10 things 2011 taught me

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A life-changing trip in East Africa that took me to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

When I visited Rwanda late last year, I knew it will be unforgettable.

The trip came so last-minute and ended up as one of 2011’s best trips for me.

There I met Beata (not her real name) and her three children. Except for the youngest, all of them got infected with HIV-AIDS. This woman survived it all.

How can I complain from my own challenges?

2011 was my 10th year in World Vision. I am not sure about the 11th but I believe I have already been given an overflow of opportunities, additional years are bonuses.

God’s little surprises where to take me next never cease to amaze me. I always put my seat belt on as I know it can happen anywhere and at any minute.

These 10 years took me to 19 countries and got me into the front seat of life-changing events in Asia Pacific, South and East Africa. Some of these trips I did weekly. Some I did with excitement, some with dread (e.g. disaster zones).

All these lessons I’ve collected from way back and took to 2011 (and I am sure beyond). It is good to be refreshed. Here they go … 

Do the work that you really love. The rest of the things you want will follow.

Work hard. Make it three times. When people trust you with a responsibility, don’t fail them.

Beata taught me about hope in its real sense.

Be nice to everyone. Deal with challenges in a positive way. Nobody wants to work with someone rude and with a bad attitude.

Work smart. Complete your work within working hours. If not, find a way to take a break and not make yourself a slave to it.

Money should not be the main reason why you work. There has to be a much bigger reason for it. Find out what.

Everyone loves an optimist. Stay away from those who think negative most of the time.

Save hard. Prepare for the rainy days.

Nobody is indispensable. Prepare a life after where you are. Remember, everything constantly changes. Or else you’re stuck.

Always be grateful. Successes and failures are all blessings.

It does not take a cent to brighten up the world. All it takes is a nice, warm smile.

In many aspects, 2011 was a different kind of year for me. I thought I’ve passed it all but God got so creative and gave me unexpected forks.

If you watched Mission Impossible 4, that was more like it. I felt He gave me high marks after I took them on.

What does the future holds? I wait in excited suspense. As I keep these in mind, I never forget – God is on the lead. There goes my number one lesson.

Note: Watch out for the re-designed Istoryya this month!


“Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things” – God

I learned so many lessons from these women in Tanzania, among them to 'count your blessings non-stop'.

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