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  • Dean Geoff Wilson

Re-building land, Re-building lives

“The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. Nehemiah 1:3b-4

I visited a project on Friday morning with Bishop Moses, just a short distance from my accommodation.

The project is sponsored by the church and is for young people, mostly male but some female, 25 in total. It involves the production of bricks using clay which they dig from the ground, water which they draw from a nearby stream and a simple wooden mould which provides the form and shape to produce bricks dried by the heat of the sun. At the heart of the project is the imperative to re-build.

Nehemiah understood that imperative when, as an exile in Susa, he learnt that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins and its gates were in ashes. This news moved him to the point of weeping and so followed a period of mourning, fasting and prayer.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

Nehemiah’s concern was so great that it moved him beyond feeling into action, action which ultimately led to the walls being re-built and the spiritual life of the people being restored.

I see something of this same concern for others in the project I visited on Friday morning. I see the concern of the church for young people, the majority of whom are orphaned, and the future which lies in store for them. Through the project the young people are fed and nurtured, receiving a small salary which enables the youngest of them to pay fees to attend school. This project provides hope and security and enables participants to begin to re-build their lives.

But the project also has a much broader impact. The bricks produced are the raw materials which are so necessary for the re-building of a land which has been blighted by civil war and bloodshed for many decades. The boys and girls involved in this project are participating in the crucial work of re-building a nation as the church helps them to re-build their own lives.

I count it a real privilege to be able to contribute in some small way to that work of re-building lives and land through our partnership.



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