Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
TITLE: The White Marble
By Stanley McMahon
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The purpose of the visit was primarily to construct the outline of a building that would house a welding school. There were three forty-foot containers in a u-shape block already in place, requiring the addition of a front, a floor and a roof to house the school. In addition to this we were to visit and bring food and blankets to townships of extreme poverty, as well as spending time at a disabled children’s school and a day care nursery.
For two weeks we were living daily in prayer, travelling to and from the worksite. We worked together, laughed together, ate together and cleared ground, mixed cement, wheeled wheel-barrows, laid bricks and prepared steel beams to act as the skeleton of a roof. The Lord also delivered us from many dangers and answered many prayers and changed lives and built up our faith.
In the end we did it. We accomplished all that we set out to do and more. On the way out of the building-site on the final day, I picked up a small white marble that I kept as a memento of the visit. Every time I see the marble I think of the trip to Johannesburg, but that was the only physical reminder I brought home.
I also brought home indelible images in my mind of the man I prayed with on the dumpsite, standing in the middle of his one room shack. I carry the memory of the distribution of the clothing in the village with the boy who needed shoes but wouldn’t get them because of the needs of others in the same place, and he wasn’t big enough or quick enough to get them.
I carry the sounds of the team of students who stood round with the locals and sang Christian songs and did face-painting and distributed food and played the most disorganised, enjoyable game of football I have ever witnessed. I remember how I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth and how I wept. I see the woman who told me, as I stood in a tumbledown shed without a floor that she called home, that God didn’t love her because she didn’t go to church.
I remember the joy and the spontaneous singing of the workers in the disabled children’s home as we brought them hot food that they could give the children when they didn’t have any that day, and the humble acceptance of a gift to pay for the bill that meant they could have electric.
I may only have a white marble to show for it, but the experience of the people whose lives were touched by the two week visit of about forty people from a tiny country in the northern hemisphere to the great sprawling continent that is Africa, will remain with me for the rest of my life.
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