Triumph Archive

Omar’s Journey: Coming to America

Posted December 31, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The young boy was frightened awake from his slumber on the dirt hut floor by gunfire in his village. The rebels had staged another early morning attack. They drove through shooting anything that moved. Amazing how civil war and bloodshed had become routine. He’d come to expect it and like other African boys, he’d quickly developed the skills needed to keep himself from being captured by the rebels. There was a premium price for young boys that could be brainwashed and taught to fight against the government.

The country Somelia and this young boy dreamed of a land he’d been told about by a missionary. It was called “Merica” and if he could just swim far enough to get there, he would be free.

Omar grew up in this tyranny, all the while dreaming of coming to America. One day, he got his chance. He and a few other of his twenty-seven siblings snuck out of village under the cover of darkness and made their way across two countries to a refugee camp. Seeing their scars from countless attacks, they US embassy officials finally granted them sponsorship to the US.

Omar took every job he could to earn money and send it home to free the rest of his family. Finally, he discovered he could become an over-the-road truck driver and make enough money for his entire family. He has been driving for six years and because of the opportunity he found in the United States, almost every one of his family members have made it to our country. His country. Omar is now proud to be an American citizen. 

Omar will viciously defend our great nation against anyone who speaks badly about it. He has lived through the worst of circumstances and clearly sees the blessing he has in America. He is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a truck. He is polite, respectful, diligent, and now quite successful. 

I sat and talked to Omar for quite some time. I drank in his enthusiasm.  It was my honor to meet this fellow patriot. He is a hero in his quiet sort of way. Even though he was born on foreign soil, this man is as patriotic as they come. He proves that the heartbeat of America is alive and well!



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Impossible is Only a Word

Posted January 20, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Decades ago in Nicaragua, a young man had a dream of playing a guitar for the Pope. People didn’t believe he would ever do it. In fact, they thought he was chasing pipe dreams. Here’s why:


  • Tony was from a tiny village. No one notable had ever come from that village.
  • The Pope had never come to that village and Tony had no means to get out of it.
  • His family was very poor.


Oh, did I mention Tony didn’t have a guitar and didn’t know how to play?

Oh wait… there’s something else. Tony had no arms. As a result of thalidomide his mother took while pregnant, Tony Melendez was born with no arms.

With all those things going against him, there was no way Tony would ever live his dream. Right? Ummm, no.

On September 15, 1987, he sang Never Be the Same while playing his guitar for the Pope with his feet!

I learned about Tony when his first book, A Gift of Hope, was published in 1989. I’ve never seen him play. I’ve never heard anyone else mention his name, and yet, I’ve NEVER forgotten his story. Why? Because Tony taught me that impossible is just a word.

Every time I think I can’t do something, inevitably Tony comes to mind. He didn’t let the mere fact that he has no arms prevent him from living his dream of playing the guitar for the Pope. Since there is NO challenge I face that is of that magnitude, I’m encouraged… and challenged to trudge onward in pursuit of my dreams.

What about you? Do you consider impossible a word or a brick wall that separates you from living your dream? Publishing houses went out of business last year. You’ve gotten a bazillion rejection letters. You had to move out of your house in the snow and your computer slid on the ice from Michigan to Alaska.

Okay, I get it. Those are challenges to be sure but do they really prevent you from living your dream? Really? I don’t think so. Neither should you.

You should dream. And since you’re dreaming, might as well dream big. And if you’re dreaming big, there should be NOTHING that you’ll accept as a reason to not continue pursuing it. Not deadlines, negative feedback or even NO ARMS!

You see, I have it on good authority—a no armed man who played the guitar for the pope—that impossible is only a word.

 What seemingly impossible thing stands in the way of you living your dream? Share it here!

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