Since it’s the holidays, and a time to spend enjoying and pondering the blessings of family, it seemed appropriate to tell you about the family of one of our workers, Lodim Thomas. He’s one of Bob’s construction workers and has been with the Mission for a long time. Because he has regular employment with us and because he is an industrious fellow, he has been able to improve his financial situation relative to his friends and neighbors. He owns a grinding mill and a phone charging operation and is good about saving money. He does well enough to pay other people to work in his field while he comes here to increase his skills (bow-hunting skills, computer hacking skills) and get a decent paycheck.
That leaves his family to run the operations back home on a day-to-day basis. The problem is, when he gets home, he finds out that he grinds all of his extended family’s maize for free (or at a loss, since he paid for the fuel to run the mill). He’s charged phones for free, given a line of credit to people who have no intention of ever repaying him, or otherwise had his operations mismanaged by his own kin. If that isn’t enough, he has to deal with constant begging by his relatives for money and he’s looked upon to ameliorate many of the family problems (he missed work recently to hold an intervention of sorts for his cousin-brother who was causing trouble for their father).
To top it all off, this past week, someone broke into Thomas’ shop at night and stole many of his things—enough to wipe out a great deal of his savings. No one has come forward with any leads, but it most likely had to be someone with some idea of what was inside (it’s not exactly a storefront with display windows). All of this gives a pretty good idea of what life is like around here for those who are well-off.
But as we spoke on Friday, he said to me, “I believe God is able.” Able to do what? To restore the stolen items? To continue to provide for Thomas’ physical needs? To sustain his faith? He continued, saying, “I have to trust in God; this is a trial, but he will not tempt me beyond what I can bear.”