On New Year’s Day I wrote a blog that recognised the vital importance of prayer – if you haven’t read it already then you can do so here .

I have been practising what I blogged/preached and I can see the results in my own life, and my prayer life, already. Thank you Jesus.

2015 is going to be a tough year for J10:10 and Passion4Africa – the year in which we go from ‘quite good’ to ‘great’. And another year of building the foundations of God-given educational, pastoral and health facilities and services. And all this will cost a small fortune and was to be funded by the money that we raise from farming passion fruit as Passion4Africa. And in that New Year’s blog I wrote the following:

And I want to feel like what we do is absolutely bathed in prayer from those who read this blog. So you have a part to play too if you will. I’ll be humbly asking you to pray into the challenges that face us that I never tell anyone about until they’re sorted

When I returned from Dubai I found that we have some really big challenges facing us in our orchards at the moment. And generally I wouldn’t write about it till we’d sorted it. But here goes……

WP_20140728_008

The first is that back in September the orchards were hit hard by a hail storm. It appeared to me (Non-Farmer-Jon) to do a little damage but nothing major. What I didn’t realise is that the hail-storm knocked all the flowers off all the vines – and it’s the flowers that metamorphose into fruit (that’s probably not biologically/scientifically accurate!) which means that we currently have NO ripe fruit. Our harvests have gone from 4,000kgs to less than 400kgs a week . There are tens of thousands of fruit on the vines but none of it is ripe – I don’t expect us to start harvesting again till March at the earliest. Ouch.

WP_20141208_005

The second agricultural issue is a significant outbreak of ‘Woodiness Virus’.  This is new to us and, as usual, I am struggling to get any good advice from anyone who really appears to know what they are talking about. Sometimes this is so flipping hard! I think that part of the solution is good, heavy pruning; some of the vines need to be removed immediately; and part of the solution will be replacing vines with a hybrid variety that isn’t susceptible to the virus. And I failed my biology O-level. Partly because I am not a scientist. Mostly because I ate the practical part of the examination before doing the experiment.

WP_20141216_012

All of my proposed solutions to ‘Woodiness Virus’, and the damage caused by the hail-storm, are going to set us back a few months. Cash-flow will also be stretched because at exactly the moment that the virus and the consequences of the hailstorm started to become visible……….. I invested heavily in our new orchard. Ouch again.

Prayer3

We have so many plans for 2015 – plans to prosper those we serve. All of them dependent to a greater or lesser extent on cash. All of them totally dependent on God. So, as always, I need God to show up and help me. And, as always, I need you to ask Him to do so. Please pray that:

  • The fruit that is on the vines will ripen and provide an income for us again
  • That I will make the right decisions about how to fight and minimise the negative effects of Woodiness Virus
  • That God will bless us with great harvests, prosper our two newest orchards and protect us from thieves, diseases and pests
  • That He will provide just what we need just when we need it
  • And ‘that the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’

I know that God will not fail us. And I look forward to telling you how He answered our prayers – and about some of the plans that we have for this year. Thank you for caring. Thank you for praying. It means a lot.