When it comes to taking a journey, the only predictable step is the first one. Once you’re moving, all bets are off.
For example, when I left my house just over a week ago my duffle bag was in my hand. But upon landing at my first stop in Vancouver, I discovered that Air Canada had decided my luggage should take a different route to Africa than my own. Two long flights later through different cities in different countries, my bags and I met up in South Africa, in a dusty corner of the Johannesburg lost-luggage room. Two more short flights after that (in much smaller planes) I arrived at the ASAM mission base in Mozambique with everything in tow. So much for the first part of the journey.
Over this past week we’ve been putting the finishing touches on the maintenance shop project as we prepare for the building dedication and celebration time slotted for Friday afternoon, August 21st. From all accounts, it’s going to be a pretty big festa!
This shop project began in the spring of 2011 and thousands of hours of hard work have gone into creating this amazing maintenance and training facility. All the local workers who have had a part in its construction are invited, as well as the local community leaders and transportation operators. The shop is already impacting the community in a positive way, and will continue to do so as more local young men are trained in maintenance and repair, and in welding skills. Along with the speeches there’ll be much food, singing, and dancing, because Mozambicans really know how to party!
The week was also full with plans of another kind as our shop manager and former student Prosper Fernando prepared to get married. Government bureaucracy threatened to delay the event, but Prosper persevered through many trips to town, and by Friday afternoon the required documents and licenses were finally secured. On Saturday I was privileged to attend the wedding (over 4 hours for the ceremony alone) as Prosper and Esquita became man and wife.
So the journey continues. Already I’ve had many teaching moments in a multitude of areas - from welding advice to electrical repair to safety training on basic tire work. And the Lord has been teaching me as well. Things like patience when my luggage is lost, and a grateful heart as I watch one of our young trainees take an important life step. Above all, I am constantly reassured that the contributions we make and even the minor hardships we endure, really do make a difference in someone else’s life.
So Monday the work continues. Progress will be made and the journey will continue – one uncharted step at a time.