GIVE a SMILE TODAY (GaST) is a non-profit organization operating from Kenya, East Africa. Through Community Chaplaincy & Empowerment programs, we serve people from all walks of life who are in need of spiritual, emotional, social and physical needs. This is made possible through volunteers, partnerships and fundraisers.
We live in a world is full of bad news [ injustices, disasters, corruption, wars, pollution, poverty, depression etc.], and few good news – love, equity, justice, empathy, compassion, kindness etc.
The organization is dedicated to community service through our various programs. This includes: Soldiers Outreach, Smile Chaplains International, Pastors Kids, and Eagle’s Sight Evangelism Program among others.
The main categories of people who have been identified in immediate need of spiritual, emotional, social and physical support include: the traumatized, the sick, orphans, widows/widowers, the physically and mentally challenged, the aged and retirees, among others.
Give a Smile Today loves and cares for people from all walks of life – Love in Action.
“When you give a smile, you smile too”! (Serving God through mankind). By so doing, you honour God.
REFLECTIONS ON THE NATURE OF CHAPLAINCY
The role of a chaplain is varied and responds to the needs of each individual, institution or community. Yet there are some fundamental aspects to the role that are common to every situation. The story of the disciples encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus offers a valuable way to reflect on the nature of school chaplaincy.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: Jesus himself came up and walked by their side. (Luke 24:15)
a. WALKING ALONGSIDE: Chaplains are involved in accompanying people, walking with them on a shared journey, being totally present to them and investing time and energy into
building relationships. They help to create a place of support when it is needed, offering time to encourage understanding, to resolve conflict, to enable reconciliation and healing. Chaplaincy is where people can be themselves, where the uniqueness and dignity of each person is recognised and celebrated and where Christ himself is made manifest.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: So he went and stayed with then. (Luke 24:29)
b. STAYING WITH: Chaplaincy is a constant in the community, a permanent and almost unchanging presence. It provides a root and a shelter, while at the same time it can open the door to new experiences and be an invitation to new opportunities, but always in a safe place, allowing time to simply ‘be’: to reflect, to be challenged, to explore new ideas, in order that people can begin to know themselves better and know the God who created them.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: Now while he was with them at table, he took bread and said the blessing (Luke 24:30)
c. PRAYING: The chaplaincy provides opportunities for people to gather in prayer and worship, to meditate, to celebrate, to give thanks. This ‘sacred space’ emphasises that we belong to God, we meet God in others and we are on a shared journey to a deeper life with God. Our prayer time and our worship or celebrations should be creative, imaginative, engaging, varied, relevant and founded on sound theology.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained he scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)
c. PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS: A key part of the chaplains’ role is to proclaim the Gospel, and to share the prophetic role of Christ. This involves offering reflection on the Good News and evangelisation It will also require the chaplain to read the signs of the times, speak out against injustice and help guide the whole community.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: Then they told their story of what had happened on the road (Luke 24:35)
d. LISTENING: A lot of the chaplain’s time involves listening to and sharing in peoples ‘story’: who they are, where they have come from, where they are going … this often begins with casual conversations and can lead to profound sharing. It requires the chaplain to create a place where people can talk in confidence and confidentiality (where appropriate) and share joys as well as sorrows. This aspect of chaplaincy must be founded on honesty, integrity, trust and respect.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: They had recognised him in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35).
e. CELEBRATING THE COMMUNION: Celebrating communion together brings nourishment and strength as we remember the love of Jesus on the cross. The chaplain should ensure the celebration cultivates an awareness of God’s presence.
(Inspired by: ACCE – The Association of Catholic Chaplains in Education)