Hanging On a Shoe String and Hoping for the Best

James Ouma
Posted May 25, 2017 from Kenya

“Hello James, did you go to court on Tuesday?” Sister Bertina asked this morning. I have been dreading this call and anything else to do with my work with the boys in juvenile prison.

“No, I didn’t,” I replied, and all of sudden the pain and remorse I have been feeling since that fateful Tuesday afternoon when I failed to attend Diamond’s court case set in. I swallowed in pain, stammering in the process, a blanked of heaviness hanging over my weary head.

“What happened? Are you alright?” she asked, when I hesitated.

“I attended a meeting in pursuit of resources I have been chasing for the past few months,” I replied. “However, I didn’t receive anything other than promises to look into it in the near future. Because I have been down this road so many times, I should have known better than to miss Diamond’s court case!”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself James,” Sister Bertina, an experienced social worker, replied. “We get strung along by people in this business of begging on behalf of the people we seek to help. Take heart and do not despair.”

“Thanks for your reassurance,” I said. “Would you like to speak to Diamond tomorrow when I see him?”

“Yes, alert me when you are there,” she said. “I was also calling to let you know that I can’t find Diamond’s mom on phone. I don’t know where she is right now or if she made it for Diamond’s court case.”

“I’ll find out and update you tomorrow.”

“Please be strong for those boys,” Sister Bertina continued. “The images of what I saw in prison still linger in my mind and I am going to continue praying for you.”

Hanging on a shoe string and hoping for the best

There is no single day that I don't reach out to one more person, organization or institution asking for partnership. Because my original plan has always been using part of my income as a content writer and reading club to conduct Lifesong Kenya’s activities, asking for financial help isn’t top on my to-do list. This being so, I seldom know how to ‘package’ proposals and promoting my work with the boys in juvenile prison. Besides, how can I package my ability and willingness to spend time with the boys?

Like Patty Liston, Standing With Boys USA president, said when she visited with us, only the LORD knows what kind of work you are doing with these boys. And He alone can give you strength to continue interacting with these boys.

And indeed, God has been faithful. I am not, financially speaking, where I used to be after quitting my job to work as a full time volunteer. I am now able to earn from my writing while my reading club is taking shape. My fundraising through running half marathons and triathlons is also bearing fruit. It is only a matter of time before my income generating ideas fully blossom. This has given me personal fulfillment. What seemed to be wishful thinking is finally becoming a reality and making sense to me and the people closest to me.

Final thoughts

Much as failing to get more resources from a potential partner is a setback, I will keep using my latest failure as a launching pad towards success. There are lots of valuable lessons to be learned, especially by me, concerning everything that is happening. I feel, deep in my heart, that the lessons are adding value to my life as a man, husband, father and visionary leader of the young men God has brought into my life.

Who knows, the next phone call could be from a contact I made a long time ago asking for resource. As I keep waiting, I feel like a man who is hanging on a shoe string and hoping for the best. Because it is a matter I have diligently prayed for I am going to completely trust God and leave the rest to Him. And just as I am about to sign off, my phone rings! It is a new number. Allow me to pick it up and update you tomorrow...

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”

― John Lennon, Imagine

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Comments 2

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May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017

Hi James :) thank you for sharing your dreams.  I hope that there is someone or some group can support your project soon.

James Ouma
May 29, 2017
May 29, 2017

Hello maeann,

Thanks. We will certainly get the support we need