Friends of Peace Pilgrim
|Harvest time, 1987||
Friends of Peace Pilgrim Home || Newsletter Index
(Back to TOC) Back to Table of Contents
|Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim,
How good it is to eat fruit tasty and ripe from the tree and vegetables fresh and crisp from the held, Peace Pilgrim wrote in one of her 20 newsletters. We are still having the joy of corn, tomatoes, green peppers from our garden, figs from our trees and persimmons are ripening for us to eat until Christmas. We wish everyone had a garden and fruit trees to pick from the delicious abundance of mother nature.
We had the momentous experience of walking to the bottom of Grand Canyon last October, climbing back the next day, filled with the grandeur and awed by the ancient rocks we found at the bottom. All the refreshment our bodies needed was grapefruit juice, fresh and dried fruit, a few nuts, and water when our juice ran out.
In Peace Pilgrims Progress newsletter #10, she tells of her visit to the Grand Canyon, I saw it in various moods - in bright sunshine, in the fading light of sunset, under a full moon, at sunrise. I could give you its dimensions, but that would not make you understand its grandeur. I could tell you about its colors - I could speak of its unique rock formations - but that would not make you know its beauty. The Grand Canyon cannot be described or even pictured - it must be experienced.
For almost 5 years we have been filling requests for books and tapes. In return we receive thousands of enthusiastic letters saying such things as, This book has changed my life. I cannot put into words the serenity and joy I feel. We have wanted to share with you the influence this message is having on people around the world. Now we have that opportunity in a newsletter, with the help of a computer that manages our mailing list!
We are especially thankful for the help of Jeff, who spent a week installing a data management system. He analyzed our needs, simplified entering data and finding records. It took several weeks to enter 7,300 names of friends of Peace Pilgrim. Miraculously the labels are already printed as we write this. All we did was press the right keys and the labels came rolling out! The word processor helps immeasurably in writing Peace Pilgrim articles and answering hundreds of letters about our books and tapes. This computer is important in our work since there are usually only the two of us doing the office work.
Jeff, Cheryl and Andy from Northern Calif. will contribute to the newsletter, do the editing, get it printed and ready for mailing. We are deeply thankful for their help and look forward to sharing with you the news of our Center.
One of you wrote, Keep up the good work and the whole world shall know peace. Another from Holland requested books and ended her letter with,
"Many greetings and sunlight,"
Ann and John
WORDS OF PEACE PILGRIM:
To One Concerned About Limitation:
Yes, all people have to live with some limitations. I do hope yours are not to painful or inconvenient. As for me, I do not think about myself and my limitations. I think about how much good I can do using what I have. Therefore, I become very unconscious of my limitations, and very conscious of God.
We hear from many peace walkers who find Peace Pilgrims experiences helpful on their walks and Steps booklets wonderful to give to receptive people they meet. We have sent hundreds of books to walkers in this country and Europe, and now to friends going on the International Peace Walk in India, sponsored, by Friends Of All, founded by Prem Kumar.
Prem. is a young man who walked around most of the world from India and one of many visitors to our Center. He ran across the Peace Pilgrim book in Vienna, was given Steps in France, gave it to a German peace walker who translated it and then the book into German. There are now two publishers inteçested in a German Peace Pilgrim book! How thankful we are for peace walkers and travelers who spread Peace Pilgrims message around the world.
Through the volunteer efforts of several friends of Peace Pilgrim, 10,000 Spanish Steps were stacked in our garage recently. Art and Mary. Hoag went to Nicaragua with Witness For Peace. and took 100 Spanish Steps to help bring peace to that war-torn area. They also left some copies at the Friends Center in Mexico City and we received a letter, someone left a copy of Spanish Steps in the social room of the Casa. They requested and we sent 250 Spanish Steps and 16 books for The weary wayfarers from Central America who come to us.
A couple in the Peace Corps in Guatemala wrote for 200 Spanish Steps and a box of books. Another wrote, I traveled alone in Central America for awhile and her words and thoughts made the experience a joy.
A Catholic priest in Spain wrote, I have been able to give a few talks on Peace Pilgrim to school children and young students who have received inspiration from her and would like to work for inner and world peace as she did.
