“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero


At The Mama Ada Foundation, we are always talking to people. We ask for advice, perspective, and ideas to move our work forward for students and farmers in Kenya. Recently, I heard from three people in as many days about the importance of thanking donors.

For several weeks, we have run our Seeds of Hope Campaign to raise funds for seeds for farmers. Our focus has been on finding new donors or encouraging donors to give again; it is honestly hard work to raise enough funds for all the farmers who are in such desperate need. But with this advice about thankfulness, my focus pivoted to all the people who have given already. And the funny thing about thankfulness is that once it moves in, there is less room for “not enough.”

Well, thankfulness wedged its way into my heart.

I recently woke with the idea to devote the first part of every day to thanking people, yet quickly wondered if I would have any time left after expressing all that gratitude. I began to name all the people who have given abidingly to The Mama Ada Foundation. The longer this list became I became a bit discouraged about how we could ever thank all of you in a way that matched your generosity.

Recently, there was a fundraising dinner at St. David’s Church in Minnetonka, to raise funds for the students and the farmers in Mama Ada’s village of Ziwa. It was to this church that Mama Ada came some years ago and spoke the invitation: “Come meet my people.” As I looked at the very table where I had first met Mama Ada, I felt the blessing of knowing friends in Kenya.

Then I stood at the podium and looked out at people of St. David’s. My heart swelled with thankfulness for their abiding love of friends in Kenya; I looked at the ever lovely Sharon Engel, who had led this dinner planning (she is pictured here in Mama Ada’s green gazebo). Tears came as I tried my best to thank them for setting tables, preparing food, and mostly for offering their hearts to our friends in Kenya. I felt this rush of thankfulness that these people had given of themselves to people around the world and very far from them, once again.

It is often the goal of a blog to “wrap something up” in a neat and tidy paragraph. I have no neat and tidy ending to this one, other than to look to Grace. For sometimes we must rely on the mystery of grace to bring the message to others of what is deep in our hearts…..which is humble thankfulness for all those who have given to our work at The Mama Ada Foundation.

And if you’ve not yet given to our Seeds of Hope Campaign – there is still time! Our campaign will run for one more week and you can give at www.mamaadafoundation.org. We hope that you will join us today and bring hope to a farmer.

- Julie Keller