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.Leave a Comment
I have had my eye on this book and would LOVE to win a copy! Stories like this inspire me to ALWAYS have my eyes open!!
What an awesome story. We plan God laughs! I do believe that God can change our lives at the blink of an eye.
Martha Smith says
wow, love this. Prov 3: 5-6 – so true in our lives as a Christian,
follower of Jesus.
Thanks for sharing. Would love this book. My life long calling
was to do something like this – go and minister, and love right in
the marketplace.. to those who need a smile, but also we are the
ones blessed when we give. So true. God is like that, isn’t he.
I worked with the Navajo children/AZ one summer, and I was
never and still am not the same. They inspired Me ! smile.
thanks.. for making this offer…. to us.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz says
Debi Schuhhow says
I’ve had my eye on this book too! Thank you for the giveaway!
Muriel Maat says
So inspiring!!! Love reading AND sharing. We have a weekly prayer meeting (Pray Without Ceasing) at out church. For the most part, I have been its leader and I’m always on the lookout for stories that really have truth, reality and possibilities for me to share with all the participants as a meditation about the excitiement of life. Beautiful! Would love to win a copy. Thanks so much!
Kristie G. says
What an amazing story! I would love to win a copy of your book and be inspired by your journey. Thank you!
Kristin Smith says
Oh I have wanted to read this book – sounds like an amazing story!!
Claire you have me hooked! I will be reading this book regardless-
Bless you for sharing your adventure and inspiring the rest of us-
Sounds like an amazing story! Can’t wait to read it.
Susan Miller says
Isin’t God awesome?! Even at my age I am seeking His will for my life and learning that it is to be nothing other than what I am, that is good enough!
Cyndi Moon says
I’m new to reading on this site and I’m happily finding out about new books and ladies who inspire me! Can’t wait to read this one.
I’m sure I’ll read this book one way or another! Would love to own it though to share with friends! 🙂 Thank you for the giveaway.
I would love to have this book to read and share with others! I love your story. Kenya is very dear to my heart also after spending time in medical missions in the Mombasa area. Blessings to you and thanks for your wonderful, challenging story.
Donna Templin says
Claire, isn’t it funny how God has other plans for us when we think we have them all laid out all nice and pretty! I’m glad God touched your heart to help in Kenya and I would love to read your story!
This sounds like an amazing, inspiring story. I love to hear how people are learning about God’s love around the world. I would be very happy to read this.
Sounds like a meaningful read, journey. my son was a peace corp volunteer in Africa and his experience is changing my life
God is amazing…at every turn. No matter what WE think our life path is, He inevitably has
something else in mind. In His infinite wisdom, He brings together hearts to serve His purposes.
Yes. I say again. God is amazing!
I’m hooked and must read this book!
God can and does change all of our lives in a moment or through the course of many moments. And isn’t He wonderful for doing it! Praise Him!
Sher Sutherland says
After having volunteered on the Mercy Ship 4 times in various west African countries, my life was changed. This book is on my list. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Sarah M says
Would love to gift this wonderful book to a runner I know. I already own a copy!! 🙂
I would love this book to share with my teenagers!
I’ve had this book on my wishlist — would love to win a copy!
My maiden name is Ortiz so while reading this your name caught my eye. I have not read your book but I have read other people’s experiences while visiting 3rd world countries where there is so much need. It was interesting but not surprising that while you were not searching for what you encountered God had a very different plan for you. How blessed you must feel to know that you made a difference in so many young lives and how it enriched your life profoundly. Thank you for sharing your experience and for inspiring others to follow their own path to serving God. I have not read your book but would feel honored and blessed to receive your book.
This sounds like an amazing story!
I would love to read this story.
Lynn Warren says
It never ceases to amaze me, and at the same time I always end up pondering how anything amazes me, being His child after all, when things such as this happens to people, and I am sure in my soul that there are a gazillion more stories such as this because it is His world. So, in advance, thank you for putting in print your amazing experience and sharing it with us.
May He continue to bless you both, richly and abundantly, far above what you are able,
Kristy Hanson says
I have heard wonderful things about this book and would love to win a copy!
‘Just happened’ to ‘stumble’ across this today…but we know…there is no ‘just happenings’ with the author of our days. Having visited a school for mostly orphans in SA this past Jan., I’m still wondering what it means and my place in it all! would love to read about the journey of your story and Sammy’s story. Thank you for sharing…
Cheryl…who will never be the same post Jan. 2014. Never…
Leslie McNeil says
I’d love to read this book; it sounds like a neat story, and thank you for the chance/opportunity!
