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Posts Tagged ‘God’

you-raise-me-up-westlife1  Please enjoy one of my favorite songs, You Raise Me Up.

It seems sometimes that my mind wraps around something and  until I get into it, the tentacles just won’t let go. This time, it is the “Power of One”.  I mean, think about it, most of the world worships  “One God”–monotheism.  In all of the universe, there is only one planet that we know of which can sustain intricate life forms–that would be Earth. Earth’s solar system has but one sun, and without it we would cease to exist. We have only one moon which lights the night skies.  Then, I know this is a little touchy, but when you think about the human life form, we come from one egg which is attacked by multitudes of spermatozoa, yet only one is able to impregnate the egg!  We are born with one heart and when it quits beating — well, you know what happens!  We are given one brain to navigate this intricate thing called life — and we are given one life to live!  I mean, think of all the stars in the universe, the cells in the body, the ants on a hillside, — and yet, we get only one chance at this thing called life! Geeze, Louise.

Then, if you think about it without “one” you can’t get to the rest of the numbers. “One” begins everything.  Even stories often begin with a version of one–Once.  Once upon a time– One day-

It makes me think of the one time I made it to the county or state spelling bee — I can’t remember which.  I made it to the finals.  There was just me and this other kid (sorry, can’t remember the kid either). I CAN remember the ONE word that I MISSED. I can also remember that I could only miss one word– and that was the end of my spelling bee fame.  I think the word was quite fitting, if I do say so myself. I mean, if you are going to miss a word in a spelling BEE,  what better word to miss than “Pollen”– that would be “pollen, p-o-l-l-e-n, pollen”.  Yes, I do remember the ONE word that I missed.

Then, there was also the day I bought a lottery ticket. I don’t often buy lottery tickets, but N.C. had just gotten the lottery and I gave into temptation.  I picked my five numbers and waited. Life seemed to tick slowly by while I waited for the night when they would call out the numbers.  Yes, yes, those are my numbers—until it came to the ONE wrong number!  My multi-million dollar jackpot became something like a few dollars!  All because I missed ONE number.

That brings me to another ONE that I missed out on– I was on a long flight to Ghana, West Africa. I had already had a long layover in Minnesota.  I was flying into Amsterdam and the pilot came on the speakers to announce that we could not land. It was too foggy!  So, we circled and circled — I began to feel dizzy. Then the pilot’s voice came over the intercom and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to tell you this but we are about out of fuel. We are going to have to divert our flight to…”  I can tell you this, if there is ONE thing you don’t want to hear your pilot say, it might just be “We are out of fuel…” 

We sat for about three hours on a hot tarmac in Belgium (I think it was Belgium–I couldn’t really tell because they wouldn’t let us off the plane!)  We finally reached Amsterdam right before my connecting flight departed. I was about ONE minute too late and it was the ONE flight to Ghana for that day. So, I can say that I spent ONE night in Amsterdam.

I guess I should include something about birth order. And,  Amy, if you read this you know you are my ONE middle child!  But, we all know that there can only be ONE “firstborn” child.  If you are not in the highly honored place of being the “ONE-born..oops, I mean “first-born” then maybe, like me, you are the One-last born (otherwise known as the “baby” of the family!)  If you are not the “ONE-Born” you know you will spend your life trying to keep up with the “ONE-born”.  The only solace there is that the ONE-born will become a senior citizen FIRST!

Christians, such as me, believe that the One God, haShem (the Name) who is the God with many Names — El Shaddi, Y-hweh, and many, many more — had one begotten Son, whose name is Yeshua (Jesus).  He is the One Messiah. He is the one path to eternal life, and the One Savior of all people whom He draws until himself through the power of the One Holy-Spirit and the ministry of the one true Gospel, which is found in the ONE  Holy Bible, and that all believers are part of the ONE body of Christ, the holy catholic (doesn’t mean Catholic–like with the Pope in Rome, but means “united”) church.

