I want to thank the Morris Sun Tribune, my hometown newspaper, for running an article on a recent speaking engagement I had at my alma mater – Morris Area High School. A past teacher of mine graciously asked to share some of what I have been doing throughout the world with her classes of high school juniors.
Unbeknownst to me, this teacher wanted to rally her students to get involved in a project that I and another close friend and mentor had launched in 2012 – Yewoinzer Academy in rural Ethiopia.
Yewoinzer is a primary school that was launched as a partnership between myself, my close friend and a local Ethiopian community called the Gafat people. The school began from a miraculous dream that my friend had the night before traveling to Ethiopia in October of 2011. There are many details that I will write about later on this whole process.
I’ve been very humbled to receive a lot of kind words from friends and family the past few days after this story of Yewoinzer ran in the Morris paper. Yet my message to the the high school juniors is the same that I want to spend my life sharing with others:
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Or as I like to state it in a more social-network friendly way: #BeTheChange
I am no one special. I was an average student in high school and college, and I still feel pretty average when I wake up in the morning and put my pants on one leg at a time. But what I have decided to be above average in is giving myself away to help other people. There are too many people in the world today who are consumed with keeping as much for themselves as they can. It’s a tragedy.
If an average kid from a small Minnesota farm town can eventually land in the highlands of Ethiopia and have the resources and energy to found a school to empower abjectly poor Ethiopian students, then anyone can. All you need to do is make the small things big.
Each of us has the opportunity to #BeTheChange in the world around us each and every day. Our paths are ordered by a loving God who, in infinite and heavenly wisdom, orders each one of our steps. (Psalm 37:23). All we are called to do is be faithful with the little that we have in the here and now.
May there be more people who change the world in the coming years. May they be business leaders, social workers, janitors, farmers, truck drivers, teachers, and ministers. It is time that we break the paradigms that have been cast for what it means to be someone who gives back to make the world a better place.
If I can be deemed worthwhile to be used of the Lord like this, then anyone who is willing can as well.