And he used as an example Wangari Maathai, who died of cancer this week at age 71. She was a called woman. Here is one paragraph about her life:
"After graduating in 1959, she won a scholarship to study in the US, as part of the "Kennedy airlift" in which 300 Kenyans – including Barack Obama's father – were chosen to study at American universities in 1960. After further study in Germany, she returned to a newly independent Kenya in 1966, and five years later become the first woman in east and central Africa to obtain a PhD from an African university. There followed a tumultuous personal and public 40 years in which she ran the University of Nairobi's veterinary department, was imprisoned several times, stood for president, became a minister and won the Nobel peace prize. . . By this time, the Green Belt was flourishing. What began as a few women planting trees became a network of 600 community groups that cared for 6,000 tree nurseries, which were often supervised by disabled and mentally ill people in the villages. By 2004, more than 30m trees had been planted, and the movement had branches in 30 countries. In Kenya, it has become an unofficial agricultural advice service, a community regeneration project and a job-creation plan all in one." (The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/26/wangari-maathai?intcmp=239)
Wangari Maathai saved some of Kenya's most important forests, because she understood the link between the environment and freedom, between environmental degradation and poverty. She was willing to risk her life, endure beatings and hardship and loss, to stand for what she believed in. And because she did this, an entire new generation of Africans will live better lives.
Wangari Maathai knew her calling, and lived with a passionate single-mindedness that blessed the world. What Kenyan 3-year-olds that I'm treating will be the next Nobel Peace Prize winners? And how can we as missionaries, parents, doctors, live with the same all-out dedication to our calling?