In the Jewish tradition, there is only ONE day of atonement, Yom Kippur!  There is only ONE place where the Holy Temple can be rebuilt (and therefore since 70 AD the Jewish people have lived without the presence of the Holy Temple). There is also only ONE land of the Jewish people,  eretz-Yisrael (the land of Israel). Not only this but Jews believe in “arevut”, the idea that all Jews are responsible for one another, because all Jews are like ONE person. If you read the words to the song “Kol Yisrael” you’ll see this example of “ONE”.  Part of it states,

“All Jews are responsible for each ONE.  All Jews are “brothers”.  ONE people with ONE heart.

ONE people , each pair is ONE. ONE people, as if they are ONE person.  Hear O’ Israel, ONE people!

Of course, there is also the “Shema”, a Jewish affirmation of faith in the ONE God, The first line of the Shema, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is ONE”.  The Shema is recited each morning and each evening by Jewish people (observant Jews, I should say.)

There’s just ONE other thing that I was thinking about this number ONE–

One day you and I will meet this One God, and He will look upon us to decide if we responded to His One Son, and if you and I will enter into His One Heavenly Presence- to spend the ONE ETERNITY with Him.  We will be required to give account for the One life He gave to us, and what we did with it.  We will have one opportunity to answer— 

 What will you say?

 If you have been feeling insignificant in this great big place we call life, just remember the power of ONE. It only takes ONE person to change the world, for better or worse.  Join TEAM KENYA 2009 and express your POWER OF ONE to make the world a better place!

Quick reminder:  TEAM KENYA 2009 is still taking applications and registrations for our September work trip to Kenya. Read below about this mission and the work we will do.  Contact us today for an application/registration packet.  Space is limited to just 15-20 individuals with a real desire to reach out and make a real change in our world.  And, while I’m thinking about ONE, there will only be ONE TEAM KENYA 2009!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of it!  For more information visit www.lydiaministry.com

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My post are going to take a decidedly different turn this morning from my usual gourmet and gab. In my “other life” I travel around the world trying to make a difference–and tasting a wide variety of world flavors. Yes, it takes quite a passion to lure me from my home nestled in the Pisgah National Forest, among the Blue Ridge Mountains. But, I do venture out and most often it is to places such as East and West Africa, India and the middle East.  So far, my travels have taken me to mud villages, refugee camps and the world’s largest slums!  There’s no glamour in it, and to see my trip photos (bad hair, no make-up, clothes meant for comfort and not fashion), well lets just say that “humbling” is the word of the day! 

Chief and Elders of Tribe

Chief and Elders of Tribe

Last September (2008), my journey took me to Kenya.  I work with the poorest of the poor because it is their heart-cry that I hear (but who are truly the richest in spirit!)  While in Kenya, my host pastor, Bishop Omukhobero took me to meet a chief and the people of a Maasai tribe.  I shared some thoughts with them about why God would send a blonde-haired, white-skinned woman all the way across the great Atlantic Ocean to go out and meet with them. Those thoughts were simply this:  God loves them and He wants them to know that He loves them.  As it says in Malachi 1:1 and God said, “I have loved you from the beginning..” (my paraphrase).  (In other words, Jerry McGuire style, “You had me at hello!”)  That is what I believe God sent me there to tell them: He has loved them from the beginning, before they ever heard about him or knew of him, before they ever desired to build a church, God loved them.  Even before they were born, as they were yet in their mother’s wombs, the Bible says that God knew them. Before they ever jumped and danced and sang to worship and honor him, He loved them!  And, He will love them if they never build their church, never jump and dance and sing about His Glory again! 

