Tough Mudder School Supply Delivery & VIDEO!!

She clutched the packet tight in her arms and asked, “This is mine?”

Her inquisitive eyes looked at me, searching for truth in the midst of the confusing situation. She was new to the community since my last visit and I could easily recognize the distrust in her eyes. She looked around at the other students in her class. They were all receiving the same packet with freedom and without hesitation.

But something was keeping her back.

I knew what she was feeling. I have seen it time and time again with the communities we work in and the children and families we work with. The first time we meet them we are outsiders, we are unknown. They are not sure what to think of us because we are doing something different, very different in fact, from the norm. And so, at first, they are skeptical.

But slowly, over time, that fades. They see we are in this for the long haul. They begin to understand that we don’t make grand sweeping promises, in fact we make very few promises. Instead we have a very simple idea: we care about kids and families, we believe in education, and we are going to help as much as we can.

Little by little they see that when we do make a promise we come through on it. That our motivations are not centered around votes, taking advantage of the people, or some other ulterior motive.

And then the magic begins. We start to see trust.

I wanted desperately for this little girl to know we meant what we said, to jump right to the trust phase. I wanted her to know that this packet was for her, and her alone; that we wanted to help her with school supplies so she could go to school, do the homework, and learn; and most importantly, I wanted her to know that we mean it when we say we care, that she is loved and prayed for by many people – some she will never even meet, and that she is not alone.

But there is only so much you can say. The rest must be lived.

So I simply nodded and she quickly verified, “This is ALL mine?” She had a look of surprise on her face, but her eyes twinkled with the idea that she was going to get to take these new supplies home.

“Yes. It is ALL yours to keep for forever.” I said.

I know almost every blog entry I say something to the effect of, “I will remember this moment for the rest of my life” or “I will never forget when (fill in the blank)”. But I really mean it, every time!! There seem to be moments that happen each trip that get etched into memory and onto my heart. They are not going away because they represent something amazing: transformation and redemption.

These moments make all the work, all the late hours, all the brokenness that we see worth it. These moments, jam-packed with life and love, are the reason we do this. They mean so much because they point to something greater that applies to all of our lives: we are constantly surrounded by hope even if sometimes we need a little help to see it.

I love these moments. In fact, right now I am sitting in the business library at SMU – where I just started grad school – typing this (instead of studying…) and a person a few seats over is looking at me like I am crazy because I have a big goofy grin on my face remembering what happened next. So, without further adieu…

As soon as I told her “yes”, a smile appeared on her face. It was still a hesitant smile, but the roots were real. She looked down at the packet and carefully analyzed everything it contained. She slowly untied the knot at the top of the plastic bag and pulled out everything inside, telling me what she had as she pulled it out. First she pulled out the notebooks, then the pencils, then the eraser, the pencil sharpener, and finally the ruler.

Have you ever seen someone fall in love with something before your very eyes? Maybe a piece of art, or a new ice cream flavor, or even someone? They look at it, experience it, and it becomes a part of them. Then a little twinkle shows up in their eye that only returns when they see or talk about that thing.

This is what was happening with her. She looked at everything and touched it all, seemingly checking to make sure it was real. Then it transitioned from a notebook or pencil to something more. It became tangible PROOF that she was special, that someone cared about her, that she was not alone.

Some of you may think I am exaggerating. I promise I am not. Many of these kids come from nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. They live in dirt room shacks, sleep on wood boards to keep from sleeping in the mud, go to bed hungry on a regular basis, and seldom ever have anything that belongs to them and them alone (even clothes, shoes, toys are all shared).

So when we come with school supplies and tell them these notebooks are JUST for them, that each of their brothers and sisters are also receiving a packet, and that they don’t have to pay for it, well, it means a lot. For some it is the first time in their whole life they have owned something that is wholly theirs. For others it is the first time anyone has ever cared about them specifically. And others still it is the first time they have ever had the school supplies they need.

For most, it is something that they never thought they’d receive and something they’ll never forget.

It is also something that represents far more than an educational opportunity. We are not giving them a new notebook, we are telling them they are just as good as the “rich” kids that use the very same notebooks (in Nicaragua that is a HUGE deal). We are not giving them a new pencil, we are saying we TRUST them to use that pencil rather than just letting them borrow a broken, dull pencil for the class period. We are not just giving them supplies for learning, we are SHOWING them that they matter, that they are valuable, and that we BELIEVE in them!!

I cannot sufficiently underscore how big of a difference this can and does make in the life of these children.

It cannot be measured.

So, we want to say thank you! Why? Because you made this possible through your donations and support! All of the supplies were purchased with the funds we raised from our Tough Mudder race (Mud + School Supplies = Hope). YOUR donations bought these packets, paid the gas to drive to Tipitapa, and enabled us to bring hope to these children.

Don’t know what race we are talking about? Click here to watch our Tough Mudder video documenting all 13 miles of mud and obstacles!

Also, just so you know, this is only the FIRST delivery of multiple planned. We raised more than $2,000 for supplies, and this delivery for almost 300 children cost less than $400! That is less than $1.33 per child! We are working hard to make the most of every dollar you donate, which means we have funds left over!!

We cannot wait to do it all over again! But for now, we want to share more pictures and video from that day. Click play below to see it all for yourself, and know we are so grateful for your support! You are truly helping us change lives.

Chris & The With One Hope Team

5 Comments

  1. Nikhil Punde says:

    Chris & The With One Hope Team, Truly a great initiative!!..and it is great because you people are directly making a difference in the lives of these children. Keep up the good work because this world really needs it.

  2. R & D Middleton says:

    What a wonderful story…a story with hope!
    Blessings to one and all!

  3. Jill H. says:

    Great video Chris! It warms my heart to see the smiles of those kiddos. You are so blessed to get to experience them in person! Thank you for doing what you do in serving them and our God.

  4. Larry Foreman says:

    I just wanted to say I think your program(s) are fantastic. I happen to work with Chris’ Auntie Monnette in the Dallas Texas area. I am heading to Nicaragua around 8 Oct 2012 and I will have a lot of free time that I would love to volunteer to Withonehope. I will be in country for about 10-12 days. So if you would contact me and let me know how I can help I will make arrangement to get to you area(s). I have no special talents but I am willing to help in whatever way I can. God bless.

  5. chris says:

    Thank you to each of you for your encouragement!

    Larry – just shot you an email and I look forward to hearing back.

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