I love words.
I love that they can be placed together in a formulaic manner and transform into poetry. I love that they can be used to paint pictures of pain, birth, blue whales, delicious turkey sandwiches, and jealousy. I love that they can be professional, concise, and pragmatic in order to establish a point, share information, or fill a dictionary. Most of all, I love words because they have the power to tell stories – and stories have the power to connect humans. Because y’all, as humans, we all have a story.
Over the last 2+ years I have had the honor of serving as a platform on which people all over Chad, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC could share their stories. And by working with others to share their stories, my love for words and my view of storytelling grew immeasurably.
Ironically, rather than using words to summarize my World Concern (and non-World Concern) experiences, I created a list of numbers. Some of them are serious. Others are comical. Most aren’t fully accurate. And this list is definitely far from complete. Yet, it is my hope that these numbers will give you a more digestible glimpse into my life the last few years and the ways in which your support has impacted both my life and, most importantly, hundreds of lives across East Africa.
In the last few years, I…
slept in 45 beds
spent over 600 hours on bumpy dirt roads
flew in over 40 airplanes
consumed 25 jars of peanut butter
had more than 130 hours of interviews
visited 175 tukuls, manyatas, and huts
took at least 30,000 photos
was once electrocuted by lightning
experienced 4 amoebas, 3 bacterial infections, 25 sunburns, and 4 de-worming pills
heard more than 10 languages
broke 5 pairs of cheap sunglasses
visited 47 villages
administered 4 storytelling seminars
shook more than 1,000 hands
sipped more than 200 cups of tea
ate 350 servings of ugali, matoke, chapati, mandazi, millet bread, and posh
filled 31 passport pages
exploded 3 sodas while riding in cars
filled 8 hard drives
crashed 2 hard drives
took around 130 bucket baths
contracted 215 bug bites
had 13 yoga sessions on dirt, cement, and dusty floors
made 185 skype calls
wrote over 80 blogs
saw 720 sunsets
was in 11 cars stuck in mud, sand, and rivers
said too many goodbyes
spent months of midnights praying
made 89.5 mistakes
learned 350 lessons
had daily moments of humility
filled 2 journals
experienced 720 reminders that God is sovereign. And His plan is perfect.
received 100s of encouraging and supportive emails
over 300 individuals and groups donated and came together to make this all possible
In summary, because of your generous support, the stories of transformation of over 120 people in over 40 different villages were shared with millions of readers – generating international awareness about people, communities, and causes that matter, while increasing the funding to empower and transform 100s of lives.
For now, this is my final World Concern blog. I feel emotional just typing this. THANK YOU so much for your dedicated readership, your encouraging words, your relevant advice, and your overall love for people, who are living stories just like you.
Please don’t lose touch! You can now reach me at my personal email address, via my cell phone, and through my website. Additionally, I highly encourage you to continue to follow and support the work of World Concern. The show must go on! And I sure plan on continuing to be a part of it.
Naturally, let’s conclude this blog with some favorite moments with World Concern from 2012-2014: