Seeking Sustainability

December 15, 2017

         Today we experienced more memorable interactions. Nazeer wanted me to take a look at his machine shop, so we met at his dealership and checked it out. We immediately identified a couple of areas that could be useful for improving productivity. In machining environments that I have been involved with, indexable carbide inserts are mainstream. The repeatability and ease of rotating to a new cutting edge is seamless. The cutting tools that they’re using are a bit more cumbersome and don’t have the repeatability of indexable carbide. I will send him some sample tools to hopefully help expedite his machining operation. He briefly spoke about entering the remanufactured engine market in the taxi fleet category and, if the process was streamlined enough, a potential revenue stream might be obtainable. Nazeer is surely an intelligent man, whose mind is like a broken water faucet—with ideas continually flowing and seemingly no end in sight.

         He is involved in a number of projects, one being large-scale—or really massive-scale—farming. His plantations are hundreds of thousands of acres that include multilevel approaches made up of dairy, beef, produce, and more. These goods are packaged in a self-sustaining ecosystem, with the ability to generate its own power and fertilizer. On top of that, there is an annuity program for the workers, so a percentage of the profits are being returned to the community for infrastructure and educational purposes.

         I told him that I live near a large research university, MSU, that has quite an extensive agricultural program, and asked him to send me a more detailed outline of his proposed endeavor, since he clearly has a vision. As he went on explaining this elaborate plan, I wondered if God was helping us see a model of self-sufficiency, one that could be applied to our Christian brothers and sisters in Africa. Nazeer clearly knows where we stand on our faith in Jesus Christ. We feel as though his entire family has accepted us like their own family. Menchu, Nazeer’s mother prepared a wonderful meal for us on her outside grill because of the power shortage.

         They had graciously welcomed us into their home the previous evening, so being invited back the following day was especially meaningful. Menchu prepared quite a spread. Everything was delicious and cooked to perfection. The variety, texture, and variation of foods was splendid. Josh even ate the intestine and liver along with a hearty portion of simmer. He was quite a trooper I must admit. I enjoyed the delicacies from a fine cook and was glad to see that Josh was enjoying it also.

         I realized that even little Aisha had accepted us as family when she came up and hugged my leg. Time passed by so quickly that we realized we were going to be late for our next meeting. We were able to snap a quick picture of the family and said our sincere goodbyes. The experience that we had with the Osman family was top-notch. We look forward to developing our friendship and gaining understanding from one another in the future, especially regarding how to help humanity.

 

         Neither Josh nor I like to be late, but heading to the meeting we both had an attitude that was disturbing. Josh thought to himself, “What’s the big deal?” while I was thinking, “They made us wait on a few different occasions.” And of course my sinful nature added, “Yeah that was longer than what you made them wait.” Although neither one of us verbalized our thoughts, it was still troubling. We both want our walks with our Lord Jesus to be so close that even thoughts are kept captive. The uneasiness that Josh had about his thoughts eventually turned into a sincere apology.

         Pastor Felix had requested that Duncan could be present at our meeting, but I wasn’t too interested in carrying on a conversation with someone that had not been forthcoming with us. So Josh and I resolved to have the least amount of communication with Duncan as possible, although we still treated him with respect and thanked him for the effort he had contributed to the conferences and meetings. He sat there the entire time seeming exhausted. For long periods of time, he had his hands folded in front of his face as if he was praying. My heart sensed that he was troubled. He knew that he had been caught, and he may have been under heavy conviction by the Holy Spirit. I hope that is the case.

         The meeting consisted of Josh, Tony, Felix, Duncan, and myself. The purpose of the meeting was to inform Felix that we plan to continue moving forward. Tony has agreed to be the interpreter, mentor, and teacher for Felix. With careful explanation, we laid out the direction that we have witnessed God’s will moving us toward. During the next few weeks, we will be compiling a plan of action, timeline, and objectives, so I won’t go into too much detail here.          However, it is imperative that if we are to make a sustainable culture, many things would have to change. I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this project, but Felix agreed to all our actions without any resistance. We were blessed with a dose of encouragement when he also reported that many church members had experienced growth and increased understanding. In fact, additional churches are now coming forward and wanting to be involved with Felix’s network of churches.

         It’s awesome when word gets around so quickly about how the Holy Spirit is moving. This makes the opportunity even more compelling and urgent. One of the main areas we will be addressing soon is leadership training. I guess it’s time for Pastor Rick, Josh’s father, to come share in the intestines and liver. Josh told me that his dad just had a cracked tooth repaired and said the dentist told him, “No liver or intestines for at least one year!” so I think we will schedule his trip in 366 days!

         This has been the second day in a row without interacting with the children. I actually don’t know how I’m going to bear it after returning to the states. I’m sure every time I gaze at the pictures, the priceless memories will flood back into my head like a tsunami overwhelming my being. But tomorrow we will be interviewing some children. Tony is going to travel with us as our interpreter. I think hearing what the children have to say will be intriguing. We cannot turn our backs on the suffering any longer, and we hope to hear your thoughts or ideas on how to help these people achieve a sustainable society.

 

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