Friday, July 22, 2016

Picking Up the Trowel

Friday, July 22, 2016
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?  Can that kind of faith save anyone?  Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing.  What good does that do?  So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough.  Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.   James 2:14-17(NLT)
Zimbabwe Journal, Wednesday afternoon, October 10, 2007

Our mission team met many interesting and gracious people in Zimbabwe.  We taught aspiring Bible students, conducted Vacation Bible School that saw nearly 150 children make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, laid a foundation and built part of the wall for new classrooms for Ezekiel Pentecostal Bible College in Harare.

In the space of a week I saw Africa’s beauty, barrenness and beckoning:


I was privileged to see Victoria Falls, such incredible pristine beauty of God’s creation.  I got to lean against a 700 year old Baobab tree, and look into the beautiful faces of children and adult Bible students eager to hear about Jesus.


I met a man on our last afternoon at the school, and never did find out his name.  He was painstakingly using an old cylinder-head from a truck engine as a “hammer” against a piece of angle-iron to break the hulls off grains of maze – not corn, but an African grain that hardly has any nutritional value.  The steady clink, clink, clink of metal on metal was what drew me to his hut.  He had been at it several hours to produce a small handful of maze.  He would form it into a cake half the size of my hand; that would be his meal – his only meal of the day.


We built a foundation for a building, and began the walls before time ran out.  And on the final day we did what has become custom for short-term mission teams; we left what money we had left and everything else besides the clothes on our backs.

“Red” was a member of our team, a brick mason by trade.  He was about the only one who knew anything about construction.  He had brought his own trowel, and somehow the airport security had let it through, metal point and all.  (Amazing considering they’d confiscated my peanut butter!)

Red left his trowel with Abion, our interpreter, who promised to put it to good use in the days ahead. 

And this is how we left the beginnings of some future pastor’s education:

For You Today

There are a lot of bricks left to be put in place.  There are life-changing moments awaiting anyone who might be willing to pick up Red’s trowel.

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!


[i] Images: Russell Brownworth (own work)

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