Monday Musings 06/06/11
One of the things that have intrigued me over the years, as I travel across the Continent of Africa, is the markets along the side of the road. It never ceases to amaze me as I observe the craftsmanship and entrepreneuring of the African people. You see everything from vegetable stands to live chickens, goats, and mice. One can buy furniture, paintings, carvings, rugs and even coffee mugs, all along the side of the road.
We have our own “Toys R Us” on the highway between Kitwe and Ndola. Just outside of Kitwe, there is a sign that reads “Toys Ahead”. Immediately following the sign, are all kinds of handmade cars, trucks and motorbikes for sale. These toys are unique as they are all made out of wire and the rubber wheels are made from old tire tubes. Trip after trip we have said we must stop so that this “wanna be” Harley rider could buy a motorbike. Well, finally this past week, MJ and I stopped and I got my Harley. I even had it modified (Kitwe’s own “chop shop”) to my specifications.
As I sat and watch an artist work with his hands, I was reminded of the fact that in the midst of extreme poverty, there are people who are using their gifting as a means of sustainability. I am quite confident that this man has never heard of Toys R Us, and yet he has developed a business along the side of the road that provides for him and his family.
Last week’s blog talked about the practical leadership training for pastor’s and church leaders that have brought us to the Continent of Africa and will keep us coming back. As part of that training, National leaders have asked us to encourage pastors and church planters toward economic sustainability so that they and their churches can become financially independent.
When on African soil, it does not take long to discover that low-income people are very gifted. They may not have much in the way of material possessions but they have incredible gifts and abilities. RTC is determined to help them recover, and in some cases discover, their sense of dignity by uncovering their talents and helping them to see “what is in their hands”.
I sat in amazement this week and watched what one man can create with his hands through the use of a pair of pliers and a bundle of wire. The motorbike I purchased from him finds a prominent place on the bookshelf in our living room. Daily, it serves as a reminder that there are so many others in Africa with similar talent. With God’s help, MJ and I will do our part to help them paint a picture of a preferred future that will lead them toward economic sustainability.
Until next Monday…
Taking risks for Kingdom impact!