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