It’s late November and sandwiched tightly between our travel plans, meal preparation, shopping delirium and inevitable family drama, hopefully, will come a few moments of gratitude. We do have, after all, an entire day designated for it.
One person I know doesn’t have any problem opening himself up to feelings of gratitude. He doesn’t view the glass as simply half full, but rather, he marvels at the wonder of the glass itself. And that may be because he knows so well that there are so many folks out there with no glass set before them at all.
That person is Balbir Mathur, who immigrated from India in 1958. Balbir is about to retire from the organization he founded here in Wichita called Trees for Life. Balbir and his wife Treva have worked tirelessly since starting the group in 1984, toward the goal of being servants to the poorest around the world - not reaching down to them with handouts but joining hands with them as they learn to do for themselves.
There were many years when the Mathurs had no idea how they were going to pay their utility bills as they drained their own savings in an attempt to keep Trees for Life from being felled by the heavy ax of financial pressures. Somehow they persevered, eventually seeing their organization’s seed planting come to fruition. Balbir waited patiently for the small sproutings that gradually grew into the effective entity that Trees for Life is today.
People in the villages of Liberia, Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Paraguay, among many other countries, reap the fruits of Balbir’s Trees for Life. Thanksgiving may not be an official holiday in those villages, but I know many people there are full of gratitude for the work of Balbir and Treva Mathur.