"The Difference of One"
What difference can one life make? Is one life one legacy very important. Let's be really honest - I mean really honest, can one person make much of a difference in this world?
We often hear the exhortation at conferences, "Make a difference with your life"! Youth hear it very often coming at the end of a youth event with the challenge, "God has plans for your life so make a difference." But is this reality or is this just wishful thinking? If you have ever had that thought you are human!
However, I am pleased to tell you that there are many who are "making a difference" with their lives - some very close to me and in many different manners. "The Difference of One" column will highlight those I know, encounter, read about or hear about, who have decided they will radically follow Jesus. Some are in business, some in the military, some in sports, and others in ministry. What will set them apart is they have already sold out to Christ. The playing field of this world already holds less sway on them than many of their peers. They have counted the cost and given their lives to follow the call of God in their lives.
They are unashamed followers of Christ. I call them "Everyday Hero's" because they simply do it for the love of God not the applause of man.
While others play along in life, these "Everyday Hero's" live their lives, sometimes silently and not recognized, making a difference for mankind and eternity. They are ultimately eternity minded. They love God with all their hearts and have dedicated their lives to the second greatest commandment. They love others with great abandon. Loneliness is common. Not many are willing to travel this lonely road. Certainly it will sometimes be a lonely path but one day they will celebrate with many souls impacted for eternity.
The person that inspired this idea is one of my favorites. She kicks it when it comes to loving the orphan. Her legacy is already more than most accomplish in a lifetime and she's only 17 years old. She just so happens to be my daughter, Emma. OK, I am biased, but it's my blog and I am the only voter! :)
Emma is only 17 years of age - how could she make much of a difference at such an early age? Let me share a little of her story.
At a very early age, Emma heard a group of children from Uganda sing at our church. The Watoto Children's Choir traveled across the US from Uganda, Africa. We would have the privilege of having four of these adorable children stay in our home. She talked and laughed the night away with these darling children. From that moment she began praying that someday she would go to Africa to be a missionary and adopt twin girls from Africa. Night after night we prayed and night after night the same prayer would come forth. And she waited. And then.....
Fast forward to 3 years ago. Emma began leaving pictures around the house, in my bedroom, in the bathroom, and especially on my desk of pictures of children from Africa. The captions she wrote read something like, "if we don't go who will?" and "they need me" and "here am I send me". She was a very persistent young lady even at the age of 14. She had heard from God and she was doing her best to be sure I heard. As any stubborn dad might do, I wasn't being moved at first... "your not going without me" I announced! Well that's all the Lord needed.
It wasn't long before Steve Tracey a friend of mine, asked me to do a Pastor's conference (I know Emma and him conspired) - so I was off to Africa. His daughter was already a missionary to Africa and when I shared my doubts he said, "Dwight, I decided a long time ago, I would rather lose my daughter to the mission field and Africa than lose her to the American culture. Enough said, I knew God had spoken.
Each time a person obeys God and impacts a life, their is a ripple effect of that life that creates a huge harvest. It is like a series of links that all connect back to the original link. The Bible teaches us in John, "By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit."
Emma has been busy the last few years - going to Africa 4 times. Each time a team goes, a conference is held, a person adopts it all goes back to Emma and her desire to make a difference in the lives of children in Africa. As a result of Emma's commitment to the children of Africa, below is a list of "her fruit".
- 2008 Pastor's Conference Uganda (125 attend)
- 2008 African Hearts partnership with The River Church begins
- 2008 Dwight "Adopts" the leadership men of African Hearts
- 2008 Orphans loved on at Sanyu Babies Home in Uganda
- 2008 Several accept Christ at church service
- 2008 Elijah and Elizabeth leave Sanyu and become part of the Saunders forever family
- 2008 Linn ministers at a church in Senge Village seeing deliverance and healing
- 2009 Pastor's Conference Uganda (135 attend)
- 2009 19 people go on Uganda missions trip to have their lives changed forever
- 2009 Emma holds first VBS in Ssenge village - over 200 kids attend (20 accpt Christ)
- 2009 Isaiah leaves Sanyu Babies Home and become a part of the Vaughn's forever family.
- 2009 A kitchen/ guest house is built for Ssenge Village home of African Hearts orphans
- 2009 Living fence planted around Ssenge Village Home
- 2009 Kaysia and Zeke begin the process of coming home to the Schalk forever family
- 2009 5 accept Christ at church service
- 2009 Crusade at village near Kampala - approximately 75 express desire to receive Christ
- 2010 Informed over 500 churches are now teaching the Legacy Conference Material
- 2010 Pastor's Conference (175 attend)
- 2010 VBS 300 children attend - 40 accept Christ
- 2010 Pastor's inform us that over 500 churches are now teaching the Legacy Pastor's Conference notes across Uganda
- 2010 First Crusade in Ssenge Village - approximately 25 people receive Christ
- 2010 Betty begins the process of coming to the Steiner forever family
- 2010 Finley begins the process of coming home to Abby and Ryan and Aunt Emma
- 2010 Ssenge Village complex finished
- 2010 Justin Vaughn takes a team from his church, he came the first time the year before...
- 2010 8 cows purchased to help my "adopted son" Luttuya, pay the bridal price so he can marry his sweet heart.
- 2010 13 people go to Africa to have their hearts changed forever.
Now that's One life making a difference!
(Thanks Emma for being my first "Everyday Hero". For not living for this life but living for eternity. You inspire me and I know inspire so many others. Keep your focus girl. This is one proud Daddy. You know when we arrive at the village in Ssenge all the children come running yelling Emma - Emma - Emma! Why? Because they know you love them with the love of God and do so for the applause of heaven! You rock!)
Let her example inspire you to live your life to make a difference!