Friends of Peace Pilgrim receive from 2 to 20 letters in every mail. Recently there were 13 letters, 6 from abroad: Kenya Scotland, Sweden, New Zealand, 2 from India. Other times we have received requests from Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait! Usually, we have no idea how people around the world learn about Peace Pilgrim. Several articles in Indian papers have stimulated interest. 80 requests have come from India, some in quantity and few have been able to send anything beyond their much appreciated delight in Peace Pilgrim. For people in the land of Gandhi to think so highly of our American pilgrim, is very moving. A professor of Gandhian studies is translating the book into Tamil. G. Gautama in Madras has now printed 1000 Steps. When he sells 600 at 20 cents each he will be able to finance another printing and give 400 free. He hopes to print the books in the future.
Sometimes friends of Peace Pilgrim ask us if the Center needs more financial help? We have enough gifts coming in to continue what we are now doing - sending out books and tapes on request from our small home. We receive many requests from people in poor countries who cannot send money out of their country. We send hundreds of books, Steps, some audio tapes free to them. Lately almost daily we receive requests from Africa. There are Peace Pilgrim clubs in Cameroon and Ghana and great interest in, Nigeria. They write of translating Steps into their local languages and ask for help in getting them printed there. Does our Center need more financial help? The more that comes in, the more books and tapes we can send to the poor people of Africa, India, Central America.
EVIL with GOOD
FALSEHOOD with TRUTH
HATRED with LOVE
There is more than one way to work for peace. World peace through world law is certainly important. Inspiring as many people as possible to find inner peace so they will be peaceful people and peace makers is certainly important, and I work primarily on that. However, better example for those who are still immature is also very important, and this is where you could help.
When a child sits and watches the hero shoot the villain on television, this teaches him that violence is heroic and effective and acceptable. Small wonder that later in life he shoots at a train or a car and still later perhaps at some political figure he doesnt. like.
In some groups the killing or hurting of man by man is unknown. In our country this is. true among the Amish people and among the Hopi Indians. This peaceful orientation is accomplished through example in childhood days.
The television in our country could set such an example. The toy stores and childrens books have already begun to move in this direction. Wont you help? Ive seen children watch films about animals or about how some product is made or about some far-off land with rapt attention and then go to sleep without nightmares. Ive spoken to many a mother who would appreciate more constructive films for children. Wont you cooperate? Wont you help bring into reality the better world we all desire? You have a unique opportunity to do so.
Peaceful best wishes, PEACE PILGRIM
Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many
have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could
come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has,
up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.
At the end of the second World War one of the jobs that fell to the U. S. Army in Europe was the rehabilitation of Nazi concentration camp survivors. George Ritchie, a tall, skinny twenty-two year old who worked as a medic for the 123rd Evac unit was part of a medical team giving liberated prisoners a new lease on life. The concentration camp he worked at was a place in Germany called Wupperfal.
Wupperlal was a shocking experience for Ritchie. Although he had earlier been exposed to battlefield deaths and injuries, the cumulative effects of slow starvation were a new kind of horror. There were times when little could be done for the prisoners. Many died daily despite the food and medicine that was provided. Years of physical and mental depravation were just too much for their malnourished bodies to overcome.
For a kid from Virginia, full of idealism about winning the war and whipping the Nazis the experience at Wupperlal was an ugliness almost too great to bear. Then one day, while he walked from one end of the barbed wire enclosure to the other studying the worn faces, his eyes lit upon the unusually alive features of Wild Bill. Wild Bill was an inmate with a handlebar mustache and a Polish name so unpronounceable that American soldiers had bestowed him with the nickname of the American Western figure he resembled.
Ritchie assumed Wild Bill was a relative newcomer to the concentration camp. His posture was erect, his eyes bright, his energy indefatigable, he recalls. Fluent in English, German, Russian, French and Polish, Wild Bill became the unofficial camp translator. The work of resettling inmates was staggering. All sorts of logistic problems were encountered when trying to relocate men whose entire families and even communities has disappeared during the ravages of war.
Wild Bill was a major contributor to the task. He consistently worked 16 hours a day with no signs of either discontent or weariness. While the others were dropping from exhaustion he seemed to gain strength. His compassion for his fellow prisoners glowed on his face," said Ritchie.
