Peace Dove Image

Friends of
Peace Pilgrim

A Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt, All Volunteer Organization
43480 Cedar Ave, Hemet, CA 92544  (909) 927-7678


Harvest Time, 1989 "Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, hatred with love" Number 8

Online Edition

Table of Contents:
Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim
Recent Letters from Other Countries
A Child's Thoughts on Patriotism
Two Girls of Peace
To a Conscientious Objector
Earthsave
More Letters from China
International Walk in India, '89
Bikes not Bombs
A Canoeing Wilderness Retreat
A Peace Pilgrim Documentary
Peace Pilgrim at the Fair
Overcoming Hatred with Love
Letters from Jeri Becker
In the Deep South
Library Edition
Bed & Breakfast & Peace

HOME || Newsletter Index


(Back to TOC)   Back to Table of Contents

Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim,

WE ARE STILL THANKFULLY eating beautiful, bountiful, organic tomatoes and green peppers from our garden. We pick tomatoes when they are deep red, vine ripened – a different tasting vegetable from the supermarket kind. We share them with many of our nearby friends and wish we could share them with you.

Some of you have expressed concern that we might have more work than three of us can do. And so two volunteers came to help. Bill Stokes, who lives nearby, comes several days a week to help in the garden and office (see EarthSave article.) Jeanne Rice who plans to stay for at least six months, is a "travelling angel," going from place to place helping good causes. Before coming here she worked as a volunteer for six months at HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, where she found the PEACE PILGRIM book. She and Bill do everything from computer work to picking tomatoes, while we work on this newsletter and other Peace Pilgrim projects.

Since the massacre in Tiananmen Square we have been thankful to receive more letters from "our man in China," Dr. Lee Distefano. We include excerpts later in this newsletter. The boxes of 35 PEACE PILGRIM books Jeff has been faithfully sending to him were still arriving through it all – "One box arrived on that fateful Sunday – a real sign from Heaven to us here," he wrote.

We thank all of you who support this work, making it possible for us to have sent over 400 free books, all audios and PAL videos to Dr. Lee, who responded, "The parched spirits and souls are getting a drink of the Living Waters of Life, thanks to Peace Pilgrim and all of you who have helped bring her message to the world."

Ann, John, Jeff, Jeanne & Bill

 

RECENT LETTERS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES     (Back to TOC)

Yugoslavia – A friend sent me STEPS…It touched me into the heart, for being myself a server, I felt that she is speaking to me to my heart directly. I have already started to translate the booklet.

Hungary – Thank you for the book and audio of Peace Pilgrim. We like so very much to read a little of it every evening and listen to her speaking. I translated STEPS partly into Hungarian for my children, grandchildren and friends. Everybody likes it very much

Now we have here a political reform, many things changed. We have more human rights. Many foreigners come – also from America – they are interested in it.

I thought – if perhaps among your friends there are young people and also older ones – who would like to see our country - please give them our address. My grandchildren would show them around and they have not to pay for an expensive hotel.

Poland – After sending Jakub Cwiek books and STEPS he sent us a copy of his translation of STEPS into Polish and wrote, "I find STEPS very useful in my own life and lives of my people that I contact with."

Soviet Union – Good afternoon. I received your Peace Pilgrim materials. Thank you very much! Now I learn it with great interest and attention. Also I told some my friends about Peace Pilgrim and gave the address of Friends of Peace Pilgrim.

I want to say to you that I shall go to USA in delegation of Soviet students on the June 13, 1989. This journey will take place on programme "Children as the 21st century makers." I shall take Peace Pilgrim materials to USA because I want to tell student from our delegation about her. Also I shall make a small lecture about Peace Pilgrim to my classmates when the school year begins. Than you again.

Geneva, Switzerland - How good it is to carry the booklet of these harmonious principles suggested by Peace Pilgrim – most of which I’ve known for a little time and yet tried to forget once in awhile, or not living according to them. This booklet is then a good reminder and also like a gift, like a Light bearer coming into my heart.

I received STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE from a friend and I would be happy to get a few more to offer to people around me.

*****

Mankind stands now at a fork in the road. If we would avoid the way which leads to world chaos we must take the way which leads to world disarmament – and soon.

