Browse Month: February 2011

Monday Musings – 28/02/11

Time has told…

Last week I ended my blog with these words…”Can all of the above be accomplished?  Time will tell”.

How ironic that one day after writing these words, time almost stood still. “Time will tell” has turned into “time has told”, as on Tuesday February 22, 2011 at about 3 p.m. (Zambian time), Rob Hall, a fellow global worker, lost his life on the third floor of the prayer tower at TTC.  Man (Mann) may try to take time into his own hands, but God’s timing will ultimately prevail.

Rob, his beautiful wife Kate and their three children, Kathryn, Simeon and Cameron, came to TTC in October of last year.  He came with a vision to teach the vulnerable and poor of Zambia how to use agriculture as a means of sustainability.

Recently, over a cappuccino, Rob and I exchanged visions and began to discuss how our visions could compliment one another’s work.  He volunteered his framing skills to help me do some structural work on the roof of the prayer tower.  Last Tuesday, at noon, he made his way to the third floor to begin the work and there ended his mission on Zambian soil, as the result of a freak construction accident.

I was driving back from a Pastor’s meeting, in Kabwe, when my cell phone rang and I received the news of Rob’s death.  My first thought was “Oh God, please may his death have not happened on the third floor”!  Psalm 73:20 uses the words “As a dream when one awakes” except this was no dream.  The reality was that Rob lost his life while volunteering to help RTC prepare for its inaugural seminar on March 3rd.

My pain ran deep for Kate and her three beautiful children and my pain ran deep that this had happened on my watch.  If only Rob had died in the fields, where his heart was, but why on the third floor of the future leadership centre???

Although a person will never have all the answers to these questions, some healing came to me last Thursday as the student body and members of the community that had been enriched by Rob’s life, packed out the college chapel for a memorial service.  Speaker after speaker said the same thing, that Rob’s life would not go wasted.  The death of his seed would bear much fruit.

In the middle of the night, just hours before the memorial service, I was awakened with thoughts so vivid that I had to write them down.  I had the privilege of sharing those thoughts at the memorial service.

“Rob Hall planted seed in the soil here on the grounds at TTC, and he also planted hope in the hearts of men and women for a preferred future…Suddenly, he has been uprooted from amongst us…His short time with us will have a long lasting impact!!!!”

Then I thought of March 31, 2010, when I was on the third floor, the same place where Rob died.  It was at that time that a vision was planted in my heart from John 1.  Phillip invited Nathanael to come and follow Jesus of Nazareth as a disciple.  Nathanael responded:  “Nazareth, can anything good come from there?”  Phillip responded:  “Come and see”.  That day in 2010, my heart was gripped with those words and I asked myself, “can anything good come out of Kitwe”.  The compelling response that came to my heart from that question was “come and see”!!!

So I ask myself today, “Can anything good come out of this tragedy”?  Rob’s blood literally flowed down the walls of the prayer tower from that third floor, and I choose to believe that the impact of his shed blood will reach far beyond the walls of TTC, impacting the Continent of Africa, perhaps even the world. 

You may also recall me saying this in my blog last week: “My prayer would be that from the highest point of the TTC campus, RTC would have the privilege of influencing the church to the farthest points of the Continent of Africa”!!!!  Little did I know the impact that those words would have 24 hours later.

I close with this Zambian proverb that was shared with me the morning of the memorial service – “people die…people remain”.  It is the passionate prayer of my heart that as Rob Hall died doing what he loved most and being where he wanted to be (on African soil), that those of us who remain will determine to see that what he started  will live on and have incredible Kingdom impact.

Construction has been postponed momentarily, but the seminars will continue as planned starting this Thursday.  It is my prayer that people will come and see that indeed something good, something very good will come out of Kitwe!!!

A website has been set up in honour of Rob by his brother-in-law, Todd Cantelon.  Please take time to visit it at www.danielroberthall.net

Until next Monday…

Don

Still taking risks for Kingdom impact!!!!!!!

Monday Musings – 21/02/11

Time will tell…

A friend of mine, from Montreal, sent me an email last week about one of my recent blogs.

“Don, I read your Blogs … and I laugh … smile … grin … as I think of this efficient, articulate guy who knew how to get things done in Montreal in his sleep … waiting in an office in Africa to get a temporary permit for his 4×4…God certainly has a sense of humour!!!  I love it ….”

Well Andrew, this efficient, articulate guy whom you think knows how to get things done in his sleep is going to try something that perhaps has never been done before in Africa (at least Kitwe).  Today, I have an electrician and tile installer starting work on the leadership center.  Tomorrow, I have someone doing structural work on the roof, Wednesday a carpenter starts installing a new ceiling on the third floor and, somewhere in between, I have to hire a painter to paint the second and third floor of the tower.  And if that is not enough, my goal is to have it completed for our inaugural seminar at the leadership center on Thursday, March 3rd (that’s not 2012, that’s ten days from now!!!!).  I don’t know that I will get it done in my sleep but it may be cause for a few sleepless nights!!!

