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Dec 5, 2015

A few months ago we visited my Hubby's heritage origins in Hawaii, and I met an old woman from Tonga. She devoted her life to cultivating 6 acres of the Hawiian "island garden" to provide food for the hungry. After my hubby and I stepped out of the car to see her shangri-la, she pressed her brown face to our checks and her black sparkling eyes and voice wished us Aloha. In the island culture, Aloha is more a way of life that influences others with love, peace and compassion through connected spirits. She then placed Maile leis she made herself, traditionally meant for royalty, over our heads. She could have sold them for fifty dollars easily. She, wrinkled from life and hard living, with simple dirty work clothes on and her hair knotted out of the way was quite possibly the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She had inner peace and spiritual wellness.  Her face beamed with light, and love. My experiences were similar with the other island people, who knew happiness, but had little. I have come away humbled in what they have taught me. Me, from the richest country in the world that thinks we have it all, was given a depth of understanding that I had been looking for a long time. They taught me that contentment and love has nothing to do with how much money you have, or how much your house looks like the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It has everything to do with simpleness of life, and loving people.  Isn't that what we all are looking for? Real love? So, I came back from my experiences ready to live this love that I had come to understand, and bring it more fully to my culture, family, and my friends. It was more difficult than I expected, and as I have taken this family class the evidence has begun to build up as to why.

The Disconnect The amount of intimate friends United States citizens have has been steadily decreasing over the years and has reached an all time low. We have more square footage for our houses and less children than ever before. Since the beginning of the 20th Century we have been spending more and more time in front of screens, and each of us now has a hand held device that we can escape to any time we feel oppressed by life. We are unconsciously becoming a culture that prizes objects as more important than human beings without realizing it. We are one of the only cultures who more often than not would farm our parents out to nursing homes instead of taking care of them close by or inviting them in. On the extreme end, some of us have become so disconnected from love, that we will kill our own children in the womb so as not to be bothered by the inconvenience that loving children brings. 22% of pregnancies in the United States end in abortion

(Guttmacher Institute, 2011). We have an enormously rich top percentage and a staggering amount of people struggling under the poverty line. School Shootings anyone? I would not be surprised if a spike in depression, anxiety, increases in childhood disorders, and divorce are all related to this trend of separation. This war on love is not trumpeted by guns, but creeps into our homes distilling on our selfish motivations, jeopardizing our relationships and snuffing out life. I personally have seen enough lately to feel the pain of the disconnection of society. I believe this separation is starting within our homes, with mothers entering the work place increasingly, and many modern interests to take us away from what is most important. Are our family's interpersonal relationship needs at the top of our to-do list? Have we forgotten what our ancestors lived for? They used resources because of family, rather than first resources...then maybe a family... if its convenient. If we want to change things for the better we need to start going home, turning off devices, and making time with the important people in our lives the priority.
Love is Connecting to Jesus Christ is Connecting to Each Other 
The love that will mend our relationships and permeate our homes, society and bring personal peace is found in following and becoming like Jesus Christ.

 "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."- John, 15:5

here is how we abide in Christ:

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 14:10-13 

 And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you. -John 14:45

 "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
-Romans 12:5

Can you see this radiant tree of human connection and love we just constructed with these last few scriptures?

The opposite of selfishness and materialism is giving one's self to others. When we willingly give ourselves to the Savior to mold and change, he gives us the power to give ourselves to others. We loose ourselves to find ourselves. Even those who have this unselfish streak, who don't believe in Jesus Christ, give much good because they are tapping into this basic power of sacrifice. We can become more that we are. Lets give up the burden of self servitude and be free. It is peace. Live your life more and more to lift, love and connect. Bring others to Jesus Christ, simply because they know you. Let his Spirit live within you, by repenting, and living like Him. Jesus Christ is world peace my friends, world peace. You. Right now. Can start today and begin to make peace within your family with your imperfect, oh so beautiful contribution of a smile, a compassionate listen to a troubled son or daughter, forgiveness to your spouse, doing the dishes, and catching and re-directing yourself when you find you are focusing on things that are less meaningful than time with your family.  

These are the moments that Jesus would give... a connection of love.  

This is world peace.