May 20, 2013

A Dream So Big {A Review}

The meat truck pulls to the curb.
I see the driver running about our neighborhood offering meat at great prices.
Standing at our door, I head off his sales pitch with a smile and a quick, "it's gonna be a no for me."
He counters with, "It's a great deal," and proceeds to quote a low price.
I smile broader and reply, "Sounds like it, but no thanks."
I chuckle as he quickly runs off to the next house. After the remaining meat is sold, he is done with his work day. It is incentive, or so the last meat truck salesman claimed.
But my chuckles turn to a sigh. What an interesting place to live?! Bargain meat is driven to your doorstep. Groceries can be ordered and delivered. Pick up the phone and twenty minutes later, dinner is at your door step. My children know convenience and fullness.
Halfway around the world, in Africa, another mother's children know nothing of this convenience and know all too well the pain of hunger. 
The contrasts are immense.
Is there a refrigerated meat truck in Kenya?
I doubt it, but there's a truck filled with maize and beans from Kenya Kids Can.
It's a good deal, too. It only costs a few dollars per child per month to eat a meal a day, and it helps combat child hunger in rural Kenya.
I read all about it's beginnings in A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger, by Steve Peifer.
The Book
A Dream So Big shares the real life adventure of Steve and Nancy Peifer, who after the tragic loss of their son, travel to Africa for a one year stint as dorm parents for Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school for missionary kids. The couple along with their two oldest sons not only adjust to life in Africa, but embrace it. After their one year abroad, the Peifers return to America only to find their hearts are still in Africa. This one year only experience has transformed into a life calling.
Following God's calling, the Peifers made plans and sacrifices to return to Kenya. They became full time missionaries. As they made their home in Africa and worked at the boarding school for missionary kids, they began a feeding program for area Kenyan schools. These lunches are given to the children daily. For some children, it is their only meal. The ministry grows. More schools are added, and more children are fed. The schools, which receive the food, experience an increase in attendance and academic scores. 
Later, Peifer ministry expands to provide computer centers for several of the schools. The logistics are worked out by a friend who devises a way to reuse a cargo container for a building and outfit it with solar panels for electricity. These computer centers offer not the children and their communities a marketable skill that will eventually help these children break the poverty cycle.  
My Thoughts
This is a story worth sharing and a story worth reading. The Peifers' experiences in Africa range from humorous to gut wrenching. Through it all Steve Peifer shares it with honesty and humility. He constantly points out that it is not he nor Nancy, who have helped many Kenyans, but it is in fact, the Lord working through them and others. His candid assessments of his own weaknesses were encouraging. We are all flawed. Yet, the Lord can use us all. We just need to be willing. This is the central message I found while reading A Dream So Big.
On a personal note: I am ever so grateful that I read this review by Mountain Mama before I actually read the book. She pointed out that Peifer has a humble attitude, but an odd sense of humor. I greatly appreciated this forewarning, as it helped me understand some parts of the book which I might have otherwise found slightly rude.
~ Dorie
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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