The power of faith: people in the spotlight in 2022
Helping others boosts our own well-being. This is shown by the people highlighted in 2022. Whether on the Mediterranean Sea, on their own doorstep, or in other parts of the world: La Grah, Elena, Laura, and Peter have each done remarkable things with the power of their faith.
Sharing with the poorest
Dressed in a suit and tie and wearing smart shoes, La Grah Trout is standing on the road and handing out food and cake parcels to the homeless: La Grah, who is from Atlantis, a suburb in Cape Town in South Africa, decided that he was going to celebrate his confirmation in his own way. “He told me that he wants to share his confirmation with the homeless, as most people who come to confirmation parties have food at home,” his mother Chandré says. No sooner said than done: instead of sitting down to a delicious dinner with his family and relatives, La Grah and his parents prepared and packed 200 parcels of food which they distributed in his hometown. And this in spite of the fact that La Grah and his family are not rich either.
There was one very special experience that he loves to talk about. “My parents and I gave a cake parcel to a man at a traffic light. The food parcel was in the boot of the car, and we couldn’t hand him food. But he jumped for joy when he saw the cake. He was overjoyed because he could not remember when last he had some form of food without having to beg. It was such an emotional moment and brought much joy to all of us.”
The whole story: “The boy who shared His confirmation”
On a mission in the Mediterranean
Elena Kloppman cannot bear the thought of people in distress. And the striking news images of refugees in small boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean hit her hard. When she heard that a former classmate hired on as a ship’s cook on one of the rescue boats that ply the Mediterranean to rescue migrants, she decided that this was something that was for her and she could do something concrete to help. She signed on as a communications coordinator on the Nadir to try and help people who in their desperation dared to attempt to cross to Europe in small boats. The encounters with the rescuers and the refugees brought about a fundamental change in her. “They are super inspiring people,” she says, “which has given me incredible energy.”
When Russia attacked Ukraine, Elena could not stand by and watch. A few days after Russia had invaded Ukraine she and a friend were already at the border to Ukraine distributing relief supplies. What drives her is her faith in God: “My faith gives me the conviction that what I am doing is the right thing.”
The whole story: “Doing what is right in faith”
In two worlds
How often she has been to Africa in the meantime, she cannot say. Laura Johanna Fischer feels as much at home there as she does in Bregenz, Austria. The native German bought a farm in Koboyo in Togo, where she grows vegetables using organic techniques.
The idea grew on her during her bachelor’s thesis in Burkina Faso: her topic is on natural insecticides in vegetable farming. She noticed that the soils in Africa are still much healthier than in Europe. But since the Africans follow the European model and make the same mistakes as the Europeans do, this probably will not stay that way for long. Now she is trying to push organic farming there while the soils are still healthy and fertile. She is demonstrating how to farm in harmony with nature.
The whole story: “Slogging away for the future, preferably in Africa”
A pilot has left the ship
He brought the communication work of the New Apostolic Church “out of the Stone Age and into the present time”. This is what Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said at the farewell ceremony for the retiring Church spokesman, Peter Johanning. For 26 years, Peter Johanning was instrumental in bringing the public relations work of the New Apostolic Church forward. The websites nak.org and nac.today, the member magazine community, and a whole range of smart phone apps go back to him.
He worked together effectively with three Chief Apostles, said the incumbent Chief Apostle Schneider at the farewell ceremony. “This was not so easy, because people are fundamentally different. But we all had complete faith in you.”
The whole story: “Piloting the Church through stormy waters”