Act Here. Love Now.

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Copyright © 2011 photogenX Printed by: onthemark LLC 75-5660 Kopiko St #C7-105 Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 www.onthemark.net All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, including electronic and mechanical means, photocopying, recording or otherwise without written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission contact publish@photogenx.net. ISBN 13: 9780615207810 ISBN 10: 0615207812 First Edition, February 2011 Page designs by Natalia Park, Lindsay Blake, Megan Van Beuge, and J. Avakian Some of the names have been changed in order to protect individuals living in sensitive locations.

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To the friends we made around the world who taught us that we are not defined by our surroundings or our birthplace, but by the daily choice to keep Hope alive in our hearts.

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We are 11 girls from 4 countries. Though we are diverse, our love for photography, humanity, and justice unites us. We traveled for a year to countries far from home. And now we want to share this journey with you. These are the stories of our friends. Some on the margins of society, some well off, and many in between. All needing the same thing: to love and be loved. As the days wore on, we realized the world can be changed wherever we are, every day, with simple acts of genuine love. And we hope that in sharing their stories and our reflections you will be encouraged. To Act Here. And Love Now.

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“ For those of us who’ve only dreamed of changing the world, there are a handful of YWAM world-changers who’ve done it. From our armchairs, we can re-live their experience through their book Act Here. Love Now. It ’s a wonderful, poetic look at a cross section of new friends they’ve come to k now personally from around the world. They’ve gathered a number of gems between the pages. It ’s not only worth a read, but it ’s worth buying the book.” Gary Fong, President and Co-founder of Christians in Photojournalism

“Hearts and lives can only be impacted when we come face to face with the pain and struggle of real people in real circumstances. Eleven young photographers made a global journey to see, feel, and capture the experiences of those who are invisible to most of us. They were changed. You will be too. As you journey through the pages of this incredible work, Act Here. Love Now., you will have the opportunity to decide how you can also act and love.” Dr. Jimmy Dorrell, Executive Director of Mission Waco and author

“These pages are defined by the realization that our human strength and character alone fail to fix what is broken. We have hidden, locked away, even forgotten the power we have with Christ to bring light to the dark ness. We cannot k now how far He reaches when we extend a hand. We cannot k now how deep His love runs when we pour ourselves out for another. We cannot k now how full a heart can become when we venture to peer into one’s emptiness with compassion. What we k now is how He loves, and that what matters is faith expressing itself in love. All we must do is act prayerfully and faithfully - and there is no small impact when God’s love is our movement.” Jillian Edwards, Singer/Songwriter 3 Section1.indd 3

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Emily

Sarah Anne

AH

CA, USA

Artistic

& Quiet

SA MT, U

Cambria

Lovable &s u Spontaneo

TX, USA

Peacefu l& Bubbly

LBG

Layne

CF

CO, USA

Colorful &

A

Gentle

KY, US

Confident & Generous

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SC

JO

Naomi

ne Jayle ul & Joyfsible a n nad Respo a C , AB

Savanna h Dependa ble Adventu & rous

FL, USA

NH

New Zealand

Poetic & Humorous

LB MVB

Natalia

n

Mega

SA

,U

CA

ted & Animianative Imag

NE, USA

Lind

say Crea Pass tive & iona te

NP

y&

Witt ntina e e g r A Contemplativ 5

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labels?

What would this world look like without What if we did not separate ourselves as black or white, rich or poor, lost or found?

What would the world be like if we saw each other as human and loved by our Creator? Every person bears the reflection of God. Why do we not take the time to realize, to ponder, or dream in that ? Labels

separate.

Labels

divide.

Labels imply

superiority.

This the world does not need.

With

labels.

© 2009 Natalia Park - Kiyage, Burundi

I long for the day when I can see and watch, look and love, and never categorize, separate, or divide JO

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© 2009 Natalia Park - Kiyage, Burundi

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K

olkata is a place I hate to love, but I cannot help it. After just three weeks, it is inside of me, in my blood. Without permission, this city stole a piece of my heart. My senses are bombarded the minute I step onto the crowded street to begin my morning trek to Kalighat, Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying. Though the sun is barely peeking through the morning haze, a myriad of distractions vies for my attention. Women wrapped in vibrant saris, men bathing in loud crowds under the street taps. Human horses, known as rickshaws, carry uniformed schoolchildren. My ears ring; my head aches. The heat is suffocating. I walk past a family asleep on the sidewalk, a makeshift tent their shelter.

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

Trash lines the streets and open urinals trigger my gag reflex, although the aroma is quickly overpowered by the mouthwatering smell of chicken rolls. Aware of all my senses, I am reminded why I decided to spend my summer in this metropolis known as The City of Joy.