Sarah F says
What an amazing story! I would love to read this book!
lori dunham says
What an amazing story and reminder of God’s tenacious love for us!!!
Cherise Castille says
I would love to read this!
Sounds like a powerful story! Would love to read about it!
Sounds like a beautiful
Story! Thank you for
Sharing and blessings!
PAULINE MOSS says
I WOULD LOVE TO READ MORE OF YOUR INSPIRING EXPERIENCES IN KENYA. IT’S PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO LET’S US KNOW GOD IS BESIDE US LEADING THE WAY TO HIS LOVING PURPOSES.
I would LOVE to read this incredible story!!!
This sounds like an amazing story! Crazy how God can turn our lives upside down to what we thought we were doing to show His excellence. Thank you for the giveaway!
This book sounds so good – I can’t wait to read it!
God does indeed change your life in a moment.
Ginger Daniel says
This book has been on my wish list for along time now! Love the way you paid attention to God’s big nudge, Claire!
What a great story! I’m definitely adding it to my wish list. Thanks for the giveaway!
Heather Luna says
What a beautiful & inspiring story. I can’t wait to read it! Thank you for featuring it.
Kathleen K. says
Would love to win this book to give to my niece who is about to impart on a similar journey with a friend of hers. She did some volunteer church work in Africa and fell in love with the people. I think this book would be very interesting for her to read and when she is done, she can pass it on to me to read.
God bless you for submitting and allowing God to change your plans! I’m sure your year journey is inspirational and would love to read it and pass it on to the youth le3aders at my church to inspire their teens to consider missionary trips or their own pilgrimages.
michelle h says
can’t wait to read your journey!
Sounds like an inspirational book – one that helps you get your priorities in order. Sign me up!
This looks/sounds like an amazing story. I’d love to read it! 🙂
matthew andrew says
From what I’ve already seen/read this sounds like a wonderful story. I would love the opportunity to read the rest of it if that is the Lords will also. Thank you. Your friend in Jesus’s name.
Life’s journey can lead us to many places. This seems to be one beautiful journey.
Bekah Strangarity says
Yes! would love to read this!
Susan Shipe says
I love, love, love your story. I have read snippets of it prior to this and would love to read it in its entirety. Hope Runs. Hope breathes. Hope feels. Hope heals. Hope loves. I love the Hope Giver!
Ambe Chapais says
This is such a great post.. love it.. thank you for a chance to win a great book.
What an amazing and inspiring story! My daughter (almost 11) and I are avid runners. We run with a non-profit running group, the 100 Mile Club. It would be incredible for both of us to read this book together and help share your story with others. Thank you so much for this generous give-away.
I had never heard of this book or story, AWESOME! Winning a book is always a good thing 🙂
Melissa Lu says
Sounds like a great story . . . and boy, could I use some inspiring stories about following God on the unconventional path.
How brave you must be to travel the world like you did. And then to follow the call of God to stay in Kenya and help those in need. I would love to read this whole story, maybe it would move me to get up and do something important with my days.
This is the first time I’ve heard of this book, but it just went on my TBR list!
As a teacher and a mom, I am well aware of how one child can change your attitude, behavior, perspective, and more. I would really like to read “Hope Runs” to learn of the author’s changes, knowledge acquired, and Christian perspective in this era of her lifestory. 🙂
God does works in His own way, and in His own time. It’s amazing how we each have a unique story and yet it is all for His one purpose. I am learning to wait on Him, and to reveal what is next in my life. It would be wonderful to hear your story by reading your book. May He keep changing you into His perfect likeness!
I JUST CAME BACK FROM A WEEK AT WORLD MISSION CONFERENCE, AND HEARD MANY WONDERFUL STORIES FROM THE MISSIONARIES THERE. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR STORY TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it
Looking forward to reading this testimony!
Vicki Humphreys says
Sounds like and incredible story!
Lynnette Mellon says
Isnt it amazing how God changes our plans and leads us where He wants us to go. Yours and Sammys story is such an inspiration. God bless you both
love from Lynnette
Based upon reading the brief excerpt, Hope Runs sounds like it will become a classic like The Diary of Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. I can’t wait to read it.
