As the days warm up, we’re coming into our sixth summer of drought. And we are very thankful for you partnering with us over those years. Please pray for rain and that people come to know the God who sends the rain. Tory is trying to visit two drought affected families each week. Typically, a visit includes a card with some words of encouragement and a Psalm, a flyer on how to pray in a drought, a cheque or visa gift card, a pocket-sized Bible, dog biscuits, and morning tea. It seems people just enjoy the yarn over a cuppa with someone different. Most people he visits are not eligible for government drought assistance and have missed receiving assistance from charities and the media fundraising. Here are some now:
A young couple are hand feeding grain to 1500 sheep each day. He does fencing west of Bourke to provide income (which means they can’t get government assistance), so she looks after the sheep alone. He had a motorbike accident this year and so has had considerable time away in hospital having his face reconstructed (in that time they lost 200 sheep). We were able to give $1000 from Anglican Aid toward sheep feed.
A family new to the area haven’t had a good year since they moved here 8 years ago. Because they are new they seem to lack the connections and resources of other farmers. We were able to give lamb’s milk to help bottle-feed poddy lambs. The wife even rang last week to say it’s the best milk they’ve had with the highest survival rates so far. With the help of Anglican Aid, we are about to pay for a truck load of hay for them.
A family say that after 80 years of breeding sheep their wool is almost to a perfect length. But now they spend $10,000 a week on hay. Unfortunately, they say with tears, all the sheep will have to go unless it rains. Eighty years of hard work over three generations!
An elderly lady feeds her housebound husband (with dementia) and then feeds all their cattle. In between, they drive 100km to doctor appointments. Her widowed sister lives close-by. She is on a part-pension but things are tough; one of her sons is able to help on the property but will probably have to move away for more reliable work. It was great to be able to give both sisters a cheque to help with household costs. I had also taken their mother’s funeral so it was nice to reconnect.
An elderly couple are hand-feeding 4000 sheep. It hasn’t rained for 2 years, and even then not significant rain since 2012. The wife randomly asked me if I believe in the afterlife and so it was great to give a reason for the hope I have and give them “the book” written by the man who came from the afterlife to give us certainty.
A visit today with an 80yo widow and her son was spent mostly talking about the politics of drought assistance. Like most things in the bush, everyone has strong opinions that go both ways. ‘Why doesn’t the hay get to our area?’ ‘Why do these volunteer charities take so much for their wages?’ ‘How can farmers rip-off other suffering farmers so much for hay that’s rubbish?’
The assistance you give is gratefully received. Many parts of the state are in serious drought. If you do want to give, can I encourage you to give to local churches in those areas so that it’s done in the name of Christ? Please also consider Anglican Aid: https://anglicanaid.org.au/stories/news/anglicans-support-drought-affected-communities Being “on the ground” I have been really impressed with the work of Anglican Aid in this drought, and how easy it is to access funding.
Love in Jesus, Tory, Jo, Jacob, and Annika Cayzer
Donations to the drought Appeal can be made through Anglican Aid's website