24 December, 2008

Have you Heard what I Heard?

There is some interesting news out there. If our national media could get beyond the recession (which I think is only being made worse by the doomsday attitude of the news) you would see that a lot of other odd things are happening out there.

- A man is Mass set his house on fire because he was using a blowtorch to get ice off his porch.
- A really bad Santa impersonator made a stop at NORAD – which will “track” his trip about the world tonight.
- Bernard Madoff Ponzi managed to scheme billions for people around the world. Leading to one man’s suicide. (this is tragic and I hope they get this guy!)
- A water main in Bethesda, MD broke yesterday, gushing 150,000 gallons of water per minute down River Road.
- An airplane skidded off the runway in Denver on Tuesday. Several people were taken to the hospital, no one was killed. The spokesman for the investigating agency said it might take a year to figure out why the accident happened. “After all, it is cold out there.”
- And finally, a woman in the Sudan gave birth to quintuplets in MD last week. The Washington Post ran the story, including this picture in the Express (the rest of the story can be read here). The woman traveled from the Sudan to get the blessing of her mother in law (I think). She and her husband are planning on returning home with their bundles of joy.

SO, today is Christmas Eve. Last night it was really windy in the COS. And as I sat in my bed listening to the wind pound against the side of our house – I couldn’t help but remember that there were dozens of families sleeping outside. The Salvation Army in COS held a service this week for the homeless who have passed away on the streets. It’s a reality we tend to too easily forget about.

There was an ad in the paper today that read: Freedom Is… Having Enough to Help Others. It will be interesting to see what comes of our society as this time continues to play out. Will those with relative security reach out to those in need, or will we clasp our wealth close to the chest? Will donations to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks, etc. go up or down? My pastor reminded us that we must keep giving. For me, what I have is not mine anyway, and I cannot grasp in famine what I would give away in times of plenty. In Cambodia I challenged the group to tangibly get involved in the need they saw around them. It’s pathetic that we sit there and pray for someone’s heat to get turned back on, when we have the amount of her bill in our pockets and yet, don’t give it up. Or praying that so and so finds a home, when we use one bedroom of our five-bedroom houses.

I don’t think the US is being punished by God or whatever other people are saying out there. I think we are simply suffering the repercussions of our greed and living above our means and our self-indulgent natures.

On this Christmas Eve take a moment remember those in your town, your state, your country, your world, who have less. Pray how God would have you engage those needs in a tangible way. For those of us in the NGO world it is a scary time. If people clamp down hard on their wallets and stop giving (which is somehow always the first thing to get cut off the list, not eating out or cable or one of the seven magazine subscriptions) not only can we not serve those around the world who are in a “recession” every day – but we also face the loss of our jobs too.

Anyway, please pray for our nation that we would know what is really going on and respond to that and not what the media says is going on… Pray for those losing their jobs and for those now living without a home. Pray that you could somehow get engaged in people’s hard times.

Pray for:
- Zimbabwe where things continue to deteriorate (have you heard about this?) cholera continues to ravage the country, but their dictator won’t let people in to help.
- The DRC war continues to ravage the eastern side of that nation. Rebel leader Nkunda continues to stoke the fire for his (and Rwandas) greed as the Congolese people continues to be terrorized, raped, displaced, forced into slavery in the mines or into rebel armies. Families continue to be separated as the fighting increase. The UN pledged its presence there for another year (yay!) but are in dire need of troops, supplies, and funds.
- India. Pray for your brother and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted, tortured, having their possessions burned and being forced to convert to Hinduism. Pray for recovery of that nation as it comes back for those terrorist attacks. Pray for patience and clarity and that truth would win over hatred in that region.

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© Amanda Lunday