Discovering the unknown

Arts and crafts with the children in Digo Digo, Sonjo, Tanzania

Arts and crafts with the children in Digo Digo, Sonjo, Tanzania

In the midst of hundreds of black faces, I was tagged along with the other “white” folk. As an Asian, I tried my hardest to tell them I was different. However, my slightly tinted skin was hardly the measure for being different. I tried with my hair as well and while the children were intrigued, they really could care less about my explanations. Really, we were different and they just simply had never seen anyone like us before. Perhaps one day they’ll understand but really it wasn’t my purpose to be there anyway. It did give me a great talking point to get to know them though.

I should explain, the last week, I spent some time in two remote villages of the Sonjo Tanzanian tribes. What I wanted to share was irrelevant because they were simply terrified of what looked like human beings that had some sort of white on them. Yes, they did try to rub off our skin color. Sharing and community is such a vital part of who we are as people but we often neglect how to actually do such things.

At first, the children would simply run away from us. I would have thought they thought the bubbles were bullets by the way they bolted away from it. We simply had to give them a chance to get to know us and a chance to let down their walls from us. It was a really beautiful thing when the children shouted our names and couldn’t help but climb all over us and our things.

What really surprised me was this one little boy, let’s call him Finnigan. He showed up with his nose running and shirt tattered. Unlike the other kids, he was the first to approach me and he didn’t run away except for the fact he wanted me to chase him. He would bring other kids to me to show them that I was harmless. Once that was all cleared up, the chasing game was a big hit. Obviously, this kid was a leader, simply a little rough around the edges.

I love how in the small situations that the real you, the you that is often overshadowed by life, automatically comes out. This child was a bit outcasted from what I could see. He didn’t seem to be very liked by the other children but he influenced so many that day. It was just a moment and it was just a decision. He chose to be unafraid and everyone saw how great a leader he was leading others to be fearless too. I’m excited to see where this kid will go. It’s already in the works to get him in through the proper channels to give him a chance.

It always broke my heart to see how talent, opportunity and resources were so unmatched. I find myself feeling blessed and grateful often when I think of how they were so aligned as I grew up. But I also know that I have yet to discover all of my hidden talents. I wonder what they are. Have you discovered yours?

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

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Inspired by worship

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Last year, I went on this journey. There were a lot of words that I threw around and spoke haphazardly or I heard without really knowing what it means, yes ignorant, I know. Anyway, worship was one of those words. It is only in realizing that it is not just a spiritual word that I really understood its meaning. In Old English, worship means worthiness or an acknowledgement of worth. Oftentimes, worship gets tagged along with “Christianese” terms but at some point in your life, I hope all of you experience true worship. In my journey, I found that it meant this: that you count something worthy enough of your time, energy, emotions, resources… well you. It is when you love something or someone so much that you want to get to know what gets them to tick, you want to study them, you want to get to know them, you want to be a part of making them happy. As I reflected upon love stories whether in movies, television or books, I realized that most people when they fall in love, they are at some level worshiping their significant other. You watch romantic comedies where the guy is so head over heels in love with this girl that he ends up doing things that is so beyond his character to do. You can see it along history too. Would we have some of the greats today if they did not worship someone, something or even some idea? Look at some of the history changers like Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. These guys were beyond borderline fanatics about their cause. They knew that what they were doing was worthy. History makers have all sacrificed, probably joyfully, to achieve the very things that they did.

Now in light of this research, I realized, the very object of your affection will change you. It will push your limits to beyond what you thought you can ever achieve. It no longer becomes about you and what you able to do but it is about what you behold. William Blake said, “You become what you behold”. When you yield your affections toward what you believe is worthy, you have entered into a space of inspiration. You want to give your affections in the ways that you know how and then some. It inspires you to become the best person beyond your wildest imagination for what you behold. You are telling what you behold that it is worthy of you. 

Now, there is a “but”, a “however”, and a “caveat”. Depending on what you are beholding, the “best” person that you can be may not truly be the “best” but the “best for what you behold”. In an extreme case, let’s look at addiction.  Addictions lead to a death of something. With drugs, sex and alcohol, we’ve seen a death that leads to physical, mental and emotional death? Did you know your best can never be overshadowed by your past unless you let it? Did you know that you are worth far more than what you can imagine? Did you know that you have been deemed and redeemed as someone worthy of God’s affections? Did you know that no matter what you do, your worth stays the same? For example, if you found a diamond covered in dust, does that change the value of the diamond itself?

Worship inspires you. Inspiration for me is this: the experience of God’s goodness partnered with His destiny for me. Have you found something worthy of your worship? I know that each of you have been destined to become great so it is my hope to inspire you to walk into your destiny and do something the world has never seen before. 

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5