The biggest moment of Lopez life did not take place in Beijing. His greatest moment came true nearly three years after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. To fully appreciate why December 16, 2011 was the greatest moment of his life, you must go back with him to Kimotong (Sudan) and Kakuma.
His village in Sudan was and is very poor by American standards. No one owns a car. No one has electricity. And there is no school in Kimotong. Very few people can read and write because there is no place to learn and no one there to teach them.
When Lopez was a boy, his father occasionally talked about sending him to Kenya for school – but that required money. Even if they had, Lopez would have only gotten a basic high school education.
Lopez arrived in Kakuma poor and hungry. It was there, that by God’s grace, he started school. There were no books, lessons were sung, and sticks and dirt served as pencil and paper. Encouragement came in the form of swats with a stick. Even after ten years of school, he wrote and did math at a first or second grade level. Never once did Lopez ever think that one day he would move on from the camp and go to college.
Thus, the greatest moment of his life came when he walked into the Sky Dome on the campus of Northern Arizona University carrying the banner of the W.A. Franke School of Business.
Jeremiah 29:11 says: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” These words sound like God wrote them specifically for Lopez. He lived through disaster. He lived through hardship and death. Yet God never left him. He changed Lopez from the lost boy into Joseph. And just like Joseph in the Bible, He took what was once intended for evil and transformed it into good. Receiving his college degree along with the future that degree represented the ultimate expression of God turning disaster into a future and a hope for Lopez.
Management Lesson # 23 – In God’s Hands
Lopez’ path to obtaining a degree was neither easy nor direct. Yet, it was ordained from a sovereign God who is wiser than us. May we understand that all things happen in order for us to grow in dependence upon Him and in order for us to grow in Christlikenes.