Jerry Sternin was sent to Vietnam by Save the Children to address malnutrition in children with essentially no resources, no political
support, and didn’t speak the language. At the time, childhood malnutrition in Vietnam had many causes: poor sanitation, lack of parental education, lack of clean water, political corruption and wide spread poverty. While given a seemingly impossible task, six months later 65% of the village’s children were better nourished. He accomplished this remarkable feat by not looking at the real and insurmountable problems, but by seeking out the bright spots. He found children who were healthier and better nourished than most children and observed how their mothers cooked and their families ate. He then had those mothers teach other mothers new ways of cooking and eating. *
In the church, we sometimes get caught up in looking at problems that seem insurmountable both within the church and the world. We can easily lament about lack of resources or participation. We spend a lot of time talking about denominational decline and the increase of activities on Sundays that take people away from the church. We are concerned about things like hunger, homelessness and violence in our community and in our world. In the midst of all of these concerns, we miss the presence of bright spots. We can think of bright spots as the places where God is moving. Following the bright spots is often the best way forward. 2014 has been a year of many bright spots for Rincon UMC. Just a few are: (1) Making a difference in our community by hosting Family Promise, providing a meal for Frank & Linda’s family in a time of need, and offering the gift of music to travelers at the airport. (2) Reaching out to children and families through the Easter Egg Hunt, Vacation Bible School, and Breakfast with Santa. (3) Caring for God’s house through organizing, cleaning, repairing and upgrading our facilities and grounds. (4) Committing ourselves financially to generosity, good stewardship, and mission through paying off our indebtedness and making a great leap forward in paying our Conference and District apportionments.
What are the bright spots that you experienced this year? Where have you seen and felt God moving in small ways? How can we make 2015 even brighter together?
Grace & Peace
*Story found in Switch by Chip Heath, Dan Heath