PHP Post – Summer 2024

Finding Hope, Inspiration and Healing

By Rebecca Barnes, coordinator for PHP

Click image to download the PHP Post.

I don’t know about you, but this year so far, I’m having to constantly lean on faith that God is with us and that God’s beloved community is being created even in the midst of horrors. All around, violence, war, infuriating political maneuvering, climate change and human sin threaten all that I hold dear — from my own children’s future to beloved partners in Palestine and Haiti to the future of our democracy. God have mercy!

One way I believe God is with us is by teaching us through other life companions. The young adult change-makers who have written this PHP Post have brought me hope, inspiration and healing. The wisdom, commitment, and love embodied in their writing and in the lives they are living offer us solace in a world that feels like it’s on fire. They demonstrate the qualities we all need to emulate as we engage in undoing long-standing systemic and structural injustices.

Salma Al Ashi writes honestly of pain, the shattering destruction of war in Palestine, and the desperate struggles of diminished dreams even while working to support others who are suffering by providing humanitarian aid in myriad forms. May we listen!

Yadira Paz-Martinez writes about how crucial it is to form real relationships, to eat with one another, to laugh and build bridges, and to give joy even in the face of really hard, long battles for a better future. May we listen!

Kristen Young writes of the awakenings that the institutions that are supposed to protect us don’t always do that, and corporate decisions don’t always lean toward the right thing without a lot of pressure, and that, in the face of these realities, we each can find our own gifts and skills and place to uproot harmful systems and plant seeds for a hopeful future. May we listen!

Maggie Collins writes of the church’s call to enter places to advocate for women and Indigenous voices and the importance of ecumenical community and support for young adults starting out in advocacy work. May we listen!

Matte Wilson writes about claiming one’s own power to create change and trusting one’s own self and one’s longings to get to a place of being able to help create community healing and sovereignty. May we listen!

Damaris Pajar writes how important it is to have participatory places for vulnerable people — especially women — to share their voices and real-life experiences and to name things for what they are in order to transform even church places that might otherwise look away from or worse, normalize violence. May we listen!

Alexandre Iselande writes of the frustrations of knowing solutions but not seeing them enacted, of the lack of opportunities for youth leadership even when they have the education and skills ready to use, and yet a commitment to remain in hard places, to stay and fight rather than to leave, and to help one’s community become what it could be. May we listen!

Lucy McDermott writes about using the power of words, Scriptures and one’s own passion to help others understand the moral and ethical call to address key social injustices. May we listen!

May we listen and be transformed so that we, with God’s help, can inspire others who are struggling to hang on to faith and to keep working for justice. May we, together, create places of healing, wisdom and hope for a better world.

The work of the Presbyterian Hunger Program is possible thanks to your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.