a group of children standing on top of a hill smile widely at the camera

Remember The Little Engine That Could?

It’s the story about a little blue train that comes in to save the day for children on the other side of the mountain. 

The story begins with a small red engine carrying all sorts of goodies and treats for the children in the next town. Her cars are stuffed with toys, candy, stuffed animals, and even milk and vegetables. 

But as she ascends the mountain, her train stops, dead in the tracks. She pushes and strains and blows her whistle with all her might, but she can’t get her train to move an inch.

Desperate to accomplish her mission, the little red train begins looking for another engine to help. She finds three larger engines who could save the day with very little effort. Each one has an excuse. 

        “I’ve been working all day and I’m tired. It’s time for me to go home.”
        “I can’t help pull toys for children. I’m designed to work with important people. I can’t possibly carry these silly things.”
        “I’m sorry. I’m too old. I can’t possibly help.”

One by one, each train chugged its way down the tracks, leaving the little red engine, and her supplies, stranded.

The next train the red engine found was the little blue engine. As the story goes, the little blue engine is the tiniest in the fleet. 

“I am not very big,” said the little blue engine. “They use me for switching trains in the yard. I’ve never been over the mountain.”

“But we must get these toys to the children,” cried the dolls and elephants.

The little engine thought long and hard and began to say, “I think I can. I think I can. YES! I think I can. I think I can.”

Inch by inch, rail by rail, the little blue engine pulled the train all the way up and over the mountain to the town filled with excited and thankful little boys and girls. The little blue train smiled to himself thinking, “I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.” And he did!

I grew up on this story, as did my kids. It’s had a shelf life long past 1920 when it was originally published. But I never noticed the similarity of this story to the story of the Good Samaritan. Do you see it? 

In the story of the Good Samaritan, there’s a broken down human on the side of the road. Three able-bodied people pass him by, each with their own excuse for not stopping to help. And then finally, the least likely of all stops to help, to provide emergency relief and support, to bring light where darkness loomed.

I wonder if that Good Samaritan said to himself, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Guess what, generous donor? YOU’RE THE LITTLE BLUE ENGINE! 

That’s right. Every time you pray, or share a social post, or send in your monthly donation, you’re making a decision to help vulnerable children and families overcome a mountain of poverty and injustice. You’re making sure they aren’t stuck on a track to destruction, but are moved along the path to life, hope, and opportunity. You are the light in what can be a very dark world.

You don’t make excuses…

        “I’m too old to make a difference in a child’s life.”
        “I’m too important to be concerned about feeding hungry families.”
        “I’m too tired to protect little girls from exploitation and abuse.”

Not you. Instead, with each gift, your heart says, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” 

And you do! You are the Good Samaritan for the children, women, and families that you serve in India. You offer emergency relief to hungry families, compassionate healthcare to the sick, and hope for a better future to over 23,000 children through education and skills training. 

Every gift you give and prayer you whisper speaks of your kindness, your compassion, and your willingness to help when so many others pass on by.

So in this month of warm, gushy, Valentine greetings, thank you, Dear Partner! Thank you for believing you can rescue, reclaim, and re-imagine bright futures for those society too often ignores.

You thought you could. So you did.