‘The series of events that changed the course of my life,” Bryan author Stephen H. Vincent writes, “started with an email exchange.”

Vincent, a member of the Texas A&M class of ’73, had an idea for providing solar lighting to villages in the developing world. He pitched his plan to Samuel Dixon Jr. with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and that led to further email exchanges as Dixon told Vincent about a hospital in Liberia in desperate need of electricity.

They met for lunch in the spring of 2008, and Vincent elaborated on his solar idea. “We would love to help with your project,” Dixon replied, “if you can help with the hospital in Ganta, Liberia.”

And that changed Vincent’s life. He tells about his experience in Liberia — and previous work in Haiti — in his inspirational book, When Faith Lights the Way: The Quest to Restore Electricity to a War-Ravaged African Hospital (Fedd Books, $18.99 paperback).

With several friends, he formed a nonprofit organization they called Power From the SON, “which was a play on ‘solar power’ and the ‘Son of God.’ ” A year later, they found themselves in Liberia, and most of the book is about their important work there. Vincent has returned to Liberia four times since and also has ventured into Honduras to provide electricity for a Methodist orphanage.

“We have no way of knowing how many lives we have touched,” Vincent says of Power From the SON. “We do know that our lives have been changed.”

He compares his experiences to being in a boat on a river. While it may be safe inside the boat, Vincent writes that stepping out of the boat is how he came to understand his life’s true purpose: “to make an impact in my community and the world.”

“I hope that in learning about my journey,” he adds, “you might be encouraged to venture off course and step out of your safe, comfortable boat.”

Dichos

Journalist and conservationist Joseph J. Keenan, author of Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish, has lived and traveled extensively in Latin America. He has compiled a new book, Dichos: The Wit and Whimsy of Spanish Sayings (University of Texas Press, $17.95 paperback), exploring nearly 300 old and new expressions, proverbs and folk wisdom.

“One of the most challenging — and entertaining — aspects of learning another language is the idioms,” Keenan writes.

Each dicho in the book includes its English translation and a brief explanation of its meaning.

“If you are learning Spanish,” says Keenan, “these expressions will help you understand it a bit more deeply. If you already are intimate with Spanish, these dichos may rekindle some long-ago memories.”


Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

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