Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Invisible Hand
The Invisible Hand.
Have you ever sensed that there was a power or a presence that was at work in circumstances that you could not explain or attribute to human effort? As I sit on the shaded veranda reflecting on the events of the past few days, I am reminded that there is “an invisible hand” that is at work, guiding, helping and working out circumstances in ways we just can’t comprehend.
As you know, one of the main projects that we had hoped to accomplish this week was to see a well drilled and capped to provide safe water to the children of Healing Place School and this particular area of Kabanana Compound near Lusaka. Driving each day to the work site, you see children pushing large 55 gallon drums of water from community wells to service their homes and family. They roll these heavy drums over bumpy roads, uncultivated fields and through thick undergrowth just to have something that you and I take for granted. Women also help roll these barrels but often they are seen carrying large pails or jars of water on their heads. Some walk as far as 5 – 8 kilometers. Near our project the closest water is 4.5 kilometers in either direction.
Children, in order to get water for their family often miss school. And yet at Balm of Gliead School where a team from Enumclaw worked last year, enrollment has climbed from 217 to 330. They have a well but are unable to pump water because of the high cost of power. At Healing Place, the enrollment is 235 ranging in age from pre-schooler age to teenagers studying to take exams for entrance into government school.
Water for this school and community is critical. That is why Enumclaw Rotary donated such a sizable amount of money for a well to be dug. That is why most of us committed to coming. Yet when we arrived we were deflated to learn that water at the site was much deeper than first thought and the first three attempts at a bore hole well were unsuccessful. Discouraged, we set our sites on other projects. The next priority was to dig a foundation for a first classroom building. That in itself seemed too daunting for our group but we said, “Okay, let’s do what we can. We are few in number but whatever we can do, it will be a help. So we prayed that somehow we could do something positive. And the next day – Monday – we pulled up and saw a cadre of 9 men ready to help us. An invisible hand guiding us in this project.
The well situation still remained however. And in typical African fashion, the company responsible for drilling said they would be back Monday. Monday came and went – no drilling team. Tuesday came and went. No drilling truck in sight. More discouragement. But then again, last night we just said if it was to be, it would happen. When we arrived this morning, there was sand, gravel, cement on site so we began working under the hot African sun to mix and pour concrete footings. About half way into that project, the drilling rig showed up. What a stir that caused in the community. Children were dismissed early from school, husbands, wives grandparents, babies – all came out to see this exciting prospect of water coming to their community. They drilled to 65 meters before running out of pipe but the last 10 meters showed wet sand. Encouraging. Later this afternoon – after we had left – the extra drill bits arrived and they were able to find good sustainable water. Tonight they are putting in the pipes to bring it to the surface and then they will cap it. The commissioner for the area was deeply grateful as was Pastor Mbanga, Winnie Takema, and all the people of the community. In spite of our discouragement, an invisible hand brought more to completion than we had thought possible. Your support in prayer and in finances has brought water to a community; the beginnings of a classroom building for a school that is ministering to over 200 children who are the most vulnerable in Lusaka; and most importantly a sense of love and partnership that spans over 17,000 miles.
In Genesis 50 Joseph declares to his brothers who had sold him as a slave “You intended to harm me. God meant all this for good.” Everything seemed against us at the first of the week. Now here we are on Wednesday night and incredible things have happened.
We are all safe and well – mostly! Even cold water showers are welcome after working hard at the end of a short handled shovel in 98 degree heat. But it is worth it as we see the fruit of our labor and prayers take shape. Thanks for your partnership.
Tomorrow we go to Lusaka Rotary to seek their support and partnership in this ongoing prokect. I’ll keep you posted.
Todays prayer on my heart - “Lord, may my heart be broken by the things that break your heart.”