Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Or would you ditch your kids and grandkids, join strangers in a caravan of RVs and travel the country warning people about the end of the world?
If you're Sheila Jonas, that's exactly what you'd do.
"This is so serious, I can't believe I'm here," says Jonas, who's been on the road since fall. Like her cohorts, she's "in it 'til the end," which she believes is coming in May.
She won't talk about her past because, "There is no other story. ... We are to warn the people. Nothing else matters."
Such faith and concern drove her and nine others, all loyal listeners of the Christian broadcasting ministry Family Radio, to join the radio station's first "Project Caravan" team.
They walked away from work, families and communities in places as far-flung as California, Kansas, Utah and New Jersey. Among them are an electrician, a TV satellite dish installer, a former chef, an international IT consultant and a man who had worked with the developmentally disabled.
They gave away cars, pets, music collections and more to relatives, friends and neighbors. Some items they kicked to the curb. In homes that weren't emptied, clothes are still hanging in closets, and dishes, books and furniture -- including one man's antique collection -- are gathering dust. Unless, of course, they've been claimed by others. If you believe it's all going to be over soon, why would it matter if you close the front door, much less lock it, when you walk away?
It's a mid-winter morning in Jacksonville, Florida, when CNN joins this faithful caravan. The "ambassadors," as they call themselves, are easy to spot. They are the 10 people milling about in an RV park drawing stares, eye rolls, under-the-breath mutters and, at times, words of support.
They're wearing sweatshirts and other clothing announcing the "Awesome News," that Judgment Day is coming on May 21. On that day, people who will be saved will be raptured up to heaven. The rest will endure exactly 153 days of death and horror before the world ends on October 21. That message is splashed across their five sleek, vinyl-wrapped RVs, bearing this promise: "The Bible guarantees it!"
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Jeronimo died of a stroke late on Wednesday at the University Hospital in Itajuba, 300 km (200 miles) north-west of Rio.
According to church records, Jeronimo was born on 5 March 1871 in the southeastern town of Carmo de Minas, in Minas Gerais state.
Brazil then was a monarchy under Emperor Pedro II, and Jeronimo, who was black, was born into slavery.
She was 17 when Brazil finally abolished slavery, but never left Minas Gerais.
For six decades she worked as a housemaid for the Guimaraes family, which in recent years tried unsuccessfully to have her recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest woman.
"They said the baptismal registry of the church in Carmo de Minas wasn't enough and demanded a birth certificate," said Agostinho Guimaraes in a recent interview.
"The problem is there were no certificates back then, especially for slaves."
The publication requires a birth certificate or other undisputed proof of age, because some past claims of longevity have turned out to be false.
The Guinness World Records book says the world's oldest person is Eva Morris, of Staffordshire in England, who is 114 years old.
It lists the oldest man as 110-year-old Benjamin Harrison Holcomb of the United States.
The oldest person ever with authenticated records was Jeanne Calment of France, who died on 4 August 1997 aged 122.
Still, local record books listed Jeronimo as the world's oldest woman, and she was honoured at a Carnival parade in Rio commemorating the abolition of slavery.
She also received a personal blessing from Pope John Paul II during a visit to Rio. At the age of 127, she finally saw the ocean.
In her final years, Jeronimo had a series of strokes that effectively left her in a vegetative state.
But her resistance surprised Guimaraes family members, who took care of her when she no longer was able to work.
"We saw her go through many crises, many delicate situations and survive, " Thereza Guimaraes told the newspaper Hoje em Dia.
"We ended up thinking that it would go on forever."