Saturday, November 15, 2014

Battle of Good versus Evil continues

11/12/14 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Battle of good versus evil continues

I lost my cool last week. Big time. Sitting in my office reading the International news on my computer screen I came completely unglued. No, it wasn’t about the Nov. election results, Obama Care, the Ebola quarantine debate, Honey Boo-boo or any other controversial topic consuming us here in the U.S.A.

My tirade was directed at an arrogant, bloodthirsty sadist clear across the world in Nigeria. I cried. I ranted and raved and wished that I knew how to apply some vile curses. The target was Abubaker Shekau, a Nigerian Islamic extremist and the leader of Boko Haram. A name that means: Western Education is sinful.

Of course, he couldn’t hear my hysteria and he wouldn’t have cared if he did. Extremists only hear one voice and that is their own.

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf (now dead). It advocates a strict form of Sharia law, seeks to establish a fully Islamic state in Nigeria. It opposes education and the westernizing of Nigeria—half of which is Muslim and the other half Christian.

Coexistence is not possible. Boko Haram is interested only in “battle, hitting, striking and killing with the gun, which we look forward to like a tasty meal,” said Shekau.

Until this year, millions of people, myself included, weren’t aware of this group because of the many other power struggles going on around the globe. Our attention was diverted to Nigeria on April 15 when 276 girls and young women were kidnapped from a boarding school in the remote village of Chibok. Some escaped. Most didn’t. And since then dozens of others have been kidnapped.

Appeals for their release came from around the world. Social media posted “#Bring Back Our Girls Now” to create awareness, spark conversation and demonstrations about the kidnappings. It was hoped that somehow this would encourage the families, especially the vulnerable children. The girls remained captives.

Thus, my rage when on Nov. 1, leader Shekau gleefully announced to the world that the girls (children!) had been converted to Islam and married off. Then, he dug the knife a little deeper and said to the parents, “If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you…to die from grief.”

That statement put me over the edge. I have sometimes been accused of being a Pollyanna but I do know EVIL when I see it. I wanted to destroy this guy and save the girls. Finally, I calmed down. I know this is a God-sized problem. And it is time to pray. The Bible says if you are disheartened…to pray without ceasing. That’s what I do daily. Please join me in praying for these girls.

On the other side of evil is goodness. Evil means “profoundly immoral and malevolent; wicked, bad, wrong, dishonorable, villainous, malicious” and more. Good means “that which is morally right; virtue, righteous, integrity, fine, superior, quality” and more.

Well, just as I didn’t have far to look for evil, I quickly found examples of goodness. Right here in Cottage Grove, I heard about a man who couldn’t afford to get dentures. One day, out of the blue, a complete stranger struck up a conversation with him, handed him a card and told him to go get his teeth fixed—and he would pick up the tab!

My friend Jeannie volunteers for Pro-Bone-O. It operates two free clinics per month and provides free veterinary services, food and supplies for companion pets of the homeless. Another friend, Patty, has a clothing ministry. She collects gently worn clothes and gives them to those in need.

Churches are always a good source of goodness. There are many churches that go on mission trips to Mexico and other countries. Their mission is usually to preach the gospel by first providing for people’s physical needs: food, clothes, shelter and medicine. Help. Not harm.

First Baptist Church in Albuquerque was on such a mission when they discovered a young boy with a massive, fluid filled venus lymphangioma on his shoulder that literally has taken over his upper body. The area in which he lived was so dangerous that Homeland Security picked up him and his parents and brought them to the states. Thanks to the church he will have the surgery to remove the tumor and reconstruct his shoulder bone. It will be a long haul recovery but he will have his life restored—because people cared.

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram has killed more than 7,000 people; kidnapped and enslaved an unknown number and displaced at least 650,000 civilians from their homes. They use abductions, rape, forced labor and marriage as weapons of war. They plan to continue this rampage and carnage of innocent people until they are martyred and go to their version of paradise. It’s sick!

In the meantime, the virus Ebola has been running rampant in Western Africa. The latest statistics from the CDC confirm 13,042 cases with 4,818 deaths. As horrible as these numbers are, there is hope. Billionaires like Bill Gates (who puts his money where his mouth is) are investing in vaccines and drugs to prevent the virus and others like it from becoming recurring epidemics.

Organizations like Doctors without Borders and individual medical teams are flying into the Ebola ravaged areas from around the globe to heal and comfort. Recently, Samaritan’s Purse chartered a 757 jumbo jet to airlift 100 tons of supplies to the villages for basic needs, feeding, hydration and sanitation. Tens of thousands of lives will be saved—not lost—because of people who are caring not killers.

From the beginning of time there has been a battle between good and evil. It continues today. But my money is on the side of goodness to prevail. Pray for peace in the hearts, minds and souls of all mankind. And the Golden Rule to prevail.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.