I realized that I haven't told you about the meat of the ECHO conference. That is just wrong. This has been an amazing three days.The mornings are filled with worship and devotions followed by plenary sessions that have been fascinating. This morning we heard from a medical missionary who has been working in the rural areas of Papua New Guinea for decades. She shared with us some of the efforts she has been involved with to increase the protein and energy consumption in the village diets particularly for women and children. It was illuminating how difficult development can be and yet how important the work is.
Tuesday we heard from a fellow who has been working on returning trees into impacted landscapes around the world. He started working in Niger (Sahel zone) where trees had been eliminated for decades. Standard forestry practices didn't make a dent in returning the trees. Then he realized the trees were still there just as shrubs because they had been cut down and were suckering from the roots. When the suckers were trimmed to either one or a few leaders and protected from livestock browsing the trees were able to grow. That allowed for wind breaks and shading of the ground to allow for more moisture content and it improved the crop production. Just from pruning and protecting areas that had been wastelands now look park like.
There are about a 150 delegates attending this conference many working in difficult areas or countries and yet doing amazing things with great faith. It is truly humbling.
Please pray for the attendees as they return to the places and peoples where they work, that the networking and ideas exchanged at this conference will help them as they work to assist and learn from the world's poor.
you can learn more about the conference at asia.echonet.org