We have the unique pleasure of hosting one of our African partners in our Brentwood office last week. Founder of New Dawn Educational Centre, Irene Tongoi and her husband, Dennis shared their story of their lives past and present. Irene’s time with us was breath-taking and inspiring. Read this beautiful account if her time with us from our intern, Maddy…
Have you ever met someones who’s passion stirred something deep within your heart? When they speak it’s as though their heart radiates from their every word. You hear the advocate talk of their heart behind helping, the need for more people to jump in on the cause. It’s as though they are speaking right to you. They can’t contain their fervor, this cause of theirs has become a part of their very being, threaded into their every hope and dream. They cannot separate themselves from the issue any longer- a problem in the world is a problem in their world. You can tell when a person gives themself fully to a cause bigger than themselves. It looks a lot like humble tenacity. It looks like countless hours of prayer and savoring the small victories. It looks like more work behind the scenes than others will ever know and constantly reminding your heart that one life changed is worth it. This sort of passion is rare. It begins in the hearts of dreamers, of visionaries who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and work tirelessly for the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth.
I got the privilege of seeing this unstoppable passion in Irene Tongoi this week. I heard it in the stories she brought to Brentwood from Kenya. I heard the pride in her voice when talking about her former New Dawn students who are leading lives of dignity and success. I heard the determination in her voice to reach the most impoverished children in Huruma and Githogoro. She will not be stopped by problems that would intimidate most. She will not be distracted by the success that most people would stop at in complacency. Irene Tongoi knows that her cause, her people in Kenya, are worth the fight. Irene’s passion is the type that changes lives. She took care to speak with every single person that stayed after her talk to meet her. She speaks dignity and worth into every soul she converses with. This woman doesn’t meet a stranger, but embraces everyone and welcomes them into her dream. Irene is the type of person to see a problem and instead of just accepting it, seeks a way to fix it. Her faith fuels a vision bigger than human ability to achieve.
As Irene was sharing her vision for the slum areas of Huruma and Githogoro, I could feel it. Her passion radiating into the room and touching those of us who had never visited. The world needs more people like Irene. People who aren’t afraid to chase hard after what they believe. I am so grateful to be working alongside people who will change the world one day. Who are changing the world today. It may be a half a globe away, but Irene’s passion is constantly radiating, and reminding me to dream big daily of how to love others. What a beautiful reminder that passion gives purpose. We were created for something bigger than ourselves, to help those in need. I urge you to go find the cause that lights your world on fire, that you simply cannot stop thinking about it, and then go chase it with abandon.