Growing up in a communist country, at that time, which was struggling economically and socially, I remember so clear the sense of hopeless from peoples’ hearts. There was no hope for economic change under a dictatorial regime, no hope to leave the country as the borders were closed, no hope for a better day. The only hope that a small percentage of people were able to anchor their hearts into was the hope that comes from God. But what if we wouldn’t have had that either? Sometimes it felt like you would be in a dark room trying to find the knob from the door that did not exist.
This feeling must be shared by millions of people in Africa. This is the reason why this ministry got the name “Hope In Darkness”. The vision and the purpose of this 6 month mission trip is simple: we want to meet their physical needs, share the love of God, provide encouragement and build relationships to advance the Kingdom of God. We are called to love, to give, and to make disciples.
One day, an old man was walking along the beach in the early morning and noticed the tide had washed thousands of starfish up on the shore. Up ahead in the distance he spotted a boy who appeared to be gathering up the starfish, and one by one tossing them back into the ocean. He approached the boy and asked him why he spent so much energy doing what seemed to be a waste of time. The boy replied, “If these starfish are left out here like this they will bake in the sun, and by this afternoon they will all be dead.” The old man gazed out as far as he could see and responded, “But, there must be hundreds of miles of beach and thousands of starfish. You can’t possibly rescue all of them. What difference is throwing a few back going to make anyway?” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…”It’s sure going to make a lot of difference to this one!”
This story kept me going through the years as people asked me if I realy believe that I can make a difference in Africa. I always told them that probably I am not going to be able to do that, but if I can win one soul, and change a life, for Christ it will be all worth it. I believe that there is nothing worse in this world than to find yourself in a thick cold darkness and without hope of eternity.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”– 1 Corinthians 13:13