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A light which shines through…

Friday 18th November 2016

I always find it important in dark situations, to look for a light which shines through and provides hope. This is a very common theme with our faith; when times are tough, we tend to lean on the hope that God gives us to guide us through. An example of this which I discovered recently comes from the Second World War and the story of Jane Haining, a Scottish missionary who served the Church of Scotland’s mission in Budapest. I recently travelled with a delegation from the Church of Scotland to take part in the celebrations of the 175th anniversary of the mission there, and part of the celebrations were centred around the service of Jane Haining. Her story is an extraordinary one of giving your all, even when everything is against you.

Jane journeyed to Budapest in 1932 to work at the girls’ school run by the Scottish mission. The school took in the girls that were not accepted in other local schools, and more importantly a few years later when the Second World War began, girls of Jewish backgrounds. Working as a matron in the school Jane was seen as something of a mother figure for many of the girls, and gave loving, caring attention to all of them in the school. There was nothing she would not do for the girls and despite being recalled by the Church of Scotland on more than one occasion during the war, she refused and would not leave the school and the girls behind. Despite all the work and love she gave, she was betrayed by a family member of a colleague at the school and was arrested by the Gestapo in April 1944, charged with ‘working and crying with Jews’ and ‘listening to BBC broadcasts’. Having been held briefly in prison, Jane made her final journey, the journey from Hungary to Auschwitz where she died during the summer of 1944.

Although a harrowing story, I found it inspirational that somebody working for the Church of Scotland was out protecting young Jewish girls from the worst fate of all in the face of one of the most brutal regimes of all time and I believe only shows that no matter the darkness of the situation, a light can be, and should be, shone for all to see. I would encourage each of you to write down the positives and inspirations of life and the next time you need reassurance, take a look at what you have written – pray about it and be thankful for it.

Andrew MacPherson
Moderator of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Andrew MacPherson, 23, is the current Moderator of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He is also a BB Officer with 2nd Broxburn in West Lothian, where he lives, and works as a Change Analyst for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Outside of this he is a fan of golf and football where he follows local side Livingston.

Email Andrew at: nyamoderator@churchofscotland.org.uk

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