THE TORCH - ISSUE 2 2010

From:-
TORCH TRUST, Torch House, Torch Way, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 9HL, U.K.
Telephone: (01858) 438260, Fax: (01858) 438275, email: info@torchtrust.org
Charity Number 1095904.

Contents

Greetings!

by Gordon Temple

What was not good?

Welcome to this edition of The Torch magazine.

Just recently somebody teased me with a Bible puzzle - something of a trick question, I think: "What was not good before the Fall?". By "the Fall" they were of course referring to the time that sin entered and corrupted God's perfect creation. I was stumped. All I could think of was the goodness of creation - the phrase we read over and over again in Genesis chapter 1, "And God saw that it was good". At the end of the six days of creation God admires his handiwork and concludes that it was "very good". I remember the minister at our home church telling the children about creation. "It was veeerrry gooood", he kept repeating - with his thumbs up!

I had to be told the answer: Genesis 2 verse 18: "The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone'". Then I remembered, it's a text often read at weddings because it continues, "I will make a helper suitable for him". The creation narrative continues with the creation of woman. God makes Eve, a wife for Adam.

We are not made to live alone, to live isolated lives of self serving, but to live in families and communities of mutual companionship and service. We are made in the image of God. "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness ...'". Note the "us". The God of creation is plural. When we study the New Testament we learn of God as Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Community is at the heart of God and he made us to live in community with others.

Asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus responds that it's to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. But he adds a second: "love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 12:29-31). Significantly both these preeminent commandments are about relationship, the first about our relationship with God, the second about our relationship with other people. The life of a religious hermit is unnatural. He or she has only one of the two relationships that Jesus insists go hand in hand together. We are designed to live in a network of relationships with other people, fostering an interdependence that allows us to give and receive, to serve and be served.

In Psalm 68 we read: "God sets the lonely in families". If we turn to God through our Lord Jesus, seek his forgiveness and accept his offer of salvation we are automatically included within a huge global family. No one need be lonely. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus", writes Paul to the Christians in Galatia (Galatians 3:26), and when he writes "sons" he means men and women, boys and girls!

In another of his letters, Paul says it's like being a part of a body (1 Corinthians 12). We all depend on each other and we all benefit the other parts. And elsewhere he says we should "not give up meeting together" (Hebrews 10:25). We need to meet in fellowship with the Christians around, to worship together, to serve together, simply to be together to express God's love. This fellowship, mutual support and encouragement are implicit in family life.

We often refer to all those linked with Torch, whether blind or sighted, as the "Torch Family". If we love the Lord Jesus, we are also part of the wider family of God's children. For many this magazine is their link with the worldwide Torch family; it is distributed freely in braille and giant print, on audio cassette and CD, to around 9,500 addresses in 100 countries. In this way we can share the love of Jesus through literature and fellowship, and as we pray for one another.

True wholeness cannot be found on our own in isolation. It can only be found in cultivating our relationships, supremely with God as our heavenly father and, alongside that, our relationships with each other.

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My story

Clive and Kate Dilloway

Though not visually impaired herself, Kate Dilloway says, "For more than half my life braille has been important and has challenged me. I am an avid reader and wanted to be able to help visually impaired people to share my pleasure. It has not been one-sided, since I have enjoyed reading many of the books I've worked on and in transcribing books into braille for Torch Trust, I've been encouraged on my own Christian journey."

This is how Kate Dilloway describes the part braille plays in her life. Not visually impaired herself, she has been able to serve as a braille transcriber for 37 years, first of all with RNIB and since 1991 with Torch Trust. Through Kate, her husband Clive also became interested in the work of Torch and he has been a trustee since 2006.

Both Kate and Clive were brought up in Christian homes and met through the Anglican Fellowship at Manchester University, marrying soon after graduation. Kate became a biology teacher whilst Clive joined the oil industry as an engineer. Six years and four location moves later, they were living in Windsor when their first daughter was born, and their lives changed dramatically. Preparing for Caroline's baptism reinvigorated their Christian faith which had wilted through the succession of moves.

Meanwhile, Kate found motherhood left her the opportunity to take on an intellectual challenge. A colleague of Clive's transcribed Maths books for RNIB, and Kate became interested in his work. Training with RNIB began in 1972. At that time transcription work was done on a Stainsby brailler (the noise drove Clive mad!), then on a Perkins which was also noisy and later on a quiet computer.

