If it is to be, It’s up to me!

Change in the world starts with you!

No great feat in the history of humankind has been accomplished by anyone other than regular people (like you and I) who took hold of the singularly important realization that change starts with me. These regular people took the initiative to be the change that they wished to see in the world. Movements, fashions, revolutions, innovations, inventions, uprisings, overthrows, creations, wars and treaties…have all been the result of the actions of people. Regular people. Who chose to act.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Our world is in need of change. The desperate state of more than a billion people who live on about a dollar a day, with no guarantee of a meal tomorrow, and with the certainty only of more hardship ahead is unbearable. But it becomes intolerable when we consider the possibility that their lack may be (in part) as a result of our excess. Could it even be possible that I may in some small way be responsible (God forbid – culpable) for the 30,000 children who died today (and yesterday, and the day before) from hunger and preventable disease while I super-sized my McDonald’s?

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” – Camara

But when faced with the scope and sheer immensity of the problems in the world, it is easy to shy away in a sense of misguided humility and ask: “Who am I to think that I could make a difference?” After all, I am not wealthy, nor powerful. I’m not influential, nor particularly talented.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

But the reality is that all change lies in you. It always has. Over the generations, while the majority of “you’s” stood back to allow for someone with more experience or resources to step in and bring about change, a small but determined group of “you’s” has stepped up time and time again to the challenge before them. A challenge for which they were most often not prepared, under equipped, and downright terrified. And yet, they prevailed. Not always in massively notable ways. And not always immediately. Sometimes their victory was in nothing more (yet nothing less) than failing while trying, but being an example to others who, inspired by their action, also stepped up. And succeeded.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

These regular people did not give credence to the notion that we need to recognize our limitations, and remain level headed. Or reasonable. They did not submit themselves to the idea that they could not expect to truly alter the systems and brokenness of the entire world. Shooting for what could safely be accomplished was not the goal. You know- focus on your family, and your career. Tithe, and save for your retirement.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw

You see there really is no superman. At least not the kind we all hope would sweep in and fix this all tomorrow. The inequality. The suffering. The loneliness and pain. The rape and abuse. The death and decay. No one else will save the day. Our governments, our politicians, our pastors and our celebrities are really all just as broken as we are. Perhaps they too are waiting for someone else to swoop in. But superman isn’t showing up to combat these problems. At least not in the way that we would imagine.

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom” – Bob Dylan

And yet we know that the greatest change that this world has ever known occurred more than 2000 years ago, when a regular man, the son of a carpenter, in the small “nothing good ever came out of there” – podunk town of Nazareth in the rural outskirts of a pimple-sized militarily subdued nation state of the Roman empire, stood face to face with the greatest military power that the world had ever known, and the most powerful and enduring religious establishment in history…and took the full weight and fury that both could throw at him in the form of a cross. And won. But even He was afraid, begging His father to “take this cup from Him”.

And then there was this group of ragtag fishermen, failed zealots, recovering IRS agents, and women (who were good for nothing but fetching water and raising children in 1st century Judea) who gathered together and so radically changed the face of the world that it would never be the same again. People. Just regular people. Who recognized that there was no “plan B” or special forces that would rise up to the task of carrying the flag that their leader had raised. If it was to be…it was up to them.

We ARE the plan (both A and B)

About 2000 years ago…when superman left the building, he left an under-whelming and under-qualified group of underlings behind with the entirety of the most important mission ever undertaken in the history of mankind solely in their hands. The mission; to continue the work of communicating and being the grace of God to his children on earth. He tasked them with the continuation of his own mission…to be a light to a dark world, and to bring hope to the hopeless and to lift up the lowly. To bring life, and life to the fullest to those who needed it most. Because after all…it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. And this entire mission was entrusted to none other than the very same group of nobodies who for 3 years had lollygagged around with their messiah, chasing away the children (to whom Jesus said the kingdom of God belonged), arguing about who would be the greatest when Jesus came to power (not realizing that his throne would be a cross), and even running away when the heat was turned up despite having been warned that this would happen, and having denied that they would ever do such a thing just a few hours prior. This group of inadequates…were those to whom the greatest mission on earth was to be entrusted.

