Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nuru International

Last year, I heard about an idea that my friends John and Jake were dreaming up and to tell you the truth, I was blown away by it. John and Jake have been friends of mine since my freshman year of college at WVU. On our floor in the WVU Honors Program, we had a really special community, a special community that has continued to grow and thrive since those days in Arnold Hall. Many of us dreamed about how God had knit us together as a community at WVU, and wondered about what grand design might be in store for us as we sought to faithfully live out His calling.

John is now a dermatologic surgeon in Morgantown. Jake is finishing his MBA at Stanford with a focus in non-profit work. Together, they have been working zealously to create an organization dedicated to wholistic sustainable development among the world’s rural extreme poor. When I talk about extreme poverty, I am talking about something drastically different from the feelings of poverty many of us might have had growing up in rural West Virginia. I’m talking about people who are literally unsure if there is going to be a next meal, it’s not just a question of where it is going to come from. Over 1.5 billion people suffer from this kind of poverty.

The name of the organization is ” Nuru International. Nuru (pronounced New-roo) is a word in the Kiswahili language that literally means “light,” but it has connotations of hope wrapped up in the word. “A Small Light In the Darkness” is generally how it is understood. This organization looks to be exactly that—a small glimmer of hope in the darkness for those who in our world who are living in extreme poverty.

My friend Jake has a blog that shares a little more insight into some of his work and research while spending time in Kenya last summer. I recommend giving it a read. His entries truly capture the very real need in our world for an organization like this, and also give you an insight into his heart as well.

As Jake and many others have spent long hours working toward the establishment of a website, incorporation, and even designation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation it has been cool to think about dreams becoming reality. What started as an idea proposed in an effort to solve a very real and deadly problem is quickly becoming poised to be part of the solution to the problem. As I learn more and more about this organization, it has been a distinct privilege both to get the word out, and to help people who have a passion for this kind of work and the desire to make a contribution to link up with Jake, John, and Nuru.

Perhaps as a result, Nuru will be increasingly better equipped to offer a glimmer of hope to a hurting world. If you get a chance, visit ” Nuru’s website and check out their strategy for loosing the chains of injustice that extreme poverty places on human beings. And if you feel like helping out with a financial gift, I believe that gift will go a long way helping this organization share hope with a hurting world.

May we all find ourselves reflecting a bit of the true light that shines in the darkness, that we might offer hope to men and women around the world that comes through Christ and is seen most readily in His people.

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