In 1977, and by now with Sarah as well as Caroline, they moved again, this time to Aberdeen. It was a great wrench to leave behind their very active church life in Windsor but the braille work continued uninterrupted. In Aberdeen they joined a very lively evangelical church and settled in quickly making many new Christian friends.

Six years later another move took them still further north to Shetland where Clive was in charge of the Sullom Voe oil terminal. Meeting with other Christians was difficult because of the weather and long distances but Peter Molyneux, the fire chief at the terminal, organised that the minister from Lerwick (30 miles away) would come to lead a service in his home once a month, and this became a focus for close Christian fellowship and growth. In particular it led to Clive and Kate becoming much more faithful and conscientious in their daily Bible study and they have never looked back.

Finally they moved to Haywards Heath, Sussex in 1987 which gave Kate the opportunity to work part-time at RNIB in Islington where she further developed her braille skills and took on more advanced work.

In 1991 the RNIB transcription service moved to Peterborough and Kate was at a loose end again. In the Lord's timing, on a visit to Lee Abbey for a retreat, Kate met Rosina Sharp who told her about Torch Trust. So Kate started with Torch and has continued through all the changes from keying-in braille to her present role of preparing computer files for transcription into braille and giant print. Curiously, as the brailling side of the work becomes easier, the layout preparation has become much more complex because book design has become more visually complex, so Kate still gets plenty to challenge her as well as now having a regular diet of Christian books to read.

Whilst Kate's faith grew with Torch Trust, Clive's grew by his work with the Bible Society, first as a trustee and then chairman. Through a Bible Society event Clive met Gordon Temple who was interested in the work he had been doing on improving how Bible Society was being run. Nothing is wasted in God's service and Clive is now helping to update Torch's governance procedure.

Jeremiah 29:11 reads "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." As Kate and Clive look back they see how God continues to fulfil this promise in their own lives.

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Partners

St Vincent's Centre for Disabled Children, Haiti.

"An expression of Christian love for the people of Haiti, especially the children, through the hospitals, schools, and health centres in the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti."

St Vincent's Centre for Disabled Children was started by Sr Joan Margaret, SSM, in 1945. At the time of its opening there was no schooling available for disabled children, who were often abandoned and left for dead. Sister Joan found such a child, a young blind baby, who had been completely abandoned and took him home. Eventually a school was established, which grew from a few children being taught under a tree to its current total of over 450 students, including 170 boarders.

All the students attending St Vincent's are handicapped in some way: blind, deaf, confined to a wheel chair, or needing crutches or braces. However, all students attend classes and are taught to work with their disabilities while continuing to achieve the education they need for future success. Many blind children have been cared for over the years and given an education.

Now this has all suddenly changed as on Tuesday 12 January the earthquake hit Haiti - and drastically so for St Vincent's. Although one building partly remains standing, albeit damaged, many of the children escaped with slight injuries. Sadly six children and some employees died in the quake. It was remarkable there were not more deaths as the residential palace, which was destroyed, is just a short distance away.

About 130 students were transferred to a camp site on a soccer field in a more secure area and others were moved to be with a former music teacher of the Centre.

The discussing of short and long term rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts will be ongoing as funds are available. It will be a big project as much internal damage was done to the buildings and equipment destroyed. Also the residential areas were badly damaged.

Through a series of fortunate turns of events a shipment of needed supplies has reached the St Vincent's children. This shipment has given the children basic clothing, towels, toiletries, games and some other items.

The trauma for these children with disabilities and especially the blind children must be immense. They need our prayers at this time. Thank God for the staff who care for and support the children, making them feel loved and secure.

To help to this end we have sent a gift from Torch with our love and prayers for the blind children of St Vincent's at this time.

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Here's a thought

"God never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them." (Purpose Driven Life)

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Penfriends Bulletin

Here is someone who would like to correspond with others. If you would like to communicate with this person, introduce yourself by giving your name, your correct postal address, your age, and some information about yourself, your family and your country.

Anybody reading this who would like us to include their name and information in our next bulletin, send in your full name, postal address, age, and tell us about the things you enjoy doing. The aim of having a penfriend is to develop a friendship and exchange information and ideas.

