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Eating elephants
by Whitney Williams
Posted on Monday, December 03, 2012
It’s easy to find oneself overwhelmed when thinking about how to make a true difference in the world. We see pictures of children starving, orphaned, diseased, in need of shelter and clean water, and we feel helpless, sometimes to the point of inaction.

And let’s be honest … even when we do act, even when we do sign up for a mission trip and we go and serve, we secretly ponder on the flight home over our free bag of airplane peanuts, “Did I really just fly halfway around the world to do that?”

“To build a few desks?”

“To lay a few bricks in a security wall?”

“To wire in electricity?”

And on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got ministries, like Little House of Refuge in Guatemala, with big dreams, feeling equally helpless. Earlier this year, staffers there shared with Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris a somewhat overwhelming burden they had for their children’s futures.

They wanted to build a computer lab and a sewing room at the home so they could teach their kids life skills—skills they could one day use to make a living—but the everyday, immediate needs of the children often took priority, and thus, their dream seemed it would remain just that, a dream.

“How can we accomplish such a big task when our children’s everyday needs are so pressing on our time, volunteers, and resources?” they wondered.

Orphan Outreach caught the vision, developed a plan, and began sending teams. We knew no one person could do it. No one team could accomplish it all. But together, piece by piece, our teams could make it happen.

The first Orphan Outreach team built a security wall around one side of the orphanage to secure the future computer lab and sewing room. Next, the rooms were created and squared off, thanks to a construction team from Guatemala, clearing the way for another Orphan Outreach team, who built desks and installed electricity. A group of teens in the U.S. collected computers, sewing machines, fabric, and the like for the next team to take.

Little by little, seemingly insignificant contributions by individuals on mission teams worked together to make Little House of Refuge’s dream a reality. By the end of one summer, the kids had a computer lab, a sewing room, and brighter futures.

Through experiences and stories like these, Orphan Outreach has learned that many times to accomplish big dreams you have to start small. Just like eating an elephant.

“How does one eat an elephant?” you ask?

Bite by bite.

*No elephants were harmed in the making of this story.


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