Hope can be a fickle condition. It comes as goes depending on how we feel. It seems to follow the lead of our emotional movements, showing up most prominent during moments of optimism. Hope is a very strong driving force that has been attributed to many people’s ability to overcome major obtacles in their lives.
However, once it’s lost it becomes an elusive necessity that always remains just out of arm’s length. It’s almost as though it acts as a lifeline through the most difficult moments we will ever face, yet for whatever reason we just cannot seem to grab hold of it again. That is until something or somebody comes along that snaps hope back and brings new life into our situation.
Hope is a driving force for the direction of our lives. When hope no longer exists, it becomes a vital missing tool. This is why in Hebrews 11:1 the Biblical definition of faith of which hope is a key component. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If the devil can steal your hope, then there is no chance that faith will flourish in your life. Hope has become a target for the enemy to tip you into a life of struggle and misery.
Throw It All Away!
When we met with Nairobi during our first walk through of her home, she told us, in no uncertain terms, to “throw it all out!” “Are you sure? Some of this can be salvaged,” we responded. “No, throw it all out. Once the house is cleaned out we’re going to just walk away from it. We can’t live here anymore. My kids can’t live here anymore, so just throw it all out!” With no flood insurance and no money to do repairs, Nairobi and her mother were left with little option.
Nairobi was demonstrating what we have seen all too often while working in a disaster. She was feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. The house didn’t belong to her, but rather her mother, who for the time being was staying at a nursing home because their insurance allowed her to for a short time after the storm. Her time in the nursing home was running out and they needed a place to live, and to them this house was not an option, it was no longer home.
Beginnings of A Renewed Hope
As we started working on her home, Nairobi started to find little things here and there that she wanted to keep, so we continued at a slower pace, giving her time to see everything we were throwing out. Once this started to happen, we knew that hope had started it’s journey back into her life.
The second day we worked at her house she brought one of her two children with her. Another sign of hope renewed. As the pile outside grew, so did the renewed hope on the inside of Nairobi. She began to help the ladies working with us to clean and mop the floors. She smiled for the first time while we talked about the possible next steps. She was showing signs of a renewed hope and possibilities.
Towards the end of the second day of work there was notable change in Nairobi. She started to use words like “maybe…” “when we…” “next time…” All words that are associated with a future in the house, not a past that she was getting ready to walk away from.
As we wrapped things up for the day Nairobi came over to us to ask a few questions. In the middle of the questions she asked, “So, how soon can we move back in?”. A question that spoke volumes to the importance of volunteers getting involved with the local church to help those in need. In two days we were able to see Nairobi go from, “Throw it all away!” to “How soon can we move back in?”, a transformation that is only possible through the work of a team sent by a God whose love is overpowering and unending.
Many times I have told people that one of our unwritten mottos is, “Help somebody for a day, we give them hope for that day. Teach somebody about Jesus, we give them hope for a lifetime!” Through the selfless work of Amelia Baptist Church, the teams that sacrificed their time, and our supporters who make it all possible, we saw a transformation from “hopeless” to “full of hope.” A simple walk with our Jesus in the middle of disaster made it all possible.
We took this picture that shows Nairobi (pictured in front in the black t-shirt) looking less than happy about her situation. What was happening on the inside had not yet made it’s way to the outside, but hope had been restored!