Sunday, October 18, 2015


Sometimes I have been brought to a needed mind change because of something I read in the Scriptures, sometimes because of something another person does that inspires me, but also, sometimes because I hear about what others are going through. In the latter case, I usually see that others are facing, with faith, a situation far more challenging than my own.

Today I read a New York Times story about conditions in Venezuela, a country my home congregation is involved with through missions support. Inflation there is out of control, running almost 160% a year. There are shortages that are forcing people to line up and wait three hours for a grocery store to open so they can get such basics as cooking oil, corn flour, sugar and toilet paper. Of course, there are limits on how much they can buy.
Recently, customers in 80 vehicles were lined up all night outside an auto shop to get a new car battery. The black market is huge. The article quotes one typical worker who says, “It’s crazy. We’re living a nightmare. There’s nothing to buy, and the money isn’t worth anything.” Add to this the fact that Venezuela is a very dangerous place to be, having the second highest murder rate in the world.  We had been hearing for months about these challenges from our brothers, but reading it today was a stark reminder of what they are facing.
Are there worse places to be? No doubt. Syria comes to mind. You may think of others. But here is my point: As I hear about what others are going through, I have some choices. I can let it just go in one ear and out the other and turn my mind to other things. I can let it cause me to feel sympathy. Or I can be thankful for those holding faith in hard times. I can let their situation help me to appreciate my own blessings and encourage me to face my own challenges with thanksgiving and trust. Then after I get a better perspective on my life, I can pray for others and pray for ways to make a difference.
As always, love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Thanks Tom for a good morning wake up call by reminding me of how blessed I am, as today I went and voted in our Canadian national election. And now I'm sitting in a coffee shop studying my Bible in complete comfort and freedom, with very little concern about my safety. May our Father grant to our brothers and sisters the strength of faith to endure their intense daily trials and may he grant them some reprieve. May I never forget how incredibly blessed I am in every way!

  2. I recently got a promotion on my job. I started in that new position today. We far too often take for granted the ease with which we go through our days. We very easily forget the challenges and difficulties others face on a daily basis and frankly, far too often, we go about completely unaware of the things people deal with and then we forget to thank God for the grace he has extended us. My husband and I often pray for our brothers and sisters in the third world but this is a sober reminder of what they are specifically dealing with. I hope as their brothers and sisters we will do all we can to help them. Thank you Tom for the eye opening.

  3. Too often I think hearing about the trials and challenges of others seems so distant. And there are other times when they seem too close. Nevertheless being reminded of them brings my heart and mind to a place where compassion can be planted. And perhaps keep greed and selfishness further away. Thanks for the reminder.