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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Ant Load

A stream of tiny black ants lined the crevices of my floor tiles, carrying white specks of crumbs that had escaped from the bottom of my toaster.  I could almost hear their voices of joy.  "Isn't this great?!  We can work together to be a blessing.  The colony is going to be so excited when they see our find.  Oh, the community is going to love this!  I cherish working with my friends... it makes the load so much lighter and the burden seems small when shared with cheerfulness."  Before I could imagine any more of their discussions, they filed out my side door and disappeared into creation.

These ants reminded me of a fun occasion from last weekend.  But first I need to give you some back ground.  For the past three years I have known a hard-working family - who run both a stationary/document shop as well as a "fast food" restaurant.  The owner, Isak, is a strong, tall man who is honest, insightful, and very supportive.  He truly loves his beautiful wife and precious son.  Earlier this spring I helped in his document shop for a few weeks... we organized shelves, came up with a better inventory system, and priced everything.  We taught the staff how to read the price labels so that the owner could have more freedom away from the shop.  I even helped hang decorative banners in the shop - so you could tell it was a place that meant business. 

Now this man is able to spend more time in the restaurant... and it's very rare for a man to enjoy cooking and serving, but it is definitely his calling.  Isak is such a good, up-and-coming chef.  He often invites me for tea so that we can talk about how the business is going and how he can improve things with his staff and menu. 

Two weeks ago, while sitting in the restaurant, we were chatting about giving the restaurant a face-lift for Christmas.  Way out of my element, he wants me to help pick paint colours and art for the front room.  And then he mentioned that he wants new items for his local menu.  He wants to be different than the other restaurants in town and desires to add more western recipes to his selection.  He mentioned that he wants to add hamburgers to the menu but that he didn't know a good baker.

Here my light bulb turns on... I have a team-mate who is a trained baker/chef and he also has a heart for business sustainability.  He is also training a local pastor to make breads in a newly made clay oven.  I texted my team-mate, Jim, and asked if he had any good bun recipes.  A few days later I was able to introduce Jim to Isak.  Excitement flared as we thought of all the ways we could work together to make his business more exciting on main street Soroti.  A trial run was needed for the burgers... so with the help of all my friends, we had a burger party on Saturday night.  The restaurant was closed for a private party. 

I wore my new party hat, while Isak and Jim sported aprons in the kitchen.  I think the serving staff was a little overwhelmed with all the mzungus in the room, but it was such a fun night.  As the evening was coming to a close, we wanted to pay our bills.  Isak didn't want any money... he just wanted us to pay for our sodas.  He was in complete shock was he looked in the tip folder at the end of the night.  Tears were in his eyes as he was happy with how the team worked together to encourage him in his work. 

As a team, we strive to walk alongside and encourage local passionate Christians, and it truly excites me that we can bless this hard-working man.  May the whole down-town area of Soroti know about business sustainability, integrity, honesty, and serve God in all they do.


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