When you walked into the room this morning, did you turn on the light switch? Is your computer plugged into the wall right now? Did you wonder if the light would come on, or if your computer would come on? Where does your electricity come from?
More likely than not, it comes from SWEPCO (in Shreveport) or your local electric company. It travels through miles of wires, transformers, and substations before making it to your neighborhood. We assume it will always work, and we are shocked when it fails us.
When I am in the jungle overseas, it is unlikely that I will have electricity running to my house from the closest "city." [Side note, this "city" will probably not have a ground to their electricity, it will be sporadic in its availablity, and it will be too far away from my house to run wires from town.] So how will I get electricity?
For years, missionaries drove or flew in gasoline, kerosene, or other fuels to run their generators and refridgerators. As you know, this would be very heavy to fly in a small Cessna airplane and would need to be flown in regularly. It takes time to maintain a generator, and when something goes wrong, it could take days to work on the generator. Missionaries started wondering, is there a better way?
God has blessed New Tribes Mission with Tim See. We just finished a class called Tech Tips with Tim as our teacher. During this class we learned about solar energy and storing the energy in batteries to run lights, computers, and even fans. The average hours around the world in which there is direct sunlight on one location is 4 hours. This varies of course from Greenland (months without the sun) to equatorial countries with 6 hours of direct sunlight. God has enable us to harness this energy He has created and use it for electricity. Wednesday night the Sees had an open house and allowed us to come see a functioning solar system. This is their house:
As you can see, the house isn't plumb. This isn't typical, eh? :-) On the south side of his house (the left) he has a solar water heater built into the roof. This heats the house in the winter, and provides hot water year round. Over to the left are solar panels which provide most of the electrity to the Sees' home. On the right side of the house, are batteries to store the energy. Tim See has been blessed with the desire and ability to test different products to find out what works best, so that we can get the most for our money when we go to the field.
This picture is only of our little cove of the 50 mile Lake of the Ozarks. We've been blessed with beautiful land here to have our training.
Praise God with me for solar energy, and the ability to capture it to run our electricity on the field. As we've finished Tech Tips and will finish Phonetics this week, we are beginning two new classes--Missionary Kid Education (MK ED) and Health and Wellness. During MK ED we will learn about the different options and importance of those options for the education of missionaries' children. During Health and Wellness, a nurse will come in to teach us about stay healthy in a developing country and how to give a shot and stitches. I'm looking forward to it! :-)