Friday, August 07, 2015

Relfections On An Image Sent By Derek Roberts

So my buddy Derek sent me this photo on Wednesday August 5 with a note attached that said, "The Beginning." And it got me thinking, a lot, about the last seven years. Back in 2008, when the above photo was taken, Nuru International was an idea. My friends Jake Harriman, John Hancox, Andy Cogar, Trey Dunham, and I had been in conversations for about a year while Jake was at grad school at Stanford working on the concept of Nuru with about 30 of his classmates and a half dozen professors.

At the time of this photo we were in a coffee house in Morgantown West Virginia called so.zo, and we were meeting and dreaming about changing lives in a place called Kuria, Kenya. We had not placed our first team on the ground yet. And seven years later, thanks to the help of many of you who read this blog, more than 80,000 people in Kenya and Ethiopia have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty for good!

And as I write and reflect on that day seven years ago when Jake and I met with a passionate group of volunteers in Morgantown who helped us spread the word about this idea in its nascent state, I am filled with gratitude for the way this idea has spread and grown. It has grown because people like you have chosen to do something instead of choosing to do nothing. Either one is truly a choice. And because you chose to do something, thousands of our global neighbors are lifting themselves out of extreme poverty for good.

It's kind of wild to be reflecting on these last seven years, because as I write this, I'm sitting in the Pittsburgh airport en route to meet up with Jake and witness first hand just what has happened over the last seven years. I'll be in both Kenya and Ethiopia, and I'll have an opportunity to meet some of the brave Kenyan and Ethiopian men and women who are leading their communities out of extreme poverty together with Nuru. I'm excited and a bit emotional as I think about what the next few days may have in store.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to serve. Gratitude for the transformation I've been able to be part of, together with you. Gratitude for an opportunity to reflect with Jake on the last seven years. And gratitude for an opportunity to continue to dream, together with you, about seeing the end of extreme poverty in our lifetime. At the same time, I feel a longing. I long to see more lives changed, I long for more of my friends to join in this fight, I long for more people in our world to have hope, choices, and opportunities. May we, as a global community, not rest until it is so.

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