A Bit of Our History with Aquaponics . . .
These are excerpts from previously published updates.
From our Update June 20, 2008
- “Fish & Gardens”
Our goal this year is to reach out and help 1% of the children in Davao. That's 7,500 kids coming to Family Circus every week, along with an estimated 2,500 of their family members. It is our dream that every child coming to learn about Jesus could receive: Hot bread rolls, juice, first aid, dental care, and for the malnourished; meals, rice and vitamins. We are nearing our goal. Since transferring our services to the large circus tent our weekly attendance has grown to about 5,000. This growth includes a very special group of 250 newborns added annually to Family Circus, through our pregnancy counseling and vitamin assistance program . . .
We understand the tragedy of rising prices for the poor. Rice has more than doubled in price, and that is bad news. We distribute a lot of rice to our malnourished kids, and the widows, about a kilo (2 lbs) a week for each child plus vitamins (as funds allow). We recently bought 800 lbs for about $250 in funds donated by a Buddhist friend (“Good works knows no boundaries”). Note: Starvation cuts lives short. One of our young mothers (malnourished) age 24 (with two kids) just died . . .
Oh yes, another neat thing: we hope to be able to soon start putting in 4’ X 8’ fiberglass fish ponds and gardens. The fish produce waste in the form of nitrogen which feeds the plants (tomatoes, okra, cucumbers etc. twice as fast if planted in the ground, and the garden at the same time filters and aerates the water for the fish tank. This is called aquaponics.
We dream to have at least ten of the garden/fish pond combinations, and due to the tropical climate, they will produce vegetables non-stop and the fish the same way… I love what the Lord is putting together. Each garden/fish pond will cost about $1,000, including the sump pumps, battery backup power supply, etc., all inclusive. (*If interested in helping us obtain one of these please drop us a note.)
We believe the Lord will provide tools for us to help children in need. In turn the fish pond/gardens will generate with very little expense, food for the hungry . . .
PS Here’s a link to Wikipedia's article on aquaponics. Just visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics
From our Update October 19, 2008
- “Who’s Got It Bad?”
. . .The Fish and cucumbers in the two aquaponics fish pond/garden continue to grow rapidly. Also there has been wonderful progress on the cafeteria, Helping hands this month include a team from Hawaii, and a couple from Australia. Soon we anticipate being able to provide more than 2,000 free meals each week for the malnourished children attending services. Our heart rejoices to be part of the Master’s plan to feed these hungry kids. Thanks to so many for joining us in making this dream become a reality…
We are surrounded by children “who have it bad.” Very bad.” Yes we had Pneumonia, fever and pink eye. That’s not much compared to… ”kids that have it bad.”
From our Update April 1, 2009
- “My Brother In Uganda”
The following is (from) a letter I sent this week to a young man, a brother in the Lord, who I have not met, and yet I’m mentoring…
Moses, learn to be happy in all circumstances and you will draw many people to the Lord, and you will find yourself with many friends. Find things you enjoy. For myself, lately I have been gardening. I don’t have a lot of time, but I plant seeds, care for them, and then the seeds produce food which I then eat myself, and I give even more to others that are hungry. It is a quiet work, and when I’m tending to the garden I can talk to God and relax.
Right now we have 294 fish in our little garden. The fish help to feed the garden, and the garden keeps the water clean for the fish. We’ve been working to make our little garden bigger. I hope that in April 2009 we can grow about 1,000 catfish (starting with very small fingerlings). This will make our small garden about 3 times bigger. I know from the Bible that God likes to see us feed the hungry. In fact, when Jesus comes back, it says that to those He finds feeding the hungry in His name, he will say, “Well done; you have been good and faithful.”
Remember, in the beginning God created a garden and put people there as the gardeners. For me it is fun and meets a need in my heart. Moses, find something that feels good deep inside yourself, then teach others --including children --what you have also discovered. In this way you are doing your part to stop poverty and hunger in your part of the world.
Start small, be responsible, teach and feed the children, and God will see what you are doing and He will smile on your work and will bless you.
Note: You don’t have to go to school to learn to be a good gardener, but you must learn and practice what you learn. Even children can be a part of this learning.
From our Update April 24, 2009
- “Something’s Fishy”
. . . A handful of fish does smell fishy, but it also smells like dinner… Our fish ponds and gardens are a wonderful blessing to feed the hungry.
Hopefully this week we will be able to purchase an additional 1,200+ baby catfish for the fish pond. It will take about 7 months for them to grow up big enough for the dinner plate. Our current crop of Tilapia (fish) is rated very delicious by a young malnourished boy and his family. He enjoyed it enough to ask his papa, “Please ask Uncle Darrell for some more.” ;-)
At the same time we are increasing the number of fish, there will be at least six new garden plots (4’ X 8’) to grow more vegetables; beans, egg plants, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peanuts, bananas, watermelon, corn, etc. Thanks to the fish, the plants grow about twice as fast as normal since we recycle and clean the fish pond removing the valuable nitrogen, via the garden’s rock beds.
It all works together the way God originally created His garden. We use all natural fertilizers. And we are careful to keep the garden clean of potentially dangerous chemicals. It is a learning process, and our vision is a lot of food!
We believe the Lord will help us to produce ‘more than enough.’ That’s the definition of “abundance”… Something the poor don’t have much of. It won’t happen overnight but we’ll keep working on it.
From our Update December 17, 2010
- “Enough to Make a Grown Man Cry”
. . . God bless you, friends, for helping us to help the least of these. We may cry, but we also laugh and rejoice with the multitude coming to know about our King! This year, week by week, we have been able to distribute more than a quarter of a million meals to the widows and malnourished children. (252,048 meals) And that doesn’t include the produce from the gardens and fish ponds. Thanks to many who have helped, including Convoy of Hope, Feed My Starving Children, BGMC and so many others.
From our Update April 12, 2011
- “Bucket List”
. . . For a couple of weeks we had a team from Convoy of Hope helping us to expand our garden and fish pond area. Our son DD went to Manila, to work with the COH team to create a fish pond and garden at the King’s Garden orphanage. At the same time he did some of the political work needing to get permission for the Bone Collector Museum which is looking better all the time. He’s working to create it as his tentmaker project while his family works with us in ministry. When God called them to join us in ministry, their USA income from the government funded fire fighting job was significant. Abandoning it to answer the call, their monthly salary is about equal to what they used to make in one day. Yet they have learned to have joy in little while serving God in ministry with their two small miracle children. It has taught them another level of walking by faith. ;-)
. . . thanks to the Kevin who saved up funds for almost year to give us a well. We’ve drilled, reaching a good supply of water at about 120 feet. It is just getting completed. That will provide water for the garden and fish pond. Depending on the test results it will prayerfully also provide potable water.