June 2010 Luke 10:2

ECHO Training

Randall and Paula at ECHOIt’s been a month or two since our last official update and that’s because we have been on the go since we returned from Brazil in April. Amazing how life tends to get interesting real fast when the Lord decides that we’re ready to start working on the next phase of His plan for us.

We were barely home when He opened the doors for us to attend the Introduction to Tropical Agriculture course at ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) in Fort Myers, Florida.

Seed Bank at ECHOOur time at ECHO was amazing. I’m glad that I know how to take good notes because there is no way I could remember all of the information we were given during our stay. By the end of the week I was anxious to get home and start trying out some of the techniques we learned about.

First we learned about the poverty mentality. Understanding how poverty twists people’s minds and takes away their hope is crucial to being able to reach out and help them to make their lives better.

After that we were taught about soil and techniques for improving and maintaining the nutrients within it. HINT- Composting is vital. We also learned about Vermiculture (composting with worms) and were shown several examples how this could be accomplished.

Container Garden“Farming God’s Way” involves crop rotation, leaving the crop residue in the field and no tilling. Permanent planting stations, called Zai holes, are set up and all the fertilizer/ compost and water is concentrated in and arounds the hole where the plants are growing.

One of the most innovative techniques we learned about was for Urban Gardening which used little or no soil at all and could be done on a flat rooftop or anywhere else. It was unbelievable to see six foot tall sunflowers growing in a couple of old tires with pop cans as mulch or beans growing on an old carpet.

Other things we learned about was various irrigation techniques, water purification, appropriate technologies, no graze animal husbandry and the use of malting enzymes to help combat malnourishment. It was all very fascinating. But one of the things I found so absolutely amazing was how the instructors integrated God’s Word into their talks.

So how do we hope to use this information in Brazil? Well, when we go up into the Amazon, being able to help the farmers grow food year round while improving the quality of their soil will be another tool we can use to reach out to the Amer-Indian tribes we work with. Also, since more and more members of the Brazilian Church want to become missionaries themselves; being trained in agricultural techniques will be a valuable asset to them where ever the Lord leads them.

Well, I’m going back to my flowerbeds now.



Connie in Nashville 

One thing we really enjoy is meeting with friends and family as we travel. Nikki and ScottDuring our trip to Florida we got to visit with (from top to bottom):

Connie in Nashville, a school friend of Randall’s;

Paula’s cousin Nikki and her husband Scott in Bradenton;

Randall’s Aunt Edel in Cape Coral;

Mike, Elisa and Rachel in Raleigh. Aunt Edel Mike, Elisa & Rachel

As you can see, I have changed how I distribute my newsletter via email. I hope this will allow more people to be able to read about our work. If you have any questions or suggestions, I welcome the feedback. Please email me at randall-paulayork@iamusa.org.


  • A wonderful trip to Brazil and clarification of calling
  • Provision for additional training at ECHO in Florida.

Prayer Requests

  • For safe travel to New England in June.
  • For focus as we prepare to return to Brazil full-time.
  • A solution to our house (sell/rent)

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