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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Parable of the Space Rocket



At a recent RHI board meeting one of our board members, Tom Clegg, brought a challenge to the RHI board. Tom apparently grew up as a space geek, probably because his father was an engineer who worked on the design and construction of the NASA mobile launch pad. Without getting into the specifics, this was a tremendous undertaking, one said to be impossible by many of the great engineering minds of the day. The challenges involved were deemed to be too great, including transporting the entire space shuttle from the assembly building to the launch site, keeping this enormous structure erect, supporting it against winds of up to 110 mph, carrying the weight required, and withstanding the intense heat and vibration produced by a 4.4 million pound rocket blasting into outer space.

One of the biggest challenges was the design of the arms that hold the shuttle to the tower. These arms have to be able to serve as a bridge, allowing the astronauts and NASA personnel to cross from the tower to the shuttle. They must be able to support all sorts of hoses, pipes, and other machinery required to get necessary pieces into the shuttle. They must be strong enough to hold a shuttle that is taller than the Statue of Liberty without wavering. And here is the most interesting point...these arms must also be designed that they can withstand the full force of the rocket blasting off, keeping it on the launch pad for about 3 seconds after it reaches blasting power. When the announcer reaches T minus 6 they open the fuel valves, allowing the gasses to mix. Without fail, these gasses ignite, and begin their job to thrust the rocket off the ground, defy the laws of gravity, and put this gigantic machine into space.

What most people don’t realize, and I didn’t until Tom shared this with us, is that without these arms holding the rocket down, it would have enough power to lift itself a bit, then it would hover around for awhile, before finally becoming somewhat unstable and tilting to one side or the other and blasting in that direction. As Tom pointed out, rockets are not designed to hover. In fact, that would probably be the worst possible scenario for any NASA scientist, engineer, or astronaut. It probably wouldn’t be good news for anyone living in a 12-state radius either.

The point is, once the gasses ignite, the rocket must still be held back until full thrust can be achieved and enough power is built up not only to lift the rocket off the pad, but blast it to its intended destination.

This is where we currently find ourselves as the RHI board. Right now, by the blessing of God, we’ve generated enough to get us lifted off the ground. We started fundraising at the beginning of November, and within two months God has shown Himself mighty and faithful in too many ways to count. Through the faithfulness of His people, God has given us $57,891 to date. This is far and above what we had the right to logically expect. But God doesn’t work on man’s logic. Amber & I have been praying that God will provide in such an awesome and powerful way that no one can ever dispute who accomplished the work. And He is doing just that. Thank you to everyone who is investing in God’s work in South Africa. Our goal is drawing ever closer.

I can say personally I want to blast off now. I’m tired of the US, tired of waiting to get back to the people we love so dearly. But that’s not what God has for us right now. Who knows, but that there might be a $50,000 check on the way right now. I don’t. But I know God does, and in His timing we will be fully prepared and able to get back to the field. In the meantime it is ours to simply seek His face, His honor and glory, and know that while He doesn’t need us, yet He graciously allows us to be part of His work.

Please, please pray for us as we continue our work to reach the people of Welkom through Restoring Hope Village. Pray that our board will have wisdom in its decisions. And pray that God will give justice to the children of South Africa, and that He will bring it quickly (Luke 18:7-8).

And especially, Praise God for His fantastic provision of $57,891.

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