Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gardening...Seeing God Big, Part 2

Quick note before I tell you my next sure to check out the button on my sidebar for Bringing Home's an awesome raffle for a beautiful little girl that needs to come home to her forever family. Be sure you read the family's story...their son was in a horrible car accident and even in the midst of it, God led them to this precious child... For a small contribution you can enter to win an awesome Nikon D60!

Each day we were in Africa, we were assigned to different teams… I loved being in the community, so the day my mom and Nick and I were assigned to work in the gardens together, I was so excited!

Just a quick background note… we went with an organization called Heart For Africa (you can click on the name and go to their website) but they work with orphanages in Kenya and Swaziland and also with the surrounding communities. They repair roofs, plant gardens, do medical screening and vision testing…pretty much anything a community would need…

So this was our day to work in the gardens…we started off with our 3 teams, but when we got to one of our drop off locations to plant, the owner of the home was not there and he had not prepared his garden. So J., our guide, decided to combine the two remaining teams and go on to the next location…this was very significant, as you’ll find out in a moment!

Planting the gardens is hard work…we would run a crude irrigation system, install a fence…with no tools…hand wrap it…plant onions, spinach, tomatoes and a few other things…it was hot and the women had to wear skirts! But it was incredibly rewarding…



Usually the family would hang around, sometimes they would join in and help us, but they watched everything we did…


One thing about Africa, that is vastly different than America, is that no one is on a time schedule…so when we finished planting the garden, we had to hang around and wait for the truck to come back for us. As we all clustered under a large shade tree for some relief from the heat, the grandmother (gogo) came out carrying one of her few pieces of furniture…a bench…she wanted us to have some place to sit, other than the ground! And then a few minutes later, she came back with a chair…this time she didn’t come all the way over to us, but simply sat it close by so we would know it was available.



I don’t know why her simple offering moved me so much, but it was such a sweet reminder that it is not the size of our offering that matters, it’s simply the heart behind it. She was grateful for our efforts that day and showed us in the only way she knew how…

When the truck returned for us, we went back to the house we had left earlier to see if the man had returned. As we stood waiting for our guide to talk to the man, an older woman came walking up the road. She had a terrible limp, I have no idea how she had made it so far, her foot was severely deformed.

She didn’t approach us, but sat down on a little hill nearby. A couple of us went over to talk to her and she began pulling out a set of papers. One of the ladies in our group was able to learn that her husband had died and now she had no way to send her two grandchildren to school, to finish out the year.


In Africa, you pay to go to elementary and high school and then you can test and go to the University for free…it’s an interesting system. It cost about $50/quarter for a child to go to school…$150 for a year.

When this woman’s husband died, she lost her means of support and the children were being kicked out of school because she couldn’t afford to pay for them….and school in Africa is the only hope of a child escaping this horrible cycle of poverty.

Now remember, we were supposed to have been at this house earlier…and only one team would have been there…3-4 people instead of all 7 of us. When J., our guide, finished talking to the owner of the home, who had decided he didn’t want a garden, we asked him to talk to this lady to find out exactly what her need was…

Turns out, she was on her way up the mountain to the orphanage, to try and get help for her grandchildren. Most likely, the orphanage wouldn’t have been able to help her… But when she saw us, she decided to stop.

J., who takes his job very seriously to protect those who come to Africa, said he would normally never consider a request for help from someone in the community…it can be very dangerous for the person receiving help, as well as for those offering the help. But J. said the whole time he was talking to her, he kept hearing God whisper in his heart, “Get out of my way.” In addition, we had been told, in no uncertain terms, not to take money with us into the community.

Well, when we were told that all she needed was 700 Rand, a mere $100, all of us started pulling money belts from under our clothes! There were 7 of us and we each had 100 Rand!!

7 rebels who would have been split up if the earlier plan had gone according to schedule…

7 rebels who would not have been sitting on that hillside if the man had been home the first time we stopped by…

1 guide who was willing to listen to his Heavenly Father…who feared God more than man…

2 children who would not have finished school that year if God hadn’t orchestrated all of this.


Once again…God showed up BIG in the details! Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to Caleb...another amazing story!!


Anonymous said...

I love reading the post and "remembering". The bench and the chair still bring tears to my eyes as I remember that precious gogo bringing them out to us. She brought us the very best that she had. How many times have I given my best??? She taught me a valuable lesson.
The lady on the side of the road also taught me something. As she approached us, she came only so close and then she just sat down. She sat down and never said a word.
He said, "Be still----". In her stillness we approached her and how we were blessed. I just love God stories and she was one of our God stories.

BTW, the scripture you used in yesterday's post was the scripture that Andy used this morning! Now I have heard that twice within approx. 12 hours! When did you two coordinate your scripture?! It really did get my attention when he announced his scripture.

Can hardly wait to read about Caleb-oh the Caleb story---thinking about it makes me want to see him so badly.


April Isaacs said...

I love stories when we get to see God move like that!! I actually like being in the story to see God move like that! It is so cool that he lets us be involved in HIS story!

I am glad you are writing this! Since we have only got to talk in person for a lousy 90 minutes... lousy because I wish it could have been longer. One of the things I wanted was to hear about your trip to Africa!

Big Hugs!

P.S. Did you get my last email?
P.S.S. Did you eat any PIG the other night?? :-)