From Eric Soard, July 28, 2021

my most memorable
Day in tanzania

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One-by-one, students rose to speak.

Dear friends of Wesley College,

 

Nothing renews relationships like being present in person. It was a joy to return to Tanzania a few weeks back. Back home in Tennessee for about 10 days now, I’m reflecting on my time reuniting with staff and students of Wesley College.

 

My visit was long overdue and the time flew by. There were many meetings. Some conversations were full of dreams and plans. Others were more mundane. We dove into data systems and the un-glamorous work of tracking outcomes.

 

One day stands out as most meaningful.

 

It was my last day there and the November 2021 graduating class invited me to meet. For more than an hour, they stood one-by-one to share their thanks for everything Wesley College had poured into their lives. Some spoke through tears. Others expressed disbelief for the good fortune of receiving this opportunity. Several described the lack of hope buried into their minds, until a college education changed everything.

 

It was my last day there and the November 2021 graduating class invited me to meet. For more than an hour, they stood one-by-one to share their thanks for everything Wesley College had poured into their lives. Some spoke through tears. Others expressed disbelief for the good fortune of receiving this opportunity. Several described the lack of hope buried into their minds, until a college education changed everything.

 

Over and over, I heard the same sentiment, which I’ve translated from Swahili:  “I don’t have anything to pay you, but God will pay you.”

 

It’s a common Swahili blessing for something kind or beneficial. It's a way to say, 'there's no way I can reciprocate.'

 

And over and over, the students had a request for me.They wanted me to go home and express this same gratitude to you. They know that Wesley College depends on many -- for scholarship support, general resources, and prayer.

 

I also had one key message for the students:

 

No, most of them will never ‘pay back’ the gift that Wesley College provided to them. Instead, they will be paying it forward. As they move out into the world as leaders, pastors, business owners, and community development workers, they will be giving a hand up to others who need it. They will continue to give that gift for the duration of their careers.

 

I’m sorry you couldn’t have been in that room with me, on my last day in Tanzania. But with this message, I’ve followed through on my promise to convey their heartfelt thanks.

Blessings,

Eric Soard

Give more students a college education.

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