Good News For A Change

Sharing Good News and Uplifting Stories


“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.

Featured post

8-year-old Donates Lemonade Stand Profits to Homeless Veterans

As reported by Channel 4 Action News in Pittsburgh, an eight-year-old has donated his earnings from his summer lemonade stand to help homeless veterans.

Jake Steffey, who lives with his family south of the city, netted $415 from his lemonade stand. With the help of the Warriors of Chaos Veterans Motorcycle Club he took that money to the local Wal-Mart and purchased dry goods and non-perishable foods the veterans.

Presentation of the gifts will be made on Saturday at Veterans Place in Pittsburgh. For more information see the story here.

Student Successes at Tumaini Academy Kenya

News has just arrived that 100% of this year’s graduates of Tumaini Academy in northern Kenya who applied to continue their educations in secondary school have not only been accepted but awarded full scholarships.

Tumaini Academy was founded by Bp. Qampicha Wario of Marsabit, a graduate of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, as a way of providing quality education in a region that is largely agricultural, and as a way of establishing peace and future leadership as children of Muslims and children of Christians learn and grow together.  Tumaini Academy is supported by a number of churches and individuals in the Pittsburgh area.

In other good news, Bp. Qampicha is seeking to hire someone to fill the newly-created office of Minister of Education for the Diocese of Marsabit, Kenya (which would include Tumaini Academy).

Graduation at Good Shepherd Academy, South Sudan

Following on our previous article, more good news has arrived from Good Shepherd Academy, South Sudan, founded by former “lost boy” Rev. John Chol Daau.  The school recently held graduation ceremonies which, after overcoming many technical challenges, celebrated the accomplishments of 34 children graduates and 46 adults who received certificates for completing a course in English.  Guest speaker for the event was Bishop Abraham Nhial, who was also one of the “lost boys” of Sudan.

Bp. Abraham Nhial and Rev. John Chol Daau with recent graduate

Rev John and Bp. Abraham also have a local Western PA connection: both were students at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA a decade ago.

Read more about the event here.

Good Shepherd Academy, South Sudan

In the midst of South Sudan’s ongoing upheavals and political chaos, The Rev. John Chol Daau is building for the future.

Rev. Daau has founded Good Shepherd Academy primary school in this war-torn area, with an eye to growing and encouraging quality leaders for tomorrow.  The Academy is currently training over 230 students ages 3 through 14 for future leadership, while also peacefully integrating children from many different tribal backgrounds.

Rev Daau’s work was recently featured in the Sudanese publication Brisker Magazine.  Pull-quote from Rev Daau: “The role of a good shepherd in my community is important. It means good care and protection over your animals (cattle). Jesus’ claim of his nature of leadership being a good shepherd resonates with the philology of and being a good shepherd in my culture,” he narrated.

Once one of the “Lost Boys” of South Sudan, Rev. Daau was educated in the States before returning to the refugee camps, founding a seminary in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. In the camp, nearly 2,000 people were trained as lay readers and in other ministry areas.  From there he went on to found the Good Shepherd Academy in South Sudan.  Read more about his life and inspiration in his book, God’s Refugee.

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.

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