I started Inspire Me posts on the Honeybee Mama blog some time back as a way of sharing things that are inspirational, that get me going. I think we all need a boost of inspiration from time to time, when life gets mundane, when we start wondering if all our hard work is worth it. Sometimes it's a song, or a piece of artwork. Sometimes it's a TED talk, and sometimes it's someone else's story. But it's more than that. Besides the fact that I have legitimate products and services that I sell, I hope my business is about my story, my message. I hope people see that if I can be brave and put myself out there as an entrepreneur and follow my dreams, you can too.
For this post, I want to share the story of a dear friend who has recently done something very brave. In fact, for a few years now she's done many brave things. She continues to look outside of her box and go there, where all that's before her is questions and it's up to her to find answers. And because she's brave enough to do that, she's changing lives and making a difference. Here's her story:
Cari works quietly in the slums of Kampala. She is determined to see the children of the slums get a world-class education, empowering them to change their world. From the moment I heard her story, I was hooked. Where does a shy girl get the gumption to fly alone to Uganda, eventually deciding to stay for good? Her story is inspiring . . . so inspiring to me, in fact, that it rocked my world.
I was working and going to school part-time, which had already taken me outside my comfort zone. I’d been a homeschool mom for years. I went to church, sang in the choir. I’d dreamed of going to college for years, and I was finally doing it. My confidence grew slowly but steadily as I succeeded in my efforts. At the movies one afternoon, I was stunned to hear a voice from nowhere ringing in my ears – “I don’t want to be a sociologist; I want to make documentary films.” That thought rolled around in my head for a year until I voiced the idea of filming Cari’s work to a friend. It was so hard for me to say the words out loud. He encouraged me to step out and do it, and The Sanyu Project was born. Now I was way out of my comfort zone.
Plans were made to travel to Kampala for filming in October 2014. With almost a year to prepare, I began by taking two film classes. When I realized that I didn’t have to do everything by myself, I asked others to join me. From brainstorming fundraisers to designing t-shirts, we did whatever we could to raise money for this venture. Our goal was lofty – $10,000. I had never raised money for anything. The money came in just in time. We left for Kampala on October 20th, fully funded. When we returned, I created a website for The Sanyu Project – yet another thing I had never done!
Every step of this journey has been a step into the unknown, asking myself one question – “Can I really do this?” I was still asking this question when we arrived in Uganda. What I found out is that I can. I was inspired by Cari’s story, and convinced it must be told. What I needed was the courage to say yes . . . yes, I’ll do it. I discovered that I can do more that I think I can, that I am more than I think I am, and that I am not alone.
What is your story? What matters to you? If it matters, don’t ignore it. Let it speak to you. The children of the slums of Kampala matter – that’s why Cari is there. Cari’s story matters, and it’s bound up with the children – that’s why I went to Kampala to film her work. My story matters, and so does yours, and so do the people you will influence. So tell your story. Comfort isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and the pain of asking yourself, “What would have happened if I’d only . . . “ is just too much to bear.
Christine's story actually began with Cari's story. Cari is the founder of Vision of Destiny, an organization that sponsors children in the slums of Uganda in order to help them attend school. Cari stepped out of her comfort zone, asked others to come with her, and because of her bravery, some children who were sponsored are now entering University. The project has also expanded to provide AIDS/HIV education and counseling, discipleship and even income earning opportunities for the families of the sponsored children.
How will you dream big today? What are you afraid to do? Usually it's the thing that we are most afraid of doing that is our destiny, and the one thing that will fulfill our heart's true desire.