Hope for Life Kenya

A Declaration of Intent

HFLK - Love, Peace, and Yogurt

All people have fundamental value. Such value is not given by status or wealth, but by nature of being human. And when we live out of that value, life is richer, more beautiful, and full of love. When we live out of that love, we honor the story of our humanity.

The human story is priceless. And yet, we waste it. We toss it away like a piece of rubbish. We have so much to offer the world. And when we do, not only do we live better lives, others do as well. But we don’t. Why?

I’m not willing to put up with the idea that we can’t. The consequences of our non-action are too catastrophic for that. Because we waste our opportunity to live the human story, millions can’t. We take away the choice of others because of our own choices. That’s not acceptable to me.

It makes me mad. Not an impulsive and flashy anger – it’s deeper than that. This is an anger that compels me to act. It demands that I do something to right the wrong that I see.

But it isn’t all anger and energy. It’s a deeps sadness too. I’m hurt to see so many people live lives that are broken. Tears fill my eyes when I see the consequences of our poor decisions, of my poor decisions.

For I’m just as guilty. My lifestyle hurts others. And so my anger and sadness point, to some extent, to me. That’s unacceptable. I choose to change.

And if I can change, so can others. If I can figure out how to live a life of humanity, so can everyone. If I help myself understand, I can help others to understand – I can help you to understand.

And so,

To all men, women and children…
To the orphan, the refugee, and the widow…
To the poor, the rich, and all in between…
And to you…

I declare love.

The Bright Army is not an army of violence and hate, but of hope and love. Love underwrites its mission. It seeks to:

Learn and explore what it means to see the world through the eyes of humanity

What does it look like to live a life through the eyes of humanity? What does it mean to see others – to go beyond just looking at them? How does one live a life full of constant joy and gratitude? What are the rituals that we can set up in our lives to make this attitude a default?

My experience in Kenya provides a good foundation to answering such questions. And I count myself privileged to have witnessed such tremendous humanity – even in the face of poverty and oppression. It was beautiful. But now I want to go deeper.

To do so requires intentioned study. I will study individuals who have modeled a lifestyle of humanity, research thinkers who ask similar questions, and converse with those who live that story in different ways. But learning is more than just knowledge. It requires a process of application and practice. I intend to do that too.

Help others to live and celebrate the human story

Moments of joy and acts of love are something to be cherished – something to celebrate. I want to celebrate them. Part of that is recognizing them and pointing them out. It’s about highlighting the stories and honoring those people in them.

But the best way to celebrate is to be active, to share the human story with other people. For in giving to others, we so honor the gift we have been given. In helping others to live it, we live it as well.

Make other people matter

Living in humanity is all about people. In particular, it’s about making people matter. Everyone deserves dignity and respect. We all share the same humanity.

One such people group deserving focus is the poor. So often their stories are untold. They are unseen, even though they make up the majority of the earth’s population. I want to make them seen. I want to make them matter.

There are several ways of doing that, and the first is telling their stories. Stories, when told in a certain way, give dignity to their subjects. They put a face on those that so often are just lumped into a large number. Besides giving dignity, stories enrich our lives as well. They connect us to other human beings and make us part of something bigger.

The second way is exploring methods of seeing and helping the poor. I am not referring to the often used approach of throwing money at them and claiming to have all the answers. Rather, I seek a methodology of listening and understanding and humility.

The last and most essential way is forming relationships. So many people know about the poor. So few know them. That is a loss to us. And so I want to get to know the poor. I want to see the world through their eyes.

These principles also apply to other people in our lives – friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. Telling stories, listening, and building relationships are at the heart of the human story. They convey significance.

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While these goals are simple, there is a lot behind them. They don’t always come easy, but they are worthwhile. They make this great adventure worth undertaking.

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I made this photo at Hope for Life Kenya. They offer food and job training to orphans and unemployed youth in Nakuru, Kenya.

2 thoughts on “A Declaration of Intent”

  1. I absolutely loved the three applications … telling their stories, listening, and building relationships. We have a short term team of people visiting us in Africa right now. And rather than have them concentrate on building projects, the three above apps are what the essence of their safari to Africa is all about this time. Good and challenging stuff!

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