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

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Precious Remnant

I never dreamed that beekeeping could be such an emotionally involved roller coaster ride! Initially I thought it was fairly simple: Put up hive. Bees enter. Take out honey. Enjoy sales of jars and warm toast and honey. Eighteen months later, I now know better. Yes, I am still passionate about bees, still super excited about honey and making beeswax products with people. And definitely love our beekeeping groups and see huge potential. But after eighteen months of this beekeeping exploit, I realise more than anything I am learning patience and learning that we learn most from our mistakes, and there are rich nuggets to be salvaged from failure!

We lost another hive this week. This one in Malya and it's our third colony of bees to be chased out by little tiny ants. Apparently they grasp the little legs of the poor bees making it impossible for them to fly. Well, that's what we've heard. So given the bullying nature of these teeny tiny insects, I can't blame the bees for leaving, but so terribly sad to see them go.

It was a good lesson for the group who had been told several times to keep putting grease on the wires hanging the hive. They hadn't. The ants crawled up the tree and down the wire into the hive. So the first task on Wednesday was going around all twelve hives with a pot of grease.
Greasing the wires
The group heading out to check and grease the hives in the Church apiary
In the abandoned hive it was terribly sad to see all the hard work of those bees laying in a crumbled, honey-less heap. Combs left in ruin. We salvaged all the comb and melted it all down in boiling water. Then we were able to strain the water and melted wax into a pot and wait for the wax to settle on the top as it cooled. From a thriving hive of comb to a small tin of beeswax. But this precious remnant, saved from a ruin, now pure beeswax, can now be used to prepare another hive for a new colony of bees. Those combs had lost all their former glory, their sweetness, their worth. But they were rescued despite it all. They were put on the fire. But what was squeezed out, was something precious, something pure, something useful. And it becomes the start of something new ... the beginning of a whole new colony. So yes, in failure and fallen brokenness, it's worth knowing there is a precious remnant to be found.
All that beautiful comb destroyed
Salvaging the comb
Straining the water and wax

The silver lining. The precious remnant. Half a tin of wax.


  1. Elizabeth Kaufman19 July 2016 at 14:43

    And His glory is revealed even in our failures: Love never fails. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Looking forward to sharing stories with you!


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