We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Looking at the Glass of Water

So the optimist says the glass of water is half full. The pessimist says it is half empty. And while they are arguing about it, the opportunist drinks it down.

Oh! To always have the right perspective!

Sometimes I even wonder if I'm looking at the right glass of water.

I was looking in the wrong place on Sunday. I looked despondently at the field of brown corn in Kisesa, once so green and strong. The small cobs looked a bit pathetic and there were weeds growing throughout the field. What went wrong? Why didn't Baraka do the weeding?

Weeds in the brown maize
We had come to Kisesa, the church planting school site, joining Baraka and the church there. After the service, Tim and I went to see how the crops were doing. I shook my head and went back the mamas preparing the lunch.

Later Tim came up to me. "It's good, you know," he said. I wasn't sure how. But he told me then about his conversation with Baraka as they had walked farther through the field. After planting one area with us, using the new methods, Baraka had continued to plant the rest of the field, but in the way he usually does. We had watched the two crops growing side by side and seen over the months the composted, mulched seed outshine the other. But when I was in the field, I didn't look at the whole field. I didn't look beyond the seed we had planted, to see what had happened on the other side. Tim told me. The whole crop was gone! Without any rain in the last weeks, Baraka had lost all the other maize.

Baraka was so thankful for that patch of maize that we had planted together. It may be smaller than we had expected, and didn't look so amazing, but it is still a harvest. It will feed a family.
A harvest

A planted tree flourishes
Why did I look so narrowly? How did I not notice a whole field of corn was gone and not realise the precious blessing which was right in front of me? Why was I so quick to criticize someone else? How often do I do this in other ways?

I think of time. Living in Tanzania, one just has to stop stressing about time and get used to waiting! Everything takes time. Things don't happen "on time." But even though I have given up wearing a watch, sometimes it can be frustrating. I like to plan. Plans go awry. But I just need to look at the bigger picture, and rather than worrying that the time I have is wasted or not enough ... I should make the most of each opportunity and realise all I have is enough and a blessing to boot! Keeping perspective. And hey, from God's perspective, 1 day is 1000 years and 1000 years is a day! And as Tim Keller said, "God's delays don't make things worse, they always make things better."

So what is it, half empty or half full? Or should we just be gratefully drinking the lot?
Preparing lunch

Baraka's daughter and friends snacking while mamas cook


  1. I'm glad Baraka and his family will have the maize you helped plant, and then perhaps next year more of the maize will survive if he plants it all using your methods. The little girls are very cute.

  2. Thanks, Emily! That is also the good news ... Baraka is convinced now and ready to plant again using the new methods! And ready to convince other farmers in the village!


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