A Gift of Knowledge Shared
What could the world become if we all treated knowledge as a gift that has been entrusted to us? A gift to be nurtured and ultimately, one to be shared with others.
In May of this year, a group of students from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business arrived in Lusaka, Zambia to partner with Family Legacy in shaping the lives of high school graduates in our Excel Beyond program by equipping them with business tools to harness and develop enterprising ideas, learn effective customer service, and sell marketable profiles of themselves and potential businesses. For almost two weeks, eleven Baylor students became teachers, giving back their acquired knowledge to people who were in need of a guiding hand.
“We want to equip the students to build the future they aspire to have. We want to give them tools to become everything they desire to be”- Alex Waitley, Senior Marketing and Entrepreneurship major, Baylor University
The great author and philosopher C.S. Lewis once wrote, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.” This quote is reflected in the willingness, enthusiasm, courage, and sacrifice of these eleven Baylor students who each paid their own expense for this trip; surrendering paid internships and a deserved spring break in order to pour into the lives of others. What would prompt such charity? What would move eleven young people to travel 9,000 miles across the world in order to give back what had been given to them?
The journey began on a Sunday evening in May at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, arriving two days later in Lusaka, Zambia. The excitement and anticipation of the days to come was evident, with the ever-present realization that a God given opportunity had presented itself.
“We feel so thankful for the opportunity to explore, learn about, and pour into this beautiful country and its people…It is such a blessing to be here and take part in the transformative mission of Family Legacy.”- Maggie Kravchuk, Sophomore Business Fellows major, Baylor University
Over the next eight days, the Baylor team engaged in presentations and workshops with our Excel Beyond students teaching sales, developing business plans, how to cultivate business relationships and deliver great customer service, and conducting mock interviews. The students in the Excel Beyond program made great strides with every passing day. Each day concluded with a time of reflection and conversation allowing the Baylor team to assess their daily experiences and make adjustments for next day’s lessons. The Baylor students were keen to make certain that this trip would be life-changing not only for themselves but for their students.
When asked what impressions they would like to leave behind, the Baylor students replied, “We want to make sure that everything we are teaching them can be used in every area of their lives. We want them to understand how capable they are to effect change in Zambia and give them a vision of what their lives could become in future.”
On the eighth and final day of teaching, local business owners were invited to attend to listen to mock interviews and give various presentations. Suscon Construction Solutions, one of the company’s in attendance, conducted their own interviews for seven open internship positions in their organization. As the day drew to an end, the company announced that seven of our Excel Beyond interns that had been hired for the year. With tears, laughter, and many smiles, the seven students stood proudly as they heard their names called to receive the offered positions. In addition to this, a wonderful story came out of what had already been a successful day:
“Throughout the workshop this week, a student in my group had done very well with the concepts we were teaching him. Although he was not originally on the list of students to interview, given his progress, we thought he deserved the chance. He did a great job in his interview with Suscon and, consequently, was offered an internship with the company. His smile as he heard the news exemplified the impact the opportunity had on him. After he found out, we sat down and talked. He opened up to me and that his mother is sick and he is the primary caretaker and provider for his family. This internship, he explained, was an answer from God. He is having trouble affording the medicine the income form this position will provide for this and other needs of the rest of the family. After hearing this story, I was overwhelmed. This student was not even on the list to interview today. Now, he is in an opportunity to provide for his Mom and his family. This story is a testament of how God works in caring for His children. Although none of us can know God’s plan, He is always watching out for us, and His plan is for our good.”- Connor Kempston, Senior Pro Sales and Entrepreneurship Major, Baylor University
It is often the experience of many that in giving, there is far much more that is received. And this truth did not escape these eleven Baylor students who gained far more than they bargained for. Here are a few comments they made on their experience in Zambia:
“Being in Zambia has given me a new perspective on life; different from the one we are used to back home in the United States.”
“I’ve learned the value of kindness and want to give back the kindness I have experienced here; making sure I treat others well.”
“I have been reminded that my faith in God should not be defined by my circumstances. I want to experience the kind of joy I saw in the kids we spent time with.”
“We didn’t really know each other very well before this trip, but we have really spent a lot of time bonding and truly getting to know each other. Stronger relationships certainly came out of this trip.”
“I personally want to sponsor as many kids as I can because I have seen the good Family Legacy is doing.”
“I have learned the importance of pouring into others, and now relish the opportunity to pour into less privileged people’s lives, because I now understand that what you’ve learned is a gift.”
The best kind of gift is one that lasts a lifetime, one that doesn’t fade or is easily misplaced. This incredible team of students and advisors from Baylor University has given a gift that will not quickly disappear but will remain long after they are gone. This gift can only be multiplied and improved upon; wonderfully designed to equip young people in Zambia to create their own wealth and emulate the example of giving back what they have learned. This thought prompts yet another quote from C.S. Lewis which reads, “The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gifts. Thus, a heavy task is laid upon Gift-love. It must work toward its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous. The hour when we can say ‘They need me no longer’ should be our reward. But the instinct, simply in its own nature, has no power to fulfil this law.”
If we could all grasp the idea that the knowledge God blesses us with ought to be used for the building up of others, we would transform this world for the better; fulfilling the great commands to bear fruit and love one another. –