Ode to an Empty Bottle

Ode to an Empty Bottle

Around our Bontleng park site you will see a number of bottles. These bottles were used up, and discarded. Once their purpose was done they were tossed to the side and forgotten about. Some could have been smashed and shattered on the path, as is seen all over the city of Gaborone, Botswana, left there to be picked up by little hands and stepped on by unsuspecting travellers, some to be shipped off to a landfill not to be thought of again by the person who had originally purchased it.
I must admit that at times I feel like one of these bottles. The feeling of being secluded and worthless is all too real especially in the darkest and toughest times. Waiting and anticipating someone to say or do the wrong thing just so I can lash out and hurt them to ease my own worthlessness. Deep down I know this is not what God has for me. I know it, I read it and I even understand that there is better way but it is just too hard to put into action when I’m in my funk.
However, I am learning more and more that I am a visual person. On one of these funk days of mine, I went to the park with Nathan and Malakai. I looked around the sight and saw the various elements that we have had on our hearts, prayed about and now finally in the world, I saw everything from a different perspective.
Nothing stood out more than the work with the bottles. The bottles have been used in our recycling centre, gardens, bathrooms and soon in our café, and I was struck at just how beautiful that is. Not only for the eco-friendliness of it or the beauty of how it looks, but in what it symbolised to me.
They stood there yelling at me that this is what God has for us and so much more! Yes it is not God’s intention for us to be broken, dirty and tossed aside, but He makes all things good. So although it may not be his intention, he helps us with one word: all. We are all broken, we all need him, we all can help each other and all together we can build each other up. We need community.
Like the bottles, when we remain in our broken state by ourselves, we are of no use to anyone, we will be in the way and could possibly be waiting to hurt others, but if we band together and allow the designer to use us in His plans we can stand together strong, united and with purpose. Maybe not in the way He originally intended but in a beautiful way all the same. We need to find the beauty in every single day, even if it is not what we have intended for ourselves.
This is something I struggle with. When I am hurt, sad or feeling any extreme really I seclude myself from everything and only later do I regret it because I missed out. When things are not going my way I withdraw. I have to make this a challenge to myself, to think in terms of these bottles. I challenge myself and everyone else too, to find the beauty and find community because when we do great things will happen!

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Bottles around the site

Bottles waiting to be washed and used. Recycling center in the background.

Bio toilet, no water necessary

Nate lending a hand

Design in between the bio-toilets

Garden boxes beside futsal court

Nathan talking about the bio-toilets I couldn’t resist and took a picture!

The happiest I’ve been about any toilets (without actually needing one)

The back side view of one of the bio toilets, you can also see the futsal court and the beginning of the café

Young Pastors

Young Pastors

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
“You know, in Botswana, if you’re young you’re wrong.” The green grass outside of the windows (themselves devoid of iron ‘burglar bars’), speckled with light filtered through the large leaves of shade trees, was a distant cry from the uniquely thorny and brown Botswana landscape that was to become home a few months hence.

Our new friend sat with us at the dining room table in my parents’ house in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and gave us something to consider. He knew what he was talking about. Articulate, well-educated, possessing international degrees in the medical profession, he yet knew that as a young Motswana he would carry the reality of the difficulties of his youth with him when he headed back to Botswana the following year. And he was helping us to prepare for the same for when we would make the trek in the near future. As it would turn out, after arriving in Botswana we would find ourselves being drawn towards working with youth/young adults within the African Indigenous Churches which we knew would form the basis of our relationships and partnerships.

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As the months and years have passed, we’ve had the privilege of going through a number of Bible teaching modules with a few dozen of these young adults. For many, it’s been a way to discuss deeply the truth of scripture, to ask questions which have been weighing, and to realize that they’re not alone in their doubts, fears, hopes and understandings.

Some time ago, we received a cryptic instruction to be sure that we attended the upcoming Sunday service of the nearby Spiritual Healing Church branch. We dutifully complied, and as the service unfolded we found ourselves witnessing the ordination of a number of congregants, including 5 young adults from within our group of Bible students. The congregation sang as the elder pastor of the church walked between the kneeling young people, praying for each one and welcoming them into their new leadership roles.

After the service we congratulated the beaming group, and their similarly proud parents. “It’s a day of success that you should remember,” one of them stated. It’s not often that such young people are brought into positions of leadership, and it’s a testament not only to their example, but to the elders of the church for recognizing it and desiring that they should serve as witnesses for the benefit of others as well. As we were reminded that day, there’s a tradition of the anointing of the Holy Spirit on whomever He chooses, regardless of demographics. The older leaders at Spiritual Healing Church had responded, regardless of tradition, and had created an opportunity for their church, and for their up-and-coming leaders. Eager to learn the scriptures and energetic in their efforts to serve Jesus, these young people will be further studying, teaching, and living the message of the love of Jesus for many years to come.

– NT