By Melissa Wuske
Lost Luggage Heaven
Between 95 to 98 percent of bags lost and then found by airlines are claimed by their owners. So what happens to those other bags? Unclaimed Baggage, a company run by Christians, buys them. Instead of seeing a random amalgam of discarded items, the company sees these missing items as a resource. Some of the contents they sell, but much of it they donate.
“We have a lot of medical mission teams that work through an organization that we donate all our medical supplies to,” said Brenda Cantrell at Unclaimed Baggage. Organizations like Samaritan’s Purse use the wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and more in their work around the world. Glasses are another often unclaimed item. “We hear stories of a kid who can’t see beyond his feet, or an 80-year-old man who never knew what the shape of leaves on a tree were until he got these glasses. And so you lose a pair, no big deal, but it’s life changing for somebody else,” said Cantrell.
Unclaimed Baggage also has a program called Love Luggage. Through the program local kids decorate luggage and Unclaimed Baggage fills it with needed everyday items; then it’s donated to children of crystal methamphetamine addicts who’ve had to leave their homes to enter foster care.
Back to School for Iraqi Kids
Thousands of Iraqi children and their families have fled their homes because of attacks by the Islamic State particularly targeting Christians. Refugee children face months without school, among other hardships; the communities that take them in don’t have the resources.
But one church is taking action. They found and renovated a home with a large yard near a refugee camp, and now the building is a school. “The plan we had in the beginning was to start with 25 kids, but we had around 100 kids register,” said a representative of the school. “This is a big challenge, but God is good.”
Early last summer, representatives shared their vision with refugee families: while education is a primary objective, the school wants to “bring the love of God to every house through the children.” Both the families and the church are eager to see how God uses the school.
Samsung has a new invention aimed at making highways safer: the Safety Truck—a “transparent” semi. The trucks have a front-facing camera that projects the view from the front of the truck onto the back door, so that cars behind it can see what’s ahead and make safe choices in passing and changing lanes. The Safety Truck was tested as a prototype in Argentina, but it’s not yet available for roadways worldwide.
Reaching Consensus on California Campus
During the 2014-15 school year, California State University did not grant InterVarsity, a Christian student group, the status of an official student group—including access to funding and campus buildings. But now the two entities have come to an agreement, allowing the organization to operate on campus and choose student leaders who embody its values.
The key to the change is critical for all dialogue between religious and secular institutions: “After a year of patient conversation with each other and good listening, we have arrived at an understanding,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity’s national field director. “It’s how you bring people to Christ on campus, and it was our posture in engaging the administration on [the idea] that they are not the enemy but we think of it as part of our mission field.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).