For more than 13 years, the sale of thousands of bags of deliciously sweet dried apricots from Moorook in South Australia’s Riverland, has had eternal benefits. Several thousands of dollars each year from dried apricot sales have supported the Lutheran Church in Cambodia’s ongoing ministry and, recently, the redevelopment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in […]
For more than 13 years, the sale of thousands of bags of deliciously sweet dried apricots from Moorook in South Australia’s Riverland, has had eternal benefits. Several thousands of dollars each year from dried 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. Funds are also sent to The Mango Tree Centre for People with Disabilities in Tonga.
In the past, I have rallied supporters from churches in the community to harvest and package the apricots. Because of changing population demographics, there is now a severe shortage of local volunteers. In 2020, I therefore appealed for volunteers from wider afield to assist me with the picking and I am so thankful for the response.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered their time and support this last December and January for the apricot project. Your help meant that I was able to get the apricots picked, cut and dried, once again, to support the work of LCA International Mission.
Due to ongoing, adverse seasonal conditions, this harvest was quite a way from what I would call a ‘normal’ harvest. Nevertheless, the result was better than last season. Cool conditions which continued during days and nights both hindered (slightly) and helped us (a lot).
We were hindered, as those conditions kept the fruit from ripening and being ready for the second scheduled picking day in December, when an enthusiastic group (put together by Vicki and Chris Sumner from Trinity Lutheran Church, Springhead) was ready to come. Unfortunately, we had to delay for a few days, which meant several of the team weren’t available. This made for a long day, as we worked until about 9pm. We had to use car lights to be able to see, as we put pallets of apricots into the sulphur shed, get it fired up and sealed. A special thanks to everyone who came to help on that very long day.
The conditions also helped a lot, however, by keeping the fruit from ripening too quickly before the next pick. As the Christmas weekend put a hold on available helpers, the next harvest day was scheduled for Saturday 2nd January. The forecast for that day turned out to be for storms, rain and wind, so it meant another delay for a few days, to Tuesday 5th January. This again meant that some folk from the Springhead team were not able to come after all, but a team from the Barossa North parish with Roger Frahn, were able to make it. In the end, with people from both teams, we had about double the number of people from the second picking day, so were able to harvest quite a lot more fruit and finish several hours earlier. What a difference having a full working group makes.
Roger Frahn has given the following reflection:
A huge thank you to all those people who travelled to New Residence for two days in December and January to pick and cut apricots. Pastor Paul Lohe and I were joined by my brothers (Mark and Neville from Holy Cross, Paringa) and other volunteers to selectively colour pick and cut fruit. It was obvious that birds were also enjoying the harvest. Pastor Paul’s job was to help wash and sort fruit on the belt of the cutting machine before it was cut. On the second day our Barossa North team attended, it was time to strip pick the trees. The fruit had ripened nicely and it wasn’t long before all the available boxes were full. A gang of 12 volunteers (including Sabina, Ken and Lynette Jaeger, Rueben Noack and my brother Mark, along with a group of willing volunteers from Springhead congregation in the Adelaide Hills) worked in pleasant conditions to get the job done.
Credit must be extended to Lou Moss for co-ordinating this project over the past 13 years, supporting LCA International Mission work in Cambodia and Myanmar and the Mango Tree Centre for people with disabilities in Tonga.
Finally, I would encourage anyone who can, to become involved by volunteering their time to help. Many thanks to those who expressed an interest in helping but were unable to attend on the days required. It would be great to support this very worthy project again in the next harvest season.
It is pretty amazing that we were able to have a full fortnight in between picking days. In 13 years, I have never experienced such ongoing, cool conditions, but this saved the fruit and we lost very little. What we saw as a hindrance was actually a blessing. God is good and matched the harvest days with our ability to manage them. Only 3 picking days this harvest. Simply astounding. That just does not happen. But it did.
Thanks first to God and then many thanks to the teams and also individuals who were wonderful in helping out in various ways, including being ready to provide accommodation to volunteers. You all assured me that you enjoyed being a part of it and shared good fellowship along with the work.
Hopefully the next season will return to a more normal crop and the teams’ experience from this time will encourage others to become involved for the bigger better crop to come.
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/