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Many say Kolkata is a city of misery, poverty, disease, and pollution. I came wanting to see the Jesus Mother Teresa saw in each person on these streets so many years ago orphaned, sick, and dying. Instead I found my own selfishness and pride. 9 3/1/11 4:30 PM


My self-righteous pity for those whom the world defines as outcasts evaporated, replaced by solidarity and friendship. Pity implies a hierarchy; love recognizes that we are the same. I end my journey on the doorstep of Kalighat. Established by Mother Teresa in 1952, the building was an abandoned Hindu temple, a tribute to the goddess of destruction. I feel most connected with humanity among these marginalized friends. In a place where death desires to dictate, healing compassion and peace are felt. Sickness stares me in the eye, trying to scare me, but joy laughs back. I sit down on a bed and hold the hand of a woman I am certain is dying. As we listen to music she takes my hands in her own and claps them together. Side by side, we laugh effortlessly, swaying our bodies as the melodies fill the air. It is in this moment I am humbled, broken. Among the dying I see the greatest Life.

I touch, I see, I hear, I smell – and in the end – I Love. For me, this is true beauty. LB 10 ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 10

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

A volunteer needs help as one of the ladies soils herself and her bed mat. I walk over and pick up the bedpan. I help the decaying woman finish, whispering words of encouragement into her ear.

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“There is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.” - Gandhi

I

walk through Manshiyat naser, known as Garbage City, as children dash around the rotting mounds of refuse. They shout and laugh, blissfully unaware of the overwhelming stench surrounding them. Yet somehow they immediately sense the presence of outsiders. I feel conspicuous and on display with my clean clothes and camera. They run to me, grab my hand, and greet me in Arabic. Their small hands feel like sandpaper on my skin, and their enormous brown eyes peer questioningly at me. The children are filthy from head to toe from digging through the carelessly discarded trash. Sorting trash is the only source of income for the residents of Garbage City. All the material surplus of Cairo is in one place, a home for thousands of families. We stand together, surrounded by garbage heaps. I glimpse into a home nearby to see a family sitting around a fire, laughing and talking with animated gestures as they eat a meager meal.

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Cairo, Egypt ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 13

And in this moment, I am confronted with my own selfishness and greed. There is an epiphany within my soul as I am forced to acknowledge my inner poverty and recognize richness in the simplicity of their lives. In material wealth, I have so much, and they have so little. How is it I find myself wanting something they have?

NP

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© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Cairo, Egypt

© 2010 Layne Greene - Cairo, Egypt

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© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Cairo, Egypt

© 2010 Layne Greene - Cairo, Egypt

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© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Srinagar, India

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Why do es pove rt Why is it so re y shock me? p ulsive, I want so hea t rt brea remem o forget and, king? ber at the same t ime, …the t iny boy sh the str eet cor uddled close t ne o of thei r hung r, sleeping re each other o n ry belli s tlessly …the c es. hild digg becaus e ing thr for foo ough t d. he tras …the w h, looki oman h ng olding h the cro er bab wded, d y ingy st reet as in the middle This is o king fo life for r mone f people y . a And I ll over could n the wo ot poin rld. them. t my ca mera a t any o Is pov f erty a problem or is it th so What c mething tha at can be fixe t will a an I do lways b d, about i e? t anyw Some d ay? ays I a m how to respon too overwhe lmed to d. k now © 2010 Cambria Finzel - Srinagar, India

CF

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ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 18 © 2010 Savannah Chastain - Srinagar, India

© 2010 Naomi Haussmann - Medias, Romania

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© 2010 Savannah Chastain - Srinagar, India

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The place to Act is Here. The time to Love is Now.

Neighborhood:

-Offer free babysitting to a couple who could use a night off. -Frequent local thrift stores and give the savings from your budget to a family in need. - Help find work, or network, for unemployed neighbors. - Visit single parents, widows, or the elderly and look for signs of financial stress - find ways to help.

City:

-Get to k now the homeless in your area. Take them out to dinner. -Write a letter of gratitude to someone in authority (see next page). -Peacefully picket for the protection of the innocent. -Volunteer weekly at a local soup kitchen – learn the guests by name and listen to their life stories.

World: -Next Christmas, give an impoverished family a farm animal in a friend’s name (worldvision.org). -Buy fair trade products. -Get involved and bring clean water to poor communities through Blood Water Mission (bloodwatermission.com).

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Dear

Sincerely,

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Cairo, Egypt

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Bethleham

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Cairo, Egypt ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 23

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© 2010 Jaylene Olson - Dharmapuri, India

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H

er wrinkles say she is at least 70. Her eyes are kind, and I want to be her friend.

But there is a part of me that is drawn to her. Maybe I need to touch the remnants of her leg to prove to myself that I can.

She tells me through hand motions and fragmented English of life as an outcast, as one of dust.

I want to fix everything. I want to be a doctor with a magical cure that will allow her to run freely.

Nanamma has leprosy. She is forgotten by her family and pitied by many.

As my hand touches her leg, Nanamma weeps but does not recoil.

