Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: A Dream So Big

A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger 
by Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis

Overwhelmed by grief from the loss of their youngest child due to a serious genetic abnormality, Steve and Nancy Peifer were in need of a change.  To get away from things for a while, they accept a year-long assignment as dorm parents at a boarding school in Kenya for missionary kids.  After a year of ministry, as they were preparing to return to the States, Steve has an eye-opening conversation with a teacher at a Kenyan school.  At that point he knew he would be back.

A Dream So Big chronicles the experiences of the Peifer family as they adapt to life in Kenya, re adapt to life back home in the United States, and sell their house to return to Kenya for over a decade to try to put a stop to hunger among Kenyan children.  Steve had discovered at the school he visited at the end of their first visit that many children were so hungry by Thursday that they couldn’t stand or even sit up at school because many had not eaten since that Monday.  Haunted by what he saw, he is convinced that he needs to do something to at least help some of them.  As the lunch program he starts grows and is able to provide a daily meal for children in several schools, Steve starts noticing other needs. He believes that the secret to solving Kenya’s many social and political problems lies in educating them, but change within a country needs to be worked by its citizens, not outsiders.  The lunch program drastically reduced dropouts among schoolchildren (public schools are not free in Kenya and have tuition that most parents cannot afford) but without electricity it is hard to teach children skills that they need in order to be prepared to compete in today’s global market.

This line of reasoning leads to building computer centers, powered by solar panels, for a few of the schools being serviced by the lunch program.  The Peifer’s goal is to enable the country to raise a generation of educated individuals who can enact change and vote for a better government.

I was touched and convicted as I read about the journey of the Peifer family as they are blessed through following God’s will.  Through pain and service they were blessed beyond words.  I went back a forth between laughing and wanting to cry every time I turned a page.  Mr. Peifer has a great sense of humor and constantly made me laugh trying to picture some of the situations he ended up in!  His description of a Kenyan wedding was particularly entertaining!  I could NOT stop laughing!

By the end of the book, I was almost ready to volunteer to spend a year in Kenya myself!  I felt so connected to what was going on from reading the book that I wanted to do something to help!  Descriptions of places and even conversations are so vivid and entertaining that not only did I feel like I was there, I could not put the book down once I started reading it!

I highly recommend this book.  Reading it is a personal journey and an eye-opener I think everyone needs, if for no other reason than to learn how to appreciate what we have.  If you decide not to read the book, at least check out to read current updates from Steve and Nancy Peifer and learn about their ministry.  However, this is one book I would STRONGLY recommend!

I received a review copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions and thoughts I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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