During the Vietnam War, peace activist A.J. Muste (1885-1967), stood in front of the White House night after night with a candle – sometimes alone. A reporter interviewed him one evening as he stood there in the rain. “Mr. Muste,” the reporter said, “do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?” A.J. responded, “Oh, I don’t do this to change the country, I do this so the country won’t change me.” I decided to think of ways to light a candle of hope in 2017 and invited others to join me. The posts below are contributions by Carol McGeehan and Jean Schreur. If you have an idea for the “This Little Light of Mine” series, you can write it in the comment section below.
“Years ago I read about a program in a Latin American country to help fight its high rates of illiteracy and poverty. It was called “Each One Teach One and was developed by Dr., Frank Laubach in the Philippines. The idea was for each citizen to teach one other person to read. It was very successful in raising the number of people who could read and could find employment. This was in a very poor country which was able to raise literacy rates and living standards through the power of its citizens helping each other.
It’s all about the power of one. We each have different gifts and talents we can share with people. If we all do just one thing, we can make a big difference. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little.Together we can do so much.” And Mother Teresa said, ‘If you cannot feed 1000,then feed just one’.
So as the song goes,’Take your candle and go light the world.'” (By Carol McGeehan)
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“I have the privilege of tutoring students who are learning English as a second or third language. When they tell me what country they are from and when they came to this country, I shake their hand or give them a hug and tell them how glad I am that they came. Most have come by way of sadness, war, waiting, refugee camps, and of course they leave behind family members and their country.
It has been thrilling to attend citizenship ceremonies of some of the students. Recently I attended a ceremony of one student. She and her husband and three daughters all became citizens. They were among a group of seventy-five other people from thirty-four countries all becoming new citizens.
This summer I tutored just one student. He told me he has come to the U.S “to change his life.” Leaving behind family and a teaching job, he came seeking a way to escape poverty, go to school here and, eventually, go back to his country of origin.
I may be holding a candle in some of their darkness, but have found that my world is so much brighter because they are in my life.” (By Jean A. Schreur)