During this past week, I've had the opportunity to meet with several individuals that are on the journey. Each has shared with me on personal levels, describing the various steps that have led to decisions along the path that lead to success, blessings, and positive results. Always fascinating, and nonetheless, empowering, are the words of one who has seen much to have the ability to change the world.
The words, expressions, and emotional descriptions of experiences leave one amazed at how God gives such strength to those whom are willing to step out of comfort into the world of unknown to risk being used by Him to change the world.
Tuesday morning, in the heart of old city Lima, I listened to the words of one of our volunteers that has given so much of his time and energy in the last few months to serve and relentlessly seek the face of God. I have realized that an ongoing theme in my life surrounds the concept of just "asking the question," or taking time to listen and inquire has taken my conversations to new levels of empowerment.
During the morning breakfast, I asked the question of life, and how he arrived to the place he has arrived.
"I had to grow up quickly," he paused, "leaving Iquitos at the age of 16, after graduating from high school was great but found myself in an adult world of urban cement."
I am amazed at the sacrifices people make to reach their dreams and the legacy that they will leave reveals the impact they will have in future generations. As we drank in coffee, he shared his life experience. He had left the jungle and all of its natural beauty after graduating from high school. Coming to the capital city of Lima offered opportunities for better education, opportunities, and success. Disillusioned by the city's 9 million inhabitants, fear and frustration consumed this innocent young person from the depths of the country. Desperate for a way out of the urban prison of traffic, pollution, and congestion of crime and violence, this young man began to sell ice in the streets.
Working his way through this incredibly challenging experience, with a humble heart of passion to complete his dreams, he paid for his studies. Selling ice to taxi drivers, pedestrians, and the occasional tourist, he climbed his way through the days, months, and years. I cannot imagine the experience of pounding pavement everyday to raise a few dollars to make it for the monthly payments for education. Dodging cars, inhaling car exhaust & fumes to get a higher education, amongst the elements of weather on daily basis demonstrate a profound determination to succeed.
Four years later, this man sits before me, educated, intelligent, and passionate to learn more of God. Getting baptized last year at the beach, he has begun to serve in the church, and has never looked back. He will leave his impact and legacy for generations to come through his humble climb through hardships. I have been impacted and his words leave a settling imprint of gratitude for those that have left legacies for me to learn from.
I have learned from this individual, and I am grateful today for the lives of people that have sacrificed gruelling experiences so that God could be glorified.