Thursday, September 30, 2010


'Deported,' the dreaded stamp, any foreign traveler fears the most, was stamped on Clement Isaac's passport by the Saudi Arabian officials at the Riyadh airport on 20 May 2009 and this made him black out.

It was the culmination of a week long ordeal, which started on the night of 12 May 2009, when his family along with their very close friends was present at his house to celebrate his forty five years in service.

His crime was for gathering a group of non Muslims under one roof for engaging in overt religious activity, for using non-Muslim religious materials (Singing Christian hymns from song sheets) and for kneeling down in prayer

That was enough for the Mutaween; the Saudi religious police also known as Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which enforces the prohibition on the practice of non-Muslim religions, to barge into the house and take him into custody.

He was deported and all his private property, forty five years of savings and dues from company where he was working, were confiscated.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab country, is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion and Qur'an, the constitution of the country. Freedom of private and public practice of religion is severely limited and non-Muslim worshipers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity that attracts official attention. Saudi Arabia is a glaring example of religious apartheid.

However, non-Muslim organizations have claimed that there are no explicit guidelines for distinguishing between public and private worship. Proselytizing by non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bible is illegal.

After an hour or so Clement woke up and realized that he was in an Air India flight to Delhi and seated next to him was his wife Deborah who was keeping a close concerned watch on him. Seeing him wake up, she smiled with fresh tears flowing down her cheek. He had aged a lot after that week long solitary confinement and his face was gaunt and pale with sunken cheeks and his eyes had that glazed look of an unknown fear.

Taking a connecting flight to Hyderabad, it took him nearly three months to recover fully, but he still had that strange look on his face that worried Deborah. Even though she is safely ensconced in her house at Hyderabad, she shudders at every knock.

Clement Isaac, a devout Christian, working in the kingdom as a Mechanical Engineer for the last forty five years was married to Deborah and has three sons, all of whom well settled in Australia. As he is nearing mid sixties, his children wanted him to retire and settle with them, which he had promised that he would, by September 2010.

It was the young pastor of his church, Rev. James Robert, who shocked by the treatment meted out to one of his senior members, made it a habit to visit Clement at his house and pray for him. One Friday afternoon Clement called up the pastor and requested him to make it convenient to attend a prayer meeting in his house that evening. Puzzled, because Friday was a working day, he was stunned to see a large gathering of Clement's friends and colleagues from Saudi Arabia many of whom were on vacation. When the request for a Friday prayer meeting was again repeated, the pastor suggested that they have an all night prayer meeting starting from Friday night to Saturday early morning, which was enthusiastically taken up by his friends. Only when it was repeated and conducted for nearly three months at a stretch did the pastor come to know the importance of those Friday night prayers meetings. Friday's are holidays in the Saudi Arabia and those are the days when Clement and his family along with his close friends have their prayer meetings in that country.

In the first week of September Clement received a reply from his company that they cannot accede to his request about his request to send his current salary as the government has confiscated all his assets. With that he had lost all hopes about getting any money.

Clement after reading the letter, told his wife, "Great are His ways. The God we serve has a divine plan and I won't keep quiet till the dues due to me are settled. I will keep on praying that the Mutaween and the concerned officials will have a change of heart."

"This is something which I have heard but never eaten," said the pastor after having a dinner at their place, on a Friday just after the regular prayer meeting. Deborah had prepared a true Arabic dinner comprising of Khobz, an unleavened bread, along with shawarma, a spit cooked sliced lamb and hummus a paste of fava beans, garlic and lemon. The best was the Arabic tea, black without milk but with herbal flavoring that made the tea, taste unique.

After having tea, the conversation turned to the latest development. "Brother Clement, we believe in one true God and we continue praying till we receive an answer."

The pastor made a request in the Sunday service about the need to continue praying, which resulted in motivating the church members to turn up in large numbers for the weekly all night prayers.

After exactly one year on the second week of May 2010 Clement received a courier from the company enclosing a cheque for the amount due and a contract to work for one year.

More than the pastor, Clement and his wife Deborah were stunned at the turn of events.

"Watchman Nee said, and I quote," said the pastor, "Our prayers lay the track down which Gods power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, His power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails."

Victor Jasti from India has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sighted Touch

The sense of touch opens the door to sight in my world of darkness Can a person with 20-20 vision truly understand my groping existence? They sympathize, but heave a sigh of relief that they are not blind.