I have discovered through various experiences that God still does work in mysterious ways! I’m sure he has a sense of humour! Would love to read your story…it’s always encouraging to know how God uses us for his purpose and glory x
I would love to win this book. Thanks.
Lynn D says
Can’t wait to read this story. I love the way God changes our plans and our minds.
Would love to read your full story! It’s good for me to be challenged to step out and be brave – I need examples like yours spurring me on.
Catherine Irwin says
I would so love to read this book as my firstborn daughter who is 17, has such a heart for orphans and I feel this is where she will journey, both physically and in her soul.
Tina remender says
This book sounds so inspirational. I would love to share with my daugther who has a heart for missions, but is very shy, and does not think highly of herself. She would be inspired!!! Thank you for being open to God’s plan and will. Thank you for your story!
As a 12yr survivor of Leukemia, I have faced medical challenges that have changed the direction my life in many ways. As “living proof” that God is still in the miracle business, I know i am here for a reason and He will use me where He has planted me.
Cheryl Ives says
The book sounds amazing. I do a lot of volunteer work and hope to some day so mission work so would love to read this story.
Looks like an amazing story! Would love a copy.
Erica Gingerich says
Looks very interesting and challenging to me right now! Would love to read this story God willing!?
I would love to share this book with my daughter who just graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. I know it would be an inspiration to her!
Patti Hoover says
Looking forward to reading your book, one way or the other! Sounds inspiring.
This sounds like an interesting read!
Bev C says
I love true stories and faith-based too. My too faves combined. Would love to read this book.
I’d not heard of your story until today on the (In)Courage blog. I am looking forward to reading it, one way or another! Thank you for sharing what God has done.
Rose Nadler says
Wow, I almost stopped reading the email and almost missed this!! I got the book from the library and couldn’t put it down!! I am not a reader, but this book was different. It has hidden gems that applied to my life so perfectly. I want everyone I know to read it. I had to send it back to the library, so I don’t have it anymore, but would love my own copy!!! This book has been the highlight of my summer!!
Sara ward says
Thanks for doing this giveaway
Kay Tatum says
This sounds like a story I would love to read. & learn more about! Thank you for the chance to win a copy! God is writing each of our stories & they are all unique to His calling & plan! We are to listen to Him & obey! God bless you!
I’ve been wanting to read your story – I would love to win a copy! Thank you for the opportunity 🙂
Rebeccah Howard says
Whether I win this giveaway or not, I will be asking my husband for this book. We are eventually going to be missionaries in Central America, and I can’t wait to have amazing God stories like you and so many others. I pray He continues to bless you!
tammy cordery says
Looks like a good book. can’t wait to read it.
I have been feeling the Lord continually prompting me to read books such as this . . . to respond to Him in prayer and with an open heart. . . . to read and see, yet again, the amazing ways He (unexpectedly!) uses people to do mighty things for His glory! All this while I walk the journey with an open heart wondering what (unexpected journey) He might have in store for ME!? This will be on my “next to read” list!
This sounds like an amazing book and would love to read it.
Brooke M says
Sounds like an amazing story. Looking forward to reading the book!
I would love to win a copy of this book! Sounds amazing!
Beautiful. Would love to read more. Thanks for the giveaway!!
Would love to read your story and share it with my oldest son, who spent time at an orphanage in Tanzania some years ago and holds those children he met in his heart. He runs also and skis and bikes. He is a Dietitian and would love someday to go back to Africa to share his ideas about hunger and food.
Crystie Peeler says
i am learning that God’s miracles don’t always look the way we would have planned, but He is a big God! would love to read this story!
Ashley Wyatt says
I had not heard of your journey or your book until now reading this on incourage . Several things though resonated with me and my own story…the words Hope , REDEMPTION and then being in a place that seemed so contradictory to Gods character…my journey has been and continues to be one made up of trauma and loss — great suffering–and often paralyzed by the fear and shameI feel like i am still in college!
Wow. Thank you for allowing God to mold you during that time and for sharing that journey with us.
Priscilla Gibbs says
I would love to win your book. Either way, it is going on my “must read” list.
God bless you for listening to His voice.
Jessica Mumford says
I would adore a copy of this book–I sponsor a boy from Kenya!!
I’d love a copy of this book. I’m looking for some inspiration in my life. It’s time for a change.
Hope is a powerful compass on the road to inner transformation. I would love to draw inspiration from your story 🙂
I haven’t had the chance to read your story yet, and I already LOVE it. Thank you for sharing your hope with the world!
