Something Beautiful


As our group comes to its halfway point, we find ourselves crafting deep relationships among not only the community here, but each other as well. Touching, heart-wrenching, beautiful relationships that will stick with us for the rest of our lives. These relationships bring not only the “honeymoon happiness” that we all have come to know so well, but also the empathetic pains that bring some tragedies to life for us.

Many of us struggle with the idea of what we have to offer the Zambian people. No “quick-fix” answers exist in most situations here, so how do we repair the brokenness? How can we touch the heart of Zambia? My far too short, over-simplified answer is love. As cliché as this answer may sound, hundreds of Zambian children peering into our eyes asking for us to spread some pure agápe love serves as a humbling reminder that no other answer gives complete justice to the situation. Asking for us to get at eye-level with them, even if just for an instant, to share one beautiful moment with eyes and hands locked showing that we care. Although hungry and thirsty, most Zambian people here understand our purpose: to serve and love in order to create self-sustaining, passionate change. We bring unmatched excitement to each project with our presence alone. The quote “your presence is the present” has never felt more real. With our students so amped on our work with them, it is our duty to make sure that our student’s needs are met, so that the passion that flows out of them is completely harnessed and translates into a full satisfaction of what they want—a true sign of a servant leader.

Today I had a revelation in a children’s storybook that Katie and I read to our class. “Something Beautiful” speaks of a little girl who struggles with finding something beautiful in her life. Her teacher defines beauty as “something that when you have it, your heart is happy.” All of her friends find beauty in the little things in life like their jump-roping, sharing meals, and dancing. As the girl continues her search for her something beautiful, her mother tells her with certainty that her something beautiful is the little girl herself. Reading this book to my class instilled a wonderful reminder of the amazing opportunity each of us has to be someone’s something beautiful. I love using the quote “there is only one happiness in this world: to love and be loved” in this society because to fill a heart with happiness is such a beautiful thing. We all have the capability of loving, and, that being said, we all have the ability to go and make someone’s heart happy. So I challenge everyone reading this to do one thing: be someone’s something beautiful. Love on someone and make sure to accept the love back.

To all those reading back home, you all have been something beautiful to each one of us. Our journey comes with great joy, but also great struggles. I feel that as long as we continue striving to be servant leaders and unconditional lovers, happiness will undoubtedly follow. Keep on loving, keep on being beautiful.

Anyway, loveyouallgottago. Kisu Kisu Mwane,
Michael Hobson

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23 Responses to Something Beautiful

  1. Lynda McCann says:

    Gulp! And again WOW! I’m so amazed at how beautifully you all write from the heart! Another important reminder for us all…to love one another! I had only met a couple of you right before you left on this journey, but after reading your blogs I feel like I know each of you! (Dont worry Kaitlyn i wont add everyone on FB, not yet anyway;) Being together in Zambia will all leave a mark on your hearts and lots of memories, but you’ve all touched a piece of us back here at home as well! Thank you for loving there and for spreading love all the way back home to us! Thinking of you all…loves and (((hugs))) to each of you!
    Special loves to my girl…we think of you and miss you bunches! Know you are loved always! Xoxo

  2. Tom Hobson says:

    Michael! I’ve been looking forward to your update! It was great, as I figured it would be. I’m sure your students are crazy about you, because you are so lovable. You are making a difference in their lives just by being you and being there.
    You’ve given me a lot of happiness. I’m proud of you as always.
    Much love, dad

  3. carole marti says:

    It is the simple things in life that bring true joy, and all of you in Zambia are seeing and realizing that in a huge way that will impact you whenever you thing of Africa and Zambia and June 2013. Children are a great way to illustrate this, as they love simply – just be eye contact or someone holding their hand or playing soccer or dancing. In some ways, I wish you could come home tomorrow and in other ways I wish you could stay there for many months. It will be difficult when you have to leave but you will all leave a piece of your hearts behind. God bless you on your remaining days in Zambia. Love you to pieces Shaun!!!!!!!!

  4. Tom Hobson says:

    The picture just came through. It’s so nice to see your smiling face!