The Maasai people have a tradition of selecting one male among every tribe who is the “scapegoat”. He carries the sins of the tribe on his shoulders. I explained to them that God loves them so much that He sent his very own Son to be their scapegoat, to carry the sins of the entire world on his shoulders.  I explained to them that they do not have to do anything to earn God’s love, it is freely given.  They do not have to do anything to earn His Son as their scapegoat, He has freely given Himself to be the one, all they have to do is accept Him into their hearts and their lives.  Afterward, about 16-20 people came forward to accept this gift of a scapegoat whose name is Yeshua (Jesus).  

Their elders had given land to build a church/school for their people (this was before I ever knew of them, it’s not to my credit or otherwise, that they gave the land.)  They’ve been waiting for someone to build this church/school and to dig a well for them.  I realized when I was there that I might be the person they had been waiting for.  I told them I wouldn’t make any promises but I would come home and see if I could raise enough funds to help them see their dreams become a reality.  Then, I came home and committed myself to this mission.  After all, they aren’t asking for St. Peter’s cathedral, they simply want a shelter in which to worship God and a place to teach their children, a school for their kids. They want water that the women don’t have to walk 7 kilometers to find, water that is clean and pure and doesn’t carry disease.  (The same things most of us desire, a place to worship God, a safe school for our kids, fresh and safe water to drink–a better quality of life by anyone’s standards.)

Susan Jokes around with Lion Killers

Susan Jokes around with Lion Killers

Sometimes I say to myself, “I’m only one person what can I do?”  Maybe you have said the same thing to your own self. It seems that there are a lot of problems in this world that I can’t solve. I can’t solve world hunger, or the problems between nations and religions. I can’t solve poverty and I can’t solve the political problems in Chicago or in D.C.  But, I figure that there are a few things I can do.  I can put shoes on the feet of children who run barefoot through filth and garbage–one pair at a time.  I can build one church/school building with the help of a few key people. I can put school books in the hands of children who have never seen one, let alone owned their own– one child at a time.  I can reach my hand out to one person who is sinking in despair, and draw them to a safer ground. Maybe with the right sponsor, I’ll even be able to dig a well for a tribe of people who have no fresh water! I figure,  if I can do this one person at a time, what could an entire team do?

In September 2009 I’ll be leading a team of 15-20 people on a journey of a lifetime.  Together, we will build a church/school for the Maasai tribe who has welcomed me as one of their own.  We will provide school books and materials for their children, educational posters for the new school, and teach them about health and hygiene and how to protect themselves against the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Another part of our team will be renovating a children’s center in Nairobi which serves children from the slums of both Mathare and Kibera, the world’s second and third largest slums in the world, where over 100,000 orphans struggle daily for life, and women with hearts of gold take them in to give them shelter and share their family’s own meager meals.  We’ll supply books and school supplies, take a few more pair of shoes for the kids (I took about 25-30 pair on my last trip there–most of which were donated by a local school teacher and a couple of her students here in my home town) andput them on those who need them.  We’ll host a Vacation Bible School with music and theatrical skits and games for 100-300 orphans and street kids, and help provide breakfast and lunch for them.  We’ll extend our hands and our hearts.  We’ll also have some time for a “safari” (which means journey) to Nairobi National Wildlife Reserves, the Rothschild Giraffe Center, the infamous Carnivores Restaraunt and the Butterfly Center.  We’ll travel into the bushlands between Kenya and Tanzania, and we will share a journey of a lifetime.  We will worship together and eat together and probably shed a few tears together.

Will it change the world? Yes!  For those who make this journey of a lifetime with TEAM KENYA 2009, their world will change!  For those whose lives we encounter, whose hands we reach out to, and whose hearts we touch, their world will change.  For the Maasai tribe who finally gets their dreams fulfilled of having a church and school, their world will change! Will the crisis in Iran and Afghanistan and the USA be effected, I can’t say that it will. But, if we change the world one person, one village, one orphanage, one child, one pair of feet, one hand reaching out, one heart reaching up, one church, one school at a time–then eventually the world will change.

