The Spirit of God & the Contagious Breath of Hope

In light of the recent news story below, I felt inspired to supply the underlying narrative.

Dig Deep for Africa

Once upon a time (all great stories begin this way), a young African woman lived in a small obscure village in southern Ethiopia. She had a beautiful baby girl who was unfortunately very ill and needed great care. Through remarkable courage and surprising unselfishness, the young woman set out on foot for a long journey to relinquish her baby girl to a remote childcare center with a singular hope for a better world for her child.

And the Spirit of God moved with the breath of hope.

The childcare center offered the only real opportunity for the baby to be given the medicine, food, and clean water she needed to survive…and ultimately even a remote chance to be adopted out of the poverty and oppression experienced by her birth family.  Yet despite the odds, the baby girl was given the name Netsanet by her birth family – a name that means “freedom” – in hope that she would escape the pain and suffering that had plagued her village for generations.

And the Spirit of God moved with the breath of hope.

At the same time on the other side of the world, one very fortunate couple – who already enjoyed parenting three special boys of their own – was given an opportunity to travel thousands of miles away from their home in East Tennessee to adopt this little girl. Once home and embraced by a loving family and a hospitable community, little Netsanet grew strong, happy, and healthy. It wasn’t long before the couple found a way to offer more hope and encouragement to Netsanet’s birth village. The couple was delighted to find an organization that builds wells in Ethiopia. After months of saving and planning, the result was a newly constructed water well, dedicated in Netsanet’s honor, that would provide clean water for 200 families and 2,000 students in the same obscure village where the story began.

And the Spirit of God moved with the breath of hope.

One evening in a short presentation to their local church family, the couple recounted the amazing story of Netsanet’s life, the courage of her birth mother, and subsequently what a blessing it was to be able to provide clean water for the poor village in Ethiopia. The couple finished their presentation that evening not knowing that among the adults attending the service was a young boy who was paying particular attention to the part of their story about the lack of clean water in Africa. “If people really need clean water, why are we not doing something about it?” he reasoned.

And the Spirit of God moved with the breath of hope.

This week, our church celebrated the “Dig Deep for Africa” campaign led by our children’s pastor, and the children under her care who committed their time for months to raise money for a clean water well in Africa. Though the goal was initially to raise enough to build one well, the children actually raised enough money to build a new well in Uganda, and repair another well in Sierra Leone.

Maryville kids provide clean water for villages in Africa

The Spirit of God moves even today with the breath of hope. Who will be affected next?


About C. Lynn Gibson, DPhil, CFSP

I am a husband, father of 4 wonderful children, funeral service caregiver, and teacher. Currently, I am a Managing Partner of Smith Life & Legacy in Maryville, TN and Associate Professor at Oxford Graduate School's American Centre for Religion and Society Studies. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford Graduate School. I am currently working with Stellenbosch University on post-doctoral research. Perhaps most importantly, I am a man of faith who professes Christ as Lord in all matters of life.
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One Response to The Spirit of God & the Contagious Breath of Hope

  1. nic says:

    beautiful. may God’s breath of hope continue its contagion.

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