Never too young to Dream Big!

Back in the day of sandboxes, bicycles, and day dreams, there were no limits on the journey my imagination would take each day. Some days I was an astronaut; others a fireman racing off to save the world. Like most kids, I would eventually be happy to grow up like Dad and have a modest home in suburbia. The great thing about being a kid is you don’t have to worry about debt ceilings, falling stock markets, or seemingly simple tasks like providing food and shelter. You have the freedom to dream.

I was lucky to find myself in a middle-class family where the necessities of life were provided without difficulty. It seemed like my only responsibility in life was to be an all-American boy.  There is something very organic about growing up in a life full of possibilities. Like most kids, I dreamed of growing up and conquering the world before me.

What struck me about a story I saw last night on ABC World News Tonight was a simple dream from an extraordinary nine-year-old girl name Rachel Beck in Seattle, Washington.  Rachel learned about kids on the other side of the world who grow up without water during a children’s ministry fund-raiser at Eastlake Community Church. She was so impacted by the simple fact that a $20 donation would provide clean drinking water to someone in need for decades that she decided to forgo her birthday presents in lieu of providing clean drinking water.

Rachel and her mom set up a website explaining, “I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before,” she wrote. “I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday.” By June 12th Rachel had raised $220 and her web site was closed.  Rachel’s unselfishness would provide an incredible gift to about a dozen people.

Unexpectedly, two weeks ago, Rachel was killed in a 13-car crash.  As people across the country learned of Rachel’s story, they too wanted to donate to Rachel’s birthday campaign.  As of tonight Rachel’s story raised over $825,000 for Charity Water and will touch over 41,000 people in Africa.

Rachel’s story has me recalling a 12-year old Charlotte girl named Hope Stout who when during her fight with cancer was given the opportunity to have almost any wish fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hope’s wish was that the all the other 155 Wish Kids would be granted their wishes. Hope lost her fight against cancer but her dream lived on and all the children on the list had their wishes granted through an unprecedented outpouring of support from her community. After her death, Hope’s legacy continues even today through the March Forth With Hope Foundation.

I have been struck by the impact that young pre-adolescent girls have made on the world.  Rachel and Hope’s untimely deaths, big dreams, and simple steps of faith have impacted thousands more than they had ever imaged.

In this life, each of us is encouraged to have child-like faith and let the cares of this world fall to our Father.  We are called to be faithful and let Him provide our daily needs.  However, I’m often distracted by every-day life. It squelches the joy, dreams, and passion the Father gave me as a boy. It seems harder now, as an adult, to dream big and let my faith in Him guide me.  Rachel and Hope’s stories have reminded me of the importance of child-like faith and dreaming big!

Next year I will join Dimeji and a group of friends who are embarking on a mission to Nigeria with Samaritan’s Feet to distribute socks, shoes and medical supplies to small villagers. We too are dreaming in big ways about helping others and welcome you to help us.  A donation of ten dollars provides a pair of socks and shoes to a child.  I pray that when I am walking among the children in a village thousands of miles away from home maybe I will run into a small village also impacted by Rachel’s water project.

Jim Quick is member of Full Life Fellowship Church in Concord, NC.  He can be reached at info@casajulie.com

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