  5. Larry and Lori Newman says:

    Megan never told us of the requirement that you all had to write like a poet in order to make that trip. I cannot believe how well each of you puts words on paper (well the electronic version anyhow) that are honest and emotional. Any news on the goat? Does it have a name and has Megan claimed “dibs” on it yet? I might be a little paranoid but I was bindsided like that when we got “Buddy”.
    Megan, we miss you like crazy but I know you are in 7th heaven over there. I can’t wait to read your posting.
    The goat house isn’t going to build itself so I …………..gotta go!!

  6. Christian Hoag says:

    Great blog. I think the ability to love and be loved is one of the greatest and most powerful gifts God gave us as human beings. It is great to see you guys spreading it and promoting it and using it!

    It’s also great to hear you guys are doing well! Conner I hope you are having an awesome time, everyone at the house can’t wait to see you when you get back!

    Katie, I still miss you!! Seemingly more and more everyday. I hope you are enjoying every moment over there, but I can’t wait for you to get back. I’m counting down the days! Anyways, if you’re wondering, I’ve been moving in to the house in spokane, built a really nice big desk for my room. I’m also starting to really train hard for my race in July! I also started my research today which is going to be a lot of fun. But I’m always thinking about you! Love you buddy, have fun, be safe, I’ll be thinking about you and I will always be your “something beautiful.”

  7. Kate Van Amringe- 2012 participant says:

    what a beautiful reflection. your thought of happiness equaling love is very similar to what i held very close to me during my time last year. keep that with you! i was also in the education group and patient love is sometimes very needed when dealing with those wonderfully squirrely kiddos 🙂 they are lucky to have you all this year! Also i LOVE “be someones something beautiful” that is so perfect for your time in Africa. all it takes is for you to be even one childs ‘something beautiful’ and i can guarantee you will feel satisfied with your time there, once returning home.

    think of you all often! keep soaking it all up!!

    MATEO- hope your time there the second time around is just as beautiful if not more so! do me a favor and take a few group members out to the tarmac for some late night star gazing for me….just be sure to bring some shields or somethin’…ya never know when a log might fly outta no where 🙂

    sending you all warm thoughts and lots and lots of love~
    kisu mwane,

    oh and ps. ED group…have you come across a wonderful man named graham on your way home from school? he has a wife sharon and a now one year old baby. their house is a little bit off the main road on your way home from chilena past one of the first water wells….you’ll know its their house bc theres a monkey sitting outside…any way they were wonderful friends and asked last year about the next group..just wondering if you had met 🙂

  8. Kirsten Visco says:

    All of these stories are so beautiful and inspiring! You all are doing a wonderful thing and bringing smiles to everyone around you and back here in the states. I am proud of Gonzaga being a University that offers an opportunity like this and even more proud that I know so many wonderful people who go on trips such as this one.

    Katie-It has taken me forever to write to you but you have been in my thoughts every day!!! I can not wait to hear all of the amazing stories you will have and all of the insight you will bring back with you. The story “Something Beautiful” that you read with your class made me think and I like the idea of making someones heart happy–great way to put it. I hope your camera is treating you well and you are capturing memories to last a life time along with making memories to last forever. Love you Katie and am so glad you are having this wonderful experience and I can not wait for you to share it with everyone at home!!! <333
    A shout out to Connor, Megan and Ally– Missing you guys! You are some of the best people I have had the honor of meeting and I can't wait to hear your Zambezi stories.

  9. Teresa Baldwin says:

    Lucy, This is your beloved sister Jolie here to say I’m so proud of everything you’re doing! You and your whole team, really – it sounds like you’re being a wonderful blessing to the people you’re meeting. We’re all so proud of you and we miss you lots! 🙂

  10. Teresa Baldwin says:

    What glowing words you share about the power of love to change the hearts of people. It is apparent that each of you bring passion to each interaction and task that comes your way. As a good and wise old friend of Lucy’s once said…god, go on and love some more. Each day you choose love, you choose life for yourself and for those whose lives you touch. Keep doing that and you will be Jesus to the people of Zambezi. Much love and prayers, mom Baldwin

  11. Wendy McCann says:

    I hope you are all having fun! But, I thought you should know Katie…I…LOVE…YOU and you are my ‘SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!”
    Love you lots, keep making memories-

