Breaking my word

by Rod Smith

After-Sermon #15

I’m breaking my pledge, treasured readers; I’m going back on my word.

You may or may not recall, pastors, church members, business leaders, school administrators, the men and women who are faithful After-Sermon readers, something I wrote in my first After-Sermon column.

I said I would never ask you for money.

I am going to, now.

When I made that pledge months ago there were not hundreds of thousands of women and children fleeing Ukraine.

There were not multitudes leaving their dads and husbands at home to fight off a Russian invasion.

When I wrote I would never ask you for money there were not hordes of innocent children clutching onto a few treasured possessions, often a puppy or kitten, onto life itself, flooding neighboring countries of Romania and Poland, to name but two, fleeing for refuge and safety.

I reference Poland and Romania because it is with these two countries that I am most familiar. They are places I have visited. I have, and have had, personal connection with people I deeply trust.

Marta and William Shaw and their two young sons, live in Krakow, Poland. They have opened their home to mothers and children from Ukraine. More than that, they continue to network and reach out daily to many other local families in Krakow and beyond to do the same. This has resulted in a network of safe homes for women and children fleeing Ukraine for Poland. As you can imagine the needs are overwhelming.

Marshall McKenna, who pioneered ManaDeschia (Open Hand) in Campina, Romania, is driving to the Romanian/Ukraine border and rescuing women and children and bringing them to reside in short and long term housing. This is in addition to what his busy mission is already accomplishing. As you can imagine, the needs are surely overwhelming.

I am asking you to give to these efforts.
Your gift, 100% of it, will go directly to the point of need. There will be no processing fee, no administrative costs, no salaries to cover or facility expenses for which to pay.

It will all go to William and Marta Shaw and to Marshall McKenna each of whom I know will apply it to urgent needs.

Marta and William are friends of mine. Marta is a PhD in Education and teaches at the University. William, originally from Minnesota, is a Family Therapist. He has a side interest which involves creating and marketing tasty and magnificent hot sauces.

Marshall McKenna is a South African who has spent most of his adult life in Romania. Decades ago he began providing an avenue to rescue homeless street children from the sewers of Bucharest to a safe haven built by Marshall and his many friends.

These are educated, kind, visionary, determined, and street-wise people.

The elders of First Presbyterian Church New Castle gave an immediate and resounding yes when the idea of a congregational offering was proposed and we will take up an offering during our worship on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Please, join us in this effort.

Perhaps even suggest your church does the same.

If you’d want to participate with First Pres you may drop your check written to “First Presbyterian New Castle” or mail it to PO BOX 491 New Castle, IN 47362. Please place “Romania” or “Poland” in the memo. If you indicate neither “Poland” nor “Romania” we will split your contribution down the middle and send to both!

Better still, cut this column out of the paper and give it to your pastor and send an offering from your church to a related cause of your church’s choice.

Generosity opens the heart to beauty and possibility, it magnifies hope, leads to further acts of kindness, drives away bitterness, and expands vision.

You can count on me to break my word every time if the result is food, warmth, clothing and safety provided to women and children fleeing war.

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