Hope in the Loss

Yesterday, I learned of the death of my friend Mariamma. She was one of our housemothers at our children’s home and wife to Emmanuel, our former director of the home. During the trip to celebrate the opening the home, we discovered that both Emmanuel and Mariamma were extremely sick. After testing, we learned that they both had a terminal illness. As a result, they could no longer work in our children’s home. Emmanuel passed away nearly a year ago and Mariamma has been sick for a very long time. Her passing was not a surprise but still painful as she is leaving behind three children, and we grieve with them.

During my April visit to Sierra Leone, I searched for Mariamma. I finally found her in a dusty shack, in a small room. When I walked in, the room smelled of sickness. But her face filled with joy when she saw me. Her body was weak and she was significantly thinner than what she was when I saw her last just a few months before. She had multiple, large, painful boils covering her body. I confess given the nature of her disease, I was at afraid to get too close.  Then something happened, I was overcome by love. It wasn’t me it was Jesus in me. I embraced her frail body in my arms; I kissed her face and held on to her hand. It was one of the most beautiful and memorable moments of my life.

What we can learn about Hope in the Loss:

  • The Greatest Hope of All: Mariamma was a follower of Jesus, and we have a great joy in knowing her suffering is over and we will see her again!
  • Hope Takes the Risk: You won’t regret stepping out and giving hope to someone in their suffering and despair: That moment in her small room in a shack in Sierra Leone is etched forever in my heart. I will go back to it time and time again for inspiration and courage to continue to love greatly & give completely.
  • Hope is an Opportunity: We all have opportunities: some big, some small to be hope to someone. Don’t let that those moments pass you by. Don’t be paralyzed by fear, be motivated by hope & love, you won’t regret it.

Have you had the opportunity to give hope & show love to someone in his or her despair, or did someone meet you in your suffering? Please share your story.

I will write & share Emmanuel’s story at a later time, but in the meantime, you can watch this video in his memory.

Why Hope?

def. desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.

Why Hope? As the Director of a charity working in Sierra Leone, Africa it is rare that a day or two passes without something amazing happening.  As these moments come up I can’t help but share them with others. The more and more I’ve shared them, the more people have been encouraged. It is really fun to see someone’s eyes twinkle when they hear a wonderful story. It is even more exciting to be a part of watching someone’s life turn from despair to hope, as we so often get to see with our friends in Sierra Leone. Hope is truly contagious and this is why I was looking for a place to share these hope stories. May they inspire you to believe you too can make a difference in the world.

Why Savvy?

def. practical know-how.

Why Savvy? Well, Jack Sparrow of course. I have found I sometimes take life too seriously and I love Jack Sparrow’s whimsical (and often strange) outlook at life. In fact I find him weird and well I relate to weird ha ha, enough said. The point isn’t really Jack, the point is a light hearted continuous joke can lighten the more challenging moments of leadership and life.

The true definition of savvy is: “practical know-how”. While I am journeying myself, I hope to share my thoughts on experiences and things I’m learning along the way to provide encouragement to others.

What is let them LOL?

A few years ago, my husband Joe and I learned that there are nearly 1 billion people on our planet without access to clean, safe drinking water. And even more heart wrenching, approximately 4,000 children die every day from water related disease.

We weren’t sure what to do, but we knew we had to do something. We weren’t ok with 4,000 children dying every day just because they didn’t have access to clean water. We also knew that there were a lot of other people who wouldn’t be OK with it either.

My husband Joe has a very strange laugh. It’s the kind that turns heads; everyone looks and then starts laughing. So we put his laugh on a ring tone, and sold the ring tone to raise funds and awareness about the water issue. We called it “let them LOL (laugh out loud).” “Let them” because we believe many people in the world are experiencing unjust suffering only because they lack the most basic resources for a better future. By giving them a basic resource like clean water, we are helping them embrace a better future. And “laugh out loud” because we are using laughter to raise awareness about this issue.

When we started it we didn’t have big ambitions to start a huge organization, we just wanted to help people. We underestimated the power of friends, family and communities coming together to change the world. To date we have funded 80 clean water wells! Thousands of people’s lives have been impacted.

To learn more about let them LOL, follow this link.

“We all cannot do great things, but we all can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresea