Mending pipes and changing lives

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Gillian Maganda, 15 days ago | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Kitwe, Zambia – Saturday 25th November

In one of his recent blogs, Keith Scott shared how the life of a mission partner requires the development of many skills. I certainly saw this in action yesterday!

The night before last there was heavy rain, along with very loud thunder and lightning. Opportunistic thieves had used the weather conditions to steal the Scotts’ outside tap, which they had yanked off, breaking the pipe, and causing the main water supply into their bathrooms to be cut. A job that would have taken one hour in Ireland, ended up taking the whole day. I was woken at 7:30am by the sounds of Keith struggling to loosen a main joint that was rusted fast.

News of the burglary spread to the neighbours and Rev Francis Mwansa (head of the seminary) and two other grounds men soon appeared on the scene. In my mind I was thinking how funny it looked, and wondered how many men does it actually take to change a water pipe? At one point, the two maintenance guys were struggling with the pipe joint, while Keith and Francis we’re giving their expert advice!

I read an article recently that highlighted how the skills people would have traditionally learned from previous generations have fallen by the wayside. In the ‘West’, we seem to be less attracted to tasks that involve getting our hands dirty and more reliant on tradesmen and professionals for smaller jobs around the house. But not in Zambia! One needs to be willing to get stuck in and be prepared to not only get your hands dirty, but be open to try and learn new skills.

In chatting with Francis, he told me Keith had taught him a lot of new things in the past 11 months – and he genuinely seemed to be enjoying it. Yesterday demonstrated to me the blessing of African communal living, where a team of people pulled together to get the job done.

So, as my time in Zambia draws to a close, I have been greatly impressed by the ministry of Keith and Lyn, and their colleagues at St John’s Theological Seminary. They are working tirelessly to ensure that the ordinands in training are learning the tools of their trade, so that they are fully equipped to enter into ministry within the Church. While academic learning is important, Keith emphasised that they are focusing on the whole person. The seminary’s desire is to train men and women of integrity – people who are trustworthy and true – forming individuals to whom you would entrust your relatives. They’re raising up men of courage who are prepared to take the narrow road.

This visit has reinforced to me the importance for us – as God’s family and in CMSI – to pull together and support our Global Partners in the training of future Church leaders. Together we are stronger: a little investment in this ministry by parishes and individuals in Ireland goes a long way to building up the Church in Zambia and to extending God’s Kingdom throughout Southern Africa. Are we as God’s people prepared to get our hands dirty?

Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

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