My Friend in Kosova

I received the following email this weekend from my friend from Kosovo.  I have not seen him in 4 years.  Back in 2004, my first year with my current job, I was afforded an amazing opportunity to travel in 11 countries over the space of about 7 weeks.  One of the most amazing nights of my life was spent in Kosovo over dinner in an Albanian home followed by walking the streets of their small village with two very intelligent high school age boys.  We heard their first hand accounts of the wars of the early 90s; we chatted with their friends who were returning to their homes from a peaceful demonstration at the city center; we accepted “thank-yous” from most (upon their discovery of our USA citizenship) for our efforts militarily in ending the wars of the early 90s.  I can’t approach adequately conveying that night to you here.  However, I wanted to post my friend’s email and get your comments before I continue.  I’ve got to get out the door to an appointment anyway…more later:

My dear friends and brothers in Christ!

I would love to thank you so much for you prayers and congratulations of Kosova’s Independence! I hope God will bring peace in Kosova and in region! I will always remember the struggle of your countries for all these years to bring democracy and peace where all people can live together! thank you USA!! I wish i could hug every american and express my great happines and my emotional greatfullness! I have been living these days with so much joy just like every albanian person in the world and I also have been praying for peace in serbia and other countris to leave Kosova govern it’s own Home!

My dream!
I always had a dream to get education someday and be able to serve my country but it has been very difficult in transsation time in Kosova and comming out from a poor family it was impossible to countinue my university education! i was obligated to imigrate in west europe to find job and help my father to pay his depts during last 15 years that he had taken to keep our familly survived! After i graduated from High school the situation in my familly got worst, my father couldn’t countinue with his fragile health and medicine drugs couln’t help him anymore! He had to get heart operation to reconect his three bypass! The cost was a lot, we asked money everywhere and we made it, and he was saved! I Stopped university but i still was a part of church where i was so blessed to go and listen and try to learn more about Jesus! Love for him was growing everyday espscially with a great teacher like *** ****. Since Aprill 2006 I am struggling to find job by imiggrating in Illegal 5 Europian western countries,It is like a nightmare but my faith is so strong and this gives me Joy! Now i am Italy, I work since 4 months but not everyday! Even though is hard to survive this way here I was able to pay 30% of my father depts and also growing with so much passion and love for Christ and trying to follow Catholic Churchs because i couldn’t find baptist churches yet.. but the love and present of God is found everywhere  I look for! Sometimes I feel so close Jesus, he is just there when i am needed! I am so blessed but now I wonder what I could serve for Jesus!? I have been in touch with my great friend and my brother *** **** and he gave me a great news few months ago! He asked me to go In Usa to get my education in Baptist University In Texas! my respond was immidiatly Yes(my dream comes true)Jesus is here again! He told me that he will ask some churches to provide money for my education and he countinues to pray! I pray also that God guide him! It will be a great return in my Homeland and serve people in Kosova after i finish University! This is a Dream to come true!
Thanks again and God bless you!
With love …

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CoolPeopleCare | End Homelessness

CoolPeopleCare | End Homelessness

Sam Davidson wrote a good post a couple days ago on Cool People Care entitled End Homelessness. My first impression of the title was, “Yeah, right…” or some more cynical semblance of that. Then I read what he had to say. I would love for you to read it too before I continue…

I am becoming increasingly aware of my own cynicism. I have conditioned myself to be a “realist” in regard to such romantic pronouncements, “END HOMELESSNESS”. For many of us, homelessness is one or more of the following:

A problem for the big cities/someone else’s problem.

The dirty guy asking for money…

A consequence of someone’s self-imposed mistakes…

A threat to tourism/businesses…

A fact of life…live with it… 

Much of what we think about homelessness is based on inaccurate information or misconceptions.

I ran across an interesting interview with Martha Burt, Principal Researcher for the Urban Institute,  on the National Alliance to End Homelessness website.  (A site I would have never found had Cool People Care not suggested a little education.)  One of the questions asked implies her seemingly naive belief that we might actually be able to end poverty.  (Again, I’m Mike Young and I’m a recovering cynic…”Hello Mike…”)  Here is Dr. Burt’s response:

Why do you think ending homelessness is possible?
Ending most homelessness is a matter of public will, not a matter of not knowing how. No developed country is entirely free of homelessness, but those that do what it takes to provide housing, with the supportive services needed to help very vulnerable people retain that housing, have succeeded in reducing homelessness to the bare minimum—with few people becoming homeless, and those that fall out of housing remaining homeless for the shortest possible time.

–Martha Burt

The striking thing about her answer is the first sentence: “Ending most homelessness is a matter of public will, not a matter of knowing how.”  What does that say about us? In our age of 24 hour news cycles and the availability of limitless information via Google, when was the last time you listened to a substantive discussion about actual strategies to accomplish such a goal as ending homelessness?  Why is someone who is so obviously more knowledgeable on this subject than everyone who might read this post seen as some sort of Pollyanna figure, hopelessly naive and idealistic?  What do we actually have the will to accomplish as a society?  Is a healthy economy really only about increasing our collective ability to consume more crap pushed upon us by our consumer culture?

Sorry for the rant but I really believe we are better than that.  Our history is filled with wonderful stories of our public will being focused in ways that absolutely changed history and the way we think.  Reality was literally transformed in regard to issues that previously were just as unrealistically romantic as “end homelessness.”  Ultimately, I think the upcoming elections hinge on choosing a person who can truly and prophetically lead “we the people” to focus our collective will on some audacious goal(s).  Can this person redirect our collective attention from entertaining ourselves to death toward something even better than we can imagine?  Call me naive…

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