The third Peace Soup gathering on March 6 was titled "Where there is despair, hope." Dick Roberts and Lou Egging hosted the third session of "Hate Has No Home Here: Becoming Instruments of Peace" for a group of about eighty people.
After a video about hope in a seemingly hopeless situation, Roberts shared two personal stories of his own. The first story was about the worry and panic he and his wife felt when they failed to get a call from their youngest daughter who was traveling in Thailand. 'Wednesday...no call. Thursday night we waited. Friday...we became a bit frantic," he said. On Saturday they decided to call the U.S. Embassy and the man who answered their call brought them hope in their despair by explaining what procedures are in place for a Westerner traveling in Thailand. "The first thing he did after listening to us was to acknowledge our fear, express a sincere concern for us, and for our daughter. Then he spent nearly 45 minutes explaining the procedures that they had in place if there was any instance involving a Westerner. After hanging up with that call we strangely felt better. We didn't know much. We still didn't know where she was or what had happened. He hadn't told us she was safe. He didn't know but he'd given us some hope."
The man called again an hour later to report there were other problems that may have affected her being able to call home. "He reported a series of glitches that possibly accounted for her not calling: phone troubles off and on all week from the island that she'd been visiting...ferry problems Friday and then a big rush of tourists leaving the island on Saturday because they couldn't get away on Friday..," he said. Reassured he and his wife went about their daily lives. "By the end of the call we were so filled with hope...and wouldn't you know while we were gone, Susie called. She left a very lengthy message kind of reinforcing what the man at the embassy had said... he may have been thousands of miles away but he was there for us. He sowed hope in us and we really never forgot that instance."
In his second story Roberts found hope in the comfort of friends and family after the death of his wife of 58 years saying. "Suffice it to say," he related, "it was very sudden and I was obviously devastated." After an outpouring of help and condolences, Roberts said the "terror" he had felt at her passing was transformed into a determination to "live life to the fullest."
Egging spoke to the group about relationships, paraphrasing from pastor and columnist Don Follis of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, saying, "In order for us to love others as Jesus did, we too need to cross into other people's worlds, enter life in their shoes while holding on to our own world as well. It is all about relationship and love remains the most compelling force in life. What you have to give may be the encouragement for which they have long been hoping."
Conversations took place at the various tables in the hall about finding hope and bringing hope to others. "This was a topic I think that people felt more comfortable sharing with a small group, said attendee Ray Hilgendorf. "At our table we talked about giving hope to people in different ways, like listening to their needs."
Highlights from the March 6 Peace Soup
Yourdictionary.com says "hope is a feeling that what is wanted will happen. Desire accompanied by expectation." I guess I agree that it's a feeling or at least a feeling is involved but I kind of feel like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart - he was attempting to define hard core pornography, and he said "maybe I can't define it but I know it when I see it." I have to say that about hope: I know it when I feel it. -Dick Roberts
We will see a video about a young mother about her family's journey to hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. I'd like to ask you to put yourselves in her situation. Feel the pain that she has to be feeling. Follow her story as she tells us how she found hope. - Dick Roberts
I'm going to talk about several points and a lot of what I'm talking about came from the work of a gentleman named Don Follis. Don is a 30 year pastor and member of the Champaign Urbana Vineyard Church in Illinois. Ten means of relating to people:
ACCEPTANCE Can you look beyond the person's faults and still care for them? There's not a better way to give a person hope than by accepting them for who they are not for what they do.
LOVE Love is very important for bringing people out of despair. The need for love is met by expressing care through physical touch and tender words.
APPRECIATION The need for appreciation is met through expressing thanks and praise, especially in recognizing someone's accomplishments. It is especially meaningful if you praise someone in front of other people.
APPROVAL The need for approval is met by building up and acknowledging the importance of the relationship.
CONNECTION The need for connection is met when we enter another person's world. There is no substitute for spending time with someone.
COMFORT The need for comfort is met by responding to people with appropriate words and physical touch.
ENCOURAGEMENT The need for encouragement is met by urging people to hang in there, to persist toward the goal they so want to achieve.
RESPECT The need for respect is met by honoring and regarding people as important.
PROTECTION The need for protection is met when we establish harmony in relationships and show people they are free from fear and threat of harm.
SUPPORT The need for support is met when you come alongside someone and give them your complete attention. --Lou Egging