Hardships that cultivate unity
As 2020 began, Brother’s Keeper Initiative was picking up it’s momentum with its education program and various activities. Three students were attending government schools while the rest were in daily tutoring. Spirits were high as we had two teams from the US visit and encourage the participants of BKI. We began building a chicken coop in effort to create a business that could sustain the ministry and outreach.
And then Covid-19 happened. The pandemic that swept across the globe did not miss Malawi. Schools, churches and large gatherings were suspended by the government’s wishes. This meant the students attending school no longer could go, and we could no longer hold our education classes. Malawi’s government planned for a nation-wide shut down, laying out heavy restrictions on traffic and people being out of their homes. News spread that people living on the streets would be arrested.
We acted quickly and welcomed the participants of our program to stay in one small bedroom that had been used as a classroom on the Masanche property. Thankfully at the same time we received a donation that allowed us to finish the chicken coop project and also provide food for the participants for the month. It also allowed us to buy extra bedding and mats for the guys to sleep on.
While the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world, it pushed Brother’s Keeper Initiative in a positive direction. It knit us closer together as a team as we took care of each other. The timing also worked out well as we bought 100 small chicks that needed around the clock care and supervision. Having more hands on the property allowed shifts to take place through the night to stay up with the chicks and make sure that the fire that was keeping them warm stayed lit.
During one of the first nights with the chicks, one of the watchmen forgot to close the door as he went down to the shared room to wake up the next person on duty. The dog got through the door and killed 30 chicks. Everyone was devastated.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:2-5
The next morning the guys woke up and collectively made the decision that they would fast for two days to seek God for wisdom and the ability to take care of the chicks. They also welcomed God to make a complete transformation in their lives. While the majority of them were able to keep the fast, some became weak and ate food. Situations like this create an even greater opportunity for team camaraderie. While Asante supported them in their decision, there wasn’t an outside leader telling them what to do. Those who kept the fast were discouraged by those who broke it. In the end whether everyone completed the fast or not, unity was cultivated and everyone’s faith was strengthened.
When people seek the Lord through hardships, unity is cultivated. Asante acted fast, walking in the knowledge and wisdom of his Father, welcoming the guys to stay on his property. This turned into a blessing as everyone grew closer. Everyone gained a greater sense of responsibility as they knew the gift they had been given. Instead of begging on the streets, they were taking care of what they had been given, cleaning their room, cooking for themselves and taking care of the chickens. While the fire was kept ablaze for the small chicks to grow, so was the fire tended to in the hearts of the young men living with Asante.
While we aren’t thankful for the pandemic, we are grateful for the fruit and endurance that has been produced through the global pandemic.