My favorite pieces in the puzzle

My favorite pieces in the puzzle

Jonathan was up before the crack of dawn again this morning, and out the door quite frankly even before I was awake. This is the fourth morning he has left with Emmanueli to go out to the college to work all day.

During the rainy season people quarried what we now estimate to be fourteen hundred tons of foundation stones -- that's a lot of stones by any stretch of the imagination! And then two weeks ago we cancelled classes here at Madisi for two days and the entire student body worked and built two and a half kilometers of road from the college to the hill where the stones had been quarried so that our trucks could begin hauling those stones. Emmanueli and Mecky drove the truck out to the college with eight men -- and with Jonathan -- to work from early morning until late afternoon, lifting those stones into the truck so the guys could haul them away. Jonathan came home tired each day, but it was that good kind of tired when you know you've worked hard and done something of value. Emmanueli said that he was a little surprised quite frankly that Jonathan never wavered, he never got too tired to keep on, and while he might not have been able to lift the heaviest of the stones by himself, he more than made up for that by never slowing down. You know, there's so much when you're a dad that you wonder about -- you worry sometimes if you're doing things right or not -- and then something like this happens. And you get all choked up inside and you find yourself listening to Emmanueli talk about it and in your heart you just keep saying over and over again thanks Emmanueli, thanks for taking my son out there with you, thanks for doing that with him. And then you hear Emmanueli saying listen Mzee he's your son and you're proud of him, but he's our dogo (that means little brother) and we're proud of him too, and then you totally feel good inside.

I think often of this college we're building. There's so much about it that I like when I dream about it.

I like the beautiful wooded hilly area that the people gave us for the college. The trees are huge and old and it is going to be a such an exceptionally beautiful and peaceful campus, the buildings nestled among the trees placed just perfectly in the meadows scattered in those woods.

I like that the college is the product of deep-felt principles that I have in my head and my heart, and also of very long discussions that we've had about the real needs that we want to meet and how we want to go about meeting them.

I like that the first four lecture halls were built as a surprise while I was off in the States last fall, and I really like that it was Festo who oversaw the construction as part of his internship after he graduated.

I like too the fact that we're building the college on faith without a ton of money. And I like the fact that Josh and Jonathan know it, that Godfrey and Emmanueli know it, that I know it. Five, six years ago I might have been more than a little frightened of all this, but now I just love doing it this way and watching the incredible happen. I'm not being naive about it all. I know that it's one thing to build a secondary school or two, or even ten on faith that God will provide, but as we forge forward, I'm so glad that my boys see that we're building the college the same way we build the schools.

And I like that when they start building the foundation of the library this week or next that I'll always know that Jonathan -- my son -- carried some of the stones in that foundation.

I know that there is a lot more to the building of a college library than just the foundation stones. Obviously. And I will without a doubt be thankful in my heart for all of the leadership that Godfrey and Emmanueli bring to the project. I will of course be thankful to all those who will be giving money in the coming weeks and months so we can buy the roofing and the cement. And I'll be thankful for all of those who will be pulling really good books off of the shelves of their personal libraries and donating them so that students here in Tanzania can use them and learn from them. In God's eyes, I know that all of those things are important pieces in the puzzle, and I have the feeling in God's eyes He probably loves all of the pieces equally.

But I'll afford myself the luxury of not loving all of the pieces equally. I already know that my favorite pieces in the puzzle are forever going to be the stones in those foundations.