Our Diakonia bin, the bin where you place all those warm clothes and blankets, was again full to overflowing when those who gather these gifts picked them up for distribution early...6 am early...Sunday morning. In the past, the numbers who would come were mostly men with perhaps 2 or 3 women in a group of 50 arriving. This morning saw the numbers evenly divided along the gender lines. One man told the group distributing the warm items along with hot chili and applesauce that he slept on the grass last night. It was below zero in the early hours and he woke to frost on the ground all around him. The chili was especially welcome as that kind of cold can only be fought from the inside out. And he was grateful for the warm blanket he took away with him as well.
This cold is only beginning. There will be more frosty mornings with more cold to the core bodies to serve hot chili, applesauce and blankets to. Please keep them in your prayers and please continue to provide these needed items.
As announced today in our parish, we are beginning again to collect blankets and socks for distribution to those without four walls to live within. Also needed are mittens or gloves and hats of all types - anything to keep the cold out. Warmth when you have no home means life.
Please place these items in the Diakonia bin just outside the doors as you enter the sanctuary. And thank you so very much for this work to your neighbour!
There are various segments about the famine. People comment throughout with some comments being more generous than others. I do not care about the politics. I do not recall Jesus telling us to check their identity cards before offering assistance or weighing whether or not the thirsty ought to be given that cup of water. People are dying. We can discuss later how to prevent another famine.
The following is a message from the President of Doctors Without Borders. He is very direct. He is realistic in what can and cannot be done.
It is the same with giving. It will be the same with our making cards to benefit DWB. Our offering is small. It will not solve the problem. But it is better than not offering anything at all. Will people die? They are and they will. But more will suffer and die if nothing is done.
Forgive the direct message. Starvation is an "in your face" event.
This is a FANTASTIC exercise for learning what life is like in less fortunate countries than ours! Have a look, and think about giving to charity in some way-- as you know, our own DIAKONIA ministry here at St. Herman's has a number of different projects on the go. Ask Angelina or Maria C. how you can help.
We had our first card making gathering this past Saturday at St. Herman's and had such a great time, we are going to do it again. In fact, we are going to lead the choir. (Calm down, choir directors!) The choir is currently meeting every third Saturday and we will meet on the same day, just a wee bit earlier. To accommodate everyone's crazy life schedules, we will start at 9 am and end around 3 pm. We've already met for August so will next meet at the church on September 17. This past Saturday we had a pot luck lunch and if the choir promises to sing Nativity songs, we just might leave them something too.
These cards of course are being made in preparation to sell them for the work of Doctor's Without Borders. The most current news of the famine and the political situation there is terrible. The attached site from today's news outlines the theft of aid given for the poor. Grateful to see that this does not deter those trying to help as they look for creative solutions to this problem.
Please remember those in need and those who attempt to bring them aid in your prayers.
That is what we are aiming at - a cup of water given to those in need. Given in the love that God gives to us. We are organizing to make cards. Christmas cards. Summer has finally arrived here in the Lower Mainland and we are thinking of Christmas. The cards made will be sold and all of the proceeds, including whatever funds were needed to make them, will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. They are already on the ground in Kenya. It is an ocean of need. And we will help with our own cup of water. Our first organizational meeting and card making gathering will be on August 13 at the church. More to follow. Please join us. Please pray.
A bit ago there was a post about the coming of a "perfect storm," that is, of all the conditions being right for great tragedy. Unfortunately, those in the know were right and it has arrived. On the Diakonia bulletin board will be found a clipping from the local newspapers outlining this horror. There is a refugee camp in Kenya which currently sprawls 50 kilometers and these same experts expect it to reach half a million in population very soon. The place has a name and is called "Dadaab." You will hear and read much more about it as the days progress. Those living there will not be so fortunate. They will have first hand knowledge.
In the midst of this tragedy there are heros. Doctors Without Borders are there. From the article: "Each death is a blow to the doctors and nurses who work around the clock and against the odds, but they know they must keep going. 'If you keep on thinking about the child who's died then you'll lose the others.'"
There are many good agencies who are being allowed again in the area (there were political blocks which have praise God been removed by those who set them up) who can use financial support. This is unfortunately a long term project as the article continues with: "Beyond the fences of the camp, the drought has ravaged many more lives - an estimated 10 million people need food assistance."
This is not oddly enough - not at least at this writing - front and centre in the news world. It is in the "B" section. You may have to search for information. We will try to keep it current here.
You may also have to search for options as to how you can help.The agencies that are again in the area most certainly will be grateful for your participation in their work. Most of us cannot go ourselves, but we can support those who do with funding and with our prayers. Never underestimate the need for prayer. And never underestimate the need for financial support, no matter how modest that is.