Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Willing Life

It's been an unbelievably busy 6 months, and once again I find that the time has flown by without blogging. There are volumes of incredible stories to catch you guys up on, so let me start with the first one:

Joined by my cousin Shane in at the beginning of March:

Shane in front of our new Hydraform Machine

It’s difficult to put into words what a blessing it’s been having my cousin Shane here. We grew up little rug-rats together exploring the Puget Sound at the family cabin, climbing the heights of the Cascade Mountains, and swapping stories of our latest gridiron or outdoor adventures. I’d always known Shane, his older brother Jake, and Uncle Mark to be man’s men- knowing how to tear apart and rebuilt anything mechanical, proficient hunters with a bow, muzzle-loader, bush gun, or sighted rifle, telemark skiers, mountaineers, avalanche patrolmen, sailors, fishermen, divers, dirt bike riders…and on and on… my brother Grant and I always joked that they were born in the wrong century, and had a blast just trying to keep up with them when we’d get together for family reunions and holidays.

I had an idea then, just what a massive impact Shane would have if he were to join us for the construction of Restore Academy here in Gulu. I had no idea though, how masterfully he had refined his craft in the last decade. Most of the carpentry you see in the following photo was done by Shane’s own hands:

I knew he had been building upscale homes in the Seattle area, but seeing his work recently was an eye opener. What’s unique about Shane though, is that he’s one of those rare individuals who’s mastered something to this level, and yet can just leave it all behind to go pour his knowledge and life into a community where he knows he can make a meaningful contribution to those in need. He truly cares about his fellow man more than his personal success or accomplishments, revealing a character he’s imparting, quietly and patiently, to the young Acholi men with whom he now works. Shane recognizes the importance of learning first to be good men, and then good tradesmen.

Shane, Kerobino and Kennedy pouring foundation #2

You’ll find him one minute brick in hand, sweating and dirty, grinning and joking with the boys as they lay the foundation of the school- and the next minute he’ll be drafting new improved engineering for the doors and windows, or patiently and humbly engaging the boys in a teachable moment. It’s a skill he’s developed thoroughly during his 10 years of service as a wilderness guide for kids, and base-camp construction leader at a Young Life Camp in the mountains of Canada. He felt called to use his mountaineering experiences to help guide kids through formative and meaningful challenges and adventures in the mountains- helping them to overcome fears, and appreciate the God's beautiful creation and our need for each other. Shane has embraced the truth that we're given gifts in order to give back to those who are hurting and in need. We can live with much less, hold it in loose hands, and be used to bring relief to the least of these...all signs of the life and sure hope of this coming kingdom...

Shane and Kerobino discussing the design of Teacher House #1

There's an incredible story God's writing here, and amazing people who are being written into it. In the coming weeks I'll do my best to continue to share them with you...


Jessie Thomas said...

hey blake and shane, jake had this page up and i just stumbled upon it. so great to hear and see how things are going for you. it is really awesome what you 2 are up to. thanks for sharing and we are thinking about you. love-jess and jake

debibesmer said...

What a gift you give Shanes Dad and I in recognizing his abilities and the depth of his committment. When I worry about him I try to remember this and it helps. Knowing he is with you and appreciated means so much.
Love you nephew, Aunt Debi

Melissa said...

Glad to have you posting again, Blake. Love to hear your perspective on things in Uganda and the wonderful work of Restore.