It is amazing to me how little light it takes to shatter darkness. The smallest spark creates a point of light where once there was none. Then the spark lights a candle which, when it begins to burn, provides a circle of light. Each candle carries its own arch, and as it travels down the path it is like magic, moving. Many candles, create an aura of illumination where shadows dance in anticipation of the approaching dawn when they can take a rest. A crowd of candles light up faces and smiles, which only add to the brightness of the nightlights. Reaching all the tiny torches towards the center of the circle ignites a bonfire. The glow of the gathering can be seen for miles around as it starts to spread like wildfire. The speedy light gains momentum and covers an entire region, and then a whole nation. It all starts with one spark that lights one candle.
I got pictures of some candles yesterday from Hope Primary School in Uganda. The school is located in the harsh environment of a refugee camp, where hope is minimal and you don’t typically see sparks. There is a pervasive heaviness born from a war-weary people. The darkness is so complete in the camps that the people who live there have a hard time seeing their hands in front of their faces. A blanket of defeat covers and paralyzes them from moving in any direction. It has been this way for generations, so why try? The mindset of hope is banished because it makes the hearts sick when it is deferred.
Yet, there is a spark which refuses to be snuffed out. It started with a man, then spread to a small group, then to a community, then to teachers, then to the children. Hope Primary School was born from one spark. Now, the circles of light from individuals are enlightening one another and coming together to brighten what was once a place shrouded in darkness. The candles are lighting a path together which will continue to grow until someday there is a wildfire.
The written word carries power. It carries knowledge. It carries freedom. It carries solutions. It carries peace. It carries hope. It carries LIGHT. Without it, darkness prevails in the minds of the people. With it…the future. Life or death. You may think I am overdramatizing it, but until you have walked in a place without the written word, you cannot know the effect it has on the people. To see the shroud of darkness and walk in the shadows beside them has a profound impact on your heart. It wiggles its way in, and soon, you are involved in helping them move the mountains that impede their progress. The Sparks prayed for Candles. The Candles are seeing the light. The words are making their way into the darkness and changing it into light. It is not a fast process to teach literacy to a nation…not yet anyway. But these pictures show momentum beginning to build, and that is enough to make my eyes leak a little.
If you have given your time in prayer, sacrificed your money, or contributed books you are a part of the light that is spreading. We thank you for catching the vision and spreading the flame. The Sparks thank you for adding the fuel to their fire and becoming part of their circle of light.