Thursday, October 18, 2007

Timmy's Tale Part III

When in Ipil, I spent some time with one of Bonnie's sons, Joshua. He seemed to like me; he held my hand a lot. I felt very Filipino! When I shared Impact Nations' vision with Joshua, he became very excited. He, more than anyone else, wanted to see Impact working in western Mindanao. He was so excited, for two days he couldn't help but shout out "IMPACT!" in a staccato tone everywhere he went. He said it so much that his sisters started calling him "Impact". (By the way, if you're not aware of what Impact Nations is all about, I encourage you to check out their website. Specifically, I recommend you explore the Projects page and the Journeys of Compassion page.)

Joshua was very interested to hear about the projects that Impact Nations has started in India and will soon be starting here. I told him about our interest in micro enterprise and that's when the shouting started. You see, Joshua also has a vision for providing a steady income stream for their ministry to the poor while also providing jobs in a country that is currently suffering from a 40 percent unemployment rate. Joshua dreams of rubber.

The Filipino government recently gave Bonnie 140 hectares of land. They have already planted some durian and rambutan trees (those are local fruits, stay away from the durian). But the real money is in rubber. As Bonnie and Joshua began to tell me about their vision for a rubber plantation, I began to envision the possibilities. I was interested enough to request a meeting with an expert in rubber plantations. On Thursday, we delayed our departure from Ipil so that we could meet with a man who could give me specific numbers on expenditure and income in regards to a 50 hectare plantation. He gave me so many numbers my head hurt. I'm going to share the big numbers with you, just so can share in my experience.

The bottom line is, it would be very expensive to plant 50 hectares of rubber trees. The cost (are you ready for this? I wasn't.) would be approximately $115,000 USD. That's a lot of money. When we did the math and came up with that number, it was easy to feel discouraged and hopeless. I had told him we're into micro enterprise. This is way out of our league.

Then we crunched the numbers in regards to income. After seven years, the entire crop is yielding fruit. Once that happens, you can expect 50 hectares of rubber trees to make you an approximate net income of $112,ooo USD each year. By the 20 year mark, the trees are producing twice as much rubber, which means you can expect to make twice as much income. Work that out over the life span of a rubber tree, and your looking at over $6 million over a 40 year period. That's a lot of money on this side of the planet.

When I got over the initial shock of the size of the investment needed, I began to think of the possibilities. Joshua and his wife have 4 children, but they also house 12 orphans in their home. So between Joshua and his father, they have rescued 29 orphans from the surrounding mountain villages. (I met another of their pastors from a different city who has 2 orphans in his home and would like to have more, but can't afford it. I wonder how many of Bonnie's pastors are caring for orphans.) Bonnie oversees 152 churches and 23 bible students, and he is expanding his property so that he can train even more pastors. They do all this with very little income. Imagine what they could do with $112,000 a year. Imagine how many orphans could be rescued. Imagine how many drug addicts could be saved.

Anyways, I'm still struggling with the whole thing. Some days I see the possibilities, other days, I think "where on earth would we ever find $115,000". Whatever the case, it was so encouraging to meet men with such a huge vision. I hope to spend more time with them in the near future. In fact, they just called me yesterday to ask when I would be joining them again. I'm entering a pretty busy season, but I know I will be making other trips across Mindanao some time next year. Hopefully next time I can bring Bethany.

We left Ipil on Friday morning and drove back to Bonnie's place in Dipolog. They hinted at the possibility of me staying for through Sunday so that I could preach at their church. But I was missing Bethany so much that I really just wanted to get home as soon as I could. I pretended I was too dumb to pick up on their hints, and instead asked if there was an overnight bus to Davao. I was able to catch a bus at 1am and sat on that bus for 15 very long hours. I got home by 4pm Saturday afternoon, which surprised Bethany, who didn't expect me 'til late that night.

I'm so glad I went. I learned what it means to lean on my heavenly Father. I improved my preaching skills. I made new friends, and my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I will leave you with a whole bunch of snapshots. I put a brief description above each pic.
Bonnie's HouseThe pool, with cabins and huts (classrooms) in the background.The proposed Bible School/Orphanage/Conference CenterThe work in progress.JoshuaRubber SeedlingsRubber being tapped and collected in a coconut shell.This isn't a very good photo, but I took it as we drove by.
The green hill in the background is the proposed site for the rubber plantation.
A four year old orphan at Joshua's home.
I prayed for this little guy because he has a bad heart.
One of the orphans at Bonnie's house.
Okay, that's that. Sorry for the long read. Be blessed!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Tim. Wow. We'll keep praying. God is very rich and He has awesome kids who want to do great things.
Love you, Mum

Nicole said...

Wow Tim, love the photos! I'm so touched by your ability to go to these places and minister! I think I would be very traumatized by the need around me and be unable to do anything. Be blessed and refreshed now that you are home. Thank God He has been so faithful to you and given you such grace to carry out his work. What an exciting time!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,
Don't apologize - it didn't seem like a long enough read because it was so interesting.

Aunt Sylv