a new Executive Director.

· Please also pray for Jos’s vision for a nursery school in Mundri, and for the resources to take it forward.

· Please pray that we may find more resources for the work of REAP, so that we can continue to move out with our teaching and build on our vision.

· Please pray that as we continue to found our practical teaching on Biblical teaching, others may pick up the vision of the importance of taking Biblical teaching into every aspect of life.

· Please pray for Manny and Grace as they seek the right way forward for their ministry.

· Please pray for Kenya at this time of build up towards the elections. The elections are in March and politics is central to all discussions and news. There is apprehension after the violence following the elections five years ago. Please pray especially that Christians will stand firm and that faith will be seen in action

We very much appreciate all the interest in our work and the prayer and other support. We are at this stage very much looking for more financial resources for our work. If anyone has links with trusts or foundations that may be able to support our work, we would love to hear from you.

With love in Christ,
Roger, Jos and Becca (Sharland)