For 20 years, Nanamma has lived with this disease and watched it destroy her body. She is left with two fingers, no feeling in her hands, and poor vision.

Within minutes her entire face lights up in elation. She waves at our surroundings and starts chattering in Tamil. She laughs at intervals and does not break eye contact.

Her right leg is amputated below the knee because the leprosy was spreading, poisoning other parts of her body.

If this woman, with a shadow of death over her life, is able to grasp such deep joy, then why would I feel sorry for her?

Nanamma takes my hand and moves it to her amputated limbs.

Yes, it is right to cry with her, pray for her, love her, and be with her because she is human and she deserves as much.

© 2010 Jaylene Olson - Dharmapuri, India

It is too much vulnerability, too much pain. My instincts revolt, screaming to pull back and run away.

But she does not deserve pity. Nanamma is worth more than that.

JO

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H

usbands have burned their wives alive.

Children have been left on the street by their own parents. Fathers have been exiled from their families and communities. These are the facts that never show up in leprosy statistics. But at Shantinagar, a Catholic home for lepers, many find a second family.

The nuns live in simplicity alongside their friends, these “untouchables” of India. Together they create a beautiful family in which everyone receives far more than they can give. NP

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© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

Through the years, Sister Maria Rua has learned that being unwanted and invisible is far more fatal than the disease itself.

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© 2009 Naomi Haussmann - Muizenberg, South Africa

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I

notice the color of our skin, so vastly different. Like day and night. Her skin inky smooth and mine, well, I have never felt whiter. Her smile is open and manner gentle. She likes the latest music-- likes to dance, sing, and joke. She wants to be beautiful. Ngoie does not yet realize this: she is beautiful. There is something about her, a simple stillness that peeks through in every movement. We sit in a café, a familiar getaway I frequent with friends. But she seems out

of place. The sounds of milk being steamed, of people talking about their day, of spoons clinking against clean cups, all melt into the background as she tells her story. Her past is a journey that haunts her, a footpath attached to her shoulders. She holds her memories close, for fear that she will lose a part of herself if they are forgotten. Ngoie was a girl chased by war; her eyes witnessed things I have only seen on television. Ngoie and her family trekked from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa to flee from the destruction. Then cancer took her mother’s life, and her father fell apart. She packed her few things and moved into a township, a place born out of the very hate from which she had run.

The weight of her words hangs between us, like an impenetrable fog. What if she had been born somewhere else - America or New Zealand? If she had been born white instead of black? What if she had given up or had chosen hate instead of love? What if she were me? I sit, stilled in amazement. I came to bring Ngoie hope and God’s love. And I find that He is already here, filling her with an exceptional strength, deep joy, and unquenchable hope. NH

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W

e are the Ngöbe of Panama. Few have heard of us; we like it that way. Tucked away where no one can find us, exploit us, or force us to become reliant on modern technology, greed and fear. But in they came bringing schools, trading supplies, and improving roads. We are struggling to hold on. As we learn we also forget.

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SC

© 2009 Savannah Chastain - Tugri, Panama

Our language, our culture, and our identity is shifting.

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Sandra, Christopher, and Paul make up an unlikely family, living in a small, nondescript home on a dusty side street in Muizenberg, South Africa.

Wait, there is someone, hovering in the shadow. Silent and wide-eyed, she seems to absorb everything in the swirl around her.

Sometimes Sandra goes without; when the boys need something, she gives to them first. She works grueling hours, seven days a week. Sandra does not have time to eat dinner with her two boys. Her hands bleed, but her mother’s heart beats strong.

A smile, a pause, a blink, and still she lingers. There is something she must say.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It is everywhere to them.

Sandra.

Her boys run, helter-skelter--in and out, out and in--of the restaurant where she works. A hug, an admonition--the time for words is short. Then her sons hurl themselves out the door once more, singing, laughing, shouting galore.

She is a woman, a daughter, a mother, a single parent. Sandra has two young sons, Christopher and Paul.

Without pause this mother bends her head. There is work to be done. Dirty dishes lean in high stacks around her, but she sees only her sons.

She adopted Paul off the street when she saw he needed a home.

The boyhood she is giving them is perfect and complete, innocence held sweet.

Slowly she spins her simple story. Her name is Sandra. She is hard-working, warm, selfless, sincere.

LBG

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© 2009 Layne Greene - Muizenberg, South Africa

W

indy day and random souls wander, wondering, into the wooden restaurant there on the corner. There is a smoky smell and it seems clear they do not get many customers. Time is still heresilent and unending. The serenity is perfection on this windy, rainy day.


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© 2009 Layne Greene - Muizenberg, South Africa

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The place to Act is Here. The time to Love is Now.

Neighborhood:

-Give or lend your car to a single parent. - Host a neighborhood game night or cookout (see next page). -Change the oil for a single mom on your block. -Befriend a special-needs individual and visit him or her monthly this year.

