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Turmoil

2021 begins in turmoil, both in America and Uganda.  Both are reeling under political tensions.  This can easily be translated to the powers of this world, and to Paul’s description of “principalities, powers, rulers in high places.”  Are you troubled?  Yes, these are hard times to live in this earthly kingdom.

As we enter 2021, we just left the season of Christmas, and recall the words of the angel who appeared to the shepherds in the field: “Fear not! for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people.  For to you is born this day a savior, who is Christ the King.”  That Savior grew up to tell us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Rest for our weary souls.

The rest in Him is eternal, yet does that free us from impatience, stress, anxiety, anger, or uncertainty?  It certainly can!  We always have a choice, and our choices must be made by we, ourselves, and only by God’s leading Spirit.  If we do not choose to trust in Christ Jesus, we will struggle with the constant compromises and poor choices of this world.

Some will remind us that Jesus also said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)  He certainly did!  He brought it to the world, where he told us about the unbelievers.  “In their case,” Paul said, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (II Corinthians 4:4)  Once blinded by the god of this world, the light of the gospel of glory becomes an outrage to mankind, and we become targets because He is such an offense to their “god.”

Paul also reminds us that we become two people when Christ redeems us and brings us into His family.  We carry the old man, who still thinks and acts like the world’s people.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:21-25)

Who will deliver us?  That struggle continues for life.  Our obedience is determined by the god of our choosing, or by God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.  Our hope, our goal, our understanding require obedience.  We will always be tempted.  We will repeatedly fail.  We will temporarily succumb to the god of this world.  Of course we will!  If Paul acknowledged this war in his own members, who are we to stay above it?  The hope is in Christ Jesus.  The good works are in Christ Jesus.  The outcome is assured in Christ Jesus.

Here at DCF, we unanimously agree to serve one another in order to keep our faith strong and to guide us.  We share our struggles so that Jesus Christ will reign in our broken hearts.  It is only this that keeps us out of the political fray, outside the horrors and hatred of this current age.

The future holds nothing but the promises of God.  The natural man carries a sword of steel.  His ambition is to rule on this earth.  For us, the way to fight is with the sword of the Spirit.  We wear the whole armor of God.  We are arrayed for battle of a very different sort, because we know what the future holds.  And who holds it.

Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall  also bear the image of the man of heaven.  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  (I Corinthians 15:49,50)

We would love to have you join us, or, if you need to, struggle against us.

Water Storage

Water collection, storage, and purification might easily take first place in improving overall living conditions.  Clean water not only quenches the thirst, but also raises the food.  Even in Uganda, where 40 – 60 inches of rainfall soak the land each year, there are dry seasons that can empty the natural wells and leave the people, livestock, and lands parched.

How much rain?  An inch falling on an acre of land is 27,152 gallons.  That is a lot of water.  If you collect an inch of water just from 800 square feet of a house’s rooftop, that provides 500 gallons.  500 gallons will barely take a family through a month of extra dry conditions, but remember: that’s just one inch of rain!  If you are convinced, and ready to start collecting rain, click here for basic instructions on Building Rainwater Collection Systems.  However, to understand the full theory and avoid problems, there is more to think about first!

Benefits

There are clear benefits to collecting rainwater, and some that are not so obvious.  You will have water to drink!  And you will also reduce the strain on community wells.  Your surplus will water the garden, directly !  It will also stabilize and slow the feed of the water into the water table.  That stability, in turn, keeps organic matter in the soil moist so that it holds more right away when the rains return.  It also helps to limit the flooding.  When it rains too hard, the ground cannot take the full supply, so the water stands on top of the soil and runs off to the lowest ground.  Collecting some of it will minimize that final flooding.  It also allows you to direct the overflow to better areas, so your house, garden, and animals do not get the worst of the flooding.  A great benefit is being able to heat the water with the sun, too! Maybe the biggest benefit is that you have water right outside your door.  No long walks with buckets to collect water from the community well!

Environmental Benefits

Water collection benefits the entire community and its environment.  As mentioned above, slowing the amount of water going into the ground will keep the soil moist while preventing erosion and flooding.  This is very good for the garden, of course, but if the ground gets fully dry, it takes a lot of rain to get it wet again.  After a long dry spell, the rain just runs right through the powdery soil.  It takes some amount of standing water to get the ground wet again.

Very dry ground also lets the good bacteria and fungus go dormant.  Bacteria and fungus are the tiniest living things in your soil, and they feed water and nutrients to your plants.  Once they go dormant, they have trouble “waking up” to do their job!  When the bacteria go to sleep, the worms and good bugs leave, too.  Bacteria and fungus are the good guys who turn the leftovers from your last crop back into food for little animals and insects who enrich it and spread it around for the new plants.