Peace Pilgrim

 

A CHILD’S THOUGHTS ON PATRIOTISM     (Back to TOC)

There are many studies indicating that children of all ages are concerned about peace in our world. When writing about two girls of peace for this newsletter, we were surprised by an essay from our twelve-year-old granddaughter, who lives in Quaker City, New Hampshire. If you will indulge a grandmother, here are excerpts from her essay. WHAT PATRIOTISM MEANS TO ME:

Some people think patriotism means to fight. To me it means to keep peace with other countries, to take part in government, and to take care of our country. One thing that can be done is cleaning up trash along roads. Other things, such as using less hair spray and cleaning spray, would help our air pollution problem. If our school cut out suing plastic for lunch trays, that would show that the school helps us show love for our country…

My grandparents work at home on a book called PEACE PILGRIM. They give it away to people all over the world. Peace Pilgrim was a woman who walked all over the United States and Canada. She talked to many people about peace. That’s a good example of a patriot…showing people how to settle disagreements without fighting.

I think peace is one of the most important things on earth.

Maya Pfister

 

TWO GIRLS OF PEACE     (Back to TOC)

SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES

Sadako Sasaki was a baby in Hiroshima when our country dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She survived and grew to become a very likeable, active young girl who won the hearts of all who met her. She lover sports and was an especially good runner. When she was twelve she began growing weak from the atom-bomb disease, leukemia.

According to Japanese legend anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted one wish.

Sadako found hope in the legend and began folding cranes. He wish was to live, but she was able to complete only 644 cranes before she died. Her many friends finished the remaining 356 cranes; their wish was peace in the world. The raised money to create a monument to Sadako in Hiroshima’s Peace Park.

People are folding cranes now all over the world. Many visit Sadako’s monument and leave leis of paper cranes. This ancient symbol has become a living symbol of hope for humanity, that we can all learn to live with one another in peace. Last year school children all over America folded forty thousand cranes for forty different places in our country. The remembered the little girl, Sadako, and hoped and prayed that bombs will never again be dropped anywhere on earth.

In 1985 the Million Cranes Project organized groups to fold and send leis of a thousand cranes to 1,000 world leaders. The response was overwhelming. Political and military leaders in every part of the world received the colorful cranes and wishes for peace.

Elise Harvey, who met Peace Pilgrim when she was 19 and has given out hundreds of her books, teaches many people to fold paper cranes. While folding cranes they often sing a song Elise composed called SADAKO’S WISH, to the tune of the song JOE HILL. Here are a few lines: (Write to us for the complete song.)

I dreamed I saw a thousand cranes
All flying in the sky,
The cranes affirmed Sadako’s wish
That she would never die…

She folded cranes until she made
Six hundred forty seven.
She didn’t fold a thousand cranes
Before she went to heaven…

That little girl made many friends
Who loved her deep and true.
They said, "We’ll fold your 1000 cranes,
It’s up to me and you."

They built Sadako a monument
Where all of us can bring
The cranes we fold, the dreams we hold,
The songs we have to sing:

Of peace on earth, and life for all,
And love under the sun.
Fold your cranes and pray for life,
And know we all are one…

 

SAMANTHA SMITH

The following is a letter from her Mother (excerpts from a Samantha Smith Center brochure):

In December, 1982, my ten-year-old daughter Samantha wrote a brave but simple letter to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov, "I have been worrying about the Soviet Union and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help not have a war."

In the spring of ’83, Mr. Andropov invited Samantha to visit the Soviet Union.

Suddenly Samantha was thrust into the international limelight. The world press was at our door. Even Soviet reporters and cameramen found their way to our home in Maine.

Her father and I accompanied Samantha on her two-week tour of the USSR. During her four days living with the children at Camp Artek on the Black Sea, Sam played, san, danced and made friends. She returned to Maine, a celebrated symbol of our hope for a peaceful future.

Samantha and her father were killed in an airplane crash in 1985. People from around the world wrote urging me to continue the legacy of goodwill Samantha had begun. The Samantha Smith Center was established. Our goal is to expand your exchanges between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The summer of ’86 we took 20 of Samantha’s classmates to Russia; next summer the first group of Soviet teens came to a camp here in Maine. Last year more than 300 young people from Maine visited the USSR…

When Samantha came home from her trip to Russia, she wrote about her experience: "I mean, if we could be friends by just getting to know each other better, then what are our countries really arguing about? Nothing could be more important than not having a war if a war would kill everything."

 

***

A PEACE PILGRIM PRIZE WAS PRESENTED TO Jan Smith, Samantha’s mother, on October 23, 1985, in the main lobby of the United Nations building.

