“All of us are living stories, and those stories teach other people to live stories. And what our stories are about matters, not just for us but for the world.” –A Million Miles in a Thousand Days, Donald Miller
Today I write to you wearing my heart on my sleeve. There is so much I want to tell you about, so much I long to share. I wish I could adequately describe to you what I see everyday. How can I begin to describe the complexities of life here in a country whose leadership sets the standard for absolute corruption?*
Lately, I have felt discouraged by the depravity which surrounds me. The recent killings in Beni were committed by soldiers…government officials who should have been protecting local citizens. What will it take to change a culture so deeply rooted in corruption? Am I even making a difference? Can I trust that my work here is purposeful and beneficial even if I cannot see immediate results?
Though I find myself doubting, I have resolved to remain joyful. Many Congolese are bubbling with joy and hopeful beyond hope. Still, I find myself struggling. The brutality of this place threatens to rob me of joy. Destroy my hope. It is intense. What plagues me most is knowing what could be… Comparing life outside of Congo with the realization that this nation is unlikely to ever pull itself from the pit of poverty is disheartening, to say the least. How do I reconcile such extremes?
So as this reality tries to strangle my dream, I remind myself of why I am here. I cannot look left or right without recognizing that this place needs transformation. I recall why I am doing what I am doing. This vision carries me through the highs and lows. I am here to equip nationals to transform their communities. I am here to restore hope, training women with practical skills, producing products which can be sold to earn a fair wage. I am here to redefine the Congolese perception of Americans. I am here to serve. I am doing something small, but I’m a part of something big. To know that today my life has been used to impact and improve the life of another. God has given me an opportunity to make a difference.
You have the same opportunity. No matter where you live or what the conditions are like, you have the ability to make someone’s life better. It doesn’t require any money. Bless someone today with a smile and a kind word. Visit a friend and turn off your cell phone so that you are fully present. Bring a meal to someone who is ill. The possibilities are endless…