March 2007

Hola Amigos (Hi Friends):

From all the cards, letters and e-mails we've receive it's obvious there is a lot of mission interest back home in the USA. We are so very grateful there are people and congregations that pray for missions and missionaries. Prayer is ALWAYS good and needed. Thank you for your prayers and mission support.

We want to share some of the recent happenings with the “Give Ye Them To Eat” program. It is a busy life at the Tree of Life Training Center for Integrated Development where the GYTTE program staff host a variety of activities. Staff members also supervise village groups where rural families have started their own development projects and teach workshops and classes in villages, schools and churches. The winter schedule has been a full one and we anticipate this spring will follow the same pattern.

A Christian Education workshop on learning styles and age-appropriate teaching was taught at a Methodist church in Veracruz. The staff also hosted several groups at the Center for the daylong introductory class on appropriate technology.  As the people listened to the theory behind the technologies, toured the Center and saw low-tech methods put to use for agriculture and livestock endeavors as well as for home use, they had a lot of questions.  Many people signed up to take courses this spring so they can learn how to put some of these technologies to use on their land and in their homes.

Villagers living in the vicinity of the Center have been coming for monthly classes on health issues and hygiene. The men and women are very enthusiastic about taking these classes that help their families have improved health.

A two-day workshop on the construction and use of Solar Cookers was given to students from a rural vocational school. This technology is simple and economical.  They are made from used cardboard boxes from appliance stores and re-purposed for home cooking. The total cost to make one solar cooker from used boxes, newspaper, tin foil, glue, cotton cord and a pane of glass is only $15.00 dollars.  On a sunny day water can be pasteurized and food cooked without searching for firewood or spending money on gas.  So you can see why these students are eager to teach this technology in their own communities.

A medical team from California came to serve at the Good Samaritan Clinic at the mountain village of Tatoxcac. GYTTE-trained health workers went along to teach about health issues to the patients waiting in the lines to see the physicians and dentists. There will be three more medical teams serving at the two conference clinics this spring so more community-based, primary health workers will be invited to share health information with the villagers who come in need of health care.

In January and February volunteers from Pennsylvania and South Carolina and teams from Nebraska and Kansas came to the Training Center to serve and thaw out from the cold winter weather back home. Everyone worked really hard on a number of construction projects. They also worked on contour terracing on the hillside and garden plots that not only will produce vegetables and feed for the livestock but will serve to demonstrate soil conservation methods and gardening options for agricultural development classes.

Two staff houses and a small shop were painted and a ceiling plastered. The natural paint made with quicklime, water, prickly pear juice and yellow soil gave the new shop a warm mustard color that looks great and cost next to nothing!

The rock, reinforcing wire and barbed wire used to fence the front of the property have given the entrance to the Training Center an esthetic and effective boundary to protect the grounds from open grazing. Hungry livestock wandering through the area during these months of drought have destroyed the lands and agricultural endeavors of many farmers. Although labor intensive, this fencing method clears acres of excess stone, and provides an economical and effective protection for productive farmlands.

Flagstone from Tlancualpican was laid on the seating area cut out of the hillside surrounding the sports court and paving stones were laid around the four sides of the court. Basketball backboards and hoops were made and put into place. Possibly there has never been a court as striking as the Samuel Hartman Memorial Sports Court!

Another project this winter was the palm branch-thatched roof that was built over the mud oven that was constructed last fall by another team. Although the oven was made for bread baking it is bound to have a Mexican style pizza made in it occasionally. The oven and roofing system are two more technologies that villagers can adopt and adapt for their own needs.

Besides the various work projects and learning experiences at the training center the teams and volunteers repaired a church parsonage, visited a livestock project and observed a class on High Blood Pressure taught by GYTTE-trained health workers. While visiting a primary school the Kansas team noticed the backboards and hoops on the playground were broken and in danger of falling on the children. Being the team now had experience in making basketball backboards, they decided to make new ones for the school. A couple days later they installed them for which the students and teachers in the village of El Limon were very grateful.

These are just some of the activities in which the GYTTE staff and we, your missionaries, are involved.  Thank you for helping us to continue this outreach ministry in the rural sector of Mexico.  We are grateful to you and for you.

Your Mission Partners,

Muriel and Terry Henderson

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