My fingertips are far more valuable than the retractable white cane stored close by. The loss of one of my senses heightens the sensitivity of others. Fingers are on high alert at all times, sending messages to my mind as clearly and quickly as the blink of an eye.

Finger painting is not merely preschool introduction to art; fingers paint vivid pictures of people, places and things I have never witnessed through natural sight.
By touch, I trace darkened outlines finding shape, size and texture.

I need no date of birth to determine a person's age. Touch seldom lies; I calculate years on weathered faces by fingering worry and laugh lines, wrinkles or dryness. The touch of brittle hair often means gray has replaced richer tones. Receding hairlines accompanied by facial wrinkles affirm my educated guesses.

Loving parents' alert children to the dangers of fire and scalding water with instructions; do not touch! My fingertips contain built in thermometer gages, recording extremes of hot and cold temperatures. I must be very careful and heed their warnings.

Those with clarity of vision pour hot beverages with little thought. I rely on tips of my fingers placed within the rim of the cup. When the liquid touches skin, it is time to stop pouring.

Braille would be impossible without my ability to touch each raised letter or number in letters, books, legal documents, wristwatches, menus, keyboards, restroom signs and more. I can easily attain volumes of information through the written word of Braille.

The next time you feel the sting of a paper cut, slice your finger peeling potatoes, or burn a fingertip with a match, remember me. The sense of touch is a truly remarkable gift. God thinks of everything!

With God all things are possible! Devotionals are my first love in writing! Published articles in Mature Living Magazine, Secret Place, Daily Devotionals for the Deaf. Available now in book store: FORGET-ME-NOT DAILY DEVOTIONAL http:/

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


HOBO-A was on the park bench again. Sitting and taking in the day, Next to him was the brown bag, with the neck of his devil peeking out also upon the world. The bottle was still un-open but waiting to enrapture HOBO-A into a new day of intoxication.

The friend came along and took a seat next to HOBO-A. Got your devil with you, I see. Well, things just come along and happen. Takes the edge off the world, "keeps me preserved", so they say. The friend said, "let me try to explain GODS theory on alcohol". Though, I'm only just an observer of the situation.

GOD, made wine by the creation of man. Probably some grapes laying in a tub too long. The grape juice gave a good feeling and that was the start. But, GOD in the Bible talks about wine. Not that, ROCKET FUEL, in the pint bottle. WINE gives joy to people. Remember, JESUS, made water wine for a wedding, so it has a position in society.

In PROV: 31 - 4,5,6,7 wine for heavy hearts, those going to die. Others to forget poverty & misery. Though, it's not for KINGS or say leaders - they must have a clear head for the LAW and not forget the LAW and well you know, pervert judgment or justice. Staying drunk or escaping in alcohol, not being functional is SIN. I would say.

Then in PROV: 23 wine is talked about. Drinking long brings on strange women and talking perverse things, or as they say, "TALKING THROUGH YOUR HAT". I would say, it just brings on confusions and looseness of ways, that are maybe not really yourself. Really, it all comes down to the bottom of the glass, saying a glass of wine really is not going to kill you. But, carefulness is importance. TIMOTHY: talks of Deacons, Bishops taking little wine.

Again, JESUS, made water wine, though it was a marriage celebration. HOBO-A - get rid of the "ROCKET FUEL", or maybe alcohol totally, till you can respect it and have a reason for having a glass of wine. That's where it's at to me. Though, I'm only an observer. AND, I enjoy wine for joy, if the joy leaves, I stop. So, HOBO-A, see you latter. Here's a bill have some lunch.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of

Monday, September 27, 2010

United States Marine

"But this is not my reservation form?"
"My apologies," said the reservation clerk, taking back the slip at Parkroyal Hotel on Kitchener Road, Singapore, "Sir, here's yours."
"Wait a second," I took back the slip and looked at it very closely, "This 'J' initial looks very familiar."
"It stands for Jose Caban, an American," said the clerk with a big smile.
"OK, Will you will be shifting my luggage to another room?"
"Yes Sir."

We four, me and my three friends arrived that morning from Hyderabad on a ten day package tour which would takes us to three countries Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. As soon as we landed at Changi airport, Alex, my room mate's face puffed up horribly confirming the doctor's fear that he had developed an allergic rash to either the food he ate on the flight or must be due to an insect bite and as he wanted to be alone, I went down to the lobby to personally sort out the issue of booking another room for myself.

