Africa Loves Redemption

By Lois Shaw, Executive Director

On Monday I took my boots to the cobbler. 

The cobbler has a narrow, dark, womb-like shop where rebirth takes place. I brought in my broken-down boots with a torn zipper and banged-up heals. A flea market special but great boots. He wrinkled up his face and scowled as he examined my derelict possessions. 

“Any hope?”  I asked.  

“Come back in two days,” was his short reply.

A few days later I am wearing those boots to church. They look brand new. You would never know that they were so broken.

Africa does that. Poverty motivates creative redemption. Sandals made out of old tire treads are called “Firestones.” Kids take tin cans, pound them flat and design toy trucks and cars. Long strips of recycled plastic can be crocheted into shopping bags. Bits of bone make funky jewelry. Africa loves redemption. The imagination and possibilities are endless. The results sometimes take my breath away. 

And come to think of it, God does that too. Africa loves redemption because she has a God who loves redemption.

He looks at me and my situation but doesn’t scowl and say, “Come back in two days.” Instead, what He seems to say is, “Girl, this job is going to take a lifetime, but the results will take your breath away.” 

Prayer is where day-to-day redemption begins. It takes those broken boots to the master craftsman’s shop where the old is made new again. Those who pray join the great recycling of all things. 

Happy Easter, friends. I'm thankful to live on this beautiful continent where I find daily reminders to keep my eyes open for the promise of new life, even in the most unlikely places. 

P.S. Mark and I are spending Easter weekend with our son Jonathan, his wife Kate, their two sons and a few other friends in Uganda. You know this Babu and Shosho are loving our time with the grandboys!

For the love of Africa,

Lois