While we in Australia enjoy peace and prosperity, spare a thought and a prayer for those Communities in the world's trouble spots.

At the end of last year the Perth Crosslinks Community made a financial donation to assist the small Community in Syria, Al-Safina. The community posted this message on the International website to acknowledge the concerns of many around the world.

"On the occasion of sending you our best wishes for Christmas, the feast of the Prince of Peace, we know well that you too are concerned about us. These past months have been difficult, because the fighting came close, and our ears were continually assaulted by the sound of gunfire and explosions; for some weeks now, shells and rockets have been falling on our neighbourhood.

One evening in August, while Youssef was in a shop with friends, a car bomb exploded and he was wounded in the head. Fortunately it was not serious, but in these circumstances, the thing that stays with you is the psychological shock.

And it is also difficult not knowing what tomorrow will bring and -worst of all- to see no light at the end of the tunnel ... the reality which we are facing is dramatic: no-one can escape the fear, anxiety, and insecurity. There is no corner of our country which rests in tranquility, unscathed by the violence.



Nevertheless, life goes on. Al- Safina has not stopped living; we continue to go to Beit al- Salam to work; each day, the people in the workshop come there as usual on the bus to work; the assistants continue to come and go, even making it to their villages. Yet, none of this is problem-free: the city transport system is in upheaval, so getting from A to B takes a long time....

Unlike previous years, this year we have not been able to go on holiday by the sea in Kfar Setta: the road is dangerous and the centre now filled with refugees."

 

In Ukraine too L’Arche-Kovcheh is in a precarious position.

"Peaceful protests have been going on in Ukraine since the end of November, when many people took to the streets demanding fairer laws and judicial processes: a demonstration for democracy and against corruption. But after two months of not being listened to, the patience of the demonstrators has now worn thin. Recently, violence has broken out, resulting in tragic loss of life. In the capital, Kiev, the main square now resembles a battleground, regularly rocked by explosions. Even though there are Ukrainians on both sides of the barricades, neither military nor civilian understands the other. And no-one in the country can remain unaffected by these events: we are all are touched in some way, including our community of L’Arche.



Our community is located in the city of Lviv (western Ukraine) where the situation is relatively calm. But we are particularly concerned by a recent law passed by the Ukrainian Parliament, which has declared that from now on, any public organization receiving funds from abroad (like L’Arche-Kovcheh), is classed as a “foreign agent”. How exactly this will affect the community, we do not yet know.

We are simply trying to carry on doing what we can do: coming each day to the workshops and sticking to our daily programme together. But of course, we are anxious. Prayer takes on a new importance: we pray for Ukraine, for peace, and for wisdom of our leaders. And this brings hope in God's mercy and faith in a better future...

Thank you all for your solidarity with us and for your prayers."