God’s Fleet

I spent most of the morning on my knees picking weeds out of the gravel in my driveway.  I always feel there is something therapeutic about weeding. Its like the prayers of confession. IWe ask God to pick the weeds  of sin out of your life.   And often in prayer God  forces us metaphorically and sometime physically to be on our knees sorting out the mess we've made on the path of life. 

Of course you have to get yourself into the frame of mind to do it the weeding and the praying!  Once you  start it can be quite  compulsive, I mean weeding but also prayer. You don't want to give up until every weed has been picked. Sometimes we don't want to leave the place of prayer until we have dealt with every sin or until our prayers are answered.

 In a garden like mine its an never ending job. You just keep going.  as I was weeding I had the radio playing. I heard a very good programme about silence on Radio 4.  It was all about listening to the silence and keeping silent. I think there is so much we canl;earn about the gift of silence.

I noticed quite a few people checked out my TED  tweet about not keeping silent.  It is such a challenge today to speak up for those who have nothing and are experiencing such injustice.  Many have been shocked  and traumatised by the horrific acts of violence in the Middle East.  Violence and fear are to be found in every part of the world. yet where violence raises its head the story of God's love and mercy can be found to abound. There are just some amazing stories relating acts of love and kindness being shown in the midst of twar zones today. 

Some stories just keep on going. The story of the work of the Vine Trust is one that continually amazes me. Someone said to my colleague Willie McPherson “the work you do in Vine Trust is very adventurous. “  To his ears it sounded as though a certain kind of judgement was being made on the Trust and its leadership. A judgement that suggested we were all a bit cavalier. Risk takers who make things happen by the skin of our teeth. It may look like that to those looking on from the outside. Perhaps in the early days that could be said of us but in today’s world risk has to be tempered with wise judgement. Yet there always needs to be a sense of challenege and adventure.  Even though a great deal of planning and preparation and thought goes into the projects. 

What I would say is that the work  achieved over the past 29 years has been quite remarkable rather than adventurous. It is work that deserves to be remarked upon. Hence the use of the word remarkable.  I read somewhere recently about the significance of this word remarkable. The author was suggesting that it is a good word allowig us to draw attention to events and ideas that turn our heads.

This latest venture falls into the remarkable category. Its remarkable that so many diverse people have worked together under the leadership of our Chief Executive Willie McPherson to make this present project happen. It has to turn your head, but we hope it will turn hearts and change lives.

The seeds of this programme were hatched over four or five years ago. Thanks to the generosity of  one particular person we were able to have the initial capital to contemplate making all this happen. One person gives and before long another comes and shares and before long another comes and before you know it you have a ship on the highway travelling through Kenya.

I couldn’t help but draw parallels  yesterday with the story of Iona and the building of a cathedral to the story of the Vine Trust building God’s fleet. We now have been able to finance the purchase of  three ships and a barge.  I think that may constitute a fleet. At every turn over the years we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people.  In my mind it could only be the Spirit of God at work in so many people thus making a dream like this actually happen. "It is wonderful before our very eyes!"

After 22 days on the road and 811 kilometres  the ship is now at Bahati. It is hoped that it will reach Kisumu by the 23 August. It will then be re-assembled  at Kisumu by a work party supplied by the Wood Group.  In a few weeks it will be ready to sail across Lake  Victoria to Mwansa. I’m hoping to have the privilege of a sail on the ship when I make the trip  to Tanzania at the beginning of October.

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