The welcome was given by Robert Muller, the UN Assistant Secretary General. Me McCarrol of Birmingham, Alabama, with whom Peace Pilgrim often stayed, gave the major address. The prize, an acorn statue, was presented by 12-year-old William Johnson. Carolyn Sloss, a friend of Peace Pilgrim, organized the event.

Elise Harvey composed a song for Samantha Smith Day, June 6, 1988. On Samantha’s statue in Lewiston, Maine, children hung 1000 Peace Cranes they had made. While Elise played the Autoharp, thirty children sang her song:

I dreamed I saw two little girls,
With hands across the world,
Singing songs of peace and love,
With every boy and girl…

I dreamed I saw 1000 cranes
All flying in the sky.
The cranes affirm Samantha’s wish
The world will never die…

Write to us for the complete song. If you want the booklet, "Sadako’s Wish," write to the American Friends Service Committee, 980 N. Fairoaks, Pasadena, CA 91103. If you want to be in touch with the Samantha Smith Center: 9 Union St. Hallowell, ME 04347.

 

To a Conscientious Objector     (Back to TOC)

The Master looked upon the world
In nineteen seventy-two,
He found men brutalized by hate,
And few to Him were true.
He saw men shedding human blood –
Inflicting untold pain.
I heard the Master whispering,
"To them I spoke in vain!"

But then He spied one gallant man, --
Despised, scorned, alone,
Because he would not hat and kill
A prison was his home.
His aim had been not gaining wealth,
But serving fellow men.
I heard the Master whispering,
"In him I live again!"

Peace Pilgrim

My good friend, John Kellam, a conscientious objector, was sentenced to prison for refusing to kill. When he applied for conscientious objector classification, his draft board denied his claim and sent him to prison.

He has been a witness for peace many times. Recently the Kellams sailed their boat offshore from the Electric Boat Company in Rhode Island. Adorned with peace banners they were protesting the production of Trident submarines that carry nuclear missiles.

In response to a request by the Electric Boat Co., the Coast Guard imposed a security zone extending 500 years from their property. The Kellams filed a lawsuit because their banners would be imperceptible at that distance. The judge ruled that the Coast Guard restrictions were a violation of free speech and ordered them to allow John and Anne to sail within 100 yards. The following is taken from the Kellam’s public statement:

"The purpose of our sailing vigils at Electric Boat is to protest the wasteful and dangerous buildup of nuclear weaponry…These weapons are a death trap both now and in the future, for they drain human resources today and kill whole cities tomorrow.

"We seek to present this message to all thoughtful people. Whenever our right to speak out peacefully and legally is blocked by illegal acts of a bureaucracy, America’s heritage of freedom is threatened for everyone…

"Freedom is what America is all about…On behalf of all of our children and for oppressed people everywhere on earth, we must defend our precious Bill of Rights"

The Kellams will be offering Peace Pilgrim books to receptive people as they travel in their boat to the Caribbean for a cruise in the Virgin Islands.

John

 Those who spoke of peace were once called idealists, but in this nuclear age the idealists have become the only realists.

Peace Pilgrim

 

EARTHSAVE     (Back to TOC)

We first spoke to John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America when her ordered 1,000 STEPS booklets to send to all the members of EarthSave, an organization he founded. (Later they requested another 1000!) EarthSave works primarily to educate people about what they can do to help create an ecologically sustainable future.

Later we had a delightful time at dinner with John, his wife and son at nearby Murrieta Hot Springs. We were deeply moved by their dedication to saving our earth and its inhabitants and by their after-dinner workshop.

His book gives numerous reasons for considering a vegetarian diet. It shows how the choice of the food we eat affects our personal health as well as planetary ecology. It also looks at the inhumane conditions in which animals for food are raised in today’s factory farms.

If you would like to join EarthSave or read John Robbins’ book (which we highly recommend) write to 706 Frederick Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2205. Tel (408) 423-4069.

Several EarthSave members have responded after receiving STEPS, including Bill Stokes, our wonderful volunteer, who lives right here in Hemet. Bill wrote, "Frankly, I had never heard of Peace Pilgrim, but I was absolutely knocked out by her insights and perceptions."

 

MORE LETTERS FROM DR. LEE IN CHINA     (Back to TOC)

June Letter from Foshan

(after the massacre in Tiananmen Square)

By now, you must be familiar with the situation here. Things have quieted down but there is a lot of fear and concern. I have no idea whether this letter will be censored, so you will have to do a lot of reading in-between the lines. Besides, the reader may learn something.