City:

-Visit a homeless shelter, hospital, prison or nursing home on a weekly basis. -Tutor at an elementary school in an underprivileged area of town. -Serve with an organization caring for those involved in the sex trade. -Organize an open-mic night at a local cafe and take donations for a non-profit in your city.

World:

-Visit a leper colony and make friends. -Give ½ of your yearly entertainment budget to support a group caring for or freeing those involved in sex trades (love146.org). -Volunteer for Missions of Charity (motherteresa.org). - Have a party and fill shoeboxes with Christmas goodies for children through Samaritan’s Purse (samaritanspurse.org).

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MARINADE FOR BBQ CHICKEN 1 c. 1/2 tsp. 1/2 c. 2 1 tsp. 1 tsp. 1 tsp.

soy sauce worcester sauce cider vinegar cloves garlic, minced oregano tarragon olive oil

Blend ingredients; add chicken. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Stir and marinate overnight. Baste chicken with remaining marinade while grilling.

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© 2010 Naomi Haussmann - Bethleham ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 38

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© 2010 Naomi Haussmann - Bethleham ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 39

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My society rejects vulnerability. I wake up every morning k nowing I have masks to protect myself. I am a woman, a Korean, an educated person from a privileged culture, a photographer, and a volunteer. But at Shanti Dan, a home for mentally unstable women in Kolkata, I left these masks at the door. I allowed myself to simply be a broken human being, desperately in need of giving and receiving love. This home for the “insane” was a gift of peace, a true place of rest for my agitated mind and weary soul. These women did not hide their true selves. They came to Shanti Dan from all over India for different reasons: tuberculosis, dementia, depression, scabies. The women allowed me to see them; they allowed me to see their beauty. It declared peace in the midst of their dark ness and spoke of hope despite their brokenness. They showed me that to be free, I had to cease caring about the expectations of others and be myself. They showed me that underneath the masks, I had a beauty all my own. NP

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I

sit looking at maps trying to memorize the world’s countries and capitals. But I keep getting distracted. Not distracted by the rhythm of tiny feet racing down the hallway or the man chattering outside my window, but by the maps themselves. They waltz before my eyes. Squiggly lines and expansive seas. Bright colors and foreign names. Things of beauty. I am fascinated by them.

I have discovered that continents do not truly dance until their soil is on the bottom of my shoes.

JO

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Rome, Italy

We put maps on our walls, plate them with gold for our offices, and make squishy ones for babies. Is it because we want to appear intelligent and open-minded? Or is it to show others that we think of the world? Do we simply like the idea that there is something else out there?


© 2010 Layne Greene - Rome, Italy ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 43

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I

had heard it all before Hate. Crime. Murder. The effects of apartheid.

But I refused to believe that this was the whole story. For I had seen Love, Community, Hope, and Reconciliation. We were warned to watch our steps. Warned that tensions were still high. But still we walked into danger Because hope is stronger than fear. Was I picked out because of my Color? My gender? My assumed social status? The threat began as just a stare, Then a grabbed arm and stolen sunglasses. But the community rallied to my side. We will not stand for violence! We do not want crime on our streets! My possessions were returned and Hope again surged. Then it happened a second time, A scuffle, a knife, My voice screaming out; A stolen camera their prize. But I was spared, With just a small scar. A scar to remind me Of God’s protection. Forgiveness I could not understand Invaded my soul. Instead of pain, Instead of fear, My scar gave me A stronger longing for peace, For reconciliation, For LOVE.

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Transit from Turkey to Greece © 2009 Anne Hennighausen - White River, South Africa

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Transit from Turkey to Greece © 2009 Anne Hennighausen - White River, South Africa

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I need them. They need me. We need each other to understand our worth. NP

© 2009 Natalia Park - Burundi

We are connected most beautifully.

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© 2009 Natalia Park - Burundi ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 49

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In 1948, racial prejudices held by the majority of the white settlers in South Africa sparked a powerful governmental-segregation policy called apartheid. Lawmakers devised a system of legal steps to divide people into racial groups. Anyone not declared “white” moved into large townships on the outskirts of cities. These soon became huge slumlike communities. To this day most people in South Africa refer to themselves and their friends as “white,” “coloured,” or “black.”

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© 2009 Natalia Park - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

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L

iving in a township was not easy for Sandro, a 23-year-old, coloured** South African.

Sandro tried drugs and alcohol to deal with his internal struggles and pushed away both friends and family. He was left alone in his negativity and violence.

© 2009 Natalia Park - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

While in prison, Sandro discovered true freedom. He realized the dark walls of his own heart held him prisoner more than the gray walls around him. Sandro moved back in with his family after he left prison. Although his surroundings are the same, Sandro has changed. He understands the power of forgiveness and the beauty of love. “I now turn my other cheek and return evil with good,” Sandro said. “It is a weapon of the strong.”

