Day 7: Resurrection

“….born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:3

I tried to think of a story that told of a living hope. I live a pretty boring life, but the stars aligned about 10 years ago, and a friendship with a dentist from church gave me the opportunity to go on the adventure of a lifetime. On a medical mission trip to Soddo, Ethiopia, I came in touch with a part of the world I could not imagine. One of the doctors described Soddo by saying, “If there were a place to give the world an enema, Soddo was that place.”

The unique smell of earth, excrement and diesel fuel greeted us as oddly as the Muslim chants from the PA systems on the rooftops. The need was so evident. The begging was without end. You felt immediately—there was not enough money in the world to make a dent in this desperation.

The story of hope, however, came from a young guy about twenty-years-old that ended up riding with me on numerous trips out into surrounding villages for the doctors to treat mostly malaria cases and severely malnourished kids. The young man’s name was Tensei, and he was in nursing school at the church-sponsored hospital that had brought hope to his home town.

Tensei was born on Easter Sunday. His mother was so malnourished that he was delivered prematurely and stillborn. With no sign of life and this being such a common occurrence, he was placed in a cardboard produce box and put outside to bury later. The family was startled later in the day to hear crying from the makeshift casket. The family celebrated the son coming back from the dead, and he was named Tensei, meaning “resurrection!”

Tensei spoke of a deep faith and love for Jesus who had brought him back from the dead. Hungry for anything spiritual in print, he had no Bible, so I left him mine and any Bible studies I could copy down from memory. In a hopeless place and trapped in a bleak life, Tensei was more hopeful than anyone I’d ever met.

Tensei and I had a unique and instant bond. I too was born on Easter Sunday about twenty-five years before he was. Tensei counted that every day was a gift because of the resurrection. He was fearless because of the resurrection. He was driven to serve his neighbors because of the resurrection. He was a ray of hope and enthusiasm to a despairing culture because of the resurrection. He was reborn on Easter Sunday, and it made all the difference.

Brothers and sisters in Jesus, there is no truer statement for all of us than this: we were all born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus. And it should make all the difference!

Written by Darren Phillips ’82, Sales Manager at Lawrence Ink