Our van, Lenore, drives down the road, rain beating at her sides, windshield wipers moving violently from side to side in order to maintain some semblance of visibility. Texas state flags line the highway, flapping erratically as we all begin to wonder if we’re driving into a tornado.

The storm is scary, and the inside the van all is silent as we head from Austin to Waco. Derek’s driving, Lisa’s the copilot, and I sit in the back grasping for words to describe this journey that we’re on.

We recently listened to the audiobook A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. In it, Don talks about something we at Nuru talk about a lot – the idea of a story. He talks about his realization that we are all living a story, and the story he was living wasn’t a very good one. The book chronicles his journey to start living a better story.

All this talk of story got me thinking. What story am I living and how do I tell it when words fail? What is the story of our tour? I’m still processing it all, but I believe Miller is right, we tell a story, good or bad, with our lives. And in my experience, a good story can change people when they hear it. It can encourage others to start living a better story themselves.

We recently met a girl in Lakeland, FL who is living an amazing story. Her name is Emily, and she’s overcome incredible obstacles in her life. As she shared her story, I was blown away to be sitting across from someone who had overcome so much and still had such joy. She finished her story by asking how she can partner with what Nuru is doing. I was amazed and humbled that after everything she’s been through, she still is focused on others.

That’s why I live out of a van. Because the Nuru story is a good story, a story that has challenged me and shaped my life. I believe that when people hear it, when they truly grasp the reality of the crisis of extreme poverty, they won’t be the same. And I’m honored every time I meet someone, like Emily, who has made Nuru a part of their story. 

In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Miller says something that resounded with me. He said, “And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”

My teammates and I are ordinary people, but our lives aren’t normal, and I don’t know that they ever will be. Each of us have caught sight of this dream, to see extreme poverty eradicated, and we’ve decided to live like we believe it’s possible. We come up against apathy, indifference, and cynicism because we know that what Nuru is doing is revolutionary and that it can end extreme poverty. But, we know we can’t do it alone, so we want to invite you to join us in living better stories. I can’t promise life will be normal, but I can tell you that it’s a story worth living.

Hope to see you soon!