Talofa, Maiem, Ni sa bula, Namaskar, Aloha, Selamat malam, Konnichiwa, An nyong, Apa kabar, Haere mai, Fakalofa atu, Namo erea, Salam, Mabuhay, Nihau ma, Sa wad dee kha, Malo E Laumalie, Xin chao, Velkommen, Hello, Zdravstvujtye, Kia Orana,
I'm sitting in my office which is in the midst of the most beautiful tropical garden which surrounds a Polynesian inspired house where my husband Peter and I live with Blake the cat. On one side of the garden is the roadside, on the other the turquoise lagoon. It is truly paradise and daily I give thanks for this heavenly island and our tranquil home of Rarotonga.
I also express gratitude for our blended family of four children in their 20's, including a beautiful granddaughter.
There are many faces of turmoil and conflict thus preventing peace in our lives;
a marriage breakup, not getting on with your children, difficult neighbours, unpleasant workmates. And then there is the hard aspects of violence, rape, torture either on the domestic front by people whom we thought we could trust or in war ravaged countries and in the aftermath of war or environmental calamity.
It is always the women and children who suffer most.
My daughter, Luana, and I sponsor a young child in Myanmar. In a letter we have received from her this week. She says in the home she helps by running errands and her health is great. When she grows up she wants to be a nurse. She is only 5yrs old but has a vision to help others as she has been helped. Her message to us is "I wish you to be healthy". From her photo, Linn Ei Phyo is a robust child. In the midst of environmental calamities Linn is doing well. She is at peace.Living in a place referred to as "heaven on earth"and not having experienced war firsthand, it is easy to talk about "Peace begins with me..." and to enjoy a peaceful life. When life circumstances are beyond your control and you don't have a say it must be very difficult to understand how "Peace begins with me...". But time and again we are shown examples of those who suffer atrocities and who have a calm and peaceful countenance and are "at peace". Oh to have such fortitude of spirit to carry on in spite of all odds. These individuals are surely the "peacemakers" that are referred to in the Scriptures, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God".
My request to you my PPSEAWA sisters is to bring peace into the lives of those who suffer. It may be one person, it may be a family, it may be a stranger via an organisation. It may be assisting in some way to ensure the United Nations ceasefire is upheld on 21 September. Please make a difference to someone's life this Peace Week 2008. And it all starts with those four words: "Peace begins with me...."
Mahatma Ghandi said "If you want to change the world you be the change!".
And, did you know that it is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself?
Here in the Cook Islands our schools create Peace programmes for Peace Week. We ask the students to participate in the Peace Awards and we are amazed at the vision of a peaceful world these young ones have.
In Parliament this week, they are being reminded about the virtue of peacefulness.
In our churches the theme will be "peace". Your PPSEAWA sisters have organised the annual Peace Ceremony at our Peace School for 2008.
In addition we will have peace sayings read on television each evening during Peace Week sponsor and an advertisement about war and peaceful solutions. Most exciting news is that our parenting DVD "Peaceful Beginnings", as inspired by Eleitino Paddy Walker, is finished and will be included in the Baby packs we give to all new born babies, promoting literacy and good parenting skills.
Please e-mail me information about your Peace Day celebrations and a photo if possible so we can have a record of PPSEAWA members practising the virtue of Peacefulness and creating peace in our world.
I wish you health, happiness and peace in your lives and those of your families.