I recently received an email from Kit Cummings, who is doing amazing and courageous work with youth and with inmates through the Power of Peace program, that made me stop and think. And after thinking, I decided I needed to share this email, along with a little more information about the work of the Power of Peace and some some specific thoughts about purpose, with you.
First here is the email:
Hello My Friend,
I know you are busy, but please take a minute and read this important request. I would not bother you if it wasn’t important…
I am continuing my very important and potentially dangerous monthly missions into Tijuana’s roughest areas to help rescue kids caught in the crossfire of international drug cartels and neighborhoods controlled by drug lords (I head back on July 16th for another week spreading the Power of Peace– and also going into the toughest Mexican prisons to try and stop the violence with the children when these men return home). Will you help me? I need your prayers… Please sponsor a beautiful Tijuana kid today and help me continue this vital mission throughout 2016. I need you– please spread the word– and click the link below to see how you can help.(I do not receive government support or funding– I support myself)
“Until a person has found something that they are willing to die for, then they are not fit to live.” (MLK) Well I have found mine: World Peace through our youth. While the world argues about walls, tunnels, and trafficking, we are building bridges of hope and peace between the youth– and giving them a voice.
If for some reason you cannot provide financial support, then please send this to someone that would care about this timely mission work. God bless you and yours for your continued prayers and support!
I’ve known Kit and admired his work for some time, but it was clear when I started reading this email that he had taken things to another level. And when I hit the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King quote, “Until a person has found something that they are willing to die for, then they are not fit to live,” Kit really grabbed my attention. Kit is a straightforward guy and wouldn’t tell me he’d found something for which he’s willing to die if it weren’t true. One question has been on my mind ever since: have I found something I’m prepared to die for? Have you?
Here’s a little more about the work for which Kit is prepared to die:
About The Power of Peace
The Power of Peace Project began in one of the most violent and dangerous maximum security prisons in America in the midst of a gang war. Founder Kit Cummings challenged twelve prisoners: young and old; white, black, and Latino; Christian, Muslim and Jew; most of whom were gang affiliated and doing life sentences; convicts with nothing to lose… He challenged them to commit to a forty day peace pledge in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in January of 2011. They signed publicly and dedicated themselves to seven non-violent principles, daily journaling and action challenges, weekly small group discussions with their rivals, and lively debates on world-changing peacemakers from the twentieth century. They were challenged to see if they could live in peace within the walls and razor wire of Georgia’s worst prison. They did more than that: they brought peace to that prison for a magical season and that prison won “Institution of the Year” among all the other state prisons—something that hadn’t happened in the previous 23 years since that facility opened… A powerful peace movement had begun, and it was born in a place where people thought it was impossible.
Over the past five years the Power of Peace Project has spread to dozens of prisons in the U.S. and impacted literally thousands of inmates. Kit has planted seeds of peace in prisons in South Africa, Ukraine, Honduras, Mexico, and up next is Guatemala. POPP has launched the project in schools across the country as well, as thousands of students have taken the forty days of peace challenge and become young POPP Peacemakers in their communities. Everyone wants peace and the world is ripe for it like never before. This young generation has never witnessed a peace movement, and they are hungry for one of their own. Well now they have one: The Power of Peace Project.
In 2016 Kit met Jeff Wadstrom and they quickly became friends. Jeff had launched a program working with kids in one of the most dangerous areas of Tijuana in the crossfire of cartels, drug lords, street gangs, and corrupt officials. Letics Sports and Bridge to the Future had discovered a powerful connection between soccer, youth, and peace. A safe haven began developing with the assistance and support of these local rival organizations to provide a space for these at-risk youth to escape the danger of Tijuana’s perilous streets. Kids were not only getting off the streets and avoiding the gang life, but they were being raised up by one of the best soccer clubs in Baja and beyond. Some of these kids were even being signed to Mexican professional soccer contracts. Young lives were being changed and their numbers quickly grew to over 200 players.
There was a natural fit between the Letics Sports Soccer Club and the Power of Peace Project. Many of these kids have fathers that are caught up in the criminal life, or are locked up in Mexican prisons. Either way the kids are the ones who suffer the most. These boys and girls are desperate for hope and end up following the wrong examples and very unhealthy role models. Many are on their way to incarceration or even worse. Kit and Jeff began to develop a plan to bring the Power of Peace to the prisons and juvenile correctional facilities south of the border, and prepare the fathers to get out, go home, and raise their kids—to prayerfully avoid the trouble and danger that was heading their way. They would also give the boys and girls of Tijuana a voice and become the champions of peace in an area known for violence, drug cartels, trafficking, murder, and tunnels. Once again magic is happening, and many who are desperately searching for solutions are beginning to pay attention.
While the world argues over elections, walls, tunnels, trafficking, and immigration (which ARE important issues) Letics Sports, Bridge to the Future, and the Power of Peace Project are building bridges of hope and peace between the youth on BOTH sides of the border.
Find Something You’re Prepared To Die For
Of course I think the work Kit is doing and the mission of The Power of Peace Project are fantastic, and I am supporting them. I hope you will too. But the energy behind this post is to encourage you to look inwards, as it is encouraging me to do so.
“Until a person has found something that they are willing to die for, then they are not fit to live.”
This is a profound idea and it leads to a seminal question: have you found something you are prepared to die for? It might sound trite, but a life lived with that intensity of meaning and purpose is a life truly lived, a life lived with the willingness to risk everything is the most fully engaged and richest and most passionate life. Don’t you want a rich, passionate and full life? The easy answer is “Yes, but not just yet.” But if not now, when? And even if you are not ready yet, surely this is a call to push harder on finding something on which you are prepared to risk a little more than a monthly deduction for the United Way Fund.
This is not to suggest you risk your life for something in which you don’t find this passion, rather that you open up and allow yourself be led into this level of passion. I suggest each and every one of us should take on the challenge of seeking out something for which we are prepared to die, for as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King told us, only this can give our lives real meaning.