I send you all belated but very sincere greetings and best wishes from Ghana. After a 69-day speaking tour in the US, traveling from coast to coast and enduring persecution from the exceptionally snowy winters, it is good to finally be back home, reunited with family and enjoying local foods but suffering from scorching sun, heat and humidity now. I wish I could send you some heat and you send me some snow and cold.
During my speaking tour, I visited 17 States, 30 Dioceses, 50 parishes and about 100 Schools, reaching out to approximately 50,000 American Catholics. The trip was well planned, well coordinated, successful, and extremely worthwhile, notwithstanding the fact that there is always room for improvement.
Often times, people ask me; how and where do you find the energy and motivation to keep going on such a long and heavily packed itinerary? The answer is simple: There is no doubt that I absolutely enjoy telling my personal story and the story of CRS around the world. Apart from that, I draw on a lot of inspiration and inner motivation from my usually excellent and profoundly engaged audience anywhere, anytime. That humbles me, and gives me strengthen to keep going even when I am sometimes humanly exhausted.
I recall a 7-year old elementary school boy, who after listening to my presentation, walked up to me, and in front of the whole class, presented to me a little cross and said, “Remember Christ died for you.” What a gift that was! I ponder on that experience every day.
In a separate event, a 10-year old boy who listened to my presentation just before his birthday, decided to accept only cash donations for CRS on his birthday instead of any other birthday presents. A high school girl who listened to me, remarked, “I will never complain about my internet speed”.
These stories, experiences and many others are the sources of my strength, motivation. They help me find joy and fulfillment in doing what I do. In this context, challenges become opportunities do to better.
While on this trip, I experienced and enjoyed unparalleled hospitality, friendship and love from host families, parishes and co-workers. Let me take this opportunity to express profound gratitude and appreciation for your goodness. May God richly bless you!
- Thomas Awiapo
As a child in Ghana, Thomas Awiapo was a beneficiary of CRS school feeding programs. Now, as an adult, he works for CRS Ghana and travels to the U.S. annually to tell his inspiring story to American Catholics at schools, parishes and communities. Thomas will be a featured guest blogger and will be reporting from Ghana about the issues he witnesses firsthand.
Watch the video: Empowered for Life: The Thomas Awiapo Story.
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