For more than 11 years, the Apricots for Compassionate Ministries Project has been operating in South Australia’s Riverland. Each year, thousands of dollars have been raised from the sale of dried apricots and sent to support those at the forefront of building God’s kingdom through the practical demonstration of Jesus’ love. In keeping with Jesus’ […]
For more than 11 years, the Apricots for Compassionate Ministries Project has been operating in South Australia’s Riverland. Each year, thousands of dollars have been raised from the sale of dried apricots and sent to support those at the forefront of building God’s kingdom through the practical demonstration of Jesus’ love.
In keeping with Jesus’ command to love one another (John 3:34–35) and the biblical reminder that faith not backed up by action is dead (James 2:14–17), the funds have been used to help bring health care, aged care, childcare, disability care, food aid and pastoral training to people in Cambodia, Tonga and Myanmar.
The project has grown out of adversity. God promises to bring good from bad, so be encouraged. Although I had a few years of experience working in orchards and vineyards at Stanthorpe, Queensland, from my mid-50s, I had never had any experience with apricots – growing them or drying them. But two years after a road accident claimed the life of my wife, I bought a Moorook apricot property. I knew the Riverland and chose to come live near my eldest daughter and my family.
From my first harvest in 2008, I wanted to put the proceeds into supporting compassionate ministries. However, I needed the volunteer help of people in the Barmera–New Residence and Berri Lutheran congregations, and the blessing of LCA leadership to allow the sale of dried apricots through Lutheran churches, to make it happen.
I barely knew any of those people but they happily agreed to contribute and fundraising began in 2009. Since then, many people have given time and energy to help with harvesting and other production tasks. Along with people from Riverland Lutheran congregations, folk from a number of other denominations lend support too.
Of course, without our wonderful buyers, no money would be raised. Our apricots are enjoyed in South Australia and Queensland and, at times, in Melbourne and Sydney. When the proceeds from 2019 sales have been distributed, approximately $150,000 will have been sent to ministries the project supports. I also support production costs out of my age pension, which I see as my offering to God. This maximises the money available to the ministries.
As to the future, I will celebrate my 75th birthday during the coming harvest. Hopefully, we will be able to find younger volunteers to begin to take over some of the production work!
Apricot sales have supported the Lutheran Church in Cambodia’s ongoing ministry and, recently, the redevelopment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar’s Lutheran Bethlehem Church building, to help them become financially independent and thereby continue reaching out with the love of Jesus. We thank God for his gift of love which has, and continues to, produce fruit of another kind – fruit that will transform people’s lives now and for eternity.
The picking season for the apricots begins in December and continues into mid-January. If you would like to volunteer to help pick and dry apricots, please contact LCA International Mission.
If you, your school or your congregation, would like to know how you can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/start-a-partnership/
Read more stories about congregational partnerships at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/congregations/