And nothing has changed.

It is to us that the mission of change has been entrusted. It is to the regular man and woman that the ongoing task of bringing life to those who need it, and love to those who lack it, has been given. We are the plan, however inadequate we may feel, and waiting for someone more qualified is missing the point. If it is to be…it is up to me!

Our Journey Continues…

A little over 4 years ago, my business partner Joe and I, got on a plane. We were a couple of real estate brokers, running a small company in Iowa at the height of the largest real estate recession our country has known. We had not taken home a pay check for several months that year, and we had absolutely no business being on the African continent learning about third world poverty alleviation.

We stuck our necks out in 2011 when we partnered with Children’s Hope Chest in launching and funding a CarePoint for 120 orphaned kids in a small war torn village called Ogoloi, and within 3 months had found willing sponsors for 100% of the kids. So we stuck our neck out again, and expanded to include Bukedea with 220 more kids. And again, despite our hesitancy and fears, God provided sponsors for these kids. So we expanded again and added more children to both Ogoloi and Bukedea.

And today, we are yet again thrilled to be in that same position. Under trained, under qualified, yet understanding that these are mere roadbumps. We are proud to launch the newest CarePoint to the growing Orphans of Teso Family. Ongongoja. Known to the locals as the “Ends of the Earth”, this difficult to reach region is home to more than 800 orphaned and vulnerable children, the product of decades of war, drought, and raids from the infamous Karamajong tribe  immediately to the North.

Learn more about Ongongoja

We have begun the long term process of partnering with this small, otherwise insignificant community of people by profiling the 150 orphaned and most vulnerable children in the area and beginning to provide basic life sustaining services to these kids. Just like Ogoloi and Bukedea, the goal is larger than just the kids. Our desire is CHANGE for the entire village, through long term sustainable improvements to their quality of life, and the injection of HOPE into an otherwise hopeless reality. It all starts with the kids. And $38 a month sponsorships.

Rise to the Challenge

We need your help. Again.

We need 150 regular people to join us in just a small way, by considering taking on the privilege of sponsoring one (or two) of these children for $38 a month. These funds allow us to begin the process of providing daily meals to these kids (many of whom have no guarantee of a meal on any given day), basic health care to those in need, and then to facilitate their ability to attend school.

Learn more about Sponsoring a Child here

We have seen first hand the impact that something as seemingly small as $38 a month can have on the lives of these kids, but also the transformative change that this can have on an entire community. Clean water, and daily meals are massive changes. But when a community begins to have hope, and raises its downcast head to see a future for its children and people, amazing things begin to happen. And we get to be a part of this change. We have been entrusted with the mandate to be a part of this change. There is no one else up for the challenge. The person to your left, and the person to your right, are looking to the person to their left and right.

Please join us in recognizing that CHANGE in the world, although always ultimately in the hands of God, is practically up to us. Not because God doesn’t care, but because he cared enough to step in to the muck that we have made of this world, and act…as a man, and then to entrust to us the continuation of that work as his hands and feet and heart.

So, be the change you wish to see. Because if it is to be, its up to me!

Please CLICK HERE to learn more about sponsoring one of our Ongongoja kids.

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching” – Some dude nobody knows

Epilogue: In January, a small team of us leave to visit the Ogoloi and Bukedea CarePoints and to visit (for the first time) what will become the future CarePoint in Ongongoja. We will be spending 2 days on the ground at Ogoloi and Bukedea respectively, and then 3 more days with the kids at the new Ongongoja site. Although we know that we will likely not have sponsors for too many of the kids by that time, we are excited to be able to visit them, and get to know them. The kids at the other two sites have become friends, and family to us, and it feels like we just added a couple of hundred kids to our family. Upon our return we will be excited to post photos, videos, and stories from Ongongoja to keep you all in the loop. Thanks for all of the continued support and for being a part of the change you wish to see in the world. – Dylan

 

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