The Lost Art of Being Resourceful

How to use your resources to their maximum potential

Mongo (October 14, 2010): We are writing you from the middle of the country.  We are staying at the home of our friends who are working to develop one of the languages here.  While here, we are stretching our resourcefulness to the limit. We are learning how to be resourceful as we try to live in this new, challenging situation.

Being Resourceful is using the resources available to you to their greatest potential.  It’s what you need when normal channels are no longer available to you.  As things get more difficult, it means learning about new resources we may have overlooked.

Our time in Mongo during the dry season has been a University Course in Resourcefulness for us all.

Being Resourceful with water

Resourceful with water for Showers, etc.In the four days since we have been on our own in the Aviles home, the town water has only run once, at 4 AM, giving us about 25 gallons (100 liters) of water into one of two plastic barrels in the kitchen. Such conditions push you to use the water to its greatest potential; we are re-using the water for rinsing the dishes in the morning, to wash them in the afternoon. Then we re-use the water for washing the dishes, to flush the toilet. In fact, we are gathering water in basins from the bathroom sink, from our showers (max 2 gallons per shower) and from washing the dishes to flush the toilet. So we use the water 2-3 times before we finish it.

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The Road System Across Chad: The Good and The Bad

The Road Across Chad: Not as bad as before

My leaders asked me to explain why our vehicle in Chad has so many expensive repairs, and here is what I said about the roads across Chad:

This bus hit something standing on the road on the way to its destination“Although I could speak of the inconveniences of Chadian driving, of how easy it is to get lost without a GPS in places and to get stuck in soft sand, I will limit my comments here to the conditions that are hazardous to vehicles.
The roads in Chad have improved since I started serving in Chad in 1992. Back then, there were only 80 miles of paved tarmac, and we spent most of our time driving around the pits that had been dug in by the big transport trucks. Thankfully in our day, there is a paved highway from N’Djamena to Andoum and beyond to the Cameroon border, and all but 160 miles of highway from N’Djamena to Abéché.

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Step by step, the Robin Builds Her Nest

A European Robin building her nestOur life of travel and adventure in Christian ministry isn’t as glamorous as it seems.  For each breakthrough in ministry to take place, we have to spend at least a thousand days taking at least one step forward toward our dream.

Here is how to be successful accomplishing what God gave you to do with your life: spend an hour a day working on it.

To become the best soccer or basketball player on your team: Each day throughout the year, dribble the ball around the field as fast and as skillfully as you can, 10 laps each day.  Time yourself, and try to beat your best score.

To publish your book, write 1,000 words each day until it is complete.  Then spend an hour each day cleaning it up.

Accomplishing God’s plans for my life has taken a LOT of obedience, day by day!  As a result, I’ve had to be sure that what I was doing is truly a passion from God.  Some of the things I started doing fell by the wayside as my focus became clearer and clearer.

Then, once I had my sights on a God-given dream, I was able to persevere to pay the price to hold it in our hands.

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Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

“Wait patiently” doesn’t mean the same thing in Africa as it does in the United States.  In America, we might decide to come back later if the line has seven people waiting in it.  We might call back if the waiting time is longer than ten minutes.  Even 5 minutes microwave cooking time can seem like too long to wait!

Waiting in line to go to a concert in Germany

And yet, when we wait in line in America, we hope that our patience is rewarded in the end.  One of the features of life in the Third World, or where a disaster strikes, is that our patience isn’t always rewarded as we would hope.

How can we learn to make the most of the times we spend waiting for something, even if it ends up being waiting in vain?

Back in September 2010, our family needed to find a place to live in eastern Chad.  We had just arrived back in Chad and were living in the capital city of N’Djaména, 14+ hours west of Abéché.  A friend in the capital promised that we could rent his home in Abéché.

To start moving in, all I needed to do was to pick up the key from the Sultan, his brother.

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How to Travel Off-Road in Africa – Without a Vehicle of Your Own

Getting There Is Half The Fun!

Chad, January 2014: When we travel off-road in Africa, we mostly focus on reaching the end of the road. The journey to get there is the price we pay to enjoy what awaits at the end of the road.

It was not always like this. From the stagecoach to the train, to the bus and the car, from the hot air balloon to the airplane. With each improvement, we arrived at our destination, but we forgot to enjoy the journey.

Especially in Africa, a journey can be fairly unpredictable while I’m traveling in moibbk.com twilaTwila, our Speed The Light vehicle. Last week, as we returned to Abéché from N’Djaména, we had a major flat tire that destroyed one of our two spare tires.

We cannot easily replace it just yet.  So, when a journey to help a refugee friend became necessary, I decided to depend on the public transportation system of Chad to get me there.

Because they can never assure connections at each step, a trip off-road in Africa is often as interesting as the destination.

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