  12. Amber Siciliano says:

    Yay another posting!!! Thank you for writing such a beautiful blog Michael! I know I have never met most of you in person but just from reading your blogs I feel like I already know most of you! It is so great to hear about the story you and Katie read to the class and I think the message behind it is such a powerful one. I loved the quote you used about love. True happiness does come from loving one another and being loved back and I LOVE that. Haha 🙂

    Katie I am missing you still like crazy! I hope you are still having a blast which I already know you are 🙂 I still can’t wait to read your post!! Every time I see a new one I automatically scroll to the bottom to see who signed it hoping it is from you! Not to say I don’t enjoy reading all of the posts because I really really do!! You are all such gifted writers/bloggers, and you have a way of making us all here at home feel like we are in Zambia with you!

    Oh and before I forget! Bachelorette update!! There are definitely some weirdo’s in this group of guys (like always) but I was disappointed that none of them were as hot as I was expecting! Maybe that’s just me, but I can’t wait till you watch it so we can gossip about it!! I miss you tons and love you bunches!! Xoxoxox

  13. Andre House says:

    Michael- Thank you for your inspiring reflection. We are so very proud of all of you and the wonderful “down to earth” love, inspiration and energy you’re bringing to Zambezi!

    Conner- Can’t believe our first born son will be turning 20 in Zambezi in a couple of days…..we miss you dearly and are truly appreciative of the blog updates. I think you all should write a book together- such a talented group of writers!

    Love you! Kiss, kiss- Mom, Dad and Chad.

  14. Mikaela Medeiros says:

    This is a beautiful reflection! I continue to be amazed with how much wisdom this group has and find myself thinking about the posts throughout my own day to day life. It’s clear from the progression of reflections that the group has taken to heart each post and that everyone is growing. We read about the initial rush of emotions, to a commitment to live in the moment, an embracing of life outside one’s comfort zone and the acceptance of fear. The blog has highlighted the importance of friendship, culture, and love. As a group you’ve recognized that you not only have a lot to give but also a lot you can learn from the Zambian people. As readers outside of Africa, we’ve had the great fortune of experiencing Zambia through your “beautiful” eyes, and in just two weeks, your profound reflections have already greatly affected us. Thank you to those that have posted in the first half, and I’m already looking forward to reading the reflections to come!

    H, I miss you so much and think about you constantly. I worry about you, but I also am positive you’re living life to the fullest in Zambia and making a big impact. So, keep smiling, sharing your heart, and spreading positivity with everyone you meet. Things are going well in here. I’m still enjoing my internship and had a very relaxing weekend. I have some exciting news! I bought tickets to go home and will be surprising Bobby on his birthday and getting to see you!!! Things seem to be going well in Reno. Bobby and Mom went 4 wheeling this weekend and had a lot of fun. The baseball season is wrapping up for him. Jack is still not walking- I think he’s waiting for us to come home! Liz and Dad are doing well too. We all send our love!! xo

  15. Kirsten Visco says:


  16. Hikaru says:

    Your picture is great, this may sound a bit creepy but Michael, I sense your happiness from that picture. And Jason, GAH! I’ve seen how googly you get when you’re GENUINELY happy and man-oh-man, I see it in that photo. You seem just present in the moment, happy to be alive. It’s great to see a picture of you! Michael, your post makes me blah inside because it hits a cord with me. As much as the Zambian children are seeking to be loved, I am too. Despite where we come from geographically, I think many of us are seeking to be loved. And it’s powerful knowing that we are capable of loving, fulfilling another’s quest.

    Please give the grade 7 students (Jackson, Stanley, John, it’s the group of rowdy boys) my love and give them all hugs and kisses for me!! 😉 😉
    Please say hello to John (student at Leadership class) he’s wonderful.

    Hi Mateo- you’re super cool, oww owwwww!
    Ambys- whenever I hear Suite and Tie by J.Timberlake I can’t help but think of the bombassadors shaking their hips like craaaaazy!
    Connor- Just take it in, but don’t look down.
    Jason- heart, heart, heart, wink. My two friends from home just make a spontaneous trip to Maui and they keep sending me pictures of the food… Ahi Poke and that’s IT. I’m coming to visit one day soon. Miss you, can’t wait for our coffee date!
    Josh- welcome welcome dear our visitors, we’re all happy today……… 🙂

    Sending lots of Love,

  17. Monte Marti says:

    Thank you for the post. This is awesome ~

    “We bring unmatched excitement to each project with our presence alone.”

