A Speech, a 'Lost Boy,' and a Center for Hope

Are you listening for God’s direction?

God’s plans are unbelievably vast.  If you open your heart to his direction he will LEAD YOU to where HE CAN USE YOU and YOUR GIFTS to HELP OTHERS.

On February 2nd, I was asked to be the warm-up act at a speaking opportunity for the Mentor’s Forum, a group started by Lee Davis and Greg Sherwood to mentor young professional men in Portland, Oregon.  I was happy to speak and interested to learn more about the Mentor’s Forum model, since we want to build a program for 4word.  I didn’t imagine that God had much more in store that night.

The speaker after me was a man named Lopez Lomong.  Lopez is one of the 3500 lost boys of Sudan who, at the age of six, was torn out of his parents arms while in a church service.  He has an unbelievable story of how God kept him alive and how he came to run the 2010 Olympic1500 meter race for the United States and was asked by his team mates to carry the United States flag in the opening ceremonies.  (Google him; he’s amazing).

As I met Lopez and heard him speak, I felt God moving me to learn more about this remarkable individual.  So I invited Lopez and his friend Tim to lunch the next week.

During lunch, Lopez’s shared that he is passionate about following God’s calling and has a vision of building a “Hope” center in Southern Sudan; the same place where he was ripped out of his parent’s hands eighteen years ago. Lopez felt strongly that this was God’s calling for him, but he didn’t know how God would make it happen.

I knew right away that God had brought us together for a reason.  Long story short, one of my closest friends from Harvard Business School is Kevin Jenkins, CEO of World Vision International (http://www.worldvision.org).  World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to overcoming world poverty and injustice.  I told Lopez I would reach out to Kevin and see if World Vision could partner with Lopez to fulfill God’s calling for the Hope Center in southern Sudan.

There are a lot of details I am going to leave out or this blog will be too long, so I’ll get to the punch line.  Only two months and twenty four days later, Lopez, Tim, people from World Vision, and representatives from a church in North Carolina, met in our home in Portland, Oregon and came to a verbal agreement to build the Hope Center in Southern Sudan.

In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  What a wonderful thought!  Certainly, three months ago Lopez and Tim could never have anticipated even meeting, let alone partnering together to bring Hope to a site of great despair.

This is a great reminder that no matter how much we do as individuals, no matter how much we plan, God does so much more, and His plans go beyond our wildest dreams.