To top it all off, we got news last night that the container arrived in Kitwe yesterday afternoon and we start unloading it this morning.  MJ said: “it never rains but it pours” – and I hope it won’t pour today while we unload as we are still in the rainy season here.

The excitement of getting the leadership centre started far outweighs the busyness of the work ahead.  Yesterday MJ and I attended a village church just across from the TTC campus.  As we walked through the fields from the church back to the campus, the prayer tower stood tall in the distance.  I could not help but thank God for the privilege He has given us to provide practical leadership training for pastors, church leaders and bible college students.  My prayer would be that from the highest point of the TTC campus, RTC would have the privilege of influencing the church to the farthest points of the Continent of Africa!!!!

Can all of the above be accomplished?  Time will tell.

Until next Monday…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

Monday Musings – 14/02/11

Without a vision…

There is only one thing worse than not having a vision, that’s having a vision and not acting upon it.

MJ and I are in the third week of waiting for our new installation of fibre optic Internet service. Week one was the installation of an eighteen foot tower on the roof of our house that was intended to pick up the signal of a base station in Kitwe.  The problem was that the mature trees in our area prevented the tower and base from communicating with each other. 

Week two saw the tower come down and a phone line installed that would carry the Internet signal through the fibre optics of the phone line into our home.  I guess you could say that process, which began ten days ago, got “lost in installation”.  Last Thursday, I met my Internet guy at the local phone company and we decided that we would not leave until the installation was complete.  It took two visits, as well as paperwork and installation payments, being transitioned from department to department but by late Thursday afternoon, we had connectivity!!!!!

While at the phone company, I noticed a vision document posted on the wall of each department.  It was articulate and put a major emphasis on customer care stressing the importance of looking after the stakeholders of the company.  After experiencing a number of broken promises and continued delays, I took two of the employees over to the vision statement and pointed out the emphasis placed on customer care.  Within moments, I had connectivity.

Most organizations feel the pressure of pursuing a vision statement.  They can be very impressive when displayed on the wall, but extremely damaging if not acted upon by the employees.  If you take the time to articulate a vision, make sure you are prepared to spend significantly more time educating your people toward the incarnation of the vision on a day to day basis.  The Bible, which I believe to be the greatest leadership manual of all time, seems to know what it is talking about when it says:  “Without a vision, people perish”.  Organizations, companies and churches, without a vision will flounder and fail. Even worse are organizations that have a vision and fail to live it out on a daily basis…this is a certain death!!!

By the way, MJ and I enjoyed the Internet for four hours on Thursday using Skype and doing some emails.  When we woke up on Friday morning, we discovered that the Internet was down because a cable had been cut somewhere in Lusaka the night before.  It is Monday morning and we are still waiting for connectivity.  I guess it is time to re-visit the vision statement.  We have to find a way to see the humour in everything!!!

I could not resist sending you the above picture taken last week in the local grocery store.  This employee uses the shopping cart as a ladder to stock the shelves and swivels his hips to move it along the aisle.  I can’t tell you if he lives out the vision of the store but as for his ingenuity, I give him an A+!!!

Until next Monday…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

Monday Musings – 07/02/11

Super Bowl XLV live in Zambia…

Our global worker team here in Kitwe has been anticipating Super Bowl XLV for the last week.  In order to watch it live here in Zambia, we would have to get up at 1 a.m. and go to the house of choice for the party!  As a team, we decided we would opt for the option of watching it a 4 p.m. on Monday, although I mentioned that I may watch the opening kick-off and first quarter live before going to bed.   The team will gather here at Kopa St. this afternoon, including Jim Richards who is visiting from International Office – let the party begin!!!

Wouldn’t you know it, on Sunday the power went out sometime while we were at church and stayed off the entire day.  MJ and I played Banana Gram by candlelight with Jonathan Young, a friend from Canada who is building a playground at the Village of Hope, until about 9 p.m. at which time we all opted for bed.  So much for watching the kick-off live!!!

In the middle of the night, I woke up to find that the power was back on.  When I checked the time, I discovered that it was 1:09 a.m.  I turned on the television and to my thrill; I got to listen to God Bless America, the national anthem and the opening kick-off of the Super Bowl.  History was made for me as for the first time in my life, I saw the Super Bowl live on African soil!!!!!

Now I had a decision.  Do I stay up and watch the game on my own or do I wait and watch it with the global worker team?  I have learned in life that one will lead a very lonely and ineffective life if he/she walks it alone.  There is far greater joy and reward when you walk through life as a team.  As a matter of fact our very first seminar at the leadership centre on March 10th will be entitled “Team Work Makes the Dream Work”.  So, I watched the first two possessions of the game, turned off the television and will anticipate watching the Super Bowl with my teammates at 4 o’clock this afternoon.  Thank you in advance for not emailing me the score and spoiling our Zambian Super Bowl party!

Well today, our internet guy promises connectivity, a process that started a week and a half ago.  Tomorrow, I will go to traffic control to pay my road tax and contribute toward bigger potholes in Kitwe (an experience I have been warned may take upwards to three hours)!  This week MJ and I will continue preparations for our first set of seminars at the leadership center in March!

Until next Monday from Kitwe…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

www.reinventingthechurch.com


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