We were able to get a clear picture of things by watching Hong Kong TV – until after the incident in the capital. After that fateful Sunday, there was an almost total news blackout – and the propaganda mill started rolling and baking new loaves of bread, but these are not being digested so well. Most people in our region know the truth and are pretty disgusted, but the media pounds away. Before long some may not know what to believe and will just have a cerebral laundering. This is not atypical, look at your history books.

No one ever thought that the situation would become as serious as it did. I have such grief and remorse that human being settle their differences in such violent ways. This has been a terrible tragedy for the Chinese people here and all over the world and everybody else as well.

I am in a tight position and must really let the Spirit take over this instrument of Self. My own spirit has not been dampened, but I went through a terrible period of mourning and utter grief. It started with shock, but then I was shocked into reality again – when I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago. It hit me in the China International Travel Service office, when I saw some awful pictures posted and then when we returned to the city streets – all the people – Dear God, I had a mystical experience delivered to me right then and there – these were my brothers and sisters, my family. I have felt this before, of course, but never like this, the intensity was just so great…hard to put it into words but suffice to say I felt a cohesion, a unity with them all. It was a state of holy meditation and my senses were blocked. I cried – wept. But I had a feeling of peace come over me. I clearly saw the face of God in all of humanity and the vision has not changed. Trials do strengthen us, no doubt…

We decided not to leave China, despite the strong advice of the American Consulate. I cannot break promises that I made to myself and especially to these people. I really am saddened that many of the first foreigners to go were associated with missionary groups. There are very few of us here now. We have no idea who will return or what the situation will be for the Chinese people and their need for foreign educators to help keep what is left of an educational system that is in so much pain. Our decision to stay was a moral one – not guided by what people think but by the feeling we get from the people here, who have given us so much and devoted so much of their love, their time and energies to us, as foreigners, opening up their hearts and homes to us. It was a decision based on Divine Guidance more than any other factor – I just cannot run out on them.

Through all this, the shipments of all those boxes of Peace Pilgrim books made it. There were enough books to give to four classes of students and then some! They could not have arrived at a more perfect time. One box arrived on that fateful Sunday – a real sign from Heaven to us here! I wish I had cases of books to send to Beijing. Judy (his wife) has said many times that she wished we had books for as many English-speaking students in Beijing as possible.

I met a young doctor stranded here when on vacation. He had left Beijing just before the tragic happenings and came to visit my class. Miraculously, he had a PEACE PILGRIM book! He was just thrilled to know that you were sending books for the people here. Dr. Mary Cooksey from the States had given him his copy! Do you know of her? (She has been requesting books for several years and recently sent us a letter from the young doctor telling the same story!) I hope to study at his institute sometime. I will be able to send books to him when I receive them from you. This is just marvelous.

The reactions of those reading the book are astounding. I would not be surprised if some of my students, who did not get the book, write to you (a few have). I know that the English Club here may write for books, some audiotapes and a video. The thing is that the Chinese are careful not to attract too much attention! Things are done with a quiet rhythm – especially when the tiger sleeps.

We will be moving to Shantou City in July. I have put the address in Chinese for your new mailing label.

A LATER DATE…Today was another remarkable day. I ran short three books to give my last class and what should happen this afternoon but a box of 35 books arrived. I want to thank you folks from the bottom of my heart. Everyone of the Foshan University students who have received a book, insisted that I write something in the book for them. I did get writer’s cramp! – but what a joy. It is a double joy to also know that they will have one of the finest books ever printed in English as their companion, teacher and guide this summer. The books have miraculously gotten through and the officials do not even open the boxes at this point. Apparently they already know the contents and do not bother with this formality. What a great thing.

I am grateful to God that you all have touched my life with so much love and energy. You have given me strength, hope and helped me endure. Best of all you bring Peace Pilgrim to me, but much more importantly, your faith and trust in me to be a vehicle and instrument for Peace'’ great and holy message fives incredibly more morning to my life. I know the meaning of her words because I have the chance to live them. Thank you! Peace Pilgrim is alive in the body of the lives she so specially touches…

 

AUGUST LETTER     (Back to TOC)

From Shantou City, CHINA

It is interesting to see what happens when you strip a place of its very own culture, for the most part, and close it to the outside world. We were getting some very good TV programs, but the incident brought all that to an end. So tight are the controls now, that there is still a virtual news blackout and we have to depend on short-wave, visitors, etc. Oddly enough you can get a Newsweek or Times, but they cost foreign money and if you are Chinese you are not allowed to read them while standing at the newsstand.

