Airing the Laundry

There’s a mountain of clothes in my laundry room right now. Wet non-dryables hang on the rack while the darks sit in the washing machine. Piles of whites and colors wait their turn. When they are clean and dry, there won’t be any baskets to put them in because last week’s clothes haven’t yet made it into the drawers and closets where they belong.

And yet, I need to talk about Kingdom work.

I need to talk about the enormous need.

I need to talk about global problems with no simple solution and about individuals trapped by war, displaced by famine, orphaned by disease, abused by the cycles of government ineptitude or corruption or pure evil. We can wring our hands, we can succumb to despair, we can turn a blind eye because we don’t have the solution.

But we miss the opportunity to speak love into one life. Because that’s how God’s work is done… bit by bit, person by person… one cup of tea, one blood pressure cuff, one load of laundry at a time.

Lisa-Jo Baker, blogger mommy activist, launched a campaign today to build a place for mommies in Africa to do their laundry. She writes: “Today I want to invite you to do virtual laundry together.
Help One Now and the local South African organizations that my parents work with, Take Action and the James 127 Trust have the architectural plans and the permission to build a community water point.
It’s designed with moms in mind. To make laundry days easier and bringing home water for cooking and drinking simpler.
The water point will be:
• Consistent: because it will include a water storage tank so that even if water supply is interrupted, there will always be back up water.
• Convenient: the water point will include clothes washing troughs – to make doing laundry easier.
• Community friendly: there will be benches to sit and wait for a turn to wash clothes or gather water.
• And offer food security: because it will be the water supply for a future vegetable garden.
And because the Internet can build a virtual bridge between here and South Africa moms the world over can offer to share a laundry day together. We all get being buried under piles of kids’ clothes and the knowledge that what we washed today will be dirty again tomorrow.
Let’s do virtual laundry together. Let’s build a water point and laundry facility for our sisters and their kids in South Africa.
So that every time you fold those socks and super hero underoos you are reminded that moms do brave things. Including Laundry!”

Click here to read the whole blog.

I encourage you to go to the website and check it out. She has fabulous photos of the current water source, a hose coming out of the ground, surrounded by mud. And while sometimes I’m quite sure the water coming out of my washing machine must in fact resemble a mud bath, I can’t imagine washing my clothes in mud.

Children playing in the mud

Children playing in the mud

And I’ve heard mommies talk about using laundry as a way to praise God. To use the time folding as a time of prayer… praying over the individuals who will wear, dirty, stain, split seams of the very clothing I’m folding. Do it all, even the menial, for the glory of God.

Bit by bit, sock by sock, we get it done… the kingdom work.

Laundry is hardly the extent of it though. Water in Africa is scarce. People sell water to make money. Wendy, who just returned from Zambia, South Africa, and Uganda, explained that her sponsored child, Scovia, a 14 year old Ugandan, walks one half km each way for water for her family. She carries it on her head. Scovia walks another 3 km each way to school. What water her family doesn’t use, they sell.

Wendy and Scovia

Wendy and Scovia

From childhood, from the moment a child can walk well, he or she is expected to carry water, even in a small jerrycan.

A boy struggles with his water load.

A boy struggles with his water load.

The distances are long, the water itself may be contaminated, and there is only so much to go around.

Carrying water on their heads

Carrying water on their heads

The same water that is used for laundry is often used for bathing and then transported home for cooking and drinking.

Gathering water by the side of the road.

Gathering water by the side of the road.

Frequently, animals use this same water for drinking, bathing, and as a toilet. It’s not easy to be healthy when this is your drinking water.

Laundry and water are carried in jerrycans long distances.

Laundry and water are carried in jerrycans long distances.

This is the big stuff. The kind of stuff that makes us scratch our heads, wring our hands. This is the stuff that has no easy answer. But as CompassioNow founder Ed Bjurstrom says, “We can wait around for government to figure it all out, or we can make strides to solve the problems in small ways, NOW.”

Bit by bit, sock by sock, cup of tea by cup of tea, blood pressure cuff by blood pressure cuff, person by person, we make strides, we tackle the big stuff.
Have you ever watched ants move house? They don’t just take the whole thing and lift it up and move it. They each take a part, …a morsel of food, a larvae, a clump of dirt… and they move it bit by bit.

A family heads to the water hole to do the laundry.

A family heads to the water hole to do the laundry.

Through the bravery of mommies building a laundry facility for neighbors in Africa, through the bravery of compassionate folks supporting CompassioNow, through the bravery of tea-lovers buying tea for a cause, we can move house like the ants. Bit by bit. It takes us all, acting in small ways, NOW.

Now, back to my laundry.

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