I remember walking the grassy fields of Auschwitz in the summer of 2002, trying to contemplate just how many millions of people had perished there.

A million people is a hard concept to grasp.

Millions of people even harder.

And that these lives hadn’t lived and died in the naturally occurring order of life, but instead were brutally snuffed out, was an almost unthinkable equation.

“You can’t think of them as millions,” said Vincent Fernandez, sensing my obvious frustration. Vincent has become a man who Jennifer I consider our French Pastor and our French PaPa. And for good reason: leaders that call great things out of you and challenge you to higher realms of being deserve such titles. “You must think of them as one, plus one, plus one.”

He took a few steps and then turned around. “And everywhere you set your foot, you must remember that someone died there.”

“One, plus one, plus one.”

I wept bitterly. The millions had stopped being numbers and started being people.

Like most tourists who visit her hallowed grounds, Auschwitz changed me. Deeply. The moments I spent there have bled into the rest of my life, namely this:

We change the world when we change one life. Because life is made up of ones.



Fabio-Yaël Fernandez · 10 Nov ’14 at 1:04 pm

“We change the world when we change one life” Wow, I love that!

    Christopher Hopper · 10 Nov ’14 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks, Yaël. Forever indebted to “our” family for leaving lasting impressions on my heart.

Nathan Reimer · 10 Nov ’14 at 1:28 pm

Such a powerful reminder. Thanks for sharing.

    Christopher Hopper · 10 Nov ’14 at 1:32 pm

    And thank you for reading, Nathan. Glad it helps.

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