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Good News For A Change

Sharing Good News and Uplifting Stories

~Welcome~

“I wish we could hear some good news for a change.” Seems like every day we hear people saying this to each other… people who are discouraged and wearied by the constant flow of bad news from around the world and at home. Yes, we need to know about wars and refugees and terror attacks, but the constant flow of alarmist chatter (“analysis”) on 24-hour news stations wears on the spirit.

There IS good news happening in the world. An amazing amount of it. And the more we know about it, the more we can discuss it and use it to help build a brighter future. So for anyone out there who is hungry and thirsty for some good news, this blog is a kind of “Good News Cafe” — a meeting place and workshop for sharing positive happenings and good ideas. Grab a cuppa, pull up a chair, relax, and join the conversation.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Ready for European Tour

Local concert-goers tonight were treated to a sneak preview of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) European Festivals Tour at Heinz Hall, downtown Pittsburgh.

It has become a true-ism among Pittsburgh musicians that the Pittsburgh Symphony is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

The cat is now officially out of the bag.  As one member of the orchestra reported, the PSO sold out its Proms concert (the BBC’s Henry Woods Promenade Concerts, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London every summer) before Amsterdam’s world-famous Concertgebouw Orchestra did.

As PSO member Paul Silver put it, “Sports analogies are popular in this town. Musically speaking, we have on stage here over 100 players who could step into the role of quarterback on a moment’s notice and win the Super Bowl.”

To prove it, three members of the PSO’s violin section… Continue reading “Pittsburgh Symphony Ready for European Tour”

In Divisive Times, Pittsburgh Unites

At the invitation of Temple Sinai in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, leaders of many faiths joined together in worship and friendship at this past Friday’s Shabbat service. Leaders from local Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Baptist churches, along with many other churches and faiths, stood arm-in-arm in prayer and song, and spoke of their life experiences and their hopes for our city and nation. To read more see Many Faiths, One Belief.

Earlier the same day Pittsburgh’s Mayor Peduto led a prayer and peace rally in front of the City-County building to celebrate love and unity.  “We are here today for one simple reason: Where there is hate we will show love,” Peduto said.  Local resident Mary Moses added: “Every person matters whether you’re a refugee or a citizen of Pittsburgh, we’re all citizens of the land of God.”   For the full story see Channel 11’s post here.

Pennsylvania Strengthens Animal-Abuse Laws

Libre’s Law, named after a dog that was found neglected, abandoned, and near death, was signed into law a few weeks ago by PA Gov. Tom Wolf. Libre’s paw-print was also affixed to the bill. For more on the story click here.

Akron Wire Recorder Plays Back Voices of Holocaust Survivors

Via PBS Newshour June 15 2017 – Media specialists at the University of Akron (OH) have re-created an early-20th-century wire recording and playback machine, and in doing so have given the world the voices of Holocaust survivors in post-WWII Europe.

The recordings were made by psychologist David Boder and include the voices and songs of people then living in French resettlement camps.

For more on the story, and to hear some of the recordings (which are remarkably clear after so many years) visit PBS Newshour.

International Sex Trafficking Ring Broken

Just before Christmas 2016, in the Dominican Republic, the International Justice Mission (IJM) rescued 15 women from an international sex trafficking ring. Three suspected sex traffickers were arrested.

Many of the women are believed to have been abducted from Colombia and forced to travel across international borders. All the women are now living in a safe house and are being provided for by IJM aftercare workers.

“This is one of the most sophisticated operations Dominican anti-trafficking police have ever conducted,” IJM representatives say.  It involved two years of undercover investigation and four different locations.  IJM’s experience in international trafficking helped to provide training and support so local police could carry out the operation.

Good Read: “God’s Refugee: The Story of a Lost Boy Pastor”

One man, called by God to minister to his people, lives out his call through civil war, loss of home and family, refugee life, and more.

John Chol Daau of South Sudan knew from a very young age that he was called by God to minister to his people. Even as a youngster he began to preach to people in his village and surrounding villages.

Educated at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, today Rev. Daau is an ordained Anglican priest, founder of Good Shepherd Academy, Good Shepherd College and Seminary, and creator of The Christian Times, South Sudan’s leading Christian publication.

In the years between childhood and ordination, in the words of humanitarian Baroness Caroline Cox, is a story that “is… a story of the lives of real people… victims of war inflicted by the regime in Khartoum. I was there many times during that war and witnessed the indescribable suffering of the people… and the tragic displacement from their homes. But I was always profoundly humbled and inspired by the ways in which people such as Rev. John Chol Daau retained a radiant, living faith through their anguish. Theirs is a story that needs to be told as a celebration of the power of God.”

Highly recommended reading.

Orphans Reborn reaches Children, Caregivers

It’s been well known for some time that the former Soviet Union has more than its share of orphanages. Caregivers explain: “while some of these lonely, forgotten, and troubled boys and girls are true orphans, the majority are “social orphans” who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect by alcoholic parents.”

The Slavic Gospel Association has been ministering in these orphanages for many years through its Orphans Reborn program, demonstrating the good news of God’s love to these children, and sharing tokens of love and care. Recently SGA has started providing care in an orphanage for children with developmental difficulties in the Kirov region. They share movies, give gifts, and spend time with the children. They have the opportunity to work with the children in ways that the staff often cannot, and help discover and develop their gifts and talents.

Caregivers enjoy the lessons and activities as much as the children, and often repeat them after the SGA volunteers have gone.  One volunteer recalls: “one day, as a teacher accompanied us to say goodbye, she cried… She told us… Continue reading “Orphans Reborn reaches Children, Caregivers”

Slavic Gospel Association’s Commitment to Far East Russia

The Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), founded in Illinois by Russian immigrants in the early 1900s, has been committed to evangelizing the people of the former USSR for nearly a century.  One of their latest efforts is outreach to the people of Far East Russia.  An area of small towns and villages, much of it very poor, just getting there often means crossing Siberia; much of the region therefore is accessible only by small airplane.

To that end SGA has begun an aviation ministry to enable Bible teachers and missionaries to bring the Good News and aid to the people of the Far East.

fareastmissionaries

Many of the people of the Far East region are minority ethnic groups. Cut off from much… Continue reading “Slavic Gospel Association’s Commitment to Far East Russia”

The Salvation Army – Dedicated to Good News

In case you missed it last year (I know I did) – the Salvation Army recently celebrated its 150th Anniversary.  Probably best known for its red-kettle drives at Christmas time, the Salvation Army began as a mission in the East End of London in 1865.  Founders William and Catherine Booth “walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute” and “demonstrating their faith by offering practical support to people in need on the streets of London”.

Today the Salvation Army continues their founders’ work by… Continue reading “The Salvation Army – Dedicated to Good News”

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