“Now about brotherly love, you do not need anyone to write to you…”
These words, written from Paul to his friends in Thessaloniki sometime in the first century, have taken on new meaning for us here in the twenty-first. They embody the way we encounter the power and wonder of leaders around the world. From the beginning, Loom has offered strategic tools and relationships that accelerate the capacity of these Social Innovators. But what we have never needed to teach them is how to love their neighbor. In fact, we ourselves are taught daily by their sacrificial lives.
Earlier in his letter, Paul wrote, “Brothers, although we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in heart), our desire to see you face to face was even more intense. For we wanted to come to you… After all, who is our hope, our joy, our crown of boasting, if it is not you yourselves…? You are indeed our glory and our joy.”
It has been over a year since we have been face-to-face with leaders in East Africa. The longer that the realities of COVID keep us apart, the stronger our desire to stand with them, to gather again in training rooms and over cups of chai, hear their stories and be taught by the courage of their lives.
Here is where Loom is positioned: between the harsh realities of poverty around the world, and the power and wonder of local innovators who dare to imagine something new. The awe we feel when looking at their lives leads us to say with Paul, “What is our hope, if it is not this?” Indeed, they are our glory and our joy.
We may have been “torn” from each other in person, but together we continue in our mission to build sustainable, thriving communities on behalf of the most vulnerable. Now, more than ever, solutions are needed to build on the resilience of local communities, allowing them to thrive even in the face of struggle and tragedy.
Loom says often that we work in hope and interdependence. When we look at the headlines and consider the overwhelming pain and struggle that so many people across the world are facing, it is easy to ask, where is that hope? But this is our secret: we have found that hope comes not from statistical predictions and big pictures, but by zeroing in on the actual people living in these communities. Every single time, you will find courageous leaders full of power and imagination, daring to pour out their lives in pursuit of a better way.
What is our hope, if it is not this?
What can this be, except the seeds of a new and flourishing joy?