Being of Service? Showing People How to Fight Back! (Feature Friday!)

Being of Service? Showing People How to Fight Back! (Feature Friday!)#BestOf

Posted on August 30, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, August 26, 2016

My husband and I recently received several annoying telephone calls from debt collectors. (Our last name is one of the most common in the country.) These calls reminded me of this post, about my husband and his superb research and tracking skills. Thank God he was so persistent. I want to let as many people know how to research and track these sleazy debt consolidation companies.

BK kindness is a lifestyle

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, August 29, 2014

Being of Service? Showing People How to Fight Back! (Feature Friday!)

I have heard horror stories of how less-than-honest companies bundle and buy out debts at only a fraction of their value. Then, they hold the debt or note for the money owed. So instead of cash-strapped people owing a credit card company money, or a bona fide medical center money, they now owe these sleazy debt consolidation companies the money. But wait, there’s more! Much more . . .

I’ve been involved with seniors for a number of years, especially recently. I mean, at their homes. These seniors, often frail and in poor health, receive all kinds of telephone solicitation calls. Many of these calls come from shady, fly-by-night companies. But the worst of them all? The worst come from these sleazy, slimy debt consolidation companies. The debt collectors call. Then, call again—and again. And if they get a trembling, anxious senior on the other end of the line, so much the better! These pond scum debt collectors bully the elderly, trying to force them to send money. And sometimes, the senior is bullied into paying off a debt they do not even owe.

Most people don’t realize how to stop this horrible harassment and misuse of the telephone, not to mention get revenge. But a debt collection company tangled with my husband Kevin one time too many. My husband—who did not even owe the debt mentioned—took action. Action against the company, and action to stop this daily harassment for a debt which was never his to begin with.

My husband is extremely methodical, and he takes excellent notes in his work life. So, he decided to do the same thing in this case. Every time the home telephone was called by this company, we noted the date, time, and whether it was a recorded call or a real, live person. Every single time there was contact with a real, live person, we recorded their name. My husband sent two “cease and desist letters” by registered mail (so a real, live person at the company was required to sign for the letter, and show proof they received it). He took extensive notes whenever he spoke with anyone, and kept all of the notes in a file. And—he employed a law firm that specialized in fighting with these slimy debt collection firms.

The lawyers at the law firm were pros! They knew exactly what they were doing. My husband worked with them, hand in glove, and actually won the case in small claims court!

So, that was several years ago. My husband Kevin and I had almost forgotten all about the case, when a journalist contacted my husband a number of days ago. Mr. Sullivan wanted to know whether he might be able to write an article about the debt collectors and how my husband beat them at their own game. My husband gladly agreed! Moreover, he sent Mr. Sullivan all of his notes. (The journalist complimented my husband on his extremely thorough note-taking, too.)

So—long story short, the story appeared in Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. And—my husband is a hero! He showed, through his excellent example, exactly how to defuse these pond scum debt collectors. And, he wants people to know their rights under the law, too. In a quote from Mr. Sullivan’s article: “I would gladly do it again, not for the money, but because these people are slime who abuse and exploit people who don’t know how to defend themselves,” he said. “While I was defending myself, I followed various forums on the subject, and I was appalled at how many elderly people are victimized. It’s sickening.”

Not only the elderly, but people of all ages might be victimized. Thank God there are people who know how to stop these abusive practices and horrid debt collectors. People like my husband Kevin. That’s a sure way to live by the tenets of Micah 6:8! Live justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

(To take a look at the Yahoo Finance article by Mr. Sullivan, check out this link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/one-man-got-even-debt-103042195.html )

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Eastertide and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Helping? Playing for a Hymn Sing!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, August 21, 2014

not in control

Helping? Playing for a Hymn Sing!

Nothing like a good, old-fashioned hymn sing! That’s where I was, this afternoon. I played for a group of seniors at a retirement center where I used to preach, once a month. (That was before I had this position as pastor at the church where I am, now.) I am so grateful that I am able to help out, doing what I could. Giving enjoyment, providing music.