NP

Sandro

As a teenager, he lost all hope for the future. In his mind there was only one option: steal from the white people he felt had taken everything from him.

**To this day most people in South Africa refer to themselves and their friends as “white,” “coloured,” or “black.”

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His generation was the only one to experience both segregated and integrated classrooms. He is old enough to remember white-only beaches and race-categorized identity cards. Duncan witnessed the momentous victory of the 1995 Rugby World Cup on live television. “It was hard and scary,” Duncan said after a moment, not taking his eyes off the surrounding mountain terrain. “Everything I knew was changing.” “Right after the apartheid lifted, millions of white South Africans left the country for fear of a civil war,” Duncan explained. “Even now under the new government, it is difficult for white South Africans.”

“Finding a job is hard if you are a white South African,” Duncan continued, his eyes solemn, reflecting hurt. “Especially if you are a man.” “Is that why so many South Africans move to England to work and live?” I ventured. “Ja, lots of people move to England or Australia because jobs are always given to black people first,” he said. “Even if they are not as qualified as the white applicants.”

© 2009 Savannah Chastain - Muizenberg, South Africa

“What was it like growing up during the dramatic changes in this country?” I asked.

A reel of images flashed through my head. I remembered all the coloured South Africans I had met in the townships and the tin shacks in which they lived. I had heard their version of the story, but this was my first account from a white South African’s perspective.

Duncan

D

uncan, a half Cape Dutch and half British South African, sat in the driver’s seat across the gear shift from me.

“Almost like reverse apartheid,” I mused. “Ja,” he said in a low, sad voice. “Ja.”

SC

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© 2009 Savannah Chastain - Muizenberg, South Africa

Duncan

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© 2009 Sarah Hoover - Durban, South Africa © 2009 Sarah Hoover - Durban, South Africa

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© 2009 Sarah Hoover - Durban, South Africa © 2009 Sarah Hoover - Durban, South Africa

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What

an m u h are

ade m s t r a

he

of?

s, e d i r t sh s fi l e s d

An

ide

pr d n a s t en

Judgm

uman h t a h w t ’s

Tha

f.

de o a m e r a arts

he

What is God’s heart made of?

And forgiveness released,

That ’s what God’s heart is made of.

LB

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© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

Love and peace


© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 57

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Free Kashmir, free Kashmir! Cries of oppression and desperation reverberate in Srinagar, India. The breathtaking region is decades deep in conflict with itself and neighboring Pakistan. Two of my friends and I hop in a rickshaw in the middle of an exhaustingly hot afternoon. We are heading to a local university to meet with some newly made acquaintances. Soldiers in padded vests, wooden shields, and metal helmets rigidly line the streets. Their gray pattern is unbroken into the distance.

Riots occur regularly, and today is no exception.

they will fight against the death in their generation, in their families, in their neighborhoods.

Three blocks later, we stop dead in our tracks facing a group of teenage boys clenching raised rocks. We turn around and hasten back the And between the pounding beats of way we came. my heart, the seconds slow. I live years in those blurred blocks back to our home. Two weeks ago a teenage boy was shot in the head and killed by a By the time we reach our doorstep, soldier. Maybe he was their friend. I have learned many things. Whether we use rocks or words, it is Is this, then, how they deal with easy to respond from hurt. injustice? How they are taught to deal with their grief? God, help me love instead of hate. Maybe their raised weapons are their declaration to the world that

MVB

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ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 59 © 2010 Cambria Finzel - Srinagar, India

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-Reconcile and make peace with ______________. -Start a community garden with your neighbors or join a co-op together to support local farmers (localharvest.org). -Eat dinner with your family and share the highs and lows of your day. -Tell your parents how much you appreciate them.

City: -Strike up a conversation with someone you do not k now. -Play sports with strangers in the park or local gym. -Reconnect with a friend whom you have not spoken with in years. -For a year, volunteer weekly at a community center where you are in the minority. World: -Learn about conflicts around the world and how you can get involved in reconciliation projects (musalaha.org). - Secure 20 sponsors and enter a run or bike ride and use funds to save an Iraqi child suffering from heart disease (preemptivelove.org). -Pay for 10% of a new well for those in need of water (And find nine friends to pay the rest).

© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Venice, Italy

The place to Act is Here. The time to Love is Now.

Neighborhood:

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© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Venice, Italy ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 61

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This mo rni ng

.

n a t is k a P f o r d ye a r p

we

I

id a s

Things I t

w things to e f a G

hou gh tI

od.

ne ded to say.

