In the last seven days we've seen a flurry of destructive occurrences around the world. First, the capture and holding of fifteen British sailors by Iran; the kidnapping of a class of students in the Philippines; and the killing spree by Shiite militants and police in Iraq. This is just naming a few of the horrendous events the world has witnessed in the past week. We've also watched the melee in Paris involving 100 youths and riot police, heard about the suicide bombing in Afghanistan killing four civilians, and read about the Gaza Strip shooting and car chase that led to several injuries. Obviously, I could list another dozen incidents that wreaked havoc upon our world recently. With all this depressing news flooding our airwaves it's easy to forget that God is at work in our world and good is happening around us all the time.
On the grand scale, many positive things have been happening all around us lately. According to a recent study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, criminal violence against intimate partners in the United States fell by nearly two-thirds in recent years and reached a record low in 2006. Peace-building efforts by international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union as well as interventions by individual African countries have led to a decrease in violence (general combat deaths are down, as well as conflicts involving government troops according to the Human Security Centre) in sub-Saharan Africa over the last recent years. Building on peace efforts over the last ten years, Northern Ireland's arch foes have finally agreed to a power-sharing executive governing body for the province. A recent HIV/AIDS study reports that Isentress, a new AIDS drug, is being lauded by experts as a wonder-drug that works when all other AIDS medications fail. These are just a few of the great stories to come out of our world lately.
On a smaller and more individual level we have also seen great things occur recently. Japanese billionaire, Genshiro Kawamoto opened eight of his twenty-two Hawaiian mansions to poor families for ten years. Oprah Winfrey opened a second school for South African children in poverty-stricken KwaZulu-Natal province, built with money provided by her Angel Network. An 83-year-old Kansas woman spent thirty years driving open roads, picking up aluminum cans, in a single-handed effort to raise enough money to build a community swimming pool for the children in her home town of Eskridge. A New York City taxi driver returned a bag carrying 31 diamond rings to a passenger who earlier had given him a 30-cent tip on an $11 ride. There are literally hundreds of examples of good deeds like these that occur everyday around the world.