What Thomas Awaipo and the Families of Tanzania Taught Me about Lent


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As I reflect back on the season of Lent this year, I marvel at the beautiful bounty the 40 days have reaped in my life this year. In the last week of January, I stood in the farm fields of Tanzania alongside men and women whose families are served by Catholic Relief Services‘ amazing Rice Bowl program. I had volunteered several months prior to bring Rice Bowl to my parish. Little could I have known when I took that step to say a little “Yes” how my world would be so impacted by the work done by Rice Bowl.

In this poignant video from CRS, Thomas Awiapo, a CRS staffer who knows personally how their work can change lives, answers the question “What Is Lent?”

Tomorrow, Lent officially ends. With Holy Thursday, we commence the Triduum, a period of even more intense prayer and anticipation. This year, I can look at my Lenten devotions for the first time in many years and see a profound connection between my chosen Lenten fast and the simple goal I had to unite my devotional prayer with other people around the world.

I will readily admit that I stumbled a few times along that path. But there were also many times when I was tempted to “give up” and instead thought back to the small, smiling faces of the children I met in Tanzania. Instead of giving in to my deep weakness, I asked God to bless their lives and to embolden me to be stronger in my commitment to bringing them lasting comfort, shelter and peace. As I put my little bits of sharing into a small cardboard container, I thanked God for changing not only their lives, but mine as well.

My Tanzanian Friends

My Tanzanian Friends

If you are reading this today and feel as though your Lent has not been all that you hoped it would be, I want to encourage you that it is not too late to unite these last few days before Easter with those around the world who know deep need in their lives.

Today is not just the end of Lent.

It is the beginning of our “Yes” to cooperating with God’s plans for our lives.

As Thomas Awiapo and the families of Tanzania have taught me:

Lent is Life Changing.

Copyright 2015 Lisa M. Hendey


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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