Thursday, November 17, 2016

Peace corps volunteer

Our St. Luke’s Family,

Some of you kindly ask how our daughter, Christa Cook, serving in the Peace Corps in Peru, is doing and we thought we’d share her story so far. . .

--Chris & Marcie Cook

November 3, 2016

I’ve been living in the Northern Andes Mountains of Peru in the region of Amazonas for 3 months now. While intermittently sick and very tired of the repetitive food, I've learned so much from this small community that has made this whole experience worth it. I have been working on a bathrooms project here because most people use what we call "underdeveloped latrines", which is basically a hole in the ground. Some people even still openly defecate. The community I'm working in is very poor, the average income is 300 soles a month (equivalent to about $95 per month) and most households make money by farming.

While very poor, the people in this community ALWAYS invite me to lunch and ask if there's anything they can do to help me as they are very aware that I am alone in this country. They invite me to their parties, but I think that’s mostly because they think it’s funny how the “gringa” dances. They don’t have much but they share what they have with each other and even this outsider from a country that generally has a bad reputation in Latin America. (A part of one of Donald Trump’s speeches about Latin immigrants has been replayed over and over and has helped paint this negative picture of the USA to the people around me in Peru.)

I know you've probably heard stories like this before, but it amazes me that these people can be so poor, so uneducated, yet so happy and generous. I've only been here 3 months and I've only included the good I've seen here (but like all countries, there are negative things) and I have 1 year and 9 months left to complete this project and continue learning about the beautiful Peruvian culture.

On behalf of all Peace Corps Peru, thank you for your prayers and good thoughts as we continue our work here.  One of the goals for us in the Peace Corps is to share Peruvian culture with Americans so you are helping me fulfill that goal.

Regards, Christa Cook

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Healing Touch

During this Lenten season Pastor Kris has been has been reflecting on the theme “Sensing the Gospel” during the Wednesday evening worship services. Two weeks ago she talked about the sense of touch. This reminded me of one of the events that happened to me at Holden Village. Each winter in February we had visitors from St. Placid Priory, a women’s monastic community in Olympia, Washington. Sister Monica and one or two of the other sisters would come for retreat and when they arrived the old spinning wheels in the attic of the dining hall would appear and the sisters would teach us how to spin sheep’s wool into yarn. I never could get the hang of that, but quite a few people did, including several of the children. It was always a special week when they came. However, I digress.

In February of 2007, a couple of the sisters from the priory were at Holden on their annual visit. One of the sisters had a special gift as a healer who practiced what is called “the Healing Touch.” She explained that we all have this electrical field surrounding our bodies and the healing touch involved passing her hands over the body through this field. This did not involve actual touching, but rather passing her hands over the body through this electrical field while praying silently. At the time I was having worse than usual aches and pains in my legs and back. Skeptic that I am, I was both curious and ready to try anything that might help. I signed up for a session with her and it was amazing. After about 45 minutes, I got off the table and honestly had absolutely no pain anywhere in my body. I had spent the entire time totally concentrating on relaxing and releasing the pain while she was doing this. I had two days of complete relief from pain following this session. This woman had a real gift of the healing touch which she shared with others and I was lucky to be in the place where I could be blessed by her gift. 

Gail Johnson

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tony's Gift

Throughout grade school I was the smallest boy in my class. I was short and skinny.  I remember being referred to as Shrimp Boat as in the “Shrimp boats is a-comin’” song.  That was fine except my size made me an easy target for bullies.  There were a couple of boys in my class that would pound on me from time to time.  I learned to avoid them.  One of the boys was named Mark.  I really disliked Mark.  No, I hated Mark and the name Mark.  The chubby boy in the class was Two-Ton Tony.  His full name to playground comics was Two-Ton Tony Full of Baloney.  One day Tony pulled me aside and told me about Mark.  He said that Mark’s Dad beat him.  I was shocked.  I was used to the idea that there was meanness and danger in the world.  But home was safe.  It was where I got unconditional love and support.  Yeah, I got yelled at and the occasional swat on the behind, but the idea of my Dad beating me was incomprehensible.  I felt sorry for Mark.  I actually felt compassion for him.  I still avoided him because I still didn’t like being pounded.  But I no longer hated him or his name.  Thanks, Tony.

Tom Petersen