Let us share a story about Del

Tomorrow is World Storytelling Day – a global celebration of oral storytelling – and for our contribution Marsha Johnson, Spirit in Action Coordinator for 12 years, shares a story with us about Del Anderson. If you have stories or memories of Del that you’d like to share, leave a comment or email me.

an older Del Anderson

Del Anderson

It was a moment of awe.  Del Anderson and I sat close beside one another at the computer table in the library of the assisted living facility that was his home.  The occasion: to present Spirit in Action’s new-born website to Del, Spirit in Action’s founder.

Think of it!  Such a time warp.

The San Francisco earthquake, April 18, 1906.

Del’s birth three months later, in San Francisco, July 17, 1906.

And now, almost ONE HUNDRED years later, in 2005… Del and I are close in front of a computer, a very, very new-fangled invention in his experience.

This is a man who had never even used a typewriter because, as he said, his hands are just too big. “Big hands” was also the reason that he was unable to pursue a profession of his early choosing, to become a dentist!

Del was a passionate communicator through regular phone calls, often to elders and shut-ins, and through hand-written letters packed to the maximum weight for the given postage with beloved tracts and small slips of paper containing copies of this favorite spiritual quotes and verses. And to his international correspondents, he often included a five or ten dollar bill to be used “as God guides.”  I expect that many of us who are part of Spirit in Action gratefully remember those precious parcels. (If you never received the precious blue “Seed Thoughts” booklet from Del, you can download a copy here.)

That day in 2005: it was with pure amazement that I accompanied Del through his introduction to the first rendering of Spirit in Action’s website, created by board member, Karl Johnson. Even though Del was closely involved in deciding the content of the website, he was nonetheless in awe of its presentation.

His strong, sometimes clumsy fingers pressed the right keys to progress through the amazing website:

  • Del himself pictured with the SIA board of directors
  • SIA’s history, mission and goals
  • Brilliant, clear photos of Del’s beloved correspondents around the world, and the SIA Small Business Fund families and community groups actively engaged in their blessed businesses
  • Del’s writings available, ONLINE for anyone to enjoy, without the need for envelopes and stamps
  • Contact resources with other organizations and websites freely shared with all the world
  • Inspirational links to Glenn Clark’s writings and more

Step by step, Del’s awareness of this amazing tool, the internet, took hold and he was overjoyed, humbled, and deeply grateful to accept this new expression of God’s all-presence, all-power, all-love, communicated in a new and accessible way. Hallelujah!

SIA's website from 2008

SIA’s website from 2008

Electronics where there is no electricity

I mentioned in my post about life in rural Malawi that Manyamula Village does not have electricity. But people still use electronic tools. How does that work, you ask? How can there be electronics where there is no electricity? The answer is lots of ingenuity and creating solutions with what is available. Here are some of the smart SIA small businesses that have been created to help people thrive without electricity.

Hair Shaving

Zondia at his shaving business. The razor is charged with a car battery.Most people in the village have short hair – buzzed but not shaved down to the skin. Zondia Hunga started the Chilita Ngwa Lusugu Barber Shop in 2008 using a car battery to power his razor. He was busy with a line of customers when we visited the market and saw his stall! When the battery runs low, Zondia uses his new motorbike, which he bought with some of his business profits, to go to Mzimba (22km from the village) to recharge the battery. People can also pay him to charge their cell phones using his car battery, adding extra revenue to his business!

Laptop

How will Canaan be able to use the laptop we gave him? Luckily, it has some battery life, so it doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time. When it does need charging, he will be able to charge it with the car battery from Zondia’s Barber Shop or another cell phone charging businesses. Another good option is taking the laptop to Mzimba and using the electricity in the Internet café there. Even though he’ll still have to make the long journey to print and scan, with his own laptop he won’t have to wait in line for a computer to be available. Similar to the cell phone network, there is a wireless network that Canaan can connect to from his home through a special USB device, adding Internet time in a pay-as-you-go fashion.

Boyd teaches Gondwe and Lilian to use their new computer given by a generous SIA donor.

Boyd teaches Gondwe and Lilian to use their new computer given by a generous SIA donor.

