How The Christchurch Earthquake Aftermath Is Bringing Out The Best In People.
A beautiful ‘loaves and fishes’ story about very caring and generous people featured on Sunday morning television, TVNZ channel one, July 1st, 2012. The story reminds me of one I saw on a Jamie Oliver programme around six months ago, of a taxi-driver’s family in New Orleans, who regularly cook to feed several hundred homeless people living in the subways underground.
You wouldn’t think that New Zealand has a poverty problem. But there is poverty in New Zealand, with many children affected by it. Many children in South Auckland, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay, and other places, do not have enough food to eat, let alone good shoes to walk to school in, or a raincoat to prevent them from getting wet.
The Christchurch earthquake has made the problem worse for people living there. As well, the economic down-turn, and the national government reducing the amount of help available in the way of state-housing and other benefits, is also having an effect on the already-poor.
The TV1 story was about a Korean family who emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand, over a decade ago. Dad is a taxi-driver, like the man from New Orleans, and Mum is a school teacher-aide.
Life is hard in any new country for immigrants, as we can well believe, and the hardships resulting from the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch must have added to the difficulties that this family already experienced.
But the Chung family in Christchurch considers that they are blessed in many ways, and this has made them determined in their striving to do good for others less fortunate than they are.
Their plan to help others really works because they are so ‘together’ as a family. It is the co-operative effort which gives them the ability to feed the homeless community in central Christchurch. Mum and Dad both working jobs to feed the family and get them through their schooling. Behind the scenes, they have a strong Korean church community at the Presbyterian church of St Ninians, which obviously helps to keep their faith strong, andwhich must help support them in their life as immigrants in New Zealand.
The Chung family from Korea exemplify the essence of Christian values, and they bring the christian principle of ‘love thy neighbour’ into action in a very big-hearted way. They count their Blessings, and consider that they are quite well off by comparison with others. They see that while their house might be leaky as a result of the earthquake, and that they do not have money to spend on luxuries, there are many people in Christchurch who are really suffering. Many people there are homeless. Many people do not have enough to eat. So the Chung family make a concerted effort to help change things.
Every Sunday, the whole family get up very early, no matter what the weather, and get cooking to provide meals for several hundred homeless or poverty-stricken people living around Christchurch. The whole family is involved, with the children allocated their own tasks.
At first, they used to provide the meals free of charge. But the numbers which needed feeding grew so dramatically, that they could not buy the food out of their pay packets, and so had to put a small price on the meals. Nowadays, for a small sum, they provide a full three-course meal for everybody who comes to the park to get fed every Sunday.
We can all take a page out of the Chung family’s book on charity and love. They remind us that ‘What the World Needs Now, Is Love, Sweet Love’, as the 1965 Burt Bacharach-Hal David song goes. ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ is what Jesus was really on about. We should all be trying to share something every day of what we possess with those less fortunate than we are. If we all do it, even in a small way, then the world will become a better place.
The Chung family in Christchurch are indeed a loving and caring family who extend their love out into the wider community to help people less fortunate than they are.