What do you think of when you think of a hero? Superman? Spiderman? A fire fighter? Your dad?
It’s a question that comes up each year as we approach the month of June, which is the month that we celebrate Father’s Day. I never really thought of my dad as a hero, but he really was one. He was a caring pharmacist who would stop everything he was doing to listen to a person with a problem, whether it be a physical ailment or a financial problem. I saw him reach in to his wallet many times to help someone out in need, and he became a hero to them.
When I think of my dad, I think of him being a good provider for us. Not everyone has had their dad provide for them, in fact, too many people have been let down by their dad in this area, and therefore struggle with God being a good “father” and a provider.
One of our 8-year-old boys, Emmanuel, is a very pensive boy who asks a lot of very deep questions. Last week he came up to me and asked me where Babe Ian (pronounced Bah-bay, meaning “dad”) was. It was the middle of the day and so I told him that Ian was working. He rolled his shoulders, and his eyes, and then let out a big sigh and said, “he’s always working”. And looked at me with a pout.
I laughed, and told him that as a father he needed to work to provide for his children. Working allows a father to put food on the table, buy clothes and provide an education for his children. I mentioned it to Ian who made a point of going down and spending some time with Emmanuel. It may have seemed like a little thing, but it was a big thing to Emmanuel.
Both heroes and fathers often do things behind the scenes that no one ever knows about or sees. It’s often those little things that make all the difference to the outcome. For example, Ian was on the phone for hours trying to find a way to purchase and transport 4,000 seedling trays to plant 800,000 vegetable seedlings from South Africa, WHILE the borders were closed due to Coronavirus. Eswatini is in desperate need of food right now and there are farmers who are desperate to buy seedlings, so getting the seedling trays would mean that we could grow more food, sell more food, sell seedlings to others so that they can grow food, and generate income to provide for our children.
I have seen Ian get in his car and make the 12-hour round trip drive to
Johannesburg, through two international borders, to buy fish
food for the aquaponics project, all because the person responsible forgot to
tell him in advance that they were out of food. The fish would have died had
Ian not done what needed to be done, and he did it with joy.
Ian is a good father, a good example to his many children and is providing discipleship to other men on how to provide for his family. But Ian now has 266 children that he is responsible for, and he while he works his butt off to lead a team of smart people who are working on solutions to provide sustainable solutions for these children and those who will follow, he needs help and support. Heroes and fathers need help and support, but rarely ask for it.
Today I am asking for your help. Did you know that we spend $30/month on cleaning supplies at the El Rofi medical clinic to create a safe and healthy clinic environment? Did you know that it costs $80/month to transport one of our 340+ employees to and from work every day to save them a FOUR HOUR WALK? Did you know that it cost $150/month to provide electricity to our staff housing, which is home to 60+ people? Did you know that it costs $500/month just to buy seeds for planting in our greenhouse and in our fields? It also costs $500/month to provide electricity for the dairy operation.
All of this adds up, and these are things that Ian thinks
about all the time. Each of those things
may seem like a “little thing”, but they are BIG things to us. This morning before I wrote this blog, Ian and I went for our regular walk around the farm, and there it was again... Ian stopped to help this baby goat.
For the month of June we are focusing on getting more people to become a Heart for Africa HERO, which means making a monthly financial commitment to help us run the operations of Project Canaan. God is our father, and He is our provider, and so we are asking Him to bless us this month with 25 new Heroes. Perhaps you would like to honor your hero by giving a monthly gift of $30? $80? $150? $500? If you can, please do so by clicking on one of these links. Join Ian and become a HERO today and help us help people in great need.
In Canada: https://www.heartforafrica.ca/be-a-hero/
Live from Eswatini … Ian really is my Super Hero!