Movies

Movie theater in Manyamula

The lack of electricity can create a great business opportunity for people who do have access to electric voltage. Owoidighe Ibanga started a movie house in the center of town. When we visited, he was showing a Christian VHS movie to a room full of kids during the Saturday market. He uses a generator for his electricity.

Cold Soda

There are many cultures that prefer not to have ice in their drinks, still, for people in Manyamula who want to cool down on a hot day, there is one grocery store at the main town crossroads that sells cold Coca Cola and Fanta out of a gas generator refrigerator. Granted, the fridge is not only for soda, but probably also for some meat products.

Wanting More…

In spite of all this “making do” there is a clear desire for things to be better. Take, for example, Allan Mwale, who opened a bicycle repair business with a SIA Small Business grant in 2008. He uses wire, wood and pieces of metal to fix broken petals, replace brakes, and add back “seats” (people can ride on the back of a bike for a small fee – much faster than walking!). However, when I asked him what dreams he had for the future of his business, Allan said that someday he would like there to be electricity in the village so that he could do frame welding.

This is the kind of problem that Allan needs a welder to fix.

This is the kind of problem that Allan needs a welder to fix.

Old Laptops Gain New Life in DRC

DRC Coordinators using laptopLast year, just before Christmas, Jacob Lipandasi, the SIA Small Business Fund (SBF) Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received a gift in the mail – a laptop computer. Since then, Jacob has used the laptop, which was donated to SIA, to greatly benefit his community and SIA.

As a SIA SBF Coordinator, Jacob receives a small stipend to cover office expenses associated with sending reports and keeping in touch with the SIA office, however, this amount is rarely enough to cover all costs. Before the gift of the laptop, Jacob had to travel a great distance and pay $1-3 USD/hour to use a computer at an internet cafe. As a result, his emails were brief and often a long time passed between our letters.

The laptop greatly improved his experience. Now Jacob can write his reports and letters to SIA at home on the laptop. He can take his time to write thoughtful responses and take time to figure out the English phrases he may not know (they speak French in the DRC). Then he puts the letters on a flash drive and brings that to the Internet cafe, which means he only has to pay for as much time as it takes to get online and send out his letters. I’ve been impressed by how much more thorough his reports are now that he can compose letters on his own time without having to pay for every second on the computer.

Not wanting to keep this great gift all for himself, Jacob Lipandasi gets together with his wife Jacky Buhoro and SIA SBF Coordinators Benoit Malenge (DRC) and Francois Hamuli (Rwanda) once a month to “Share the Gift” by giving them computer training lessons. Above they are pictured meeting to discuss their work with SIA, practice their English, learn to use Word and Excel, and pray together.

When Ric Shafer contacted us offering to donate his old laptop he warned that it worked fine but was slow. However, Jacob reports that the “laptop is doing miracles in our life”!

We never know how we are able to help someone else, or how much good a small gesture can do, until we do it – that’s Spirit in action!

Laptops in Zimbabwe

Last year two generous contributors donated used laptop computers to SIA. After clearing the memory, we distributed them to 2 long-time SIA partners to use in their service in their community. As you can image, the benefits of receiving even an old laptop computer are great for our international partners.

Musindo uses the laptop from Spirit in Action.

Musindo uses his new laptop sent from Spirit in Action.

The first donated computer was sent to Musindo Sibiya in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, who is trained in computer repair but without a computer of his own. Not content to just use the laptop for their own benefit, Musindo is taking on projects to Share the Gift with many other households in his community. He will print calendars, wedding cards, invitation cards and posters informing the community about public events as well as health awareness campaigns.

Musindo has already secured two contracts to print report cards for two schools with a total enrollment of 1500 students, making an arrangement with the school development committee for a deposit payment to buy a printer. In addition to report cards, he will also print medical cards for patients at clinics in our community. “I will charge affordable fees for my services so that I will be able to sustain myself and keep the laptop working.”

Musindo continues, “I thank all the staff at SIA and everyone who made it possible for this donation to be successful.  I want to share this letter so that others can come to know the good work that SIA is doing for God’s people around the world.

What will Musindo use to charge the laptop battery? A solar panel – very cool!

**If you have a used laptop with some life left in it to contribute to our international coordinators, contact SIA at: spiritinaction@sbcglobal.net or (831) 227-1169.

Thank you!

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