Devastation has fallen on the small country of Nepal these past few weeks as a series of earthquakes and aftershocks have killed over 8,000 people and injured many more. Towns and villages lie in ruin, access to water and electricity has been obliterated, and lives have been turned upside down in minutes.
For some of us, these are just stories on the news. We pause, we momentarily feel compassion for the people affected, we possibly utter a prayer for their families and then we change the channel.
But what if that is not enough? What if something inside of you compels you to do more than that… to be more than that? To at least converse with others about it, possibly coming up with some concrete plans to try to help and make a difference?
There is a group of people in Wetaskiwin who feel exactly the same as you do, and are doing just that. The Justice Café which recently opened in Wetaskiwin’s mall is attempting to monthly host a coffee house dedicated to raising awareness of current social issues and be a catalyst for making a difference in the world. Following last month’s focus on North Korea, this month the Café highlighted the Nepal crisis on Friday, May 15th.
Invited music group, ‘Informants’ opened the evening with a set of thoughtful, inspirational songs intermixed with accounts of the group’s personal experiences of trying to impact the world. Nicole Victory of the Informants spoke passionately about a life-changing moment she experienced in an impoverished overseas country where she tried to show love to a little boy who was filled with hatred and violence. After repeated failures to reach him, she found out he was the product of a woman who had been forced into prostitution by her husband. Nicole recounted the impact that had on her, seeing past the outward actions to see the hurt and heartache fueling it. She cited the biblical passage Ezekiel 36:26 where God tells the nation of Israel that He will take away their heart of stone and give them a new heart made of flesh. In that moment, Nicole felt that, “we are meant to be people who walk into other people’s lives and take out pieces of stone.”
Newly elected MLA Bruce Hinkley encouraged the audience to be involved, and towards the end of the evening, Tim Shultz spoke shortly about the work that the international organization World Vision is doing in some of these countries, not only sponsoring children, but becoming involved with impacting an entire village by providing clean water wells, education and healthcare. Opportunities were presented to partner with some of these communities and children. A moving moment was watching a couple of children empty their bags of coins into donation jars set up to receive funds for relief efforts in Nepal.
The Justice Café itself is open daily as a Direct and Fair Trade specialty coffee house which serves up a variety of beverages which can be enjoyed while kids play in the play area. The Café also sells handmade, recycled and beautifully designed Fair Trade goods from around the world. For details on upcoming events, or for more information, check them out on their Facebook page, ‘The Justice Café’ or stop in at the Wetaskiwin Mall (old Liquidation World location) and say hi.