Some Kids from Children's Center with Me

Some Kids from Children's Center with Me

The cost:  basic trip is 16 days, departure is from an airport in N.C.  $2950.00 (most people spend more than that on a week at the beach!) and includes:

Airfare to and from airport of departure (In NC) to Nairobi Kenya; room in a very comfortable guest house in Nairobi and near the Maasai land for those building the church/school; breakfast and dinner/supper while in Kenya; ground transportation in Kenya; safari to Nairobi National Wildlife Reserve; Day at RothchildGiraffe Center; (for extended stay a day at the Butterfly Center where 1000’s of species can be found, some with wing spans in excess of 17 centimeters); Dinner and evening at the infamous Carnivores Restaurant; TEAM Kenya 2009 training event with meal and lodging in June; training manual and travel journal; TEAM KENYA 2009 T-shirt and hat– and the journey of a lifetime!

What is not included: Passport and Visa fees, health insurance, lunch (generally lunch can be purchased for less than $2.oo and a bag lunch is optional), meals in Airports, personal items, extra luggage fees, travel to and from departure airport in N.C., taxes and gratuities, beverages, cost of immunizations.

We are currently accepting applications for TEAM MEMBERS.  TEAM Kenya 2009 is hosted by Lydia Ministries International, a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization and donations may be tax deductible.  If you would like to join us, please contact me today for an application and registration form.  You may contact me by leaving a comment. I’ll get it and send you an email Or, You can go to www.lydiaministry.com and there is contact information there.  DATES Team Members need to know:   Deposits and application deadline: May 15thJune 6th: TEAM Kenya Training day (we are going to play games, meet your roommates (unless you are travelling with your spouse and will share a room), checking forms, passports and visas, immunization records, health forms, and share a meal or two together!  We’ll talk about what to pack (and what NOT to pack), cultural awareness issues, and our itinerary– questions and answers, etc.  and did I say, EAT!  September 7th: TEAM Kenya 2009 Team Leaders depart for Kenya.  September 9th: Team Kenya 2009 Team members depart for Kenya. September 22nd, Team Members depart from Kenya to return to states and should arrive in NC on the 23rdExtended Team stay will depart Kenya on September 28th.

Remember, our TEAM Member positions are quickly filling up!  We are seeking team members who have building skills, teaching skills, painting skills (can you paint a wall?),  work with a VBS setting with lots and lots of children:), carry blocks and stir mortar.  Also we are especially seeking someone with advanced Medical: ie a doctor or nurse willing to give two-three weeks for medical mission work (physicals, minor medical care, etc. for orphans and for Maasai tribe members and for several hundred impovershed pastors and their families, who can oversee the AIDS and Health/Hygiene training,  and who can provide any necessary emergency care for TEAM Kenya 2009 members (we hope you WON’T have anything to do in that situation!)– and who can also wield a hammer or paint brush (just kidding)!  Make no mistake, this is a work team, and we will all work together as a Team to complete all phases of the work,.  If you have a physical limitation don’t hesitate to contact me,  we will do everything within our power to help make this possible for you!

Please help us get the word out:  TEAM KENYA 2009!  Now that’s Change you can count on!  CHANGE your World! CHANGE their World! CHANGE Our World! 

If you can’t go on this journey with us, but would like to contribute, please contact me.  We need financial donations. 100% of every dime given to Lydia Ministries International goes to the work of the ministry. As Founder and Director, I do not receive a salary. All work is performed by volunteers.  If you can’t make a financial donation there are still many ways to donate:  school supplies, school text books, posters for the school and children’s center (think educational, medical, dental (showing the physiology of the human body), shoes, Sunday School literature, Bibles, uniforms for children (they wear school uniforms (we need about 200 school uniforms in an array of sizes for girls (skirts and dresses) and boys (shorts and slacks), over the counter medicines, sealed for their protection; toothbrushes and toothpaste. This is just a partial list. Please contact us.  Remember, Lydia Ministries International is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization.

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