Blog #45: Guest blog – “A camera and a house”

How does God work? As one example, here is a guest blog from our church member Dr. Ipe Mavunkal, written from his home in Botswana:
A Camera and a House

My camera was dying.  There wasn’t any timely plans made to save up money to replace it.  The DSLR has served me faithfully more than a decade.  It endured through all the abuses more than a camera could handle.  Mechanical components of my D50 (one of the early Nikon DSLRs) has outlived its life.  Electronics and various sensors were just plodding on.  I had no choice but to go for a new one.  As usual I decided to make the purchase and work out a plan for the finances afterwards.

After going back and forth with my nephew in the US, we narrowed down on the model.  Also, we decided to get the camera in the US as it’s much cheaper there.  The story actually started when I asked my nephew for his account details to transfer the money he spent to buy the camera. He asked me not to send him the money but use it for the work in Africa. He had given money on other occasions and so it was not surprising but a joy for the support he renders now and then. I had no set idea to spend the money.  Normally I keep the money with me and use it only when needs arise.

During the same time while visiting home in December one of my friends from our Bible study group in Edmonton casually mentioned that she is interested to assist some needy people to build a house in Africa.  When I returned to Gaborone I broached the matter of building a house for a needy person with one of my good friends, Ms E who is an American missionary serving the people of Botswana for many years.  Ms E engagingly talked to me about the house of a lady, Ms T from the bushman tribe.  She said it’s a miracle that her house made up of tree branches and mud hasn’t fallen down to the ground.  The four walled mud house with a plinth size of approximately 3 square meters, defied gravity and elements of nature to compete with the leaning tower of Pisa.

This lady stayed quite far away (from Gaborone) in a place accessible only by 4×4 vehicles.  An American missionary couple, G & D who is doing Bible translation into the bushman language is stationed in that place and helps Ms T with a number of things.  Ms E discussed the matter with G & D and they were excited about the prospect of Ms T getting a decent place to stay.  Upon my request they got an estimate to build a house in traditional style.  Gum poles will be used to make a skeleton and small branches will be placed in between them.  The gaps will be closed with a mixture of mud and cow droppings.  This will finally serve as a plastering for the wall.  Corrugated metal sheets supported by wooden beams and a decent door and couple of small windows would make the house a decent looking place.  Ms T’s existing house has no windows and doors, only an opening to enter the house with a cloth hanging, serving as a door.  I am not sure how many souls make their dwelling in that shelter.  When G & D gave me the estimate, I was quite excited as it amounted to more or less the same amount my nephew gave me.

A local contractor was appointed to do the job which included some voluntary work from the local ladies who are Ms T’s friends or relatives.  D worked out most of the logistics and used his four-wheel drive pick-up truck to get building supplies. Sometime later D came back to me apologizing for some over runs in the project.  I still had certain money saved up for various activities. Some of that money came from few of my very young friends in Edmonton. They have given me the money to use for some of the children’s needs.  Since the house was meant for Ms T’s children also, I had no hesitation using part of that money for this house project.

I was very pleased when the house was finally completed.  Ms T was a bit afraid that something bad may happen to her.  There’s a belief system among Ms T’s tribe of some impending evil when they receive something good (like the new house she received). Normally they would call traditional doctors to ward off any evil spell anyone may have cast upon her or the house.  D explained to her our trust in God and the protection He provides.  Ms T asked David to come and pray at her house and in due course D conducted a dedication service and explained the love of God in Jesus and the freedom God had given to all human beings.

Wow… upon reflecting all that had happened, I couldn’t  help but marvel at how things unfolded, fetching many of us God’s blessings.  G & D is out there in that remote place doing Bible translation.  God moving people from different places and different backgrounds but belonging to the family of God to finance a small job.  And a group of people gets one of their basic needs met in a miraculous way.  Marvelous!

We are ambassadors of His Kingdom.  God’s love compels us to proclaim the grace so freely flows from Him.   It is important that we coerce no one into our belief system.  We are just vessels in the hand of the Almighty to take His love to others.  The choice rests with each individual to express their God given freedom. No one can force love… love becomes meaningful only when it is from within and expressed out of the overflow of heart.

Life becomes so much more enjoyable when we recognize the blessings as a result of our obedience to God.  Christ said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.  And no one can attach a price tag to those blessings.  All of Christ’s teaching are more than revolutionary.  We fail to experience even a fraction of the joy those blessings fetch as we settle only to dissect His ‘out of the world’ teachings.’

A few pics are attached.  Please follow the link given below to see more pics.  Scroll down to the relevant posting to view the pics



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