When you collect rain water, it does no harm to the environment at all.  The water still goes into the ground, to the streams, lakes, and finally the ocean.  It just stays with you briefly to provide you and your own environment a special drink.

Cautions

Rainwater is clean and good, but it can quickly become contaminated.  If you collect water, there are a few necessary precautions.  First, if you gather roof water for drinking, you do not want the first flow.  Over the dry period, dust, bird droppings, bug larvae, leaves, chemicals, ash, and other contaminants build up.  You will want to let the first water wash away that dirt before collecting what follows.  Second, you will need to filter the rainwater, both as it enters the barrel and again before you use it as drinking water.  Of  course, you not need to filter water for the garden.  (Filtration is not difficult.  We will discuss that later.)  Third, standing water will quickly attract mosquitoes and other bugs that will lay larva in the water.  Keeping the water free of bugs is important.  After collection, barrels should be treated with bleach and closed, or kept in a pond or large container with fish.  Fish enjoy eating the bugs and their larvae!

Final Thoughts

Two separate collection systems provide the easiest and most efficient way to store water.  A clean system for drinking, and a direct collection to use for washing and for the garden.  This also allows more options.  To plan how large your systems need to be, you will require two liters of drinking water per person per day.  For a family of four, that is eight liters, or just about two gallons.  It is not difficult to catch and keep two months of water for drinking.  For a garden, you will need at least 30 liters (eight gallons) per month for each square meter of garden.

In addition, you will need to double your collection!  You will lose water to evaporation, contamination, and other losses.  For a household of four people, in other words, you need a minimum of four gallons of drinking water stored in advance for every day of the dry season.  If you plan for three months, that means 4 gallons X 60 days, or 240 gallons (900 liters.)  That will keep you healthy. 1,000 liters or more would be better!  But remember, that’s just two inches of rain from your roof!

By now you should have a fair idea how much water you will want to collect.  Next, we will look at Building Rainwater Collection Systems.

An Idea About Donations

Some people have asked, “How much money do I have to give to really help?”
The short answer is, “None, but we covet prayer in large denominations.”

Full disclosure:  we have no way for you to donate.  At this point, prayer is so much more important that we have no mechanism, authority, or status for receiving donations.  Unless you know Pete Celano or Dave Delany personally and want to give one of us some cash, you are currently out of luck.  Sorry! Please, please pray!

An idea of where our money currently goes, and what we would like to provide consistently, is pretty simple:

Salaries and wages for Uganda:  $4/day
Carpenter tool kit, basic:                $27/ea
Carpenter tools, advanced:           $35/ea
Building materials, general:          $50/lot
Wheelchair:                                        $200/ea
3 months of EVERYTHING:         $775

What? A New Workshop?

We, in America, recently provided Emmanuel at Donation Connection Foundation (DCF) a hammer and a saw when we discovered he had to “rent” one.  He built a new chicken “coop” after a storm knocked down his rickety one.  The replacement coop is strong, secure, and an impressive work of carpentry.  A hammer and a saw.  And the Word of the Lord.

Right now, Emmanuel Tumusiime and John Bosco are building a wood shop.  We first learned about it when Emmanuel sent pictures of the posts secured in concrete. The shop will double as a small manufacturing facility for beds and training center for carpentry skills.  It will also provide a secure place to store the accumulating tools and materials of the business.

It rained the next day, but again Emmanuel sent photos the following morning.  The men were setting the beams.  Next, they will side and roof the building, and have the shop completed.

There is plenty of energy and ambition in Uganda.  All of us have soaring hearts for the work.  We quickly sent an additional small donation to help with any needed tools or materials, and some extra cash for food and living expenses while John and Emmanuel work on this project.

In my own mind, the most remarkable illustration of Emmanuel’s  heart comes from one thing: he has never asked for any money.  Never once.  He tells us what they are doing, sends pictures, and asks for Christian mentoring.  He eagerly works to learn what God wants him to do.  And then he does it.

In the past, “donor burnout” has negatively affected many of us.  The needs never end, of course.  Our sin and failed understanding make it difficult to send hard earned money into the world’s sinkhole of need.  But DCF is so different.  These men are not exhausting the supply.  They are multiplying it!  It is glorious!  We sincerely believe the Word of God directs them, and we are excited to learn what will happen next!  It is easy.  As the Apostle Paul said, “when each part is working properly, it makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  – Ephesians 4: 15-16