Mohammed Alkhabbaz says
Claire Diaz-Ortiz is an inspiration. Knowing that someone like her exist in this world, makes me have faith in humanity again. Thanks Claire 🙂
Ashlee Ayers says
I’m preparing for a mission trip to El Salvador in January and my prayer over and over again is, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” I want to see, experience, and then do for the lives that are hurting around me. I would love to learn more about your journey to living with eyes wide open!
Connecting dots, as the late Steve Jobs would have said, is looking backwards and see the beautiful painting God had given us as the path of our lives.
Thank you for sharing yours.
Kevin Rohan says
As an adoptee myself, I want to thank you for having the courage and selflessness to change another person’s life. Think it’s proof that love, compassion and empathy can be as strong as genetics and that families are made in many different ways. My parents are my personal hero’s – thank you for having such a positive impact on the world!
lauren thompson says
I was in Portugal last week traveling with friends, explaining why I had vetured previously to Argentina…. I mentioned my cousin and her amazing family including a boy named Sammy. l briefly explained the story and she said to me. “This sounds like a book I heard of and want to read “hope runs”, have you heard of it?” What an amazing small world. So proud.
I really would love to go through this inspirational journey. This is so inspiring !! Hats off Claire and Thank you so much for this lovely Journey.
I don’t know if I win this copy or not but please let me know where can I buy a copy of this Journey? I am eager to be a part of this. Thank You !!
Michael Young says
What an amazing story. The word ‘disruption’ is used a lot in business these days and I think this was a disruption that brought an amazing outcome both for the “American Tourist” and the “Kenyan Boy”. Claire, this is truly inspirational and I think both you and Samuel should be congratulated on bringing your story to the world. I am looking forward to reading it one way or another.
Leslie Crothers says
Sounds like a great inspirational book. Would love to read it, but think my lovely wife would grab it first – she loves these ‘real people stories’.
“God Is Good ” ….. Praying for your walk with The Lord !
What a beautiful story – sounds like it would be a very inspirational read! From time to time, I think everyone needs to get lost in a story like this as a reminder to be grateful, to live life fully and to dream. Would love to read your story!
I would love a copy of this book!!!
Odds don’t look good……but would love a copy
Would love to be re-inspired by your story of living in the now and saying yes to God
This is such a God story! Love.
Linda McClellan says
Just reading the little I did read has got me already wanting to read the book. I’m wondering already did she adopt him and bring him home to raise him? Did she stay there and work with the orphanage? I read nothing but Christian books now after giving away about 5 large egg boxes of fiction books having absolutely nothing to do with God. He is the most important thing in my life, no, He is my life. Jesus lives in me and through me and I love helping other people, mostly older people who have no one. I would love to have the book, and actually have already put it on my book list of books to get. God bless you and your mission whatever it might be, eventually one way or another I will know what it is!
Kathy Rogers says
Would love to have a copy of your book…have been reading Kisses from Katy….what can I say? We have no clue as to the needs of these children…we are so comfortable in our prosperous America…
Noe Hurtado says
I really want to read this book since I read comments about it few months ago, but I haven’t been able to find it here in Bahrain where Im currently living. I hope I will get one!! 🙂
Daniel Bellestri says
Thank you for following Jesus even after you heard him change your course. This is no small task, as many people turn away and follow a different path, when they hear His voice. I am always reminded of Jesus and his love for kids when I hear of others loving his love little ones. I think this story is beautiful like the people in it. I will buy a copy even if you do not pick me. Jesus I ask you to send your Angels to Clair, her family and to the orphans of the world. Please help her in her ministries and bless what ever she does in your name amen.
Amy Carter says
Going to throw this one onto my wishlist!
Interesting theme, visualized by two people running in a probably very hot and humid scenery. Must have been hard to do. Hope to read your book to discover the truth behind the cover-scene.
This is an amazing story. One only God can write. I am personally waiting on God for such a clear direction… Longing to see what He will do but knowing waiting is part of it and I journey on in what He is giving me now. God bless.
I’d love to have a copy, too. Thanks for offer.
tiffany kline says
Reading your story about finding a place in Africa resonated with my heart. Africa is my hope, my pulse, my reason to keep striving when life seems too difficult here in states. I am waiting for direction from God to go back to my beloved Africa, but until then I find comfort in God moments like this, when i stumble upon a blog post about a woman who heard God speak to her to stay put on the red clay of Africa.
