Name and Identity

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Paul Slavic, a researcher at the University of Oregon, did a study. A test group of people was divided into three subgroups. The first group read a story and saw a photo of a poor, starving seven year old in Africa named Rokia. The second group was given a statistical portrait of seventeen million Africans in four countries who were desperately hungry because of crop failures and food shortages. Then they were told yet another four million were homeless. In other words, group two read about hunger and suffering on a massive scale. The third group was given the story about little Rokia along with the statistical information given to group two. Finally, participants in all three groups were asked to donate money to relieve suffering. Who do you think gave the most? Amazingly, the group that heard only about Rokia—the one girl—gave far and away the most money. The group that was given the statistics about the 21 million suffering people gave the least money, and the group that received both pieces of information was only slightly more generous than the “statistics only “ group. The story of one child was more compelling than the suffering of millions.

The very statistics that should mobilize us to action do the opposite. I suppose we feel overwhelmed, we shut down.

I give thanks for our friendship with Brad Corrigan and “Love Light and Melody (LLM)” for many reasons. One of which is that LLM has broken down the problem of poverty and sexual abuse of children in LeChureka, Nicaragua for us all. God has used the mission of LLM to offer names to the statistics of children living in “sub-standard“ conditions on a trash dump. We now know of the LLM Safehouse that offers hope to Claribel, Wendy, Elena, Elaysa, Fabiola, Elesca, Elias, and Diana and meets their needs with precision. Most importantly, Jesus has called out to many of us and said there are ways we can serve. In the process, all are givers and receivers, as each is blessed by others becoming aware of the precise ways they might be blessed. In God’s kingdom, all people have a name and a precious identity.

I hope you are able to come and be part of the worship service this Sunday at GGCC. Brad Corrigan, the founder of LLM, will be with us once again as our teacher for the day. It is my prayer that you will be able to make it and perhaps invite a friend. No one is a statistic. We each have a name and God’s intention is that all might be blessed as we build relationship with God and one another.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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