Love in Action
With the arrival of the holiday season, fellow initiates from the Seattle Center continued their annual tradition of thanking God by giving back to the local community. On November 27, 2005, after a two-day retreat, the sisters and brothers prepared warm meals and a supply of winter clothing for the disadvantaged residents of Seattle’s downtown district.
The Seattle area is well known for its abundant rainfall and this year's winter season has been no exception. On the morning of the mission, heavy showers fell, but the rain suddenly stopped just a few hours before the initiates began their distribution effort on a busy street corner in downtown Seattle, where the local homeless quickly gathered and lined up to receive the much-needed goods. Within an hour, approximately 400 underprivileged residents received material comfort and a hopeful reminder that God loves and looks after every soul.
Throughout the years Master has provided Her initiates with abundant blessings and in turn they are grateful to be able to share their good fortune with the needy. As the brothers and sisters served the people, observed their smiles and heard their expressions of thanks, they were reminded of Master’s words: “The poor, needy and homeless might not be as they appear; in fact they are there to teach us how to serve and how to expand our love.”
This expansion of love was evident throughout the 2005 homeless relief project, as virtually all the Seattle Center initiates participated in one way or another, either by helping to prepare the food, shop for clothing or distribute the goods to the less fortunate. As a result of this collaborative effort, a sense of togetherness and warm pervaded the atmosphere throughout the event, bringing the sisters and brothers closer together in the spirit of service, oneness in search of the highest Truth and gratitude for being able to practice the Quan Yin Method under the guidance of the Master of all Masters. ♥
Report from Oregon, USA
Sharing Master’s Love at Thanksgiving
During the 2005 Thanksgiving season, Oregon Center initiates heeded
Master’s recommendation “to remember and help the less fortunate, especially
during the holidays” by conducting three activities to serve their homeless
friends exposed to the cold of winter.
Meal service at a homeless kitchen
First, on November 17, 2005, the disciples held their annual homeless meal service in downtown Portland. This year’s venue, the Blanchet House, is recognized as the community’s main kitchen for the homeless. In total, over 350 meals were prepared and served.
Also, in hopes of satisfying the material needs of the less fortunate, the initiates called numerous local shelters to inquire about the items most in demand by the residents. And the facilities’ staff members consistently said, “Socks and wash towels.” Thus the disciples purchased 2,000 pairs of socks and 1,000 wash towels, which were placed in gift packages for convenient distribution along with the meals. Altogether, approximately 300 gifts containing socks, wash towels and spiritual information were distributed.
To ensure that the evening ended on a sweet note, a sister baked twenty pies and fifteen cakes so that everyone had the opportunity to have many servings of dessert. A large majority of the homeless recipients and Blanchet House staff expressed disbelief at how tasty they found the vegetarian cuisine.
Gift distribution on Thanksgiving night
On Thanksgiving evening, several disciples from the Oregon Center continued to tend for the community’s destitute by traveling to downtown Portland armed with gift packages including rain ponchos, socks, wash towels, fleece blankets and meals comprised of tofu turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing.
That evening it rained very hard and the streets were almost empty. However, despite the gloomy conditions some homeless were still outside. Several had pitched simple tents on the sidewalks while others had tried to find shelter beneath doorways. And as the disciples approached the area, one commented, “I was just wondering where God has been. I can’t believe there are actually people like you. Thank you!” Next, the disciples went under a bridge where many homeless usually gather and noticed that volunteers from another charitable group were passing out turkey dinners. However, when the homeless saw the disciples’ van, they ran over to receive the rain ponchos, socks and blankets, which were greatly needed on that cold, damp night.
As they distributed the food and gifts the disciples were saddened to see that many of the recipients were mentally ill and unable to take care of themselves. Nonetheless, it was apparent that Master’s love had warmed their hearts as they received the items.