The denial of reality and the distortion of the truth is so sever that it disturbs us greatly. One reason we are still here is because we did not take part in any rallies, or incite anyone to do any such thing. Many (foreigners) left because they feared there would be an all out civil war.

In the beginning it was much like the sixties. We were so happy that there was so much restraint. It was a very electric atmosphere. But then the blood was spilled, and people are cruelly denied their basic human rights.

We saw the pictures of the man who singly stopped the tanks. What a statement. He was quoted as yelling to the tank driver, "Get out of our city. You have already done enough here…enough damage." His attempt to stop the tank occurred over and over again. He even climbed onto the tank to talk to the driver. You should hear and see the videos that have been put together by the powers that be, with criticism of U.S. for their support of this lone unarmed hero!

…Peace Pilgrim reminds us what treasure there is within and without. Her book is all about getting centered and having God at the Center…

I am still waiting for the typewritten version of STEPS in Chinese. This will be a most precious manuscript for obvious reasons. I will try to get support for it to be published. You can well imagine how much support the Chinese people need…I am glad to hear about the ongoing work in Russian.

Thanks in advance for the box of 35 books on the way. All I can say is, keep them coming. I have already given a few away here. I will encourage as many as I can to write, but this is not always easy. People fear that writing to you might bring undesired attention to them…God has seen fit to allow us the grace of getting so many books in without any hassles.

Things are happening here and we need all the right kinds of things we can get. Like Peace said, we have a spiritual problem to solve and that is what all the other problems boil down to. Can you imagine the inspiration that could be given if the book were in Chinese? It is helping so many with their English and with their own personal lives. So just keep the books coming in. I have no idea how many students I will have, but I would like to get a copy to every English-speaking Chinese that I meet while I am here – that is a realistic goal, I believe.

I will be teaching English as a member of the faulty of medicine here. This means that I will teach some medicine in English. I hope to care for patients, do some research, continue studies of traditional Chinese medicine, write articles and get a book ready for publication.

I welcome anyone to correspond with us and anyone coming this way is welcome to contact us (write to the Peace Pilgrim Center for address). Thanks for all your marvelous support. Know that every Peace Pilgrim book you have sent has touched the hearts of those who have so openly and graciously accepted this marvelous gift. I have lost track of how many books have been distributed here in China. How many have you sent? (over 400)

The Chinese, like those of any other country, are curious about the States and her people. Peace Pilgrim, though not your typical American in some ways, in other ways, typifies a lot of what America and Americans are all about. This is certainly a non-stereotypical view, which is nice because the Chinese get a real stereotypical view of Americans. Some of the propaganda they read and see does no justice at all. That the Chinese can meet an American of the capacity and quality that is Peace Pilgrim makes for a very wonderful, honest, grassroots, personal cultural exchange. Through the book, people meet this outstanding and unordinary-ordinary American. It is a pleasure and a very profound honor for me to bring her to the Chinese people and anyone I come across.

Your words further reminded me of how important it is right now not to lose hope and not to become depressed over the situation here.

*****

 

INTERNATIONAL WALK IN INDIA, ’89     (Back to TOC)

It was a delight to welcome Prem Kumar for another short visit. Remember him in our past newsletters? He touched many lives during his four-year-worldwide walk for peace through 25 countries. People from thirteen countries joined him in a walk from Ahmedabad to New Delhi in 1987. He has also created several projects for building schools, hospitals and wells in villages where they are sorely needed.

Before the walk this year there will be a week’s visit with Indian families and schools. The walk begins on December 11 in Ahmedabad. They will walk 250 miles to Porbandar, the birthplace of Gandhi, ending on January 14th. If you are interested in all or part of the walk, write to Nancy Ingoldsby, 1530 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, Tel (805) 687-5956.

*****

One little person giving all of her time for peace makes news. Many people giving some of their time can make history.

Peace Pilgrim

  

BIKES NOT BOMBS     (Back to TOC)

Because of the war in Nicaragua transportation has become a crucial element in maintaining most vital social services. For lack of funds for petroleum or spare parts, vehicles sit idle. BIKES NOT BOMBS have sent more than one third of a million dollars worth of donated bicycles and spare parts from North America to aid Nicaraguan health, education, and other development efforts. Dozens of Nicaraguan mechanics have been trained. Across the U.S. and Canada hundreds of volunteers, individually and through local chapters, perform the many vital functions that make possible the Bikes Not Bombs miracle.

