Stories that Inspire
Bowen Miller

A few weeks ago, I read an inspirational story. For those who read the blog, we all did. It was a story about overcoming adversity, the power of the human spirit and community. A brave story of continuing on and not giving up. A story that challenged me about being brave in my faith.

As I was thinking about this story and reflecting on some of the stories that have inspired me in the past, I was struck by how important it is to see other people living out their faith and being brave in the face of adversity and pain.

Just the other night, I was inspired by a video I was watching. It was about three Australians who decided they would test the boundaries of the Northern Territory’s joint United States-Australian intelligence gathering base, Pine Gap. Their story wasn’t the one that inspired me, but the interview they did with a Christian lady named Donna Mulhearn did. She was part of the Pine Gap 4, who in 2006 protested the cost of civilian life lost in the Iraq war, particularly regarding missiles killing civilians. Initially sentenced to prison for breaching the Pine Gap facility, their sentences were later reduced to fines.

What I found inspirational about Donna Mulhearn’s story was her involvement in the “Human Shield Action to Iraq.” She traveled to Baghdad along with other volunteers from around the world, aiming to protect crucial civilian infrastructure like power stations and water treatment plants from military strikes by their presence, thereby making it a violation of the Geneva Convention to target these sites. One day, during her time there, her life was forever changed when she was late heading to an area, upon arrival she found that a missile had struck that location. This location was a market where many civilians were killed. Her account of what she saw there is not one I’m going to repeat here, but it’s worth a read, and you can find it on Google. This experience led her to protest at Pine Gap and create a high-profile incident to bring attention to what she believed was important.

As I discovered while researching this, there is a bit of controversy around these actions, particularly regarding the moral and legal implications of voluntary human shields. Without getting into that, what I was challenged by was her willingness to go out and do what she felt was needed to protect people, what she believed her faith called her to do.

I know for me, as I look back at my life, it has been these stories that have challenged me to ask myself the question: What is my faith asking me to do? But I’m aware that I don’t always want to be open to that. Sometimes, the things I’m challenged about aren’t things I want to face.

I don’t have to have a story about being a human shield in Baghdad, but I find these stories can help me to ask questions of myself and take a look at my life and what I would like it to be.

I would encourage you to ask yourself: What are the stories that have inspired you lately, and what might they be asking of you?