“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Steve Jobs
Yellowstone National Park
One of these days, I'll pick my other stories back up. My year is over, I'm close to home, and I'm back at work. And I'm learning how to make all that work again. Taking a year off and traveling and seeing things and living things, it changes you, in a way that many things don't. Trust me, even before this year, I've lived life. I've been through hard things, and sad things, and amazing things, and beautiful things (which were sometimes the hardest of all), but I never expected to be changed as I was in the past year. My relationship with Jesus. My relationship with others. My world view. My long term goals. I don't want things to go back to the same old, same old. I don't want to get caught up in a routine, and to get to the end of the year, and say that this year, I was not changed. I think we get caught up in our own lives, and our own mess, and our own work, and our own families, and we forget to look at the big picture. That there are other people, with their own hurts, and sometimes we can do something about that. And sometimes, we get jolted out of our private little lives, when we become that person, that family, that hurt. Sometimes, all it takes is one person for a change to happen.
I was sharing my stories of Haiti with my church this past week, and I started to tell them about how Mission of Hope began. With one life. In 1998, Brad and Vanessa Johnson were visiting Haiti, as they had numerous other times, and were wandering through a village, when someone came up and asked for help for their sick child. They arrived at the house, and there was a small child that was in obvious distress, and they picked her up and rushed out to their vehicle, with the father, and drove as quickly as possible to a clinic the next village over. Which was closed. So they took off again, and drove further away, to a hospital, which couldn't take her. Their last hope was a 45 minute drive away at another hospital, and on the way, that precious little girl died in her father's arms. Now, if you asked that father, that was probably one of the worst days of his life. And if you asked him if any good could come from that situation, the answer would probably have been no. But, that little girl's death haunted Brad and Vanessa, and they said, we have to do something about this. And so Mission of Hope was founded. Now, 20 years later, that little girl's legacy is the many lives saved and many more changed forever. Orphans who have a home, Children who are being fed and educated. People's lives being changed by the power of Christ. For, you see, out of that little girl's death, the Johnsons built a facility that is over 90% Haitian run, empowering Haitians to help transform the lives of other Haitians. They built a school, an orphanage, a clinic, and a church. When the first day of school came, and the children were passing out from hunger, they went to town and purchased a peanut grinder, and hired a Haitian to just grind peanuts for sandwiches so the children would have food, and this has grown into a ministry, with assistance from organizations like Feed My Starving Children and Convoy of Hope, to feed 90,000 children in the surrounding areas. They educate 6000 children a day on 13 campuses, and see almost 30,000 people/year in the now completely Haitian run clinic. It is an amazing place, and all these lives are being changed just from the loss of one child.
So, then, I was listening to a TED talk today from Nancy Frates, the lady who started the ALS ice bucket challenge. Listen to it. It's only 20 minutes long. Her son was 21 years old, when a wrist fracture led to an ALS diagnosis. A fatal disease, usually within 3 years. At 21. He was a ballplayer, and as soon he was diagnosed, he formed his own "team" around him, to raise money and awareness for ALS. Knowing that he was dying, but wanting others to live. Over $100 million was raised. An ALS clinical trial, that they expected to take 3 years to fund, is now fully funded. It's a start. All because of one person.
What will your legacy be? Can you be the one who inspires someone else?