Fresh Water Well for the Land Beyond

 

BoreholeThe road meandered around the rugged mountains.  The unpaved was extremely bumpy from the protruding little rocks, and the occasional pot holes.  A thick plume of dust followed us as we drove towards my rural area, Chiriseri (Chiriseri means “that which is beyond.”  The mid-morning African sun was just penetrating the white and grey fluffy floating clouds.  Here and there, the clouds revealed the clear, pure blue sky beyond.  The trees were of various shapes and sizes.  The grass was tall – creating an eye catching Savannah woodland landscape.   Suddenly, I felt disappointed. I was disappointed with myself.  I was disappointed because I often forget the beauty of this land.  The land’s innocence, the people’s love, as well as the complex culture’s uniqueness lingers.

I began to recognize much of the mountain formations. I recognized the grass thatched homesteads. Soon we drove past the Chitauro shopping center, the local general dealer stores.  To our left was the Chiriseri Clinic.  A place of hope for those seeking medical help in this remote area.  We drove down a curve, facing to the right.  In front was a valley, the sight of which released a flood of cherished memories from days past.  I used to run down this road on my way from the store.  I used to take the cows grazing in the area to the west of where we were.  My cousin Hazel’s family home stood there, as if welcoming us home. Sekuru and Ambuya lived on the homestead to my right.  Farther down is my uncle and auntie’s home. We parked there, by their house.  In front was our family fields. My uncle and I walked through the 6-foot-tall grass to get to the corn/maize field.  The workers were busy harvesting the maize/corn.

We got back in the car and drove down towards the Masango homestead. The mountains towered over the homesteads to our right.  To our left were the secondary school buildings. We turned into the yard.  My aunt stood at the door of her little grass thatched hut, waving welcome to us.  I spotted the borehole (water well) nicely erected at the corner of the field in front of the homestead.

The extended family had gathered to see the new well.  Neighbors and friends came, too.  My uncle had slaughtered a goat for the occasion.  We had brought other ingredients for a celebration feast.  A sense of fiesta filled the air.  I could not help but salivate a little as my nose was greeted by the sweet aroma of the sizzling goat meat, and chicken on the open fire.

Uncle

My uncle called everyone to the place where the borehole/well pump stood.  First my grand aunt, the matron of the family spoke.  She praised God for the donations.  She mentioned how far it had been for the family, and neighbors to go fetch water.  Due to her old age, she could not carry the 20-liter bucket on her head anymore.  She had not resorted to carrying a small 5-liter bucket.  This meant she went to fetch water countless times a day.  Now, she did not have to walk far.  Now, only a few steps, and she would be pumping fresh, cool water from underground… Just as God intended.

Bhila

Soon, my uncle spoke, followed by Criswell, the owner of the drilling company.  After him, came the Rotarian, Mr. Bhila.  He attends the Harare CBD Rotary Club.  He spoke positively of our partnership. “Thank you Captain Terry Masango.  Thank you to our American donors.  Water is life,” he said.

My uncle prayed and blessed the well.  Following his prayer, a neighbor broke into a song.  In a true African style, all sang, while others danced around the well.  The villagers danced – their souls leaped with joy.  Their very being celebrated. I could not hold back the tears.  This is a great privilege for me to be such a conduit of grace.  I have the honor of linking my American friends/donors with my poor Zimbabwean family. Dozens of the villagers are going to have an endless supply of fresh water.  Many thanks to my American friends.  I wish you were here to experience this poignant, powerful moment. Though Chiriseri is the land beyond, we did not forget this village.

Gogo

The festivities awaited.  Soon, we all trekked back to the homestead to enjoy the delicious Zimbabwean cuisine- Sadza nenyama yembudzi (sadza and goat meat). Yummy!

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Did You Know? God Carries Our Burdens Daily!

Praise God

Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

The Psalmist is singing praises to God.  The Psalmist is singing praises for a reason.  Before I get to the reason, let’s look at praise.  What is praise?  To praise is to thank God for who He is and what He has done.  It’s to proclaim God’s goodness.  It’s to express our gratitude to God.  Praise be to the Lord.  We are to praise God in all circumstances.  If it were not of God, life would be unbearable.  Yet, because of God, life is bearable.  Let us learn to praise the Lord despite our circumstances, or rather, in spite of our circumstances, we should praise God. Look at your life.  Is there something to praise God for?  If not, how about praising God for your life? Your breath?  Your family, friends, work, food, clothing?  Praise Him today.  Praise the Lord right now.

Why?

The Psalmist suggests we praise God for He carries our burdens.  God is our stretcher bearer.  Your shoulders are not meant to carry the burdens you are carrying right now.  The burdens are too heavy.  Some people are crumbling under the burdens of loneliness, rejection, depression, fear, anxiety, sin, the feeling of being let down, or being unappreciated.  Whatever your burden is, God is stretching out His arms saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Burden

Will you swap loads with Him? Hand over your pain, suffering, burdens to Him.  Pray, asking God to take it all.

The Psalmist then says, our God carries our burdens daily.  Key word:  daily!  God is not just interested in relieving your pain just for one day.  He wants to carry your burdens daily.  That means you need to present your pain, suffering, concerns, burdens to Him daily.  I must admit, some days life is tougher than others.  Some days, we enjoy wallowing in our pain, throwing a pity-party for ourselves.  Yet, when we get the temptation to wallow in our misery, we must know God says, “Give that to me.”   If life is not working, praise Him.  If life is going well, praise Him.  He takes care of your daily needs.  Have you praised Him lately? “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Farewell

farewell

My wife and I received the dreaded call yesterday.  Yesterday, the trajectory of our ministry changed drastically.  We received the phone call announcing our we are under marching orders.  Our time as your pastors and leaders is coming to an end.  We have been appointed to the Pasadena Tabernacle.  Our transitions are very thoughtful and carefully orchestrated.  

We always knew a day like this would come.  We always thought a day like this would come some time in the far distance future.  Unfortunately, that far distance future is today.  If I could write a letter just filled with the words “thank you” over and over, it seems that I would never be able to write enough of them to truly express how I feel about the 5 years we have spent here at El Cajon serving as Corps Officers/Pastors.

It has been an absolute honor, privilege and rewarding time together.  We experienced great victories, and yes, even a few heartaches along the way, but those times have simply helped to magnify the joyful times so much more!  We have walked alongside you in your intimate family times of joyous celebrations, and times of mourning.  We have grown together in our walk with God.  There were times we felt the presence of God nearest us, and there were times sin and failure pursued and slowed us down.  In it all, we grew together.

Farewell_0

While it breaks our hearts to leave El Cajon, rest assured, you have all left a remarkable and irreplaceable imprints on our hearts.  Again, we were quite surprised about all of this in the beginning, but have adjusted to the thought of it all which I’m sure you have as well. Our lives find completion and satisfaction when we are in the center of the Will of God, which is exactly where we want to be. Thus, as good soldiers, we respond to the marching orders we received by saluting and saying, “Here am I, send me!”

As we have always done, we encourage you to keep loving and serving people together with the new Corps Officers.  There are many “out there” who are still waiting to hear the message of the Gospel, and as you know, this message is one we not only share verbally, but our very lives should reflect the love of God for others.