I believe the glitter in their eyes was hope. Maybe it was just good old-fashioned excitement, but it shined like hope to me.
The Hope for Africa Children's Choir from East Africa sat along the front row of The United Methodist Church General Conference session, listening to the leader of Liberia share words about reviving a broken country. I’m sure they did not understand all she said about eradicating poverty, providing education for all children—especially young girls—or healing the wounds of war. They did not have to understand it. Their eyes captured every ounce of the hope she wished for her country.
They are mostly orphaned children who know, all too well, the stories of despair from their part of the continent. They were little girls and little boys who know war and AIDS and child soldiers. They may not have understand all she said, but they held her in their eyes. And the little girls whispered through their smiles, “You inspire me.”
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—a glimpse of hope for young girls worldwide—moves me in so many ways. Her passion and compassion match her intelligence and drive. She is transforming a nation, inspiring a continent and exemplifying resurrection in a world where death seems to be the victor. And my favorite moment of my entire experience listening to President Johnson Sirleaf today was the bright gleam in these children’s eyes. You could just feel it.
I pray they hold it forever.
*A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey