I learned a lot at Arba Minch. It was there that I first experienced a moment of true hopelessness. My grades were down and I had no one around me who understood what I was going through. I had disappointed my family and I had realized that I could no longer see the bright future that I had envisioned growing up. It felt like the walls were closing in and I wanted to give up. For one terrible week, I couldn't do anything but sleep in bed and think, my mind trying in vain to find a pathway to a future that seemed to be out of reach.

In the end, I found hope. I didn't find it because I figured out a way to reach my dreams; on the contrary, things looked even more hopeless. I didn't find hope in the artistically crafted words of an author of a book; I was simply not capable of focusing enough to read a book at the time.

I found hope in a simple idea that I had known from childhood. An idea that I had grown up with and, for the first time, became a part of me while I lay in my bed thinking. God has a purpose for my life. This simple, yet fundamental idea, became the driving force of my life. In it, I found the strength to hope that my life and my talents have not been wasted. I dared to hope that if I turned my back on the mistakes I had made and started afresh, I will lead a meaningful life.

Today, I share this in the hope that if you are at that point in your life where you have made so many mistakes and life is not going the way you want it to, there is hope for change. There is hope because, in spite of all your circumstances, God has a purpose for you.