Lessons from a Third-World Father

Posted on: March 27th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Two Spirit of Uganda performers look out over the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry earlier this week, a beautiful image of the hope these children and their families have for their opportunities with Empower African Children.

 

The father of one of our younger students recently sent a letter to his daughter, who is on her first tour with Spirit of Uganda. The letter contained an important message about his hopes for her. He used the book of Hebrew to guide her in her travels, his guidance framed in the 11th chapter: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

The father became the teacher and I became the student.

This father is a man who loves his daughter deeply, but is not able to provide for her; so he entrusted her to Empower’s scholarship program. The girl, our student, now keeps this letter in her pocket and reads it each day. It is her letter, so it is not mine to share. But I can paraphrase his words and tell you what they taught me about stepping out in faith — being confident in what we hope for.

  • Hope for your journey to be meaningful.
  • Know that you are not alone.
  • Learn, and share what you have learned.
  • Believe you are worthy.
  • Trust God. With faith, all things are possible.

These lessons came from a man whose circumstances give him every reason to question these points. It came from the simple love a father has for his daughter. It came from someone who understands abundant living even when faced with financial poverty. And his lessons hit me right between the eyes as a person who has experienced relative financial abundance but has also felt poverty of spirit when things didn’t go my way.

His letter and these lessons may have come from the third-world, but the message is first world thinking. If we are not confident in what we hope for, as this father is, maybe the self reliance of third world survival thinking is keeping us from being  as advanced as we think.

This man and I have never met. But I hope one day to talk with him and let him know that I am grateful for his lesson in faith. And while I’m thanking people, this lesson reminds me to be especially appreciative to each of you who have had faith in our work, our students, and our plans for the future. You make it possible for us to  fulfill our promise this man’s daughter.

Maybe we should all take a minute for introspection. Just one minute to check ourselves in our busyness. Is our journey meaningful? Do we know we are not alone? Are we learning and sharing what we know? Are we accepting our worthiness? And finally, are we living our lives with the faith that all things are possible?

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