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I

used words and phrases like “love,” “peace” and “Dear Lord.” Then I realized I do not k now how to pray. I do not k now how to pray for something that is so much bigger than myself, something that does not make sense in my mind. I do not k now what it feels like to watch my daughter being swept away in a flood. I do not k now. So I asked the Holy Spirit how to pray. Because my rehearsed, safe prayers, the ones that roll off my lips,

.

are ones without the reality of agony. They are not enough for the widow, the homeless, the starving, the woman who is too weak to break down and scream for her family’s sake. The tears rolled in silence as He broke me. Just slightly, but enough to k now that pain could break me completely. But He is and was and will be. Forever. I need to learn how to pray.

NH

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She looked ghastly-- tired, sick, and lonely. Tuberculosis was eating her alive.

Blood trickled from her mouth.

eyes locked on mine. In that telling instant, I knew she did. I wanted to be Could she

see

me? Her

more than just another tourist in India.

I asked

an Indian woman next to me at the bus stop where I could take the diseased stranger.

“She just wants

how?

your money,” she replied.

The bus came, and I got on. I convinced myself that the lady was right. I did not dare look back through the window to meet the eyes of the

I was

But

sick woman.

a coward, nothing close to the Good Samaritan. Once again I was confronted with my own fear and selfishness. I do not like this part of me, but this is who I am. For now. This

unknown woman revealed my ugliness.

I hope

I still wonder if she is okay. she met a Good Samaritan along the way. I hope one day

I can be that Good Samaritan.

NP

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© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Padang, Indonesia

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She dances in circles. A torn t-shirt, her pants threatening to fall off a tiny waist. Hair cut, chopped, hacked. Her bare feet muddied with today’s adventure. Big grin, missing front tooth, thousands of secrets from generations before.

She smells of human dirt striving. Just for a moment she is caught with her eyes shut tight imagining HIV is not real, just a nightmare, and her biggest problem is the ache in her hungry belly. NH

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O

ur Indian guide has been driving for hours, but I am slightly annoyed when he stops to eat. Maybe more than slightly. I just want to get back to our home for the night. It is air-conditioned and the loveliest place we have stayed in our year of travel. It is in the middle of dirty New Delhi. I do not talk to him until we are almost back at our hostel. He has a name, but I do not remember it. What I do remember is that he works 7 days a week and is on-call 24 hours a day. Though he got up around 3 a.m. to pick us up, he is going back into work after he drops us off more than 12 hours later. Dark skin and smiling eyes, this man has stories to tell. He has a wife, children, and no days off.

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Padang, Indonesia

Ever.

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Twenty-four hours, of every day, of every year. There is no end in sight. This is his real life. I walk away from this heat-infested vehicle, without a backwards glance, into the awaiting air-conditioning of my real life. LBG

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I sat as the humidity clung to my white skin, which already screamed to them

“I am rich, I am privileged,”

© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Camaron Arriba, Panama

because I was born there and you, you were born here. NH

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© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Camaron Arriba, Panama

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We sit and talk with her for a few minutes. The woman who brought me invites Marjorie to a weekly support group for women in the community. Marjorie smiles and asks a few questions. She is interested, but noncommittal.

M

arjorie sits on the couch wearing nothing but shiny, patent-leather high heels. Eyeing my cotton skirt and bare legs, she asks with a smile if I am cold. I awkwardly smile and say no. She leans back and speaks in Russian to the older woman in the room, the “mother” of the brothel. A soap opera drones obnoxiously in the corner. A man walks out of a room close to me, stuffing his shirt in his pants and zipping them up. I look away. She has long, dark hair. I hide my shock at the news that she is only 19, younger than my little sister. She works an eight-hour shift during which she will inevitably have sex with multiple men.

Marjorie stands up quickly, walking past us to meet a customer who is pacing impatiently. He will look at her and decide if he wants her. If he does not like what he sees, he will move on to the next brothel. Girls wait inside each door. The streets are lined with lights that at all hours declare, Open For Business. We leave quietly and brush past three men in the waiting room. They eye us up and down intrusively then look past us to the naked women coming out to offer what they really came to find. It is sickening: the customer with titillated eyes, the “mother” with a cross hanging around her neck leading a young girl out into the waiting room. I want to vomit as we step out into the light. AH 73

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“My name is Snega.” At just 10 years old, she is the one they push forward to translate, the pride and joy of her community. Snega is the one they ask to give the gifts of gratitude to us, the visitors. Her mother wants her to go to America and study, but Snega just wants to dance. And dance she does. Everyone falls silent as Snega floats

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Sringagar, India

74

around the room.

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This girl is special. She is different. Innocence personified. Yet so very vulnerable. Stories heard on the street of trafficking and kidnapping are not to be ignored. Her clear English is a gift to her family, yet in the wrong hands she could be exploited.

JO © 2010 Jaylene Olson - Vellore, India

She is loved, but she is not safe.

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-Knit a hat or create something useful for someone in need. -Inform family and friends about ways to combat human trafficking. -Be a role model and commit to avoid any media that sexually stimulates. -Give free lessons in an area in which you are skilled (Music, Art, Culinary, etc.).

