Like almost nothing else, hope has a way of unleashing compassion. Hope helps people believe that they can make a difference, regardless of their circumstances.
This is something I see every time we visit Africa. Every November, I take teams of leaders to Nairobi, Kenya. I love the people. I love the culture. I love the grandeur and beauty, and I love seeing what people of hope can accomplish. Every year, we visit the same vibrant church in the slum of Dandora. The streets are dangerous, but the people are warmhearted.
Despite its poverty, this church has an AIDS center, runs a jobs program, and houses a school for three hundred children—all in facilities that are so inadequate you would never imagine that anything could happen. This place is transforming their community. Why is this place having such a positive effect? One dynamite woman with hope named Hilda.
In 2007, on my second visit, Hilda led me to a structure built to be a worship center. It had no windows, and the floor was mud. It had the potential to be good building, but as it stood, it wasn’t usable. The three hundred children under her care desperately needed to use this building. She took me on a tour.
“What do you use this for?” I asked.
“We can’t use it,” she said. “It’s too muddy.”
“What would it take to make it usable? You have three hundred kids with no place to meet.”
“We’ve been saving money to put pebbles on the floor,” she said. “At least that will soak up the water.”
“When did you start this project?”
“Fifteen years ago,” she said, “just as the economy went down.”
“Yes,” she said, “and it’s going to happen! Once a week I come and take off my shoes because this is holy ground. I pray that God will do a miracle and we will finish this building and the children will be able to use it.”
Then she looked me straight in the eye and said, “This is going to happen.”
There is a lot of power in one person having hope. Back home, our church gathered leaders, raised money, and returned a year later. Scores of people from the community and fifteen guys from our church rebuilt the entire floor with concrete instead of just pebbles. That building has been used to reach that community ever since.
Adequate resources don’t change the world. People with hearts strengthened by hope change the world!
In my next blog, I’m going to write about the courage that hope brings.
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There is incredible power in one person having hope.