Friday, March 11, 2011

Finding Peace during Difficult Times

Everywhere we look lately there is trouble. We see innocent civilians killed and maimed in wars and civil unrest throughout the world. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornados are destroying lives, homes, and cities. It is easy to become discouraged, and even depressed, as we see the devastation throughout the world.

As we grieve for the many millions who suffer, starve, or die, we can find peace when we pray for them. Whenever we hear of a catastrophe, we can pray for the people who are suffering. We can ask God to comfort and bless them. We can pray for peace.

We can also do something to ease the suffering in the world. I like to donate to Kiva, where microloans are given to needy people so they can start a small business. When the loan is repaid, I lend the $25 to someone else. Before we donate, we need to make certain that the site is safe and that the money goes directly to those in need--and not to wealthy administrators of the organization.

In our church, we collect donations each week for women and children who flee abusive situations to go to shelters in our city. We gather toiletries, diapers, books, games, quilts, school supplies to bring comfort and love to the 2000 individuals who enter these shelters each year. Elderly women in our city also knit scarves and hats to place in the kits.

One young woman in our neighborhood recently spent four months in Ghana, caring for orphans, teaching sanitation and nutrition to villagers, and supplying a remote village with medical supplies. Her service made a huge difference in the lives of others and transformed her own life as well.

She writes, "From September to December I at the age of 20 took off a semester of school, and went to Ghana by myself to volunteer my time. I did not go with a program. While there I was able to teach all levels of health to the village of Antwikwaa. I fundraised back home, started a medical clinic in a village that has never had a single medical supply within its reaches. When I went to say goodbye to my village the chiefs voted, and had come to the decision to make me queen mother aka nana mckell. It was an entire day process of carrying me through the village, sacrificing whiskey to the gods, drumming, dancing, singing, speeches, and by far the most humbling amazing experience I could ever ask for. By far the best adventure of the year, and more particularly my life. It was not an ordinary adventure in that it changed me emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I'm in close contact with the village, the medical clinic is running smoothly, and I hope to be back within the next couple years! "

Whether we do something big or small, every prayer we offer, every donation we make, and every act of service we give makes a difference. When millions of people in the world join together to love, serve, and care for one another, we will begin to turn suffering into peace.

Let us begin today.

© Carol Brown

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