Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Mountain

(Front row: Phuong, Nguyen, Nhi, Dat; Back row, me, Hai, Uncle Eight)
I'm 95 % recovered from my most recent trip to Vietnam. It takes me ten days to receiver from jet lag and I'm on day seven. This is from August 7, 2013 and it details a story of why I love going there so much! This morning, I gave the devotional for our WCS inservice. I had the sure fire recipe for success as I spoke about my mission to Vietnam which ended nine days ago; pictures of cute kids! I was blessed with relatives and friends who gave money in the name of Jesus to help the work of teaching about Jesus in Can Tho. When I arrived, Hai, the preacher, told me of the plumbing issues they were experiencing on one side of the two apartments the church owns, the side where they were teaching neighborhood kids English. The downstairs toilet could not be used due to a problem with the pipe system. Considering the fact that there might be more than thirty people in the house at any one time, it was critical to fix the problem quickly. My brothers and sisters provided the necessary funds and Hai's father, Uncle Ten, hired an amazing three man crew to do the work. There was, as in most endeavors, a residual effect; the workers left behind a large mound of debris taken from the floor and it was piled up on the street. On July 21. this was my report:

Any of you remember the old song by Donovan, First There Is A Mountain (Then There Is No Mountain)? We kind of went through that today. The plumbers did a terrific job but they left a very large pile of tile/bricks/dirt/who knows what else which was removed when the toilet and floor and pipes were dug up and it was deposited right in front of the apartment. Hai put a sign on the pile this week saying anyone could take it if they wanted, but shockingly, no takers. He told me today we would have to move it and about 5 PM, we commenced. I was thinking shovels and wheelbarrow and if we prayed, the Lord might send a Dodge Ram by to help us out. Instead, we had four of us working on the heap with a piece of broken tile and machete for tools. We had two pans and we scooped the dirt into a five gallon bucket and burlap bags, Then Hai/Dat, Uncle Eight, and Oahn carried the rubble on their motorbikes to a field a block away and dumped them. The process repeated non-stop and amazingly in an hour and fifteen minutes, the pile was gone! It was, and this might sound odd, a great deal of fun in spite of my getting a small slice on my pinky, a little scary when you consider the source of the debris. Some folks on the street even stopped and watched us! I am reminded of this quote by Teddy Roosevelt that I once put on the back of my high school basketball team's t-shirt:
"Do what you can with what you have with where you are."
When we started, I really was hoping a shovel or some sort of scoop would appear but in retrospect, I'm glad it didn't. The Christians here make do with what they have and this fit into that scheme of things. I'm reminded of the praise that Jesus in Revelation gave to the the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia who, even though they were not rich, were hanging in there. The church here is hanging in there; please pray for them and for me while I am blessed to be in their midst.

The application I made this morning centered around how we have a tendency to complain about what we don't have to work with instead of using the tools already at our our disposable. I made the point that two years ago, my classroom projector was on the blink at the beginning of school and I was in despair of how I could teach, forgetting I taught for decades without the ability to project notes onto a screen. We need to be like Hai; use what we have.

Applicable quote of the day:
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

To listen to Donovan sing First There Is A Mountain, click or copy/paste here!

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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