    It is great to feel the excitement and enthusiasm. Embrace your excitement and embrace the excitement of the people you meet. By sharing this together ~ you all will find peace and love. That is what will help carry you all through the tough times. Enjoy the experience and share your smile. You make me smile. GOD BLESS! Monte

  18. Colleen Brajcich says:

    Thanks to all of the bloggers for sharing of themselves in such beautiful and candid ways. It makes those of us back home feel much more a part of your special journey. And I can’t help but notice how your experiences parallel those of Mother Teresa. Since I have the benefit of access to the internet, I looked up some pertinent quotes of this saintly woman to share with you:

    It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.

    God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.

    There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.

    I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.

    Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

    We can do no great things; only small things with great love.

    Michelle, Brian arrived home today and Robert & Kaitlyn worked on cleaning the boat. Hope to have it in the water before you get back! Grandpa read your block and was so choked up he spent an hour writing you a response but he decided to email it for you to read when you return because it was so long (if you know what I mean). Miss you and love you. Mom

  19. Brady says:

    Hanna – What a wonderful reflection. So great to hear from you! Sending love your way my dear.

    Thank you for all the beautiful posts.

    Always love.

    With agape,

    Josh, any Goats on Fire?

  20. Melissa Houglum says:

    Awesome reflection! Hope you all are doing well! Your post made me think of the Girls’ Brigade which meets at the Methodist church across from the market. Naomi leads an awesome group of girls there who are really practicing that very concept of being someone’s something beautiful. You guys should connect with Naomi and go to a meeting if you get the chance.
    Mateo–what’s up?? Hope you are showing everyone your sweet moves at the dance parties…lol!
    Brittany & Susan–That is so awesome you guys got to scrub in at Chitokoloki! Hope all is well with you and the health group. Sounds like you guys are having an amazing experience. I love hearing about HBC and what you guys have been up to!
    Josh–hopefully you secured the goat and no one got peed on or scorched by flames on the way back from Dipalada! Speaking of that, has anyone had the opportunity to kill a chicken yet? What about a goat…?!
    Much love to all of you from the States. We are loving reading all of your blogs and reflecting on our time in Zambezi.
    Kisu Mwane,
    Melissa Houglum

  21. Erin Dorsey says:

    Thank you Michael for your post. Everything you say is so true. Your posts serve as lifeline giving your friends and families a glimpse into what you are experiencing. I would imagine by now you are craving a hot shower and the familiar things of home. Hang in there. What you have created as a Zambezi 2013 group is community. I love that Delaney is a part of it! I wanted to share a piece from Meg Wheatley (Josh will know her well). She’s Cultural Anthropologist who focuses much of her work on the gifts of community. Keep up your good work in Zambezi. I’m so proud of all of you!!!

    There’s no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.
    Ask, “What is possible” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking.
    Notice what you care about.
    Assume that many others share your dream.
    Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
    Talk to people you know.
    Talk to people you don’t know.
    Talk to people you never talk to.
    Be intrigued by the differences you hear.
    Expect to be surprised.
    Treasure curiosity more than certainty.
    Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible.
    Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something.
    Know that creative connections come from new connections.
    Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.
    Real listening brings people together.
    Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.
    Rely on human goodness.
    Stay together.

    Love to Delaney.

  22. Reanne Charuhas says:

    Michael, though I do not know you, your vision speaks to my heart. The answer to any situation is love. This is because it works. Love always wins. Continue to fight this fight; you are making much more of an impact than you could ever imagine.

    To the one and only Conner House: I miss you very much. I am so proud of such a generous man I am honored to call my brother. Keep shinin’, keep loving, and don’t be afraid to “get dirty” in the lives of those who surround you. Thinking of your everyday, especially tomorrow for the BIG 2-0! All my love.

  23. Kathy Hobson says:

    Michael- all I can say is WOW. You continue to amaze me, I am so proud to be your “favorite” aunt 🙂 What a wonderful reflection and so very true.

    All the blogs are awesome and what a great experience for everyone!
    Much love,

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