Joining my friends at the swimming pool, I ordered a cocktail. Enjoying a swim after the drink, I made my way to the pool side bar to order another one of that exotic concoction and saw the same 'J' initial on a bill on the counter. It looked so very familiar, but I was not able to place where I had seen it before.

As I was sipping the cocktail, a tall dark tanned gentleman came and ordering a beer from the counter initialed the charge slip with 'J' in the same style. Turning towards him I smiled, "Hello"
"Hi," wished back the gentleman in a rich baritone voice, "I am Jose Caban."
And as I looked awestruck, he asked, "Tourist?"
"Yes, from India."
"Oh, nice place," said Jose as he sipped his beer, "I am a freelance reporter."
"I am working for ABN AMRO."
"Ah bank," exclaimed Jose, "As a Freelance reporter we have no deadlines, no schedules, but have to prepare a covering story, investigate leads, news tips, probe documents and interview people at the site. In that way our work is pretty hectic as yours."
I laughed and said, "Not as exciting as yours."

Then suddenly it struck me that the word 'J' was initialed in a style strongly resembling to the one on the back of one of the two photographs which I found in an old Bible that I had bought in an exhibition sale some three months back.
"Do you sign like this, every time?"
Jose laughed loudly, "Oh that, no specific reason. I just follow my granddad's style."
"Did your granddad visit India?"
"No, never, why?"
"I see a striking resemblance to the initial on the back of a photo which I found in an old Bible."
"Only last month," I explained, "when I was arranging the bookshelf, I opened the Bible and saw two black and white photos of a man, one in a checkered coat with and an unlighted cigarette, and the other in a US Marine Uniform."
Sipping the beer he just nodded.
"But what intrigued me was a small card, just like those you get it when you take your weight."
"Uh .. Uh."
"It's some sort of an Identification Check issued by the now defunct Dixie Greyhound Lines and dated 15 January 1951."
Jose who was about to sip his beer, stopped midway, and asked, "January ?
"January 15, 1951."
Keeping the mug down, asked, "Dixie Greyhound, 15 January 1951. Are you sure?"
"Yes, positively."
"And the photo?"
"He is a US Marine officer, as he dressed in the 'Blue Dress Uniform.'"
"Can you come to my room for a sec? I would like to show you something."
Seeing the agitated look on Jose' face, I hurriedly followed him. Jose opened a brief case containing a lap top on one side and a stack of papers, neatly arranged in plastic folders alphabetically. Flipping to alphabet 'S', he pulled out a folder marked South Korea and from it took out an envelope containing a 4x 6 black and white photograph of a US Marine, exactly the same as that I have.

"Yes it's the same one," I exclaimed, "But who is he?"

"Praise the Lord. Oh God, oh my God."

Stunned, I starred at Jose, who rushing towards me, hugged me warmly and said, "It's a miracle. It's a miracle."
I sat down and starred at Jose, who was silently crying and wiping away his tears. There was complete silence for a long time as Jose tried to recoup from the unexpected turn of events.

"The photograph you see was that of my grandfather late Johnson Caban, who fought alongside Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, a war hero, at Incheon, South Korea during the Korean War in 1950," explained Jose, "He was with my family for Christmas and left the country on January 15, 1951, presenting a Bible to my ten year old mother who unfortunately forgot it in a Grey hound bus. That was the date I never forgot, as my mother told me in detail about the incident, umpteen times. As the Bible has no address except for these two photographs we were not able to find it. Loosing a Bible is not what you cry for, but she felt badly because that was the only photograph of my grandfather in a red and white checks coat, presented by my grandmother for Christmas and in the 'Blues' uniform after his promotion.'

I listened wide eyed as Jose continued, "She was totally devastated as she received the news that my grandfather was killed in action on February 3 1951, just a few days after he landed in Korea."

Sipping water, Jose continued his monologue. "It was my grandmother who told me all about how my mother took a long time to recover from that dreadful news, though she was hardly ten she not only adored but virtually worshipped him, as she was his only child. The date January 15, 1951 was so engrained in my mind that it had become an obsession for me to find out all the details about his life as US Marine, about his friends and about everything, before he died. I was able to find this photograph from his commanding officer and half a dozen incidents about his heroics."

