An Advent Wake-Up Call:
Advent 2007 Meditation
by Martha Stockwell-Goering
We followers of Jesus Christ, lovers of the God who called all into being, begin Advent. With a wake-up call, we prepare for the mystery once again of the King who came and is still coming. But a call to what?
In the preceeding verses of Romans 13 we learn that what we're to wake up to is "Love your neighbor as yourself".
Alicia, 24-year-old wife and mother, completing her secondary education while living in a low income neighborhood of Tucuman, Argentina, heard that call. After confronting deep despair she found new life in Christ Jesus. She entered into the mystery that unless she loved herself she could not love others and that if she did not respond to her call to love others she could not love herself. She deeply understood that to negate God's call in her life was to deny herself life.
With the support of the local church Alicia became a lay leader in her small community. After the government school subsidies were stolen by the school principal she organized parents in fund raising events to provide snacks for children. With an ecumenical team of persons from her community they began a library and read to children in the outdoor soup kitchens; they began tutoring programs, Bible storytelling, and art programs for children; weekly worship became available for all; and a teen mother's small business as an outgrowth of Manos Emanuel, the small art cards business that supports the project called La Obra or The Work. She, along with a team, organizes women and children to overcome family violence, unemployment, illiteracy, prejudice and hopelessness. They are currently working with their community to improve access to drinking water which includes plans to dig their own well on land that members of the community donated. Their work is recognized by other local human rights organizations; Alicia and the team now provide opportunities for training in Compassionate Communication that they received.
Today Alicia speaks to church and government authorities with the confidence of one who knows that the lives of the members of her community, as well as her own, matter.
Martha Stockwell-Goering, a Global Ministries Missionary, serves as Missionary Interpreter In Residence for Southeastern Jurisdiction. During her recent service in Argentina she provided training in the skills of Compassionate Communication to facilitate difficult conversations between individuals and groups.
Missionary Code: 13947
Date posted: Nov 30, 2007