A blissful moment
Then on December 3, 2005, the Oregon initiates again served the community by visiting downtown Portland’s Transition Projects, a facility that helps people move from homelessness to housing. For this event more gifts were prepared including dessert portions with a slice of carrot cake, a muffin, a piece of orange and a fortune cookie. Also, carefully wrapped gift packages containing socks, washcloths and Master’s picture added a touch of holiday cheer and blessings to the occasion. Moreover, a brother from the initiate-run Vegetarian House restaurant cooked a sumptuous feast, the cuisine being so delicious that people came back for second and third portions and within an hour all the food had run out!
Afterwards, the shelter’s religious director asked the brothers and sisters if he could lead everyone in a prayer. So the group moved into an empty hallway and formed a circle while holding hands. The director then said a prayer of thanks and asked the Lord to continue to bless the men staying at the facility that night.
All the Oregon brothers and sisters who participated in the November-December 2005 projects for the homeless felt deeply honored and grateful to represent Master and the Quan Yin family in serving the needy during the Thanksgiving season. And they will continue to follow Master’s advice by serving the less fortunate during the holidays and at any other times when aid is needed. ♥
Report from Indiana, USA
At the End of the Storm
On Sunday, November 6, 2005, a three-quarter-mile-wide, 60-mph tornado, the worst such storm to strike the area for over 30 years, swept through the states of Kentucky and Indiana. And within 42 minutes, 23 people were left dead, many more were injured, hundreds of homes were demolished and many families were affected.
Upon hearing of the disaster, fellow practitioners from the Midwest Centers of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky responded quickly, meeting on November 7 at the Indiana Center to plan an aid effort. The sisters and brothers then prepared approximately 300 packages containing bottled water, flashlights, healthy snacks and personal supplies, and early on the morning of November 8 a relief team traveled by car and U-Haul truck to Newburgh near Evansville, Indiana, the area most severely affected by the tornado.
Upon arriving in the vicinity of Newburgh, the initiates were met with a scene of mass destruction. Many mobile homes were flattened, tree limbs hung broken and the shrubbery was filled with wind-blown debris. The area also appeared to be completely devoid of people. The practitioners then prayed to Master to be led to where they could be of the most help, and suddenly an angelic young man appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and volunteered to take the team to victims in need of assistance.
The neighborhood where the young man brought the initiates was surrounded by military personnel, who were allowing no one to enter. But upon learning of our Association’s previous relief work with the Red Cross, the team was allowed into the devastated area. In this community, many people had remained but there were homes without roofs or windows and others with merely the interior walls remaining. In addition, some houses and vehicles had been completely destroyed. The locals were extremely glad to see the initiates, saying, “We’ve been without assistance since the tornado struck and you’re the first help we’ve seen.” The young man who had guided the team to the neighborhood also insisted on helping distribute the gift packages. And being without electricity, the recipients especially appreciated the flashlights the parcels contained, as well as the healthy snacks because they were unable to cook.
Upon departing, the initiates noticed that the victims’ faces were much brighter than when they had arrived, and felt deeply grateful to be able to witness the transforming power of Master’s compassion. Through Her grace, they were led to the right place to render assistance and were the first to help in the area. Moreover, through the recipients’ joyful responses, the practitioners saw how Master’s care brings hope to the needy so that they might have the strength to start over. Even though many of the people did not understand why, they felt uplifted after receiving Master’s gifts. And thanks to Her, the sisters and brothers understood that the victims’ happiness arose from the truest gift of all: God’s infinite love. ♥
By the San Jose News Group (Originally in English)
Abiding by Master’s compassionate example and loving advice to care for the less fortunate in winter, San Jose initiates conducted three activities for those in need during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.
First, on November 21, 2005, the initiates served vegetarian meals at a Thanksgiving luncheon sponsored by the City Team Ministries homeless shelter of Santa Clara County.
This year’s luncheon was the first at which Ministries staff members and residents experienced sumptuous vegetarian food. And they were truly amazed at the abundance of delicacies offered, including vegetarian turkey, salad, mashed potatoes, fried rice, soup and cream cheese rolls. During the feast, over 100 meals were completely devoured by the homeless recipients, who were fascinated by the taste of the delicious cuisine and surprised that the dishes contained no animal products.
