You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:18 MSG
We all stand in front of the hangar, eyes scanning the horizon, the familiar drone of the Cessna engine signaling that he will land very soon. The sense of anticipation is palpable. I leave my desk and others on the team lay down their tools to witness the landing. We don’t do this because we’re nervous or unsure of the pilot’s abilities; on the contrary, we are very confident in his skill as he is MAF’s Manager of Safety, Rolland Trempert. A typical winter day in Lesotho, sunny and clear with a chill in the air––it’s a great day for flying! Rolland isn’t normally in Lesotho, but he and his wife Jessica have come to fill in and help out since many of our team members are currently on furlough.
They come to strengthen our community.
Soon a car pulls up and Amanda Honaker, Rolland’s daughter, and Jessica Trempert hop out, cameras in hand to capture Rolland’s landing. Now everyone is outside, smiling and exchanging knowing grins with each other as the airplane pulls up and then the engine stops. Passengers are off-loaded and ushered a safe distance from the plane. As we escort them, we tell them of the fun we are about to have. They linger, wanting to witness this rite of passage.
Others want to be a part of the community.
Dutifully Rolland does his post-flight check, filling out paperwork while the rest of the team mill around casually, trying not to look suspicious and failing miserably. We all wait for what seems like an eternity, checking watches but trying to appear nonchalant. Finally the right moment arrives. Rolland steps away from the plane and waves to all of us, sensing something is up. It is just then he is doused from the side with a bucket of water, and then another. Good natured, but freezing, he hands over the water-splattered log book and mail, takes off his glasses and laughs with the rest of us.
He is initiated into our community.
There is a tradition in Lesotho that when a pilot completes his first solo flight, the rest of the team soaks him/her with buckets of water. Though Rolland will only be here two months, it’s important to all of us that he be treated like any member of our community. While being soaked with buckets of water may not sound like a good way to treat someone with dignity and honor, to forego this tradition would have held Rolland outside of the community.
We all need community.
God Himself exists in community as the Trinity––Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since God made us in His image, we, too, need to live in community. I’m so grateful to be part of the MAF Lesotho community. I’m working hard to be accepted as a member of the Basotho community, but there is nothing that compares to being a part of the greater Christian community … the one that supports the work of MAF and makes it possible for me to be here, serving the people of Lesotho.