Dan Nolta loves receiving Gifts of Hope from his children — gifts given in his honor to help a child or family across the world. One of his favorites so far has been the gift of a fishing kit. Here, Dan imagines who the recipient of his Gift of Hope of a fishing kit might have been…
It made sense when my children gave the Gift of Hope of a fishing kit in my honor.
Of all of the sports I have enjoyed, I would have to say that fishing is my favorite — and fly fishing my latest and perhaps all-time favorite way to catch fish. Especially on a fly I have tied myself. I have been deep sea fishing for salmon and halibut, and caught a lot of them. I have been stream fishing for trout and have caught an untold number. I have fished in streams, lakes and oceans, but have in later years been somewhat confined by retirement and age to fly fishing in lakes.
My all-time favorite place to fish is at Rock Island Lake Fishing Camp in British Columbia. They only have wild Kamloops trout in those lakes and they are my favorites to both catch and to eat, especially smoked. (Hopefully the Canadian border will be open in June, as we are booked again at Rock Island Lake.)
All of that to say, a few years ago my kids purchased the Gift of Hope of a fishing kit in my name.
Over the years, as a family we’ve been very involved with Holt. We became child sponsors many years ago, sponsoring children all over the world. One of my daughters went to work for Holt, and then later another daughter adopted two children through Holt from Uganda. We’ve also given each other Gifts of Hope of goats and chickens. But the fishing kit was especially fun since I’m an avid fan of fishing.
A fishing kit includes fishing line, hooks and a net, among other things. And while an enjoyable hobby, I know these tools for fishing can also change the life of a child and family living in poverty.
The Boy Who Received My Fishing Kit
I want you to imagine with me what that fishing kit might do in the skilled hands of a young boy of, let’s say 8 years old — which is about how old I was when I started fishing.
I think we can imagine this young boy… His name is Kamau and he lives in Uganda. He’s so excited to go out on a fishing expedition with his new Holt-purchased fishing kit tomorrow since it’s a day off from school! He was up late the night before studying his kit by candlelight, and dreamed all night long of catching fish.
Early the next morning, with the rising of the sun, he ate a hurried breakfast of chapati and some fruit and quietly left his small, thatched family hut, being sure not to wake his mother or his still-sleeping siblings. He headed down the still shadowed trail toward the river, being careful of the snakes that were so often seen near the trail. He was especially afraid that he would encounter a cobra or a black mamba.
Soon he arrived at the river. It was slightly colored by the mud from upstream, but looked promising for the day. He took the fishing kit from his pouch, being careful not to drop any of the precious hooks. After finding some worms in the muddy river bank, he baited his hook with one of the brown wiggly creatures. After saying a prayer for success to the God he had been introduced to by his local pastor, he twirled the line over his head and let it fly into the river.
He let the line settle. As it began to drift in the current there was a sharp tug and it was “fish on”! And then it was “fish on” again and then “fish on” again! Over and over, until he had more than enough to help feed his family. He could not wait to proudly proclaim his success!
As he entered his little village and came close to his hut, his entire family came out to see if he had success. As any good fisherman following a successful fishing trip, he beamed with pride as his family danced around him with obvious joy.
Kamau’s family not only enjoyed the fish that day, but for many days into the future. His father and siblings joined in too, and before long they regularly had enough leftover to sell in the market to help provide extra income for their family.
Kamau’s fishing kit is a powerful lesson for those who have so much. It is a lesson and a challenge to us to give in the name of Christ.
In the meantime, this old man will only live on dreams of his past fishing expeditions until he can actually get back to the stream or lake and try his hand at fishing, his favorite sport.