By Melissa Wuske
Hobby Helps People Living on the Streets
Judy Gardner, a senior citizen in New Bern, North Carolina, recently began a hobby that’s helping the environment and people who live on the streets. Gardner uses plastic grocery store bags to crochet sleeping mats for them. The mats are cheap to make and easy to clean, and they keep people from sleeping on the cold, hard concrete.
Gardner first learned about these mats through an article in a Christian magazine. “It was so neat,” she said. “I read the whole thing. I said, ‘I want to do this’—until I got to the end and it said you had to crochet. . . . I never crocheted in my life ’til 18 months ago.” But even with the steep learning curve, she was determined: “I said, ‘OK, Lord, you want me to do this.’”
“My first one took eight months,” continued Gardner. “But hang on, it’s going to get better. I did my last one in 33 days.” Now she looks forward to working on her mats each day.
Christians Jailed in Laos
Visay and David, two Christians from the Hmong people group in Laos, decided to visit 11 villages and survey people in hopes of being able to share their faith in Jesus. At the last minute, Visay couldn’t go to meet with the tribal leader, so David went alone. Within an hour of being granted permission to conduct the survey, David was arrested. “Because you are sharing about Jesus, that’s why we come and catch you,” the policemen told him. When Visay went to plead for his friend’s release, he too was put in jail.
Visay, who had already led his family to follow Christ, had been attending Bible school, which made him “strong and deep in faith . . . That’s what made me stand strong when this situation happened.” Visay was released after several days, but David remained in jail for months. “I told them I am the owner of all survey papers and I ask David to do this for me. . . . I brought food and money to him. And I tried to ask the police to release David.”
Through the ordeal, Visay said he gained “more boldness and . . . more understanding [of] how to do ministry in this country. I need to be much more careful than the last time.”
Memorial to Lynching in the South
Last August, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) sponsored the Community Remembrance Project to raise awareness of the legacy of lynching in the U.S. and to call for understanding and action on current racial injustices. According to EJI, there were 4,000 incidents of racial terror lynching between 1877 (the end of Reconstruction) and 1950 in a dozen southern states.
The project invited volunteers to go to sites of lynching across Alabama and collect jars of soil. The jars of soil will become part of a display educating people about the history of racial violence and inviting discussion about racial violence and injustice today.
Cutting Down Airport Wait Times
American Airlines has a plan to cut security line wait times by about 30 percent. The new system, piloted in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Miami, features automated conveyer belt and X-ray systems that direct bags needing further inspection to another line. The airline also aims to add CT scans for carry-on bags to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the security process. “Neither initiative is a slam dunk to solve TSA woes, but they are both huge steps in the right direction,” said Robert Isom, American’s Chief Operating Officer.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).