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Viewpoint from Susan Greengrass 02/01/2015 

SJG 1 153x200Susan Greengrass
Authorized Worship Assistant, St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Belton

And so we welcome in 2015, a New Year with all the possibilities which that can bring

And as we look back at 2014 do we smile or frown? The newspapers and media will have provided us with an overview of the year and their selected highlights and lowlights. We may remember the passing of Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Lauren Bacall, and Mickey Rooney famous people who we feel we know because their faces have graced our TV and cinema screens for so many years. And yet there are other people whose stories we may not even recall

dove leftOn 6 January 2014 Aitzaz Hasan a 15 year old Pakistani school boy from Hangu District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province sacrificed his life while preventing a suicide bomber from entering his school with 2,000 students at Ibrahimzai village. Aitzaz sadly died in hospital but his act of bravery saved

the lives of hundreds of students and scores of people attended his funeral to pay their respects. The high civil award of the Sitara-e-Shujaat (Star of Bravery) was awarded by the Government of Pakistan which was received by Aitzaz Hassan's family on 23 March, Pakistan’s national day

On 2 July 2014 Louis “Louie” Zamperini died at the grand old age of 97. Louie was an American World War II prisoner of war survivor, inspirational speaker, and Olympic distance runner. Louie became involved in the school athletics team and went on to compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin finishing 8th in the 5000m distance event which caught the attention of Adolf Hitler

Dove rightWhilst serving in the US Army Air Forces he was captured by the Japanese, held in captivity until the end of the war in 1945 suffering horrendous torture and abuse. Returning home to a hero’s welcome Louie struggled with alcoholism & constant nightmares and as his life and marriage began to fall apart, his wife Cynthia became a born again Christian after attending a Billy Graham crusade. Zamperini reluctantly agreed to attend one too and also gave his life to Christ. He said as soon as he made his decision for Christ he forgave his captors and never had another nightmare again. Later Graham helped Zamperini launch a new career as a Christian inspirational speaker

What truly inspiring and amazing people? Ordinary? I don’t think so. And I’m sure there are many, many other stories of such people with fantastic stories to tell