It warmed my heart to see so many of the seniors. I remember them from when I used to come and preach, lead worship, and sometimes play the piano, too. I really enjoyed playing for them, too—both then and now. And, there are additional seniors at the facility, too. So many, so sweet. And several came up to me and thanked me afterwards. One even said, “This is my most favorite thing to do, having a hymn sing. Thank you so much for playing for us.” That warmed my heart, and brought tears to my eyes, too.

Of course, I enjoyed seeing my friend, Chaplain Sarah. She and I had a short while to talk afterwards, as well.

I know I’ve spoken about this recently, but I’ll say it again. I am trying to follow the suggestions made in Micah 6:8 this month, in August. “Live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God.” I think being of service to these dear seniors certainly qualifies. I try to be humble and teachable, when I come to this retirement facility. I know that residents can often teach me things I just do not expect. And if I didn’t have my eyes open? Receptive? I would miss these lessons. Usually soft-key, gentle lessons. But other times? The lessons can be more serious, more sobering, too.

Next week, I am going to another (larger) senior facility, to lead a midweek service. At this facility, too, I can learn so much from the dear seniors in residence. I try to be humble, try to listen, and try to minister with my heart and hands open. Yes, the words of Micah 6:8 are worthwhile for me to consider—not just today, not just in the month of August. But, every month of the year. I need to continue to actively look for ways to be of service. Ways to love mercy, and ways to walk humbly with the one who loved me so much, God gave me things to do. Business to take care of.

God, I wonder what You’ll have for me to do, tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza

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Sharing with a New Friend

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 16, 2014

friendship you do stuff

Sharing with a New Friend

I made a new friend today! We live in different states, and had never met in our lives before today. But, I really feel we made a connection.

The two of us spent some time talking, and we weren’t satisfied with peripheral or superficial nonsense. We didn’t even begin with banalities, but instead immediately started to communicate on a deep level. Like we had known each other for some time. (Again, so satisfying!)

In my new position, I don’t have many opportunities to meet friends. I mean, good friends, who I can truly talk to. I appreciate people who are friendly and kind, of course! And so many people I’ve met in the past several months are that way. It’s truly a blessing. I mean that. But—I am a pastor. I serve as a minister. Right off the bat, that causes some separation. I need to maintain some professional, objective distance in my position, while at the same time being appropriately empathetic and understanding.

My many months in chaplain internship (Clinical Pastoral Education) have reinforced that, to be sure. Yes, I can come alongside people who are hurting, and try to be a comfort, support and encouragement. Chaplain internship has sharpened my skills at journeying with people as they are in trouble—either in terms of poor health, other kinds of crisis, emotional or spiritual upset.

It’s a good thing I have a number of friends from the years before I became a pastor. It can be lonely, even though I do have several long-term friends I can take the liberty of calling at pretty much any time. But these few long-term friends are not always available. (They lead busy lives, too!)

Of course, I try to be of service when I can. This fulfills me, nurtures me. It’s true that I am trying to follow the suggestions made in Micah 6:8 this month. “Live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God.” Just like when I took a senior acquaintance to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, earlier this week. Just like when I made reminder calls to several people for an upcoming activity. But I would sincerely like some kind of intimate connection—like that of having a good friend.

So, finding another friend is always a welcome thing. Yay! Thanks, God. You know what I wanted even before I formulated the thought. And, I just might be the answer to prayer for my new friend, too. Again, thanks!

@chaplaineliza

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Youth Who Live Justly, Show Mercy, Walk Humbly (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, August 15, 2014

micah68 vertical

Youth Who Live Justly, Show Mercy, Walk Humbly (Feature Friday!)

A friend of mine volunteers at a nearby hospice, about once a week. She told me how awesome it was to have a large number of youth come to the hospice. This was several weeks ago, when the youth made blankets for the hospice patients. My friend saw how affected and moved the young people were. Talk about emotion!

This activity moved and intrigued me. It’s not the typical activity for youth to do, much less a large number of youth. So, I asked my friend Ann where the young people were from. Which group sent them? St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights was the answer.

