A Story From the Trenches (and a winner revealed):
July 12, 2010 in character education, Elementary Educators, Fighting world poverty, Genocide, Half the Sky, Helping Girls and Women Around the World, High School Teachers, Making Personal Connections, Middle School Teachers, Norton Margaret Tags: Father Tony Fevlo, Genocide, Inter-religious conflict, Nigeria, Teaching Kids about Charity, The Giving Book
Before I share a story from the trenches, I would like to announce the winner of last week’s book giveaway of the memoir, When Ties Break, by Margaret Norton. And the winner is. . .Sandy Young! Congratulations, Sandy. If you didn’t win this book and are interested in reading a memoir about loss, grief, recovery, strength, and stopping abuse, then please go to Tate’s website to purchase it!
The story from the trenches is one that I read yesterday in church. We have a visiting priest, Rev. Fr. Tony Fevlo, from Africa, who will speak to us next week about his work in St. Joseph SMA Parish in Plateau State, Nigeria. He is currently raising money to build a new church in his parish that will accommodate 1500 people. The existing church is too small and also has structural damage, including cracks in the walls and a leaking roof. This is a wonderful mission, of course, but this is not the actual story I want to share with you today.
He shared the turmoil that happens around him with inter-religious clashes between Muslims and Christians. Every time, I hear stories like this I think: This is happening in the 21st century????? It is. In January 2010, 33 of Father Tony’s parishioners lost their property or had their houses burned. One of his parishioners was reportedly butchered to death and asked to renounce his faith before he died. Much of Father Tony’s finances for his church are currently going to these families to help them rebuild–since they are homeless.
The trouble didn’t stop there. In March 2010, Father Tony and his parishioners woke up to the news of a massacre of over 500 children, women, and elderly people living in the village of Dogonahawa (25 km from Father Tony Fevlo’s parish). The massacre was led by the Hausa/Fulani Muslims. Father Tony said: “Since the March 7th massacre, we live under constant fear in K/Vom and can hardly have a peaceful night’s rest.”
As I sat in church yesterday reading his words and thinking about the donation they were going to collect next Sunday, I wondered how I could get my stepson involved in this. And then when we walked out of church, Father Tony had actually posted pictures of his church and parishioners, and I knew this was the way. When Logan can see something concrete, he can then think about giving some money from his piggy bank to this cause. This also got me thinking that there has to be books out there that help us, as parents and teachers, teach children about giving and having sympathy for others–especially those less fortunate.
I found these two books that could be of some help. I am so thankful that there are people in the world like Father Tony Fevlo and that he shares his story with us. It makes me strive to be more giving, less materialistic–although I struggle–and I hope it will also help me to influence my children to be the same way.