There is a disease sweeping across this nation. Infection rate is almost 100% and yet I think most don’t even realise they have it. The disease affects two major organs… the mind and the heart. The mind is numbed and the heart is hardened. The disease is called apathy. Or, by another name, inaction.

Today there is a heart-broken family, grieving the loss of their son and brother. Wellington Police lifted him off the harbour floor just a few days ago, following their investigation into his disappearance.
There is also a South Auckland family mourning as they come to grips with the death of a young husband and father, son and brother – caught up in gang-related violence and dragged 2km to his death behind a van.
And there is a family trying to overcome shock and grief at the loss of a daughter and sister – hit by not one, but two cars on Wellington’s Cambridge Terrace early on Sunday morning.

If we’re honest, these stories can easily sail over our heads almost without touching down, even briefly. There are simply too many similar stories in the headlines from week to week.

But what if you knew one of the victims?

I’m a carrier. I live in suburban Wellington NZ, I read the newspaper, watch the news and look at news-based websites. I know about awful events within a day or so of them unfolding and it’s true – I suffer from apathy as much as the next person. Not because I don’t care, but because I don’t know what I could possibly do to help.

And now, finally, one of these events has pierced me, a bullet has hit the mark. I didn’t know the student found in Wellington Harbour, I didn’t know the young father cruelly murdered in South Auckland – but I did know the young woman run down in Wellington on Sunday morning.
Okay, so I didn’t know her well, but I knew her.

For 18 months whilst I was employed by The Dominion Post, I was a frequent customer of the little Fuel Espresso Kiosk on Willis Street. I bought my coffee there for two reasons… the coffee was good and the young woman who served it was an exponent of some of the best genuine customer service I’ve seen. After my very first visit, she knew me by name and greeted me as such every time I went back. And as I stood waiting for my coffee, she greeted almost every other customer by name. In fact, my colleague would often return from Fuel on Willis, saying, “Amy was asking after you again.”

This morning her photo is on the front page of The Dominion Post next to the accompanying story about the ongoing investigations into her death.

It takes, on average, 3-4 minutes to brew a good quality coffee. Ample time to enjoy casual conversation about the weather, the weekend’s sporting results, or the ingredients in those delicious raspberry and white chocolate muffins on the counter. Enough time to sow seeds of faith? Yup – you bet. But I didn’t – not once.

My grandmother died in 1999 after a short but horrific illness. To this day, we’re not certain whether or not she had a faith of her own. Our suspicion is she did – she always said that her God was in the garden, or something to that effect.
So what of Amy? I don’t know. But I do know that I was given the opportunity to show her the way to a full life – regardless of duration – and the opportunity to introduce her to Someone who wanted to prepare a place especially for her at the feast table of the Lamb.

So yes, the media is full of tragic stories about people we don’t know.
But I think I might have stumbled upon the cure for that disease I was talking about – I know what I can do now. I can’t turn back time and rewrite recent history, but I can start to practice the love of Christ in this world.

Amy – I hope someone else had more courage than I did and shared their faith with you.


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