Whether I win this book or not, I think I need it on my reading list. My family and I have been talking about how God redirects our footsteps as we walk through life so that where we end up is not where we thought we had started out to reach.
Dear Claire, your posts so often inspire me to reflect and rearrange my priorities. You have such a bright eye on the world and it lifts my spirits and reminds me to keep going with a thankful heart. Thank you.
Would love to win a copy. My daughter is serving in Africa this summer.Thanks!
Inspiring…and encourages one to hold on to hope!
I know God is calling me to ministry. After my recent trip to Liberia on a mission trip, I know my calling is missions. Whether it is here in my home town, my state, the USA or elsewaher. I don’t know yet, but I will go where he calls me.
Adding this to book to my list!
My hope is that God heals me of cancer that I’ve been battling off and on for 8+ years so that I can have strength to do what He’s called me to do; to be an encourager and a continued witness to my children, granddaughters (some of whom are in a backslidden state), and whomever He puts in my path. I’d also hope to read your book! Thanks.
Added it to my wish list! Im intriqued by your story. What a fun giveaway:)
I find peace knowing that God has a plan for me, and everyday I try to find out what it is, to have my eyes and my heart open to be able to listen to him and know what is His plan for my life. I find it very inspiring to know of other people’s journeys, and yours, Claire, sounds amazing.
A truly captivating story and message. As a young entrepreneur in tech I am constantly looking upward to Him for signs, meaning and strength. There is something about the fast paced world we live in that we forget to live in the here and now and appreciate what’s under our nose. This book has many messages and learning aside from the main story line that I would love to dive deeper and share with others just like you have done for us. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your mind and heart.
Wow, I would love to win a copy of the book, but know I will be reading in either case!
Pick me, Pick me!!! In any case, I will be keeping an eye out for it and read it anyway.
i like reading hopeful and inspiring books like this!! Pick me!!! I am unsure what God wants in my life…i question too much?? I try and sit back and let things flow..thinking that is what God wants..but I am unsure…the things that inspire me are people around me who know what they want..go and work for it.
Laura Gaunnac says
This story sounds really interesting! I love true stories of God’s amazing work in peoples’ lives. The TRUE stories are often more amazing than fiction stories could ever be!
I love reading & it would be a honor to win this book. I’ve seen all good reviews on it.
kathy w says
This book sounds like a very inspiring journey that I would love to read.
I would love to own this book to help me focus on keeping hope in my life even when things get tough.
May we live our lives being open and aware to what He has for us!
Would love to read y’all’s story!
I would love to read this book.
monk5 at charter dot net
I am 44… Never married… Still hoping to be a wife and a mom. Only God knows how, or when. His timing and His methods are not at all what I anticipated 20+ years ago. I’ve stopped trying to figure Him out on this. I am His. He is mine. Of this I am sure. I trust that He will bring me a soulmate and family in His wisdom, In His time.
Beth Williams says
Keep praying! God has someone out there for everyone, I believe and it will happen in His perfect timing!!
In the meantime–be available for God to use you in any way possible! God can work amazing miracles in the most unusual places and times!
Celeste Vaughan says
Sounds like an awesome story. I’d love to read it!
Beth Williams says
Sounds like an amazing adventure! God’s timing is perfect and He will work miracles in our lives! It is interesting how He orchestrates life and lives and works out His plans!!
Michele Morin says
Have heard bits and pieces of your story. Would love to get the complete scoop!
Shawn Bensley says
Sounds like a story that could have only been orchestrated by an amazing God.
Rachel Rusticus @redeemingher says
Excited to hear what God has done! -Rachel at email@example.com
Valerie Hohenberger says
I would love to win a copy of your book! Thank you for offering the chance. Thank you for listening to God’s whispers! We know when He calls, but many simply refuse to listen!
Nicole Meredith says
Your book sounds amazing. I cannot imagine what that experience was like, but would love to read your written words describing it… I think I am going to give a copy to my mom, we both started running running together this summer and God has placed the idea in my head to start a ministry of it. Anyways, thank you for sharing your experience and most of all your willingness to follow God’s leading in your life, changing the lives of those around you!
This book sounds AMAZING! I hope I win a copy 🙂
I so love hearing how Hod has worked/works in the lives of others! He is SO GOOD!
Li Ann says
I know my question may sound crazy, but i just want to ask if it is still possible to get a copy of this book? Thanx & God bless 🙂