June 1, 2011 GOOD NEWS IN THE MIDST OF BAD NEWS
Welcome to TODAY’S ENLIGHTENMENT . Our theme for this blog is HOPE.We have chosen this theme because through our personal experience and observations we believe that we are living in a time when hope is needed all over the world. Every day we hear and see bad news – on TV, the internet, newspapers, and from people we know. There is war, natural disasters, crime, physical, mental, and emotional suffering. As well, not a day goes by that we do not hear of trouble in the lives of people around the world.
It is often said, that a constant diet of bad news can lead to hopelessness. How often we have heard “things are bad and getting worse”? The purpose of our blog is to be a source of Hope where there seems to be none… Good news in the midst of the bad… and Joy where there seems to be only sadness. We call this Blog TODAY’S ENLIGHTENMENT because we want to enlighten you with good news. It is our sincere desire this enlightenment will provide hope, which in turn can help you feel joy, even as you live in a troubled world. One small light in the midst of darkness has the possibility to enlighten one life, if not the world, one day at a time. We ourselves hope we can be part of that light.
Today we’ll begin with summaries of recent good news stories, based on reports from United Methodist News Service.
HAITI – During the earthquake three American United Methodist missionaries, who were working on projects intended to improve the lives of the Haitian people, were trapped in the rubble of a building for a few days. Two of them died. One survived with serious injuries. He has since returned to Haiti at least ten times to continue his work. Despite this tragedy he has not given up hope for a better life for the people ofHaiti.
Bahama Methodist Habitat was one of the first organizations to respond to the earthquake in Haiti. The organization mobilizes pilot volunteers in response to disasters and hosts mission teams year-round to repair homes for low-income families. The organization’s 25 year old Executive Director, Abraham McIntyre says “I never thought of moving to or serving in the Caribbean.” So why he is he serving there? “Being able to serve allows a full-circle effect, knowing that so many people have poured into my life… It’s God that has me down here”. The service of this organization and its leader helps provide a sense of hope for people inHaiti and otherCaribbean nations.
JAPAN – In response to the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, a number of Christian organizations cooperated in supporting church-directed relief work. The director of the youth center there says “None of us are experts on relief work, but we have gathered volunteers and have been reaching out to the community …Each day new people join us…Young people are at the center of the planning and organizing… I want our churches in the U.S. to know that the seeds we planted in faith have taken root in so many young people in this country (Japan). God is alive in each of them, whether they know it or not. And we are blessed to be a sign of hope for the world.”
Pastor Genung-Yamamoto, of West Tokyo Union Church, told her congregation what she had seen at another church, which apparently had been destroyed. “I saw groups of Christians working together. Theological differences are not an issue now as everyone pulls together. It’s spring, and new life and new hope come. Out of the mud will come new growth.”
AFRICA – The World Health Organization reports that in Africa a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds. The United Methodist Church is engaged in a campaign to eradicate deaths from malaria. One sign of hope that this campaign will be successful comes from Rev. Mary Kathryn Pearce, pastor ofProspectUnitedMethodistChurch inDunlap,IL (USA). Each year she personally donates $1,000 to this cause, and encourages her congregation to match that amount. Total giving has been at least $3,500 a year. Recently the church gave $50,000. She comments “When you immerse people into needs – local, regional, and global – and find avenues in which they can be immersed, lives are changed – inside and out…This challenge… is do-able and attainable.”
SOUTHEASTERN USA – In the wake of tornados which caused so much damage and destruction, the good news is that people of various economic backgrounds, races, and religions have come together to help each other in the recovery. Rev. Joe Miller, a pastor in Mount Tabor, Tennessee, speaking of the members of the church, says “they are strong willed-people and close to their faith. I believe these people will come out of it.” Rev. Matt Lacey, a United Methodist Church official in Alabama was said to be overwhelmed by hundreds of phone calls and e-mails offering help during the recovery process. He reported “Today we have begun to distribute relief through the various districts…We are currently establishing a network of ‘home base’ churches in affected areas to assist in storing supplies, staging volunteers and housing those affected..” Mike Yoder, a church official in Georgia says “ Thank goodness, we’ve been inundated with trained volunteers in our local area.” Even as these people are grieving and suffering due to their losses, they offer hope to each other, and to us.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site.This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.