Has it really been ten years?? When I embarked on this journey as Spirit in Action Executive Administrator in September 2007, I had no idea that I would still be here ten years later.
In those ten years, Spirit in Action has given:
$79,650 for 531 Small Business Fund businesses
$50,439 to 27 different grassroots organizations
Wow! Behind each of those numbers are families and groups of people. They represent individuals with whom I have emailed, texted, visited, listened to.
Del and Tanya at Del’s desk in 2006
In these ten years, I treasure memories of:
Seeing the realization of a dream in Malawi (breaking ground on the new training centre, and three years later cutting the ribbon and sleeping in the new dorm rooms)
Receiving letters from Del, filled with affirmations and encouragement
Achieving a personal life goal of publishing a book (and getting to tell the world about SIA’s collaborative and flexible approach to grantmaking)
Singing in a circle with our partners in Kenya, and being surrounded by dancing women in Malawi
Eating pancakes and drinking chai at Samro School in Kenya, surrounded by dear friends
Arriving in Manyamula Village this year and being welcomed by the local team who shook my hand and gave me hugs, saying over and over, “feel welcome!”
Surviving rides on packed buses in Malawi, learning to let go and let God as we drive wildly off into the unknown, pedestrians diving out of the path of the hurtling bus
Tanya and Canaan Gondwe in the Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative poultry house in 2011.
There have been prayers shared, prayers answered, inspiration sent and received, amazing donors, and dedicated board members and volunteers. Through it all, I am continually blessed to be able to dedicate myself to work that I see is making a positive difference in the world.
When I first started, all the places seemed so far and unfamiliar. I didn’t know how to pronounce the names of our partners. Now, when I say “Winkly Mahowe,” I hear Winkly’s own voice in my head. Now, when I think of Eldoret, Kenya, I know the smell of the rain on red earth. This vastness – and the smallness – of this world are more real to me now.
Dear friends in Eldoret. Samuel and Rhoda Teimuge, Tanya, and Dennis Kiprop.
Fanning the Spark
In one of my very first blog posts in 2007 I reflected on 2 Timothy 1:6-7: “I remind you now to fan into a flame the gift God has placed in you. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of inward strength, of love and of self-control.”
I wrote, “This was my morning mediation today and it really rang true for me – I truly feel that working with Spirit in Action fans the Spark of Spirit that God has placed in me. A flame is not timid, it creates a warmth inside (especially necessary during Minnesota winters!) and gives strength to others who see it – passing on hope and encouragement. Prayers and communion with Spirit in Action correspondents will fan my spark into a flame today. As I fan other Sparks each day – my flame grows stronger.”
Today, ten years later, this image of fanning the spark within me still inspires me, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing others fan their spark- for themselves and for their communities.
Thank you to all of you who have been part of this journey with me! And, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.
Pancakes and chai in Kenya. Yum!
Surrounded by a song of welcome. (Malawi, 2014)