The attendees were also deeply grateful to The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association for providing them with the well prepared holiday feast, which will be long remembered because it was the first time they realized they could enjoy food without harming other sentient beings. After this positive response from the residents, the City Team Ministries staff asked the initiates to serve more meals in the future and the practitioners happily agreed.
Then, on December 17, 2005, with its pastor’s assistance, the initiates conducted their annual Christmas gift distribution for the homeless at the First Christian Church, located near the city government in downtown San Jose.
For three days before the activity, flyers about the location and time were sent to local homeless shelters. So on distribution day many homeless brothers and sisters patiently stood in line for hours in advance. And when the initiates arrived at 2:00 PM a long line had already formed. This year’s presents from Master Santa included warm jackets for adults and children, sleeping bags, socks, gloves, hats, toothbrushes, toothpaste, vegetarian sandwiches, bottled water and cookies. In addition, families with small children also received toys.
During the project, more than 200 colorful gift bags packed with tender loving care were quickly distributed. Yet, since the number of attendees was more than double that of last year, many people did not receive presents. Thus, the initiates purchased more gifts so that no one had to leave empty-handed.
Next, on December 20, 2005, the fellow practitioners worked with the social service group Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) to present a joyous Christmas carol entertainment program for women of various ethnicities and their beautiful children who were survivors of domestic violence. AACI (www.aaci.org) is the largest non-profit advocacy, education, health and human services organization addressing the needs of Asian Pacific Americans in Santa Clara County, California.
Before the caroling program, the sisters and brothers served the guests an array of delectable vegetarian dishes, which were savored by everyone. For some women, it was the first party they had been able to attend in years due to their difficult domestic situations. After the refreshment, the singing began, and by the middle of the session everyone had joined along, including the children. During the activity, the AACI clients, staff and volunteers all sang lovely Christmas songs in English, Chinese and Aulacese and the party’s tempo was so lively that everyone was thoroughly engaged!
The program also featured a series of dazzling Chinese yo-yo tricks by a half-initiated brother who mesmerized the audience with his talents and charming smile and also accompanied the singers on the piano for part of the performance. Then the jolliest time of the evening came when the guests received presents in colorful wrappings and gift bags, compliments of the AACI and San Jose Center.
During this special event, the participants felt a great sense of love and support, demonstrating that no matter who or where we are, all human beings are intimately connected in a greater community. And thanks to agencies such as the AACI, society’s goodness and beauty are elevated daily by dedicated staff and volunteers.
Through their efforts with the City Team Ministries, the First Christian Church and the AACI, the Quan Yin brothers and sisters came to more deeply understand Master’s aphorism, “Helping others is helping ourselves,” and felt truly blissful while unconditionally bringing happiness to others. Thus, this year’s holiday season was one of their most notable ever and their New Year’s resolution is to continue to “let God serve through us.” ♥
By the San Francisco News Group (Originally in English)
On December 11, 2005, fellow practitioners from the San Francisco Center conducted their annual winter relief distribution project with the local homeless population. The effort was carried out early in the season because winters in the San Francisco Bay Area can be quite cold with heavy rainfall, and the items will help the recipients deal with the harsh conditions.
First the practitioners purchased 100 sleeping bags, along with jackets, warm hats, socks, gloves and food items. The food was then packed into bags, which also included copies of Master’s sample booklet so that the homeless could benefit from the aid both spiritually and materially.
After the packing was completed, the initiates drove for many hours throughout the night in search of the needy in the usual happy yogi style: with love and happiness in their hearts. And upon receiving their gifts the homeless were consistently positive and grateful. So the sisters and brothers felt great satisfaction in giving to these individuals, along with a sense of great compassion and empathy.
Thank You, Master, for helping the San Francisco initiates provide relief to their less fortunate friends, who will greatly benefit from the supplies this winter and more importantly, from Your infinite spiritual nourishment. ♥