Tsunami disaster a test of unity

Undoubtedly nearly everyone is aware of the giant tsunami that hit the coast of South Asia on Dec. 26.
With some 150,000 people dead, and the prospect of this statistic doubling, it is being said this tragedy will be the largest ever to happen in our history.
Most of us have seen footage of the damage that has been done, or we have heard stories of actual people who were there. Yet no matter what we watch on TV or the number of stories that are told, most of us will never be able to comprehend the enormity of this disaster.
We cannot begin to feel the pain and suffering that our neighbours are experiencing across the sea, however, we cannot simply ignore it, either. It is easy for us figure that such a disaster does not affect us, or that it is not our problem, but that is simply not true.
We may be separated by land and sea, and we may have different colours of skin, but we are one world—and those who suffer are our brothers and sisters.
Rainy River District has been called to take this “test of unity” to reach beyond something that is greater than ourselves and help those in need. For this reason, the Salvation Army set a goal of raising $1 million across Canada and Bermuda Territory for relief efforts in South Asia.
In addition, the Salvation Army in Fort Frances set a goal of $10,000 to be raised locally.
The response to this appeal has been overwhelming. Just a few weeks after the holidays, when our wallets are almost empty, we have found it in our hearts to dig a little deeper and help a little more.
Schools across the area have done an exemplary job fundraising for relief efforts and the Fort Frances Ministerial Association has held events to raise even more.
In a world that has been torn apart by war and tragedy, we, as humankind, must make the effort to rejoin what has been broken. We no longer can let our differences separate us. We no longer can let pride rule when love is needed.
The people of Rainy River District have made a beautiful step toward peace by opening their hearts to the hurting and have a willingness to help those they do not know.
As of Feb. 7, public contributions to the Canadian Salvation Army’s South Asia disaster relief totalled $5 million. Our mission locally was to collect $10,000 to go overseas in relief work, with the total coming to a grand $10,283.47.
And with more than $3,000 being matched by the federal government on top of this, it is only fitting to say “Congratulations people of the Rainy River District. Mission accomplished!”
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
“Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
“Where there is injury—pardon.
“Where there is doubt—faith.
“Where there is despair—hope.
“Where there is darkness—light.
“Where there is sadness—joy.”
(St. Francis of Assisi)
May we never forget the joy and hope that comes through helping those in need.

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