A few weeks ago, Ndoto’s Director of Communications, Ashley Reed, and I were blessed to be able to attend a leadership conference. From the moment it began, I could tell this wasn’t your average conference. Not only were we watching the sessions live by video from a local church, but the speakers were some of the most cutting edge CEOs, consultants, and church leaders in today’s market like Jeffrey Immelt (CEO of GE), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett Packard), Tyler Perry, Louie Giglio and many more. Most importantly, all these people LOVE Jesus.
In the first session, Bill Hybels, the conference’s founder and pastor of Willowcreek Church , told a story that impacted me so deeply that as I have shared it again and again with friends, family, and co-workers (or really anyone who will listen), and I am still brought to tears. The impact is equally as powerful weeks later.
Here’s a paraphrased version of the story…
Bill and his wife were on a cruise when somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, the captain comes on the radio and says they will be anchoring down. A few small life rafts leave the ship headed towards something small in the distance. Eventually the captain comes on the radio to explain there woman in a small boat that had dared to sail alone from the coast of Canada headed toward England. She had planned her trip well but had been hit by unexpected storms and had run out of food and water. She was near death when she saw the ship in the distance. She fired her last flare, and the Queen Mary stopped to help her. After the rafts delivered food and supplies and returned to the ship, the captain encouraged the passengers to cheer her on, as she was continuing on her journey. As the boat sailed away, the passengers yelled, “Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray!” and the Canadian woman wrote Thank You Queen Mary on a sign and held it up for all to see.
Not unlike the Canadian woman, how often do we feel like we’re alone in the middle of the ocean, stuck, and running out of what we need to survive? I know I do. I know I really did THAT day. I am guilty of crying out and not expecting much, if any, help. My faith has been really weak lately. Yet, we worship a Queen Mary-sized God. A powerful God that shows up. A God who sees and hears us. A God who doesn’t just provide water and stale bread but comes to meet us with champagne and beef wellington (that’s what the Queen Mary gave the Canadian woman!).
We serve a God who loves us deeply and is sufficient for us beyond our wildest expectations. As it says in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen!”
As I drove home that day, I cried and cried…the kind of ugly cry that made it hard for me to see where I was going. I cried out to do God. I prayed that He would increase my faith. I prayed for big dreams for Ndoto and for all of our staff and students. I asked God to make me a better leader and to teach me how to serve His people well. While many of these things take time, I can tell you with certainty that He has come near to me. He has encouraged me to keep going when I was on the verge of giving up. He has given me new dreams. He is helping me to tackle issues I have avoided out of fear. He has given me hope in the midst of it all.
That is our prayer for you, the Ndoto family. From the oldest sponsor to the youngest student, we pray that you reach out to God wherever you are and see the sufficiency and joy of our Queen Mary-sized God.