just one student can do great things with very few resourcesIt began on a Saturday afternoon when Ale, a member of ABUA, the IFES movement in Argentina, was on his way to a meeting… ‘A few metres from my house I came across a wonder of nature – a hummingbird chick. I admire these wonderful, colourful birds, with their quick movements and apparent fragility. I could not miss this opportunity of a lifetime, a gift from God.’ So Ale picked up the tiny creature and took it home. Soon others began to see God through this little bird. A visiting friend remarked, ‘God has visited your house.’ Ale, who was now blogging daily about Pica the hummingbird, commented: ‘Does God visit people through hummingbirds? The Bible says in the letter of Paul to the Romans that we can know the invisible God if we reflect on what he has created. (Romans 1:20). I don’t know about you, but I have no doubt that God made this beautiful baby bird.’ As Ale continued his thoughtful blog, recording everything in fascinating videos, more and more people heard about little Pica - about his wounded leg, his diet, his attempts to fly – and the biggest newspaper in Argentina even published his story. People loved this feisty little bird, and one day Ale received a birthday party invitation which seemed more for Pica than for him! ‘My identity is being attacked!’ Ale wrote with a smile. ‘That makes me wonder. Do we find our identity in what we do? In what we have? In what we care for? In what we like? What is our identity? Most importantly, what ought our identity to be?’ Pica was to have only a short life with Ale – his foot problems were a symptom of a disease that afflicts birds – so we have only 20 days of their life together recorded in the blog. But what a life! What an impact Ale’s blog has had, as it raised questions of who we are, the fragility of life, and how we care for things around us. The blog also raises interesting questions about how we use modern media to reach into the lives of others. Several months before finding Pica, Ale had been asked by the General Secretary of ABUA to make a presentation on social media, so he had already familiarised himself with the web and its influence on others. The popularity of the Picatwitter Project is a clear example of how what we post on the web can get to places we never imagined. Ale also shared on one of Latin America’s most famous virtual communities, and Pica’s story became one of the ten most valued among 7 million entries for more than four months. Writes Ale, ‘This is the web we have today, a hotbed of ideas, a platform to express, share, experience … Could anyone have imagined that Pica would impact more than 200,000 people in a short time?’ Ziel Machado, Regional Secretary of Latin America, sees another important lesson in the story of Pica: ‘It’s amazing how such a "small thing” can touch the heart of the whole country, how just one student can do great things with very few resources. When we think in terms of proportion it is quite something – just a tiny bird and a young man! First we should keep our eyes open for the needs, for the opportunities and then think, “What can I really do?” And then we must do. Our resources may be small or few, just what is in our hands. But wait until God takes them into his hands!’ Give thanks that we serve such an amazing God, who can use a little bird and the faithfulness of one student to bring glory to his name. Pray for students, and for each of us, to be quick to use the resources that God has given us to proclaim his greatness.
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