One last big long push

One last big long push

I just got a series of messages from Anyisile and my thoughts went right away to what Paul wrote in the eight chapter of Corinthians:

And now brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.

Anyisile wasn't writing to me about money that our students had given -- our kids are poor and many of them struggle just to eat one meal a day -- so he wasn't writing about them giving money, something most of them literally don't have. Instead he was telling me about the bricks they made.

Two weeks ago Anysile had written to tell us that the student government had met and the students had set a goal for themselves of making 80,000 bricks this year -- enough for 4 more classrooms and 2 more teacher houses -- and that they were sure that if they could do it in a week if they worked every day. Their goal seemed hopelessly impossible when he first told us -- pie in the sky really -- 80,000 bricks!

But they wisely divided the entire school of just over 200 students up into 23 teams and after five full days of work, Monday through Friday, today on Saturday they rested. And they counted. One team had made 2600 bricks, 4 teams had each made 2700 bricks, 13 teams had made 3000 bricks each, and 5 teams had made 3500 each. A total of 93,300 bricks. You know the government looks at the results on the national exams and says that VST students are amazingly wonderful. Well as much as I too am thrilled over their academic results, I honestly want to shout right now that our kids are so amazingly wonderful in ways that no exams will ever measure. You see they're not making bricks for classrooms for themselves -- they already have classrooms, they're already in school. No, they're making classrooms for their little brothers and sisters to come to school in September.

And now after counting all of the bricks, they have asked if they might work one additional day -- today they prepared the mud for the bricks, tomorrow they will rest, and on Monday they want to give it one last big push. One last big push. Wameomba wao wenyewe Mzee. They asked this themselves Mzee. It was reading that sentence that sent my thoughts back to Paul's words in Corinthians: they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege ...

Over the last couple of months there are so many people who have very sacrificially given funds for construction supplies here -- some school kids literally collected quarters and nickels and dimes -- and some people wrote out checks and some people stretched themselves. How I wish that all those who had given money and continue to give money could see the huge outpouring of labor on the part of our students -- not just at Memya but in all of our schools -- and not just by our students, but also by their parents, by their grandparents. And also by those whose kids are still young but who have hope that one day their kids will get to go to school.

We know in our hearts that our goal is impossible -- we know we can't possibly build enough schools so that every kid in this country will get to go to school, and we know we can't possibly get the gospel into every last village in this country, but we sure are going to try. One last big long push.