Recently someone donated $4000 towards fixing a four year old debt in the Solomon Islands Wesleyan Church at Noro that only recently came to light. This was for the original clearing of the land at the Noro Training Centre (NTC). However over the last year the NTC committee had made a commitment to pay this back over time and had brokered a deal with the holder of the debt.
I held onto the funds for a couple of months, uneasy about the implications of giving money from ‘outside’ to fix up a situation that was already being dealt with.
A short while later we became aware of a local metal worker who had a rolling machine that manufactured roofing iron, but had not been in production for two years because of the hefty cost of purchasing the required roll of galvanised steel.
Jeff Davies (our volunteer onsite) mentioned that it would be great if we could get a roll of steel to this guy and he could manufacture the roofing iron we needed for the NTC.
A light bulb went on.
Soon after I talked to the original donor and suggested the following, “What if we used your $4000 and we bought a roll of steel, sent it to Noro, get this guy to make corrugated iron, he can keep a portion for his labour and equipment, we can sell a portion and get the $4000 back (and pay the debt) and the last portion can be used to provide effectively free roofing iron for the whole NTC!” The donor said, “sounds fantastic!”
So we did!
We checked the cost of the steel, the smallest roll, weighing over four tonnes and 1500M long was $6000 including freight and other costs. Right about then another donation of $2000 for the project came through and we had a deal.
The roll was purchased (did you know that 4.5tonnes of steel rolled up is only 1m high and 900mm wide?you wouldn’t want to stand in its way if was rolling down a hill!) and put it in the latest shipping container heading to Noro. At the time of writing it has just arrived and we await the end of the story.
This is a win win win. The local manufacturer gets his steel, that he can sell and put cash back into his business and into his workers pockets, the local community has access to roofing iron from a local source, the NTC gets to pay off their debt after they sell the required amount (and the income is derived from a local source, rather than an outside ‘we will fix this’ method) and even better NTC gets as much roofing iron as they need for no cost.
I love it when we can multiply God’s blessing in ways like this. This reminds me of the parable of the talents.
Let’s pray that the rest of the story pans out as we trust for the benefit of many.