Today, I wanted to share some encouragement I have already received thus far in regards to the Kenya trip this summer. It has already been an amazing journey and I've yet to step foot on African soil.
Yesterday, in response to my blog post, my sister Becky, who lives in Germany and works for a non-profit and is also an incredible writer and publisher of the first English Literature Journal in Berlin the Sand Journal, sent me an incredibly nice and encouraging email. I wanted to share part of it with you in hopes that it will also encourage you in whatever projects you are focused on this summer.
Here is an excerpt from her email, she encouraged me so succinctly and simply that I wanted to share her version, she is the writer after all...:
"I often also struggle with being too independent, especially with recent projects, its always that I want things to be perfect and I know i can do a good job. But that can really cut out other people from the opportunity for them to do something good, and for me to be surprised. even if an outcome is different than what i had expected, the relationships that are built by doing things together are more lasting and valuable in the end. there may be people who don't respond, and even some who have negative responses, (because it's so easy to be cynical) but try not to take those to heart, and stick to your vision and take the positive encouragement and realize that there are others who want to do good things too. I remember Grandpa (Papa) quoting me an encouraging poem, and I always quote it to myself when i'm surrounded by uncreative, cynical people who think i'm insane for trying something, and it actually helps.
"Somebody said it couldn't be done, but he with a chuckle replied that maybe it couldn't but he would be the one who wouldn't say no til he'd tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin, he took off his hat and went to it. He started to sing, as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are millions to tell you it cannot be done, there are millions to prophecy failure. There are millions to point out to you one by one, the problems that wait to assail you. But just buckle right in,just chuckle and grin, just roll up your sleeves and go to it. Just start to sing as you tackle that thing that cannot be done, and you'll do it."
i've had a large realization that success and meaning in life is not generated by what brilliant ideas you have, how qualified you are, how many resources you have at your disposal, how many people you know (though these are all factors at some point or another) but rather by what you actually DO. And when you DO something, it kind of gives people pause - even the cynics - because it is so much harder to DO something than to criticize everything and say it won't work. the positive response you will see from DOING something just a little bit creative shows us how unique it is for people to actually DO anything at all. "
So,I just wanted to point out that i'm not just doing something, i've specifically studied and chosen to participate in this particular amazing opportunity with Africa HEART to help however i can.
I chose to DO this because of some key factors:
1.) they promote health education and more than just "assisting" they want to help people DREAM about their future, and help them develop self-sustaining business and support locally. They are fostering imagination, creativity, conversation, community and independence with the people they are working with in Nairobi and in the slums outside of the city. They are DOING daily, what other people only talk about and dismiss as impossible.
2.) My friend Steve Sacher, who works for HEART as the Volunteer coordinator (for lack of a better term, but he is the man on the ground in Nairobi, in the thick of things, making it happen daily and coordinating every group that volunteers...read His Blog Here). I have had the privilege to see his deep commitment from a distance (in the US), I have had a chance to hear about his passions, fears, hopes and dreams for the community in Kenya and mostly, I see his courage and commitment to stand, even if alone financially, physically, emotionally - to face the struggles, sorrows and hopeless situations that are encountered daily. There are so few leaders I would trust enough to follow into battle, Steve is one of them because he would be there fighting next to me. Steve is one of the few people I know who is actively, giving his life away daily to serve other people, because that is what he has been called to do. How could I, as a friend, not choose to support that in some way? That is why I have chosen THIS thing to DO.
What cause, what dream or hope do you care about enough that you would be willing to risk your life to see it happen?
I am willing to accept that to some, I may look crazy, it may look unconventional because on my first trip to Africa, i'm not going with a group from my church (although they do amazing work worldwide too and i'm a huge supporter of Beyond Us), I'm realizing that I need to serve not for the approval of others, but for God alone to see my that my heart is ready to be obedient and I am ready to be used as his instrument to show kindness to others. Please do not confuse this to mean that i'm going to recruit the world to become "Christians" as a "vaccuum cleaner salesman for God" as a pastor Erwin McManus has said. But I am going to serve and be the hands and the feet and the heart that we have been called to be in the world because love wins.
This is the only reason I need not to give up and it is a terrific reason to be encouraged to keep moving forward.
Partner with me!