The Shona people in southern Africa have a proverb that says, "Knowledge is like a glowing coal." The proverb refers to the rural village setting where a young girl goes out to gather wood to cook the evening meal. It's difficult work— she has to tote the wood back home on her head, split the logs, build a fire, and then fan the small sparks until eventually there is a flame. When the fire has burned for a time, the coals begin to glow white hot, and before long a neighbour comes by to scoop up a few coals to start their fire. This is expected; no one minds sharing a few hot coals.
Once the second fire is lit, someone else stops to borrow a glowing ember, and so the first is passed on, and house by house the entire village is blessed by the effort of one little girl. Her labor has provided things of great value for everyone — warmth, light, safety, and hot pots to cook dinner. But she knew it would be that way. She expected others to use her labor for their good. The village has now come to life around her fires as families gather to chat, laugh and enjoy a warm meal all because the young girl was willing to share her fire.
One of our missionaries, Sam McDonald, has often used that illustration to describe the wonderful MULTIPLYING EFFECT of ABC. Every year we are able to reproduce our efforts 100 times over as we graduate solid young Christian men and women from our colleges in Malawi, Uganda and Liberia. Our graduates are then able to take the light of Christ to every corner of Africa — to places and people that we as westerners could never reach.
Just two months ago I was boarding a plane from Johannesburg to Lilongwe when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find one of my former students, Lawrence Mtimaunenenji [Class of 1999], standing in line behind me with a wonderful smile on his face. "Do you remember me?" he asked.
"Of course I do! What are you doing in Johannesburg?"
"I’m working here now," Lawrence responded proudly, and he went on to explain that he had recently been employed by World Vision and was posted in Johannesburg as their Communications Director for Southern Africa.
A few minutes later I was sitting in my seat beaming on the inside as much as Lawrence had been beaming on the outside! What a wonderful feeling to know that God is using our ABC graduates in key positions around Africa, and what a great blessing to be part of a ministry where our efforts are being MULTIPLIED many times over every single year.
So this Christmas all of us at ABC would like to thank you for helping us share the light of Christ — no one likes being in the dark — especially not in Africa.
from Seattle, tried this but ended up sitting in line for 24 and a half hours, and then was only allowed to buy one liter of gas [less than a quart].
The capital city is also no longer able to supply power to everyone at the same time, so they have put the whole city on a "load-sharing" schedule. In the past couple of years our section of the city has gone from being blacked out for just a few hours a week to losing power almost daily — and seldom does the power company cut the electricity off and on exactly when they are supposed to. Just a few weeks ago, our hospital's OB-GYN was performing an emergency C-section when the power was suddenly cut off. Ordinarily we would have a back-up generator ready to roll, but our 12-year-old generator was [once again] out of commission.
Fortunately the doctor, patient and baby all pulled through, but it was also a wake-up call that it was time for us to take proactive steps to address the mission’s power-supply problem. Our hope and plan is to install a new back-up generator for the college, along with two fuel storage tanks — gasoline for the vehicles and diesel for the generators.
This is where we need your help. The cost of purchasing and installing a new generator and fuel tanks will run close to $70,000. This is a huge sum of money for a small mission like ABC, but please know that your gift will be a tremendous help to everyone at the mission — everything shuts down when the lights go off. Please know that 300 college students and the dozens of missionaries who live on the ABC campus will be very grateful for your help.
Much like the little girl who built the fire and shared her hot coals, your gift will provide the mission with very valuable things — warmth, light, security . . . and for some people, the most important thing — internet! Please know we are very grateful for your help — no one likes being in the dark — especially not in Africa.
May God bless you this Christmas,
Paul Chinchen, Th.D.
President, African Bible Colleges
[Malawi / Uganda / Liberia]