I did a little footwork, and found the contact information I needed. After a bit of telephone tag, Father Cory Brost and I finally were talking, person to person. He heads up St. Viator’s High School as President. He told me about an amazing summer program at the high school for youth 6th grade to 9th grade (just entering high school). It’s a one week service camp called “Praise and Service.” He related about the two different tracks in the camp, one choir track and the other track for service opportunities. Service and song make up the core of St. Viator’s mission, alongside of the importance of education excellence.

This summer camp had a total of 108 students in attendance in the camp the third week of July 2014, from 12:30 to 5:30 pm. 70 were campers, 6th through 9th grades. The rest were high school-aged leaders and recent alumni as facilitators, helping the campers on both tracks make the most of the week of service. Plus, 12 adult leaders also participated.

80 students went out each day of the camp week. Fr. Cory wasn’t certain, but he suspected that these young people had 80 different responses to their activities. Different people were moved by differing aspects of their work. I thought that Fr. Cory’s appreciation for the individualized reactions was most welcome. Awesome!

I asked Fr. Cory about the visit to the hospice. Yes, he told me that many of the youth were deeply touched by the patients, and by the opportunity to make blankets for them. He also mentioned another afternoon activity later that week. The camp invited seniors from the community to St. Viator’s. The youth acted as hosts. Another opportunity to be kind, be helpful.

After Fr. Cory and I ended our wonderful conversation, I reflected on how deeply moving it was for St. Viator’s High School to be so loving and giving with their time, resources, and expertise. Truly, an opportunity for the youth to live out the tenets of Micah 6:8: Live Justly, Show Mercy, and Walk Humbly. God willing, I pray that I might have such enthusiasm. God, thanks for their excited, exuberant, emotional acts of helpful service. And, thanks for showing Your love through the service of others, too.

@chaplaineliza

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In Which I Helped Water Plants

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 5, 2014

don't be afraid to sparkle

In Which I Helped Water Plants

Ever have a day when you were busy all day? A lot of little things? But at the end, couldn’t really point to any one big thing and say, in large part, that’s what I did today.

Oh, I can think of specific, minor things that happened. Discrete items I could tick off one by one. I organized some material for the worship service on Sunday. I answered some email and did other work on the computer. I read to the four and five year olds in the preschool. I talked with the trustee at church about several matters, including an upcoming meeting. And, I asked the trustee about some plants, since the four year olds’ teacher asked.

As the trustee and I walked out of the building, we came upon the four year old class. The teacher was there, too. I told her that Bob the trustee was the man with the answers for her. “I think he’s just the person to ask,” and matters were resolved in less than a minute. The preschool teacher was really happy! Her students will get a chance to see things grow, and I was glad that I could so easily get two people together who would be able to benefit and help each other.

The trustee and I also saw the four year olds with a large watering can. “I can get the key for the water. You can use the hose to water the plants by the sidewalk,” Bob offered. Sure enough, the hose was coiled up, right by the spigot on the outside of the building. Nice, white pebbles lined the walkway to the front door, and more than a dozen plantings of greenery were on either side of the walkway. The children got so excited when they saw the water bubble up. Come out of the hose, and water the thirsty plants.

I stayed outside and helped to keep watch over the large group of children, while the teacher gave two or three children special attention. Yes, I had fun! And, the children and I talked about quite a number of subjects while I was overseeing the watering and having the children take turns with the hose. (I even encouraged the children to do their best to keep their shoes dry!) And, I talked about the water nourishing the plants, among other important matters. At least—it was important to the children!

I haven’t prayed about this month’s verse yet. (I try to, each month.) I know this verse well—the wonderful call from the prophet Micah to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” This impromptu session outside was a definite learning experience. And, use of the hose showed the children how much the plants needed that water. Perhaps not today, but soon the plants will be greener than green. Nurtured. Growing.

God, help me learn other ways in which You will be pleased to see this verse from Micah 6 get put into practice. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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