After visiting bicycle workshops in Managua and Leon, Janet Brown, Senior Vice President, World Resources Institute, commented that, "of the hundreds of development projects I have reviewed, these are among the top…Bikes Not Bombs is the most impressive development project in Nicaragua."

If you want to help send bicycles to Nicaragua write to P.O. Box 56538, Washington, D.C. 20011. Tel: (301) 589-1810.

 

A CANOEING WILDERNESS RETREAT     (Back to TOC)

July 1 thru July 7, 1990

Friends of Peace Pilgrim is offering a wilderness retreat. We will live in nature and share Peace Pilgrim’s message for one week. Coordinating it will be Larry Minor, who has led over 130 wilderness retreats all over the world the past sixteen years.

We will be canoeing for a week down the Green River in Utah through beautiful canyons and into the Colorado River. We will meet in Moab and be driven to Green River City, where we will cast off. Soon we will see the last vestiges of civilization and red limestone cliffs will rise out of the river. The whole trip is about 120 miles.

The river flows about six miles per hour (not white water), doing most of the work for us while winding its way through beautiful canyons. We will make stops to swim in the many beaches, explore side canyons and observe Indian pictographs. It is a glorious trip.

Meals will be vegetarian. Food and community gear is provided. We will have discussion sessions each day on Peace Pilgrim and her message.

The trip will be limited to twelve, with two to a canoe. Previous canoeing experience is not required, and because of the river current the trip will be only moderately strenuous. Hiking is optional. The cost will be $375 each. Car pools will be arranged where possible and planes and buses can be met nearby on June 30.

For further information or an application, write or phone Jeff Blom, Friends of Peace Pilgrim.

 

A PEACE PILGRIM DOCUMENTARY     (Back to TOC)

A documentary film project is now being planned in association with Friends of Peace Pilgrim.

People are being sought who met Peace Pilgrim and/or have read the Peace Pilgrim book and were profoundly influenced by her message. We are seeking those people who are willing to be interviewed and to share their stories and experiences as an opportunity to inspire others.

For more information write to Gigi Orlowski at our address or call her at (818) 787-6255.

 *****

Peace Pilgrim carried her only possessions in her tunic: a toothbrush, comb, pen, letters, and a map of the area. Some friends were comparing her to Gandhi and one, teasing her, said, "Why do you carry a toothbrush and comb? Gandhi didn’t." She quickly replied, "Gandhi didn’t have any hair and he didn’t have any teeth."

 We measure in terms of dollars, in terms of material things. But happiness and inner peace do not lie in that direction.

Peace Pilgrim

 

PEACE PILGRIM AT THE FAIR     (Back to TOC)

Cynthia Thekan displayed Peace Pilgrim books at her booth this summer at a 3-day Capitol Hill People’s Fair in Denver and wrote:

Lots of people came by, looking for Peace Pilgrim. They were searching for last year’s booth and wanted more books! Many had picked up a book last year, read it, gave it away and wanted more. They were very thankful, said it was a blessing to read, and what a change it had made in their lives. It was wonderful to receive all the hugs from people looking for Peace Pilgrim – wherever she is, I know she was smiling!

Many came over upon seeing Peace Pilgrim on the cover of the book and said they had seen her everywhere from Alabama to Maine to California…

One young man had spent the entire night reading the book. He wanted a couple more and wanted to know how to get in touch with you… he felt drawn to give everything but his food money to keep this work going?! I gave him one of the few remaining newsletters.

So the People’s Fair was a wonderful success! We gave away over 200 books. Enclosed is a check for $200 which represents all the contributions.

 

Overcoming Hatred with Love     (Back to TOC)

We would like to share with you a letter to the Dear Abby newspaper column, sent to us by a friend, which gives a very inspiring real life example of the power of overcoming hatred with love.

Dear Abby: I had to tell you about my story of love and forgiveness. I am white and my wife is black. Fifteen years ago, when we got married, my mother disowned me and cursed my wife’s existence. She never acknowledged any of my three children. She just cut me out of her life as if I had died.

Two and a half years ago, my mother was stricken with a debilitating form of cancer, and it was obvious that she had to go to a nursing home. Although there are five of us siblings in the family, none of the other four volunteered to take her. My wife came forward and said no one in her family would go to a nursing home as long as we had a home.

At first it wasn’t easy, but my wife and mother eventually developed a very special relationship. When my mother couldn’t dress herself, my wife dressed her, and when Mom couldn’t feed herself, my wife fed her. During those two years, my wife never complained.

