Friends in Germany
At the Vancouver Peace and Justice fair a few years back Dan Cammack and I were in the NWYM booth. A woman approached the booth and began, “You—I don’t mean you two, I mean you Quakers—saved my life.” She went on to tell us that she was a child in Germany at the end of World War II. With the total disintegration of all services her town was facing starvation. Then the Quakers arrived! They brought food, medicine, orderliness, and hope.
Last June, my wife, Lorie, and I traveled to Germany to visit a granddaughter. We made contact with local Friends and attended a Sunday evening meeting. There were 8 other people there. We learned that there are only 250 Friends in all of Germany.
I wonder why we saved the lives of thousands of Germans and almost none of them became Friends. Positive thoughts: We are called unconditionally to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; we did that. Perhaps the task itself was so consuming that we had no opportunity to explain our faith while we lived it. Maybe there are some other good reasons.
However, the question rises in my mind: Did we go and do good work for them and not with them? Did we say, “Join with us in feeding others?” Then we would have shared our expertise, of course, but along with that our loving concern for each individual and our motivation derived from our following Jesus Christ.
The rescuing of Germans was long ago, but the needs of multitudes of people are with us today, and not all of them far away. I believe we, as individuals and as churches, need to look at what we are doing and ask ourselves, “Are we inviting others to work with us to meet their needs and in the process, sharing our faith?”
Contributed by Wilbur Wood, West Hills Friends