It was a pilgrimage that never should have happened. And I was the missionary that never should have been.
It was a strange sort of journey that started it all.
The sort of journey where you throw caution to the wind and race with your best friend around the world for a year – nineteen countries, never stopping, nary a museum in sight, hundreds of beaches and hundreds of books defining the real flavor of the path.
And then, when that journey of self came to its conclusion at the base of a Kenyan mountain, with orphans all around, and I realized that the path was different than I thought it would be, it was time to look back on all that had been and realize that far more lay ahead.
To realize that I was a pilgrim who did not know my way.
And then it was God who stepped in to tell me that Kenya was not where I would climb the mountain I had planned.
Instead, it was in Kenya where the place I stayed for one night, the cheap guesthouse owned by an orphanage, would become the place I stayed for one year. The place where I met a boy who would take me on a strange journey to understand what it means to build a different sort of family, and to grow into a different kind of love.
Because, by the time I left my year in Kenya, my year of living at that orphanage, my year of running alongside panting teens and tiny girls who held my hand, the scope of my life had changed.
The after-school running program for the kids had become a nonprofit organization, Hope Runs. And the boy running in the picture had worked his way into my heart. Now it was time to find a way to bring him to a new kind of home.
Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption is the story of a two people on different journeys, two people on paths that never should have met. Two people who changed each others’ lives. One of them, mine.
This is the story of a pilgrimage that never should have been.
This is our story.
Today I’m excited to give away five copies of my book, Hope Runs. To be entered to win a copy, leave a comment!
About Hope Runs:
Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with seven other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.
When Claire Diaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mt. Kenya, then head back home. She entered an orphanage seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek. God had other plans.
Hope Runs is the emotional story of an American tourist, a Kenyan orphan, and the day that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It’s about what it means to live in the now when the world is falling down around you. It’s about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see. Most of all, it’s about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.
About Claire Diaz-Ortiz:
Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@claire) is an author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. Named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, she holds an MBA and other degrees from Stanford and Oxford and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. She writes a popular blog at ClaireDiazOrtiz.com and is the author of the new book, Hope Runs: An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption.