Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Berlin Walls of Today

World War II ended just weeks after my birth. The Cold War was in full swing during my childhood and youth. Swarms of returning soldiers were landing in their homeland during those years. Warily, my sister and I checked the porch roof for soldiers before we tucked ourselves into bed at night. When the shrill air raid siren from our local town screamed loud and long on a school day, we students clambered to hide under the school desk until the "threat of danger" had passed. The Russians and Communism were a real world threat. US Army planes overhead and the words "Maybe the Russians are coming" would send shivers of fear through my whole body. Krushav, the Russian leader's threat "we will bury you" was a familiar line known by everyone...from children to the hoary head. . We never dreamed we'd live to see the day when the powers of communism woud lie in ruin. The Berlin Wall separated family members and friends in that German city for so many years. It was a wonderful testimony of God's prevailing power when communism fell in 1989 and the Berlin Wall came down piece by piece.
But as long as humanity exists and the prince of darkness has a measure of liberty, people will hate and destroy each other.
Recently I came to this website and pondered.
The article states there are five walls existing today.
#1- The Israel/Palestine "Separation barrier". The Israeli's proposed a physical barrier in 2002 to prevent terrorists from entering Israeli territory. When we visited Israel in 2008, we observed first hand some of the severe hardships this barrier creates for ordinary, non-violent citizens of the West Bank.
#2- US/Mexico border fence. In 2006 a 700 mile long fence on the US/Mexico was approved by the US government. A majority of Americans support building a fence along the entire border. We have been eyewitnesses of this "wall" and some of the ramifications involved.
#3- The Korean Demilitarized Zone- This heavily militarized zone divides North and South Korea since WWII.
#4- The Wagah Border Crossing (India-Pakistan) The border between these two countries has been relatively peaceful for the past six decades. But in Wagah, a divided town hosts the only road link between India and Pakistan, their rivalry is displayed every night. During a ritual ceremony the India and Pakistan soldiers pass within six inches of each other every night with the "legal line" between them before shutting down the road and lowering their flags. Their animosity is waning as evidenced by the ceremony that now ends with a brief handshake between the rival soldiers.
#5- The Great Firewall of China- China's Ministry of Information Industry has manned the world's largest Internet censorship and filtering system. About 40,000 cyber police monitor the country's Internet users. While it may not be a physical wall, the users are not permitted to access the complete World Wide Web which limits their interaction with the outside world.
These boundaries and walls between nations and peoples are a sad commentary on humanity. And I think of a familiar hymn by Kirk & Deby Dearman based on a prayer by St Francis of Assisi (13th century)
Lord, make me an instrument of you peace,
Where there is hatred let Your love increase,
Lord, make us instruments of Your peace,
Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease
When we are Your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, let me show love
Where there is injury, we will never judge,
Where there is striving, we will speak His peace
To the people crying for release
We will be Your instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight,
Where there is darkness, we will shine His light.
Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief,
To the millions crying for release
We will be Your instruments of peace.

Let the walls of pride and prejudice come down.......for His glory!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shipping Out

Over the years, our place has become somewhat of a mini- distribution center for various causes. It is not a job that was officially assigned to us but it is one we enjoy.
Today I dragged this pile of bags down from the attic where they have been waiting . Tomorrow we plan to attend the Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) open house near Ephrata. So they will begin the journey to who-knows-where. Included in the stash is outgrown clothing, sewing supplies, several comforters from our sewing circle group, used Sunday School material and empty pill bottles. Neighbors, friends and church people have all made their contribution to the collection.
For many years we collected used Sunday School books to send to Nigeria where they were used at a youth camp. But the duty fees for them to receive the boxes became too costly for their budget. So now we send them to CAM for distribution instead.

Another project of the day was to prepare this stack of boxes to be sent to Northern Youth Programs (NYP) . Many of the contents are donations from our congregation. The ladies sewing circle is sending a box with six baby comforters for a missionary to distribute to native mothers. Our church's annual kitchen linen project for NYP yielded almost 100 tea towels, 42 dish cloths, a dozen hot pads, plus some hand towels, a bath towel and a few wash cloths. One dear older sister canned 15 qt of green beans out of the summer abundance. A young woman went on a shopping spree and hopes to bless her friends in the North with several boxes of personal items. Of course, we added some things to send to my brother and his family who live at Sioux Lookout where they serve the Lord and the church. An older couple in our church plans to pick up the boxes next week. They graciously offered to collect the boxes at several locations north of Harrisburg and take them to Lebanon where they will be loaded on a truck to take their long journey up the north road.
Next month our church plans to assemble Christmas bundles for the Shining Light Children's Home in Tijuana. Last year we had the special privilege of personally distributing them to the children when we visited the Shining Light Home. How blessed we are to be part of the whole chain of those who "distribute to the necessity of the saints" around the world!
The next thing I'd like to ship out is the mice that are invading our domain this week! We do not feel blessed by their presence!
But who would want them? So the question remains...where do we ship them? Russia, China, Haiti, Mexico, Canada , Timbuktu...or Mifflinburg? Maybe on the back porch to the CAT.