Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EPN Heroes: The Introduction

Every culture has its heroes. The term "hero" describes individuals who display great courage in the face of adversity while striving to benefit others. The term "hero" often refers to narrative legends like Superman and Wonder Woman, mythical characters who use their superhuman powers to defend society against evil. Heroes also come up when we think of famous figures who have changed the course of history. We describe founding figures, human rights leaders, and people known from text books as heroes.

But we've seen other kinds of heroes, normal folks who commit themselves to extraordinary service. Dexter and I have been awed as we listen to John and Judy tell us about the people they've met and partnered with while striving to eliminate poverty in Africa.

These aren't our heroes! (Image by richies via Fanpop)
We hear about superhuman feats of compassion. The ability to experience another's suffering as your own is a gift, and we've seen it to be far more impressive than the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Many of our partners have given up comfortable lives to live lives of genuine self-sacrifice. Their heroic spirit of compassion is truly inspiring.

We've heard tales of superhuman feats of ingenuity -- champions of agriculture who are able to maximize every drop of water. These heroes teach women, men, and children vocational and business skills that lead to prosperity and community development. That ingenuity drives hope.

Programs like Farmers of the Future (the kickoff ceremony is pictured below) equip students to take on the economic challenges of their country directly. Agriculture becomes a tool for these students to provide food and wealth for their families and communities.

These kids from the Little Rock school are ambition in the flesh-working against all odds and taking full advantage of the opportunities that they have.
It is often difficult for those of us who are well-fed and well-sheltered to imagine life for the world's extreme poor. Every day can be a struggle to simply exist. However, you won't find people cowering in the face of adversity in places like the Millennium Villages or The Little Rock Early Childhood Development Centre or the Songhai Center. You'll find people with superhuman perseverance, striving for a better life despite the challenging conditions. 

We cannot keep these stories to ourselves. They need to be told. Each month you'll be introduced to an "EPN Hero" and read an amazing story about an amazing individual. They remind us that being a hero has little to do with extraordinary talent or ability, but rather with extraordinary commitment: the causes to which we commit, passionately and faithfully. Each one of these stories inspires us to do more to help others.  We hope they help you to realize your own heroic potential.

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