One friend recently described it as “passion fatigue.” Home after home. Story after story. Tears upon tears. Desperation. Poverty. Hopelessness.

We’ve seen it all, heard it all, and choked back as many tears as we can. We’re passionate about helping and passionate about finding solutions, but, over time, fatigue sets in and you start to doubt. You doubt that you’re making any difference at all. You doubt that it’s worth it. If you can’t get to all of them, then why even try?

Syria is in the midst of a horrific civil war, while at the same time, ISIS is attempting to sweep across Syria and Iraq. This has left millions without a permanent home, food, education, or a future. I’ve sat in their homes and tents. Hugged them. Cried with them. Most of the time, they just want to be near someone who will listen to their story. At the end of my time with them they will often say something like, “Thank you for coming to my home and listening to my story.” The sense of hopelessness is palpable.

It can feel like our efforts are just a tiny drop in a big bucket. And they are.

If we don’t start with a drop at a time, how will we ever make a difference? Just because it’s only a drop at a time doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. It’s worth it. I keep telling myself that, even when it feels like defeat. It’s worth it. Every food drop. Every blanket. Every opportunity to put their children back in a classroom. It’s worth it. Tiny drops in a big bucket. But totally worth it.

Recently, I spent some time with a family that fled Iraq after their lives had been threatened multiple times. The youngest daughter drank from a bottle of milk while we talked. The oldest daughter cried and threw a serious temper tantrum. Our host finally translated and said that the oldest daughter is crying because she’s hungry and wants milk too, but that bottle is their last bottle so they have to give it to the youngest. My heart broke. We walked out and our host who visits homes like this every single day hung his head low. He gently kicked the tires of a car parked on the curb. He wiped is eyes and you could tell he was completely emotionally spent. One person in our group put his hand on our host’s shoulder and said simply, “You’re doing great work, man.”

Every drop counts. Even when we hang our heads low and feel defeated. It’s another drop in the bucket. It makes a difference. We will (and must) press on.

Colorado is home | Privileged to share amazing stories of hope from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia through | Former Beijinger | Fly fisherman