Mom told my wife many times how sorry she was for all the years she wasted. Best of all, our children grew to know and love their grandmother before she died. I feel very blessed. Sign me…Blessed in the Midwest.

 

We have had ample evidence (in the media) of the immaturity of people – we don’t need any more. We do need stories about the wonderful occasional mature actions of people in helping one another.

Peace Pilgrim

 

Recent letters from Jeri Becker,     (Back to TOC)

California State Prison for Women, Frontera

 August 10, 1989

I was really moved by the story of Peace Pilgrim in the Los Angeles Times. She was truly a saint. We are all expanded and blessed by such radiant lights among us. I am certain she continues to send love and peace to this planet she knew and honored so well.

I am serving my tenth year of a life sentence with no known release date. Fortunately for me, and by the grace of God, this has become a spiritual life sentence. God, in His wisdom, has blessed me with the understanding that we are able to serve in whatever capacity is opened to us, in any environment…among all people.

I would like to learn more about this inspirational woman and would appreciate a Peace Pilgrim book. May God continue to bless you and surround you with radiant joy!

 August 28

Thank you for your kind and prompt response…The two books, cassette and STEPS arrived two days ago. My roommate and I have read the book with great pleasure. There is so much truth and inspiration contained within those pages. Her words and the simplicity of her life and dedication retain their power…for such is the nature of truth, and that which is God inspired!

The books will be circulated…We are blessed to come in contact with many of the women here through our work with the Woman’s Advisory Council, in our job assignments and volunteer projects at the AIDS unit. I took several STEPS to the women there; the rest I am making available at the orientation classes for incoming women. So her message of peace, truth and a worthy life are passed on and on, and that is the blessing!

…Many of our outside volunteer groups, especially religious representatives, have been cut back drastically this past year, as have our education and art programs…but rest assured it in no way interferes with one’s ability to serve our true purpose on this planet. In fact, the opportunities to be of service here abound more than ever.

As far as the number of books you are able to send…be assured that the two you sent will receive a wide a circulation as possible. Such books have a magnetism of their own and find their way into the hands and hearts of those most in need. It would be good to send a copy to the women on the AIDS unit, as their unit is segregated from the general population…

Know that any books or materials you are able to send will be shard. (We then sent fourteen Compact books, four Standard, 75 STEPS, all four audios)

September 5

Thank you so much for your note and all the wonderful material you sent! I feel so blessed to be able to be a link in the chain to spread Peace Pilgrim’s message! One of the Compact books I left with the mail room staff, and several books and many STEPS at the Orientation office where I work. This is one of the first places women come upon their arrival here. Often they are seeking solace, for this environment is so different from what they have known. The are very hungry for some peace, purpose and direction in their lives, which have been recently shattered. It often happens that during times of great trauma or personal crisis, the ego becomes less resistant and the spirit is very receptive for spiritual nourishment. What better seed to plant than the beautiful truth so powerfully expressed by our friend?

Today I took the rest of the books, two of the tapes and more STEPS to women on the AIDS unit. I had not made it all the way down the AIDS hall, when the books and tapes were eagerly taken. Again, it is a unit with many spiritually awakening souls (those who do not limit themselves with the paralyzing emotion of fear and denial, that is). I will be anxious to hear their response to the tapes.

God bless you in your fine work, and thank you for all the love you send with your gift and letters…the best I can do with that generous gift of love is to pass it on…and on…and on!

May Peace Prevail,

September 12

One of the women on the AIDS unit has really been captivated by Peace Pilgrim’s spirit. She was in particular need of inspiration and hope. She played one of the tapes, in which a near-death experience is recounted, and it is exactly what she needed to hear in order to restore her faith, in just the words she was capable of understanding. She is now highly recommending the book to others on the unit! I LOVE to see the energy flow!

September 21

(after receiving another box of books)…And Peace Pilgrim’s message will continue to travel and be spread through its own power and light to all those who are receptive to it. Thank you so much…it is very needed here. So far, everyone who has read one has been really moved…of course! For it speaks to the seeker within, just crying out to get back to God.

I have sent several STEPS to a few friends whom I knew would appreciate them. My friend in Alabama says she has since written you for a book and sent a donation. I have also sent STEPS to friends in the Oregon State Men’s prison…members of the Christic Brotherhood.

*****

We can now step into a golden age of great light and beauty and truth – if we will. We have struggled upward into a little dim light, bringing with us out of the darkness very burdensome and very dangerous implements of destruction. There is a chasm between us and the golden age which we cannot cross unless we lay down this burden from the dark ages. We are making the choice now.