City:

-Donate your hair to Locks of Love (locksoflove.org). -Write 100 encouraging notes and leave them in random places (see next page). -Connect with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and give your time to youth (bbbs.org). -Volunteer in a Pregnancy Center that promotes adoption.

World: -Support two children in need (compassion.com, worldvision.org). -Find out about peace-seeking efforts such as Chrsitian Peacemaking Teams (cpt.org). -Adopt a child. -Write six elected officials and ask for tougher penalties for crimes against children.

© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Camaron Arriba, Panama

The place to Act is Here. The time to Love is Now.

Neighborhood:

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Section4.indd 77 3/9/11 10:48 AM

© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Camaron Arriba, Panama


© 2010 Jaylene Olson - Pahalagam, India

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© 2010 Cambria Finzel - Cairo, Egypt © 2010 Jaylene Olson - Pahalagam, India

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79


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W

hile most would call Sister T a saint, I just call her the nun. Cold, distant, and temperamental, she reminds me of cement walls and sterile rooms. A host of sick children are nursed back to health under her watchful eye, but I have to wonder if she is hurting them emotionally. “Don’t hold the baby,” her voice is stern. “Why?” Silence. I am not a mother, nor an expert on child development, but I am fairly certain physical touch is important to the mental state of growing babies. So there she lies, the tiniest of them all, lamenting about who knows what, and all I can do is stare. When no one is looking, I reach over the prison walls of the crib to stroke her arm and whisper words of love.

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

The older children aggressively grab me, begging for affection.

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I make sure the coast is clear and give bear hugs to each one until their laughter fills the room. Toys are locked away but in full view, teasing playful hearts. “May I please take that toy out?” I ask, pointing. “No.” Sister T focuses on the work in front of her. 81 3/1/11 4:32 PM


“Those toys were given by donors and are for display only.” “For display?” I repeat with scorn. “Don’t you think they were given for the children to play with?” No reply. Did I just argue with a nun? I stare, wide-eyed and furious. I take a breath. Slowly, I ask questions to try and understand her. From southern India, she has spent 37 years in the society after joining at the age of 17. 17?! At 17, I worried about cute boys and my Friday night plans. As her story unfolds, I feel something like respect stir somewhere inside me. The children come to Shanti Dan for different reasons. Their parents are dead or just too poor to support them. Recently, Sister T saved a two-month-old baby, weighing less than three pounds, from dying.

And Seenu was just seven months old when his mother brought him to Shanti Dan. He is now eight years old and a testament to her commitment. She has seemingly arbitrary rules and runs the home like a drill sergeant, but I begin to see snippets of love between her terse commands. Superwoman? Superhuman? Or, dare I say it? Maybe everyone else is right… Super Saint? Thousands of volunteers shuffle through her home, staying a few weeks, a month, maybe six months. Each wanting to serve, believing they have something to give. I came wanting to be the hands and feet of Jesus. My Jesus. But what about Sister T’s Jesus? Do I think about what He looks like in her world? What love looks like in her country? I look around the room again. The walls seem less gray than before. LB

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© 2010 Natalia Park - Kolkata, India

“But why?” I ask, exasperated.


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Israel 2010: Palestinian citizens ride home after a routine day at work in Jerusalem.

An Israeli soldier checks for passengers’ identification cards.

Check point separating Palestine and Israel.

A Palestinian passenger does not have his paperwork.

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A few let deep-seated assumptions cloud their perspective.

A few make judgments from a conflict-infused past.

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A few long for a peaceful middle ground.

If we do not seek to understand each other, the cycle of separation MVB continues.

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© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Srinagar, India

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© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Budapest, Hungary

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F

amily feuds and castle walls, upon these the legends feast. Why do we even cry and call: “Peace in the Middle East ”? These stones of hate Are starting to sting And those sticks

hurt, don’t ameliorate. So on and on, the blood she sings. Cowardly, furious fights. Where is the glory? Shhh; I hear whispers in the night-isn’t there a story of a Love stronger than this death?

LBG

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W

e have a friend. He is a Palestinian living in Bethlehem. He tore tendons in his k nee, and the two MRI machines in Palestine are broken.

There are working machines 10 minutes away. But they are on the other side of The Wall. Inaccessible to Palestinians. To him. Because of his heritage. Because of his birthplace. He was born on the wrong side. AH

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ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 90 © 2009 Lindsay Blake - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

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© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

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Jere m And ia is sof polit t-sp e. oken . An e xcelle And n insig t obser ver. htfu l. He w a And nts to b foo live by a e a socce t ball r def f He lo acto ende ry. ves r. spag And is a h Mich etti. ael J He s ays acks h on fa And his c is family n. omm each l i f e is unity othe tend a strugg r. But s to hurt le. Jere OrA mia them nd v does iolen selve n c ot lik s an e. He d d e figh oes h t i n came is be g. s And to estab t to emb h l ody t his c e revolt ish. he k s ag omm ingd ains om J unity t esus He is . the v iolen And a peacem c e th he is a at e nine ker. nslav year es s old . LB 92 ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 92

