Monday, June 18, 2012

Prepared in advance

Today we did some hard African labor. At one point I felt just like the banana leaf statue I have of the woman with the hoe... Minus the baby on her back and the goat on a rope. And I can tell you that I'm fairly certain that I could not do it all day every day!

Agnes had Peter, the boy who "slashes" (uses a long knife type tool slashing back and forth to cut the grass--- Robert promises never to complain about the law mower again, but has asked to try slashing at least 100 times today! ;-)) cut some of the dead plants away before we arrived this morning, which was a huge head start! We had asked her to buy us some gloves to go with the 2 hoes she said she owned, and this morning there were 4 hoes! Good news! We got busy tilling the dirt. It is much easier to work with than Austin limestone, but certainly not an easy job.

In addition, I met with Agnes about many things. I gave her all of the new underwear and socks that we took, sorted by size and gender. Another girl from our team organized all the vitamins and medicines we brought in Ms. Agnes' storage room. We had enough medicine and almost enough vitamins to last until we return next summer! We also gave her a year's worth of Purell! A girl on our team found it for 10 cents a bottle last December, and bought 30 of them just because she felt like she should!!

I also had the chance to sit down with the teachers because today's PE was lacrosse!
Here is how our conversation went:
Me: tell me what you need for your classrooms.
Teachers: (mumbling, shy) pencils.
Me: I was a teacher. I know there are always things you need and wish for. I can't promise to do all of them, but I'd like to know what your needs are so we can pray and ask God to provide.
T: markers. They come in some colors in a box.
Me: (writing it down) I know what you're talking about. What else?
T: colored pencils
Me: What else?
T: we do need pencils.
Me: what about pencil sharpeners?
T: clapping with delight-- oh yes! That would be wonderful!
Me: what else? What about books? If we had enough, we could put them on a shelf and the children could read them, like a library.
T: (looking at me like I've suggested the impossible) yes. It would be wonderful if we could ever do that.
Me: What else?
T: glue
Me: What else?
This went on for about 10 minutes, and when we were done, their list was almost a carbon copy of the suitcase full of school supplies I have in my hotel room ready to bring to them!! I about to bust! You see, we've been trying so hard to go into this trip with a spirit of listening instead of telling, and that's why I wanted to know their needs before I presumed to try to meet them. God knows all along, though, and He had donations of these supplies made 6 months ago!

Yesterday on the 4wheeler, there was a point at which some local children from the village ran up to my vehicle yelling "one by one!!". This made no sense to me, of course, so I smiled and said, "two by two!". They laughed and pointed. About 30 yards down the road, there was a big valley. The driver turned and said, "we must go one by one." Suddenly I understood the talk that had seemed crazy 30 yards back! I think our faith walk is like that. God whispers something to us (gather underwear, buy hand sanitizer, donate school supplies) and it sounds crazy... Until we get down the road a little way, and see that what He whispered was to prepare us for His work!

Ephesians 2:10. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 comment:

  1. I'm crying as I read this because Dena and I just had a conversation yesterday about school supplies - pencils and crayons and tablets and markers, etc. Now we know God is so good and BOOKS will be the next item on the gathering list for next summer if we can't send them before then! I am so blessed to see the handiwork you are doing for our children in God's name! And I love the picture of the lacrosse team and Robert with the baby!