Thursday, September 15, 2016

Needing an off-the-grid enthusiast to appear out of the blue

Oh for an expert in living off the grid who is good at teaching and called to be a missionary!

We've been spinning wheels evaluating how to help partner schools in Nigeria. The power grid in Nigeria is extremely unreliable, probably off more than on. So computer schools have to rely on generators to make up the difference. Well, an economic crisis in Nigeria this year cause fuel to become widely unavailable, and very expensive when it is available.

My colleague Nathan has researched and experimented with ways to help with this, including solar panels and wind turbines made out of drills. We've also thought about waterwheels for rainy season and collecting the cooking oil from street vendors to use in generators. The trouble with the first three options is that to really work well in a computer school, they require a massive battery bank, which can be either a) easy to maintain but thousands of dollars, or b) not so expensive (using things like old car batteries), but requiring somebody who really knows what they're doing to maintain. The cooking oil option also requires an expert to keep it from ruining the generator.

We could try raising money for the high-end battery banks, but our team has never been good at fundraising. Also, that's not really what our organization is called to do. We're about local sustainability and reproducibility. What good would it do students to get a computer education at a school that has a great power solution, if they then go to a workplace that needs power and doesn't have it? The solution we want to see is a way we can make "how to make and maintain your own battery bank and power sources" a course in these schools, so the schools can not only supply their own power needs, but also be teaching students how to do it, and then they can take that knowledge wherever they go, helping with this problem throughout their country. None of us, unfortunately, has expertise in this. George might have been able to pull it off, but he and Kathy been called away from TEN3 to missionary care in Burkina Faso for this phase of their life. So, my prayer now is that the Lord may send someone who can go over and share Jesus' love by teaching power solutions that will work in Nigeria.

Lord, You know the suffering of Your people in Nigeria. Persecution and terrorism, economic crises, educational needs, greed squashing good ideas, and so much more. Won't You show the world that You are sufficient to overcome all these distresses by giving Your people the wisdom and ability to bless their communities in lasting ways?

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