Dreams of a Father

Dreams of a Father

Mapinduzi is a young man who works for us. In the past 6 months, he has gotten married and had a son. His son was born while we were stateside and he sent us a picture announcing his birth – the birth of Mapinduzi II, and as I stared at the new soul set before my eyes my heart fluttered and I wondered what he would be. One of the indescribable parts of having children is figuring out what they will be, dreaming of all they can be. They can be anything they set their mind to…right? Can he – Mapinduzi II be anything he sets his mind to?

I struggle with the idea that the world has decided for him. The life-affecting factors of poverty, location, educational attainment of his parents, and societal norms are defining factors that have already spoken on his behalf. The deck is stacked against his favor. He will receive a subpar education, limiting his ability to compete, he will only see what is set before his eyes to the village limits, instead of being mobilized to think and reach farther.

My instinctual reaction is anger fuelled by my desire for retribution and rebellion. Now, my struggle to hope in man-made designs isn’t errant. My fault is tolerating for a moment the idea that there is no hope for Mapinduzi II to fill in that gap. My Father said,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

There are thousands of babies born into achievement-limiting conditions just like Mapinduzi II. The mental fortitude, resilience, and stubbornness required to ascend and rise up, dignity intact, is astounding and impressive and possible, and no one gets there by themselves. We as a people, as the body of Christ spurred to action, fill in all the gaps we can with hope – the same as our Father does for us.

Africa, beauty and the beast, one stunning juxtaposition. The beast is the the history, the institutions, and the people that have churned together for years to create the modern-day landscape. The beauty is the people, the impacted and affected who rise up to do the unexpected, unbelievable, and furthest thing imaginable; the people who face tremendous odds and surmount them.

Africa, beauty and the beast – breathtaking, scandalous, mystifying – all in one staggering picture. It’s why you stare at every picture you see of a beautiful African child against the harsh backdrop of an sub-Saharan African country as the magnifying glass of poverty distorts and amplifies.

I asked Mapinduzi does he dream of what his son can be, he replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know what he will be. I don’t know what he can be.” Well Mapinduzi, he can be anything he sets his mind to, let’s prepare him for all the possibilities and it starts with a foundation firmly rooted in faith in our Lord and Savior.

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