Peace and Dignity to All

Peace and Dignity

I just finished watching the coverage of the inauguration of the forty-fourth President of the United States. Now that was an inspiring moment. Millions of people, if not billions, were watching around the world as Barack Obama pronounced “that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.” His message stressed that the welfare of all people around the world is connected. This is something that people with a deep spirituality have known for a long time.

A number of people who are part of our congregation have experienced this connection. Some have worked overseas in developing countries, trying to share their knowledge and skills in a way that will benefit impoverished people. They have made friends in other countries and have had a chance to learn from them.

I have had few chances to travel but my family has had the opportunity to host people who have come to work and learn where we live. While we offered food and shelter, our guests brought us more than we gave them. Juan, a doctor from Colombia, taught me a little guitar and shared sad and hopeful stories from his fractured country. Nahed, from Egypt, spent an afternoon making stuffed grape leaves for us and taught us about Islam. Zhong Lu, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, taught me some of the principles of balancing life that promote health. We have hosted people from three different continents, seven different countries and know that all of them had the same hopes for peace and health in our world that we have. Though we offered them a home, I often felt that I wanted to give something to the communities that sent them with so many gifts for us.

We have been blessed to have another visitor in our community, though he is not staying with us but will be staying with a family from our church. Benard is working as a teaching assistant at Willowgrove Primary School. He comes from Uganda, where many girls don't get a proper education because, when they live at home, they are expected to do so many chores that they don't have time to study. His school plans to build a girls dormitory so that girls can study more. Our congregation is excited about raising money for this school because we know that a future of peace and dignity for all includes giving Ugandan girls a good education. We are planning a fundraising concert for February 21 at Parkview Home.

It is a great joy in life to meet a traveller and to know that God brought us together as friends, each with a gift for the other.

By Pastor Cameron Kaufman-Frey

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