Peace Pilgrim

From Massachusetts, "In my ‘English As a Second Language’ class I distributed STEPS to the students and two days later I used the videos. They were well received, and one student, a 28-year-old Dominican man, told me that he believes his life has been changed as a result. He requested a copy of the Spanish translation for a friend who is rather like himself so that they can share the ‘dream’ as he calls it. I plan to use the videos in my fall semester advanced ESL class."

 

In The Deep South     (Back to TOC)

This account is excerpted from Peace Pilgrim’s Progress Newsletter #13 written during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the early ‘60s.

On the grass shoulders along Mississippi roads, walking conditions are ideal. I met young men who were trying to walk fifty miles in a day. I know it can be done, because I’ve done it. The people in Mississippi seemed to want to be friendly but tended to be rather tense. Yet I was given hospitality and good opportunities to speak through the news media.

As I walked toward Dothan, Alabama, I saw fireworks for sale, for they celebrate Christmas with fireworks. In spite of the conflict situation, things seemed calm and peaceful. I was over-whelmed with hospitality and speaking opportunities.

In Georgia I noticed the red earth and pine trees. The peach trees were bare, but I could not go hungry because everywhere there were delicious Georgia pecans. There is a struggle but fortunately is is nonviolent. There are two types of nonviolent strugglers – those who believe the nonviolent way is the only right way at any time, and those who believe the nonviolent way is the only expedient way at this time.

I was warned not to go to Georgia, especially not Albany, where fourteen peace walkers were in jail – but I cannot say I found anyone to be really unfriendly – in fact hospitality was better than average.

In South Carolina the struggle was less noticeable. In this land of cotton fields and textile mills I visited many old friends and made many new friends. I walked through the Deep South with deep compassion, realizing how hard it is for people to relinquish customs of long standing. Most people seemed to want to do the right thing, without quite knowing how to go about it. It is most fortunate that the liberation movement in the South stresses nonviolence. It is most important that those who go there from the North go with a feeling of love and compassion – not to condemn, but to help solve problems and bring harmony.

I discovered that there are a few interracial prayer groups in the Deep South. In Alabama I attended one for men. This should be done in every conflict situation – get together and pray about it – and right prayer will motivate to right action.

*****

Library Edition   (Back to TOC)

In Newsletter #6 we wrote of our plan to print a long-lasting hard cover library edition of PEACE PILGRIM. We hoped to send books to libraries last summer but had insufficient funds for an adequate printing. We have received a very substantial gift and several smaller ones, specifically for the library project. If we send one to all 20,000 libraries we will need approximately $15,000 more. Unless we receive sufficient funds we may send our paper back instead of a hard back edition. Contributions are appreciated.

 

BED & BREAKFAST & PEACE,  (Back to TOC)

A letter from Sami Sun-child

San Francisco’s Global Family Bed & Breakfast Inn, the Red Victorian, is a new kind of planetary hospitality and networking. Guests find beside their beds, copies of PEACE PILGRIM, STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE, and Ken Keyes and Benjamin Ferencz’s PLANETHOOD.

Our staff sends heartfelt thanks to you for making it possible for Peace Pilgrim to speak to the ten thousand guests who pass through our 15 rooms annually. They come from all over the world and many take books with them.

Our Inn and work belong to God, we are the custodians, dedicated to keeping it alive and fun and friendly for all people. It is our vision that before long there will be hundreds of Global Family Inns in the gateway cities of the world – each locally owned and operated…We wish to offer an alternative to the model of people from developed countries owning big hotels, with major profits drained off to the rich countries and local people being servants or employees.

Global Family suggests small, intimate inns of 10 to 20 rooms, each networking 5,000 to 15,000 people a year. What an opportunity to make a difference in our world!

People interested in beginning Global Family Bed & Breakfast Centers in their favorite city may contact Sami or Michael, The Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn, 1665 Haight St., San Francisco, Ca 94117. Phone (415)864-1978 or 861-7264.

 

A Bed and Breakfast Home 

I have Bed and Breakfast in my home and keep a copy of Peace Pilgrim and/or STEPS in the rooms – often sharing them with my guests to take home. I’m so thankful she came into my life.

Wild Rose House, 47 Lafayette St, Marblehead, MA 01945

*****

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Friends of Peace Pilgrim
43480 Cedar Avenue
Hemet, California 92544

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