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y ay m . s y t a ds gh e mi s Lin person. i m e o s t am nt ies n, bu My n a viole urit u c g e s n na . I am my i t ow a sword d o n n a es, I do like udic illed. j No, e cuts e r u w nt yp s, k tong viole stion ho ts, m at time n n o e n of a and que and, udgm m a t My j injured e ’s dr o reflec e of a v i a m t h nce e re e s e m b J . d he a k nives, ring y force own life t a s e n H g a unit n my e me , wieldin c a e comm looks i s n ,p e e, orld ting gu w peac s prid ’ oo f a i o h ce erem ks, s bsen a In J ing roc e th w ans ance. thro eath. e m d eace gnor and . ld, p s, and i r pain lly. o e w e s y g u a d In m on, gru ce ca emotion n e gue, l n i o i o s r t v n te of the my tch grace, s rms y, the o o a f w h e d to Bot hysicall rts d exten ld reach o p ff e an or One take nships, n the w y l i i a d tio ee As I cile rela ng to s o n l reco eace I . p LB the further t i b a ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 93

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I need the courage that only comes from You To step out, To act, To inspire change; To be passionate in this world of passivity. Bring me to a place of all-consuming joy. The joy that radiates And brings new life.

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Pahalagam, India

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Amen JO

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© 2010 Layne Greene - Srinagar, India ACTHERELOVENOW.indb 95

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History shows they should

HATE.

She prays to Jesus; he prays to Allah. But they choose to

LOVE.

They met as teenagers, formed a friendship that turned into LOVE, and married. But they are not perfect. Who is?

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© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

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Cute quirks turned into annoying tendencies. Differences grew and strove to divide. He left her. She locked the door. And they went their separate ways… for a year.

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But commitment. But responsibility. But devotion. Pulled them back together. He returned. She opened the door. And they chose LOVE once again.

Little acts of kindness and A cup of coffee in bed. Swept floors. A clean kitchen.

LOVE speak loudly.

They have chosen LOVE instead of hate. Peace instead of war. LB

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© 2009 Lindsay Blake - Capricorn Township, Muizenberg, South Africa

Hearts opened. Attitudes changed. Behaviors transformed.

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The place to Act is Here. The time to Love is Now.

Neighborhood: -Mow the lawn for a new neighbor. - Help carry in your neighbor’s groceries. -Always speak kindly of your family, friends, and neighbors (or do not speak at all). -Send someone a supportive note every week for a year.

City:

-Buy coffee for a co-worker and discover something new about them. -Read your favorite book to someone in the hospital. -Coordinate a flash mob dance with friends. -Smile, say hello, and learn the names of six employees in a store you frequent.

World: - Live, learn, and work with a community overseas for two years with the Peace Corp (peacecorps.gov) - Help save a life by donating blood or organizing your own blood drive (redcrossblood.org). -Take a group from your workplace and build a home with Habitat for Humanity (habitat.org).

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© 2010 Jaylene Olson - Dharmapuri, India

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J

ust outside my window, in the heart of the city, I see a family of six under the freeway in a home of cardboard boxes. The thought nags me: I could have been born into that family. I am relieved I was not. But I cannot ignore that they exist; they are my neighbors. I am to love them as myself.

© 2010 Lindsay Blake - Kolkata, India

There is opportunity to choose love at every corner. I do not need to fly

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thousands of miles to find new neighbors. I do not need to join an organization to make a difference in the world. I do not need to be a great person to do great things. Making a difference in the world is simpler than I thought. It means caring for those around me, the neighbors I already have. NP

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A huge Thank You to: God for creating this beautiful planet and walking beside us every step of the journey. Because of this trip, we have a deeper understanding of the story You are writing around the world. We seek to honor You with every word on these pages. We love because You first loved us. Family, Friends, and Supporters for sending your love and encouragement across continents. This adventure is just as much yours as ours. Paul and Susi Childers for your long-ago vision that made this trip a reality. Joseph Avakian for pushing us to dream big about this project and helping us take the practical steps to get there. We would have fallen somewhere in-between without you. Our editors for helping us articulate the words in our hearts and for gently correcting our excessive spaces and comma splices.

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Bri Fillekes for making the images in our heads dance on these pages. Greg and Jannelle Althoff for generously lending your creative touch. Steve and Diane Schallert for your friendship and unending support in administration. Andrew Kooman for your literary genius--and for picking up the pieces when we were a mess. Andrew Greenplate for being our biggest fan. The speakers that joined us along the way for imparting your k nowledge and insight into bettering our minds and enhancing our journey. And thank you to our friends around the world who housed us, fed us, taught us, and inspired us. We hope we left your kitchens cleaner than we found them.

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