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An Update from the DeKonings

Currently Serving in Uganda

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Providing education for a better future!

Providing education for a better future!

Greetings from Africa! Congratulations to Into All The World!  Yesterday we celebrated with partners from around the world, 40 years of faithfully showing God’s love among the nations.  IATW has served us through assisting with finances, counsel, prayer and communication during our last 7 years in Africa. Founders Bill & Barb Lewis have been our dear friends for almost all of those 40 years.

Uganda – The Lockdown and It’s Short Term & Longer Term Effects
A 7pm curfew, limited transportation options, formal education sector closed leaving millions without jobs, lack of vaccines, borders restricted with changing covid entry regulations, etc. Social and economic devastation across the nation. Each nation makes decisions to protect it’s citizens during this pandemic. It’s my general observation that in the global picture,  the wealthy have been getting wealthier and the poor getting poorer. The long term impact will be greater in the poorer, developing nations of the world.

Uganda – Education in Crisis
“Uganda is the only country on the African continent where schools remain fully closed for close to two years. This also makes Uganda the country that has closed schools longest in the world.”  see Daily Monitor

Many students will not return to formal education when schools re-open hopefully in 2022. Young adults (average age 18 to 24)  that are in this predicament are among those that we are receiving into our residential training programs at our farms. Right now we have two “Intensive Agribusiness Training” programs going with full enrollment. 20 students from Eastern Uganda churches that have been sponsored by friends in BC and 20 students for that have been partially sponsored by you our friends and partners are being trained. This 8 week residential training is holistic (head, heart & hands) and gives agriculture and lifeskills to young people who otherwise would be locked down at home with no dreams to pursure.

 Graduating Class of our Most Recent Cohort

These students went back to their communities with great enthusiasm for life and plans to pursue their new skills. Govt & community leaders, parents, pastors and friends all came out to listen to their testimonies and celebrate with them when they returned home.
Unfortunately most young people have shied away from agriculture because it has been looked at as something for peasants with little opportunity to advance, just using a hoe for life, and often being sent to the garden as punishment at school or home. Things are changing! These pics were taken the day our graduates returned home from the Intensive Agribusiness Training course and celebrated.

Some of the students have already received and accepted job offers… something that wouldn’t have happened before their training. More and more people are approaching us wanting to hire our graduates.

If you would like to sponsor a current student or help us prepare for new skills training programs as we prepare for 2022 please assist us. Student fees are $250 CAD for an 8-week full board residential course.

Education in Crisis – There are hopeful solutions
Life has been put on hold for about 20 million young Ugandans… a terrible situation! Beyond the current global crisis, current education systems are often inadequate and are being challenged. New solutions need to be examined, adapted and implemented. A healthy future for the growing population especially of Africa needs an education revolution.

Cheryl and I recently attended the Uganda launch of Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi’s book “The Third Education Revolution“. Leading clergy, ministry of education, stakeholders at various levels and thought leaders attended. A real solution for the nations. Read more here and Purchase here

Planting Trees, Vines & Berries – Why it so important
Hi, This is Cheryl. when I was in Vermont this summer I was harvesting blueberries that my parents planted 10 or more years ago. My Mom passed 7 years ago. When you are picking blueberries you have alot of time to think. Legacy, my parents legacy, our legacy, your legacy. The trees we are planting now (Our Trees Our Future) will still be harvested for 25, 50 or more years from now. Not a quick fix but an excellent investment in the future.

Now Producing Honey

Aaaahhhh! Now producing from our bee hives on both farms. We recently obtained an extractor to help us as we increase honey production. Paul, an assistant farm manager, has a great love for bees from his years of experience working in a national forest that has chimpanzees as the main attraction. We will be training all of our students and visiting farmers on apiary management.

Not everyone likes to be around African bees but our lemongrass smoke method calms the bees down as the honeycombs are extracted. Trees and bees are important together!

Uganda – Turning Crisis into Opportunity
We just listened to a message by Pastor Bill Johnson (Bethel – Redding, CA) entitled “When In War, Create“. Right on. We can not be paralysed due the ongoing covid situation and global political manuveuring. We must listen and do what we can to be solution finders and problem solvers.

For us our emphasis in 2021 has been the following;





Train as many young people as we can with life skills (most often related to agriculture, small business and a Biblical worldview)
Offer as many jobs as we can to young people (we have increased not reduced our staff during covid times)
Plant tens of thousands of trees with thousands of families to provide nutrition, new sources of income and a sustainable future
Train young leaders by giving opportunity to lead, allow them make mistakes, support them as they grow
Grow many nutritious crops on our farms to feed our staff & students, sell at our market and give to the most vulnerable in our communities
Develop new products that will help farmers and all those involved in agriculture… alternative food sources for animals
Educate and inspire children by distributing Cheryl’s book “Kizito the storyteller and his friends”
Invest in developing a destination for school groups (groups of every kind)  called a “Creation Care Learning Centre”
Reveal God’s heart through the work of our hands and the words of our mouth… leading to a Hope and a Future

None of this would be possible without your financial support and prayer for us!

Projects Needing Funds By The End Of 2021
a) $30,000 – We’ve set a goal to plant 20,000 trees in partnership with community groups during this rainy season before Christmas(late Aug to early Dec). We have partnered with communities and will have planted about 10,000 to 12,000 seedlings by the end of October. Daily our teams are out educating and tree planting in rural poor communities.

b) $20,000 – Needed to complete & equip our training structure at Our Trees Our Future’s 60 acre model farm along the Nile River. The opportunity to work closely with the Buganda Kingdom (Uganda’s largest kingdom and largest tribe) opened up in the last couple of months and now we are midway through an “Intensive Agribusiness Training Program” at our farm in Kayunga district. The Kingdom representatives selected 20 young men & women and we packed them in. The opportunity is huge, to first impact the district that our model farm is in by continually offering training for the youth, farmers, women’s groups etc. Then as this district becomes a model, other districts that are within the Buganda Kingdom can participate by sending their youth to us. Yes, we’re dreamers and we keep looking for the best ways to multiply what we have.
Note: We put up part of the structure that we are requesting funds for as a utility shed earlier this year investing about $12,000 into it. Along came the students and they are using the utility shed space for their training. We spent about $3,000 more the last  month in preparation for the arrival of the students… expanding our kitchen, making beds, doors, windows, solar upgrade, water management (guttering), etc.
c) $2,500 – to sponsor 10 students that are in our River Nile Farm training program. Fees for the other ten have been covered by generous donations.
d) $3,200 – For a water filtration system at our Creation Care Learning Centre
    Note: We will sell filtered water to the community thereby reducing wood use for boiling safe water
e) $3,000 – For a 20′ storage container at our Creation Care Learning Centre
f) $3,000 – 2 motorcycles for two of our training locations

Gifts of any size are appreciated towards any of these projects.

Prayer Requests & Thanksgiving
For Funds for Tree Planting, Book Distribution & Education – this community work is ongoing
For the Development of the Creation Care Learning Centre – the right partners & provision – all construction costs have risen and we would like to have the infrastructure pieces in place by September
For Our Internship Program – thanks for those who have given, the sponsorship opportunities remain
For Our Personal Support –  Thank you to those who have assisted us. Travel is in our plans to visit family, friends and supporters.
For health and strength
Thanksgiving – As we look at the reports we received daily from our leaders, we are truly amazed at all that is being done. We give God thanks for allowing to be here for “such a time as this”.
Thanksgiving – 37 years of marriage partnership celebrated last week (Oct 20th)
Message to self – Proverbs 3.5,6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

Thank you for your partnership, friendship, prayer and financial support!

Nick & Cheryl