Here a Cow, there a Cow:
So many of you have been involved in and interested in Tom's projects with animals that we'd like to bring you up to date on what is happening with the animals and the families involved.
One of the biggest issues we have faced is changing regulations because of Bulgaria's entrance into the European Union. This is especially true for the families that have dairy cows and are selling the milk. We have been working with them to get the correct information on steps they must take to meet the new regulations. In March, the project participants and Tom met with the village veterinarian. He shared with them up-to-date information about the processes involved in meeting the new regulations.
The major concern for these families is their milking barns. Many of the new regulations deal with sanitation issues, so the milking barns must be updated. This includes plastering walls, putting in tile, adding septic systems, and having hot water available. Also, in order to be a government-registered farm, each family must have at least seven cows. Eventually this will increase to ten cows.
Fortunately, not everything has to be done at once, but the families must continue making steady progress during the next year in order to be considered for registration. Being registered makes them eligible to receive government assistance and any European Union subsidies that might be available. In the time since that meeting, each of the families has been working on individual plans and estimating the costs of the work that needs to be done. Tom is now working on finalizing the course of action with each of the families involved.
The process of moving forward with this cow project has been lengthy. We want to be certain that the steps that are taken are well thought-out, and that the families will be able to continue to sell their milk and make a living for themselves.
We want to thank each of you who have given money for the purchase of a cow. Your gifts are very much appreciated. We will continue to keep you informed about the progress of the barns and let you know when more cows have been purchased.
Pigs, Sheep and other Critters
In addition to giving money for the purchase of cows, many of you have given for the purchase of pigs, sheep and other animals. Because of these generous gifts, we were able to help 15 families purchase a variety of pigs, sheep, and turkeys in the village of Rasovo, located about 80 miles north of Sofia. This is an area of high unemployment and most of the families get only a small monthly benefit from the government of around $30. Some are able to get seasonal day work in the fields during the summer which earns them about $7 a day. While the purpose of the cow projects is to provide a small living wage for the families, these animals provide for day-to-day food needs. The milk from the sheep is made into yogurt and cheese, and the other animals are used for meat. Occasionally, they may have an extra animal which they sell.
Since our return to Bulgaria and the start of this project, it has been exciting to get acquainted with the members of this church. While many of the small village churches are struggling as their members move to larger cities, or out of Bulgaria entirely, the church in Rasovo is growing. They now have about 30 members, a youth group of 20, and 30 children attending Sunday School.
Two of the women from the church in Dalgodeltsi travel the 5 miles to Rasovo to help the pastor lead the services and work with the youth and children. Since its start, this church has been meeting in different homes, but they have grown so much that they are looking to buy a building of their own. We would like to help them in their search for a church building, and we had the opportunity to meet with them on May 26th and look at a house that was available in the village. Unfortunately, it was not in very good condition, so the search continues.
- Please pray with us that a suitable building, at a good price, can be found.
This Baptist church is already a powerful witness in this village, and could do even more if they had their own building in which to meet.
One Great Hour of Sharing
This is the time of year many of our American Baptist Churches receive the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Many of you know that money from this offering is used to help people around the world who are affected by natural disasters. Did you know that OGHS also provides funding for refugee ministries and development projects, both in the U.S and around the world?
Each year we receive a grant from OGHS to assist with economic development in Bulgaria. These grants have been, and continue to be, an important part of our ministry in Bulgaria. Over the past four years, this grant money has been used for the purchase of cows, to assist the families in repairing barns, the purchase of a tractor, and for microenterprise loans for small businesses. Look for details about the newest small business project in an upcoming newsletter!
Please give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Your gifts do help transform lives!
Please pray for:
- The families as they try to meet the new European Union regulations.
- The church in Rasovo as they search for an appropriate building for their church.
- For Pastor Dancho as he leads four different churches, and for his wife who is not well and their two young children.
- The Alpha Course which Terry is helping with, as they have their last few lessons. Attendance has been declining.
- The literacy program at Sofia Baptist Church. Four to six children have been attending weekly, and the progress is slow but steady.
- For A.J. and Nathan as they finish the school year and prepare to say farewell to some close friends.
- For Tom and Terry as they prepare for the busy summer ahead.
For Your Information
Currently three families are trying to bring their dairies up to E.U standards. The average cost of remodeling the three barns to meet E.U. requirements is $2200 per barn. This includes plastering of walls, tiling of the milk storage room, installation of a septic pit, a hot water heater, fencing and labor. A total of eight additional cows need to be purchased to bring these families up to the seven cow minimum. If you would like to help support this project please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to support the ministry of Tom and Terry Myers please send contributions to:
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Please indicate that your contribution is for the ministry of Tom and Terry Myers in Bulgaria. You can also give electronically by going to International Ministries' web site at: www.internationalministries.org and follow the "give" link.