Love, Sacrifice, and Forgiveness:
Easter, April 12, 2009
by Nazgul William
Away from my home country, I keep tuned to Pakistan news, since my parents, siblings and their children, many relatives, and friends live there. From childhood I observed the tensions between India and Pakistan, which were once a united nation where overall people lived peacefully and respectfully.
After existing in partition for the past 60 years, these countries think war remains the solution to issues brought about mainly by extremist groups. Instead, innocent millions have lost their lives in the crossfire and daily chaotic insurgencies.
Jesus sacrificed his life because he loved us all and wanted to save the world. He wanted us to learn about forgiveness, love, and respect. Yet, more than two millennia since Jesus' crucifixion, we continue to mistrust, kill, steal, and take revenge. We hurt and destroy lives, property, and the environment. Will we ever learn?
The news about Pakistan and the heartbreaking realities in the US and around the world constantly challenge my spiritual life. I always think of the children and youth. Daily I ask forgiveness not only from God but from the children who inherit current and future living conditions.
On the weekends, I occasionally drive to Atlanta to see my sister Samreen, her husband, Ray, and my five-year-old nephew, Jeremiah. These visits always renew my energy. Although I enjoy serving our retired Global Ministries missionaries, deaconesses, church and community workers, and local-area residents, I truly like spending time with my nephew and my friends' children. Children are such a blessing from God!
Jeremiah is blessed to be attending public school and getting bus service. I remember putting him on his first bus trip to school and how the driver and the other children welcomed him as the newest and youngest kid. They continue to look after him. Even traffic stopped to ensure his safety while boarding and exiting.
In other countries, this is not the case. Children travel at great risk to school, that is, if it is available at all. In the last two years, more than 200 schools (121 of them girls' schools) in northwest Pakistan have been destroyed either by war or deliberately by the Taliban. Now 60,000 students are without education. Whether in Africa, Latin America or Asia, each year that a girl gains education, her family, health, and living conditions improve tenfold. Teaching a woman increases a nation's wealth!
The crisis in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo impacts the daily lives of innocent women, children, and youth. Families are torn apart. Economies fail. Survival instincts take over. It is truly a challenge to find peace in the midst of war and violence.
But there is hope. Christian and Muslim women of Liberia unified to end their civil war by focusing on their children's and youth's present and future. In the current documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," we see women take courageous action with support from international and women's support groups. When women of faith act together, change is imminent!
May this Lent help us to live fully with love, to sacrifice our wants, and to forgive those who have trespassed, so that we may be forgiven our transgressions.
In April 2005, Nazgul William was commissioned as the first Pakistani deaconess in The UnitedMethodistChurch. Born and raised in Lahore, Ms. William earned her BA in History from the University of Punjab. She also has an AS in Business Administration from Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, and a BA in International Studies from Marymount Manhattan College in New York. She currently serves as an executive assistant/resident trust of the Women's Division-owned retirement home, Brooks-Howell in Asheville, North Carolina. An active member at large with NADAM, Naz is also UMW spiritual growth coordinator of Biltmore UMC and UMW member-at-large of the Asheville District.
Date posted: Mar 10, 2009