One day Wild Bills papers landed on the young medics desk. Interested in the background of this seemingly selfless man, Ritchie read Wild Bills records and was astounded. He had been held captive in Wupperfal since 1939 which meant that for six years he had been subjected to the same starvation diet, the same filth, the same diseases, as the other prisoners yet to Ritchies amazement, was without any mental or physical deterioration. Even more amazing was the fact that in the camp, where hatred between nationalities was almost as strong as hatred against the Nazis, nearly everyone considered Wild Bill to be a friend and confidant.
During the period of liberation, there were many feelings of revenge. Freed prisoners were known to reach a town, acquire guns, and kill at random the first Germans they encountered. Wild Bill was called upon to help counsel on the need for forgiveness, a task which he entered into wholeheartedly.
One day Ritchie, in sympathy with the liberated inmates, commented to Wild Bill that it was not easy to forgive when so many had not only endured personal injury but had lost members of their family. It was then that Wild Bill gave the details of his own life for the first time.
We lived in the Jewish section of Warsaw, he began, my wife, two daughters and our three little boys. When the Germans reached our street they lined everyone against a wall and opened up with machine guns. I begged to be allowed to die with my family, but because I spoke German they put me in a work group.
I had to decide right then, he continued, whether to let myself hate the soldiers who had done this. It was an easy decision really. I was a lawyer. In my practice I had seen too often what hate could do to peoples minds and bodies. Hate has just killed the six people who mattered most to me in the world. I decided then that I would spend the rest of my life whether it was a few days or many years loving every person I came in contact with.
Loving everyone this was the power that kept a man well in the face of every depravation. The story of Wild Bill, who was able to overcome hatred with love, demonstrates that a loving disposition even under the most horrible conditions, can be chosen. It illustrates that although everything can be taken away from us, one thing cannot the freedom to choose what our attitude will be. We can choose to be hurt inside by a wrong attitude of hatred or revenge, or we can experience great spiritual blessings by choosing to love.
A Peace Pilgrim friend wrote recently, "I need another 100 Steps. Each booklet is like a Christmas gift, people love to get them." Another wrote, "We find the booklets just wonderful and have been handing them to many close friends in need of HELP!" Boxes of Peace Pilgrim books are also requested for holiday, birthday, or wedding gifts. One wrote, "The cost of a box of books is so modest, that I have decided to send Peace Pilgrim to family and friends this year instead of Christmas cards. When we scatter seeds, we never know which, if any, will sprout. But if we dont take the risk of scattering seeds, there will be no possibility of blossoms." Another wrote, "I am in the process of sending them out as birthday presents. It is thrilling to send the little pilgrims message of Gods love."
Videos and audios are sometimes requested for gifts. One wrote, "Already the video has changed my life. I liked the Peace Pilgrim book so much, I was afraid to look at the video, but was happily surprised to feel that the tape was more clear and integrated for me than the book." And another, "Peace Pilgrims work and life fill an important need in all our lives. It has been both inspiring and motivating for my wife and myself. In fact, we keep the video tape near the VCR and watch segments of it regularly! Her message is a great Pick-me-up when one falls into the worry trap." Another wrote, "I donated my VCR to our public library so that it would be available to the general public here."
One morning in Los Angeles Peace Pilgrim was walking down Whittier Blvd. She passed a
bar and the bartender was out in front. She spoke her usual "Good Morning."
Startled, he looked at her and then asked, "What does that mean, Peace Pilgrim?"
She replied, "If you will invite me into your bar, Ill tell you." This he
did and then asked her if she had had breakfast. This he served her as she sat at a table,
and as she began her conversation with the bartender, other patrons gathered around,
listening to her beautiful message. At the bar stood a man with a bottle of whiskey and a
glass in his hand. Looking at him Peace Pilgrim greeted, "Good morning, brother.
"Coming to the table, he growled, "What do you mean, Good morning,
brother?" Rising from the table, she placed her hand on his shoulders and said,
"Because God is your Father, and he is my Father. Therefore you are my brother."
Throwing his glass of whiskey on the floor, he fell on his knees and put his arms around
her. Then she prayed a blessing over him, and he walked out of the bar, cold sober, with
tears running down his cheeks.
DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE FUTURE
Friends of Peace Pilgrim
43480 Cedar Avenue
Hemet, California 92544
page created by Bruce Nichols