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December 20, 2012

We Pray for Peace

This video is about our responsibility to pray for peace in all our endeavors. It is unfortunate to note that until we experience war that leaves children and women homeless and dreams shattered, we can rarely appreciate the value of peace. Must war take place before we appreciate and treasure peace?

Encourage others to pray for peace.  Please share this video with the world at large.

We Pray for Peace – Jozeph King

Blessings now and always.

Shalom,
Jozeph King

December 2, 2012

Gaining Freedom from Fear in Myanmar

Aung_San_Suu_KyiMyanmar, the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma, has been gaining an increasing amount of international attention this year. There is great hope that this once stagnant country will navigate the brisk transformation that is currently transpiring. This rapid change is due in part to the Obama administration’s decision to ease the ban on investments in Myanmar. Equally important, however, is the rise of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and once one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.

Freedom from Fear Book CoverSuu Kyi is the only daughter of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, considered by many to be the “father of modern-day Burma” and one of the heroes of the nation’s independence in 1948. Inspired by her father and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization.  One of her most famous speeches was Freedom From Fear, which began: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” Her outspoken protest again the country’s military rule and widespread repression led to her detention in 1989 and she was held under house arrest for nearly two decades until her release in November of 2010.

Suu Kyi’s release was followed by significant change in her country. President U Thein Sein became president in early 2011 and has moved the country swiftly toward democratization, freeing a number of political prisoners and taking steps to liberalize the state-controlled economy. His government also reached out to Suu Kyi. In response, she returned to political life and was elected to Parliament in April 2012. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won nearly every seat in the elections. Following this landslide victory, Suu Kyi stated, “What is important is not how many seats we have won — although of course we are extremely gratified that we have won so many — but the fact that the people are so enthusiastic about participating in the democratic process.”

On the heels of Suu Kyi’s victory the European Union and Australia suspended their sanctions against Myanmar followed by the United States’ suspension of the enforcement of most American sanctions. In September 2012, President Thein Sein publicly praised Suu Kyi, stating, “As a Myanmar citizen, I would like to congratulate her for the honors she has received in this country in recognition of her efforts for democracy.” In another first, Mr. Thein Sein’s speech was broadcast live in Myanmar, allowing the country’s citizens an opportunity to witness the president’s outspoken tribute to Suu Kyi.  President Obama paid an historic visit to Myanmar in November to push the country’s leaders to continue their democratic reforms, and announce new trade initiatives between the two nations.

That one woman’s strength in the face of so much repression and suffering can effect so much change in a country in desperate need of hope is a testament to the power of peace.

November 15, 2012

Remembrance Sunday: Thoughts on Peace

One of my first jobs after finishing University was a temporary post at the Royal British Legion in 1997. I was one of the few non-military people in the building, and this soon grew to be the basis of much of the ribald banter between myself and my colleagues, who were all recently retired from the three services.

I liked them, a lot, and still remember them more vividly than more recent work places. Partly because of the fantastically filthy jokes and terms they had for civvies, but mainly because they were some of the most genuine and warm people I have ever spent time with.

Peace and Harry-Patch-at-The-RoyalI remember Ron, whose hands still shook from the stress he suffered half a century before, aboard a submarine which had suddenly gone into an uncontrolled dive in the East Asian Sea during the Korean conflict. Had Ron and his colleagues not managed to get the vessel out of the dive at the last minute the pressure of the depths would have crushed it instantaneously. It had been very close.

I remember Ben, who had served on the cold war’s first front-line in Germany in the years immediately following 1945. Tensions were high between the former allies and the prospect of war erupting over what Stalin regarded as the intolerable capitalist presence in West Berlin, deep in his territory of East Germany, was very real.  Ben learned a few words of Russian and, being an enterprising man, soon had an illicit cigarette business going with his erstwhile enemies. All the while he knew that if conflict did come to pass, he wouldn’t stand a chance.

Both Ben and Ron had lived in the Twentieth Century’s first half which was obliterated by global conflict and economic depression, and a second half which existed for the most part under the constant shadow of nuclear annihilation. Understandably they thought that conflict was just one of life’s constants, and you had to make the best of it. The Poppy Appeal, held every year as a means of raising money for the Legion and a way for the nation to mark its respects to the fallen, was a practical affair which didn’t change that underlying truism about the nature of our world.

Perhaps Ben and Ron were right. Looking around today we see easily where the spotlight happens to shine, such as on Syria. But in the shadows there are far larger human tragedies unfolding daily such as in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Along with other national remembrance days, there is now an International Day of Peace, marked by the United Nations every September 21st. The emphasis is less about honoring the memory of war dead, and more on what needs to be done to promote genuine peace. One of the ideas behind the day is to promote a global truce in all armed conflicts to mark the day, which is promoted by the PR campaign behind Peace One Day.

Peaceful former warriorsBut wouldn’t it be better if we were aiming just a bit higher than a single day? And how about dealing effectively with the causes of each conflict rather than its symptoms, which is basically what a truce is about? You wonder sometimes about how limited the human imagination can be when faced with its biggest challenges.

Remembrance Sunday is about symbolism and it feels right that we honor those who gave their todays for our tomorrows, but I wonder if in future we could combine a mark of respect for the fallen with a mark of hope for a better world to come, and a determination to think big to achieve it. After all, the alternative, as the last British Tommy Harry Patch once said, “…is organized murder and nothing else.”

Ron and Ben would roll their eyes, laugh out loud and scoff at that idea, but secretly, I bet they’d agree.

October 23, 2012

Peace for Africa

In the past we used to have village elders meet and resolve issues regarding brotherly differences to attain peace. And, by doing that, achieved peace. However, these days we have elders who are not interested in achieving this peace, but instead have turned the village square meeting into a gathering of evil men. I have seen injustice being perpetrated. When our people discovered that we would not achieve peace through this means, young people resorted to using violence and aggression to settle their difference. Africa – where is peace? Who shall give us peace.

May God bless Bishop Desmond  Tutu, a legend of our time, the lion of our generation.You will live long. Africa will always remember your footprints. God bless Africa.

October 23, 2012

Reconciliation on Cyprus

Dear Desmond Tutu –

As a Christian, I have had this burning desire to communicate with you regarding Cyprus and the prospect of setting out a truth and reconciliation commission as after 40 yrs of division, I found on a recent visit that there’s a strong desire to come together and move on among Greeks, Cypriots and Turks!

In the North they are already responding to each other – sharing worship and praise and each others language, and just need a kick start to create the political will.  I have had this in my heart for some time now and asked God what can I do about it! I’m just an electrician ready to retire!  So I am just being obedient and sharing this with you in the hope you are able to respond.

May the lord bless you and keep you Bob Bate Durban

October 15, 2012

Birthday Greetings from One You Have Inspired

Repected Sir,
Congratulations at your birthday this month! I was very happy to have met you in Deventer, one month ago where it was at three occasions that we were able to shake hands. So nice.The last time was at the Albert Schweizer Monument, where you gave an inspiring talk, it touched the hearts and minds of the people. Thank you for that!
It was a moment in time I will not forget. Hope you have been able to read the letter..