PRAVAL PANT, 148 Civil Lines, State Bank of India, Region IV, Admin. Office, Bareilly-243001, India. A 28-year-old working in a bank as stenographer. Nainital is a location of natural beauty where tourists visit. Clear and blue sky, greenery, high mountains, zigzag roads, historic monuments, beautiful lakes add to the natural beauty of this city. I would like to communicate with people all over the world. I would prefer to receive e-mail. My email address is: praval.pant@sbi.co.in

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Old Testament Characters

by Michael Stafford

2. Enoch

In a world where ungodliness seems to be the dominant force, we should remember that God has always maintained a godly line of people. This began with Adam and Eve's son Abel, but after he was killed by his ungodly brother Cain, God began the godly line again with a third son - Seth.

If you follow through the line of Seth in Genesis chapter five you will eventually come to Enoch, the seventh from Adam. Though there is only a little written about him in the Bible, it is enough to know that he was an outstanding man of God. He lived 365 years, which was a short life for those days, but his son Methuselah was the longest living person ever, at 969 years.

Enoch's life was short because God took him out of the godless society in which he lived. His grandson was Lamech who was the father of Noah. God's patience with sinful mankind was nearly exhausted, but through Enoch he gave an opportunity for repentance, as Enoch preached against sinfulness.

What can we learn about this man?

1. He Walked with God (Genesis 5:21-24)

"When Enoch had lived 65 years he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah he walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."

Amos 3:3 asks the question: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" This reminds us that Enoch must have believed and obeyed God in order to "walk" with him. What can we learn from Enoch's walk?

2. He Pleased God (Hebrews 11:5, 6)

"By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God ..."

Eventually God took him to heaven because he was so pleased with him.

3. He Testified for God (Jude 14, 15)

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him'".

He warned of judgment on ungodly people - not because of gross sins like murder and adultery, but the "smaller" sins we are often guilty of, such as grumbling, fault-finding, following our own desires, boasting, flattering etc.

The judgment to come was to be the flood, which Enoch prophesied of when he named his son Methusalah. This name means something like: "When he is dead it shall come". The fact is that Methusalah died in the very year that the flood came. You can work that out with some simple arithmetic on the ages of the characters in Genesis chapter 5, bearing in mind that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (Genesis 7:6).

It is worth asking the question, "why did Methuselah live so long?" Perhaps it was because God was lengthening the day of grace before Methuselah died when there would be no further time to repent before judgment came.

Finally, Enoch is a type, or picture, of what will happen when Jesus comes again. He was taken from the earth without dying, which is what will happen to believers who are still alive when Jesus comes. They will be caught up to be with the Lord forever: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever." (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

Let's remember that Enoch pleased God because he had a walk of faith. Let us also be like him and be known as men and women of faith walking daily in God's way in matters great and small, and looking forward to that time when Jesus will come again and receive us to himself.

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Let the Scriptures speak

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

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Wise Words from Africa

[In subsequent issues of The Torch we shall be including an African proverb.]

Mulendo ni jumi

This proverb means "A traveller is dew", and it is in the Tumbuka language.

The passing traveller is a common figure in Africa. He travels by train, bus, car, lorry on his way to a funeral or relative in his home village or another part from where he lives. Like the dew, he does not normally stay too long. And so the Tumbuka proverb says that he should be treated well and that there should be no worry about his exhausting the food supply.

There are many African proverbs that advise kindness to the casual traveller who might not be seen again, like the morning dew. When seen in the light of the Scriptures, this wise counsel has deep and far-reaching consequences for our lives as Christians.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome." (Matthew 25:35).

At the Last Judgement, Jesus Christ will reveal to everyone the deeper dimensions of hospitality. Through and in the visitor, Christ himself is welcomed or sent away, recognised or unrecognised, just as he was in Palestine long ago. Saint Augustine, from North Africa, said, "I fear that Jesus passing by might not return". Christ passing by and calling to us in the form of the unexpected traveller ought not to be sent away thirsty or unfed. The opportunity might not come again. We need faith to receive Christ the visitor, especially if he comes at an awkward time ... to an already overcrowded house; when you are busy or in bad form ... if the children are troublesome ... if there is tension between husband and wife. If we receive the visitor, then we will one day hear God's word, "Come into the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world, for as long as you did it to one of the least of my brothers you did it to me".

Prayer: Almighty Father, you have made us members of your family. Help us to see in others your image, and help us to treat them as your children.

(Tumbuka is spoken in Malawi and Zambia.)

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Hymn

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
Fellow trav'llers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.

[Richard Gillard. copyright 1977, Scripture In Song, a division of Integrity Music/adm. By Copycare LTD]

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