And looking at me, he asked, "Do you still have the Bible with you?"
"Yes, I have it."
"Can I buy it?"
"Jose it costs only five rupees. Please take it as a present. For me it's an old Bible. But for you it's a piece of nostalgia. You give me your address and I'll courier it to you as soon as I reach Hyderabad."
Jose kept silent for a longtime and said slowly, "I won't tell my mother about finding the Bible and the photographs. I'll tell her only when I receive the package from you."

I couriered the old Bible as soon as I reached Hyderabad.

Two weeks after, I received a big bulky blue FedEx envelope, with a photograph, a note and a cheque for $ 10000. The note said 'Hi, Thank you for the Bible. You should have seen my mom's expression as she opened the package. My eyes were filled with tears as her gnarled sixty eight year old fingers opened the Bible, and for me it looked as though a ten year old girl was opening her dad's gift. I saw her eyes lit up as she turned over to the first page of the leather bound Bible and found intact, the full size photograph of present day Nazareth as it was in 1951. Seeing it, she burst out crying. It was not a sixty eight year old woman but of a ten year old girl's cry of experiencing a miracle, which is above human understanding .And I cried along with her. Never in my life did I have any occasion to cry. Never in my life had I experienced a miracle.

I have enclosed my mom's photograph, which I have taken after she received the Bible. Its a million dollar smile. She wants to meet you personally here at Memphis. I have enclosed a cheque for $10000, please keep the cheque beside your cheek, take a photograph and send it to my mum. Please don't laugh. You know what she will do with that. She will frame it and tell half the Memphis that you are her hero, and that you will be visiting her soon. Jose.

P.s: My mom did not sleep the entire night, on the day the Bible arrived. She was busy touching and feeling it. Just imagine my mom's Bible traveled all the way from Memphis to Hyderabad and back. I believe in Jesus Christ. But from now onwards, I believe that He is a miracle working God. Maybe Jesus taught my grandpa to initial 'J' in a flamboyant way to ensure that his future generation remembers what a great God he worships. I don't usually say, Thank you Jesus and Praise the Lord very often, but now will be saying it very frequently, so next time we meet don't be surprised if I say, Praise the Lord brother.

Victor Jasti from India has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Faith as a grain of mustard seed

"Paulson, have faith as a grain of mustard seed."
"Don't you dare question me about my faith?"
"Brothers please," intervened the pastor, Rev. William Myers as the others listened, "We are not here to question about one's faith, but to finalize the itinerary for the all night prayers."
"Pastor, let us be serious," said Mr. Martin Paulson, after everyone had left, "Brother Mark's request is frivolous, petty and our congregation will not take it seriously."
"Brother as Christians we pray with faith," replied Rev. William Myers, "Jesus said that when two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them. So when Brother Mark requests a special prayer that the shops across his street be moved to the side where his house is, we will pray. It's a special prayer and if it is His will, it will be done. Paulson you are aware that after the road widening, Mark had problem crossing the road to even buy a loaf, a strip of medicine and even a cake of soap! He was a staunch active member of our church and is in the forefront whenever the need arises unlike others who just criticize others, but do not lend a helping hand."
"Why doesn't he sell his house and move somewhere else?"
"He wanted to, but the offer of sixteen lakh rupees was far too little for an independent house in the heart of the city?"
"Heart of the city, bah? It's in a small lane, where even a scooter cannot take a U turn."
said Paulson.
"That's not how a Christian talks?"

Hearing the sound of the Vespa scooter as it made its way the dead end lane of her house, Catherine opened the gate and waited for Mark to park, so that she can take the carry bag, which is invariably filled with vegetables, fruits and a loaf of bread.
"Why was the meeting so late?" asked Catherine, taking hold of the carry bag, "I was worried as the evenings are getting colder, and you have not taken your jerkin?"
"I never knew it would be so long?" sighed Mark, "That fellow Paulson was thinking that the shops across the road will not be shifted, even if we pray."
"What did the pastor say?"
"He said we'll put it in prayer?"
"Come we;ll have our dinner and then have our prayers."

For the next three months the all night prayers were held successfully with nearly the entire adult church congregation participating in it.

On a beautiful Monday morning, Mark was at home reading the day's paper, when an earth shattering sound made him rush out to find that heavy machinery were at work. "They are constructing a Mall," explained a neighbor, "not one, but two."
"Cathy, I don't know whether God has answered our prayers, but we will be in the midst of two malls."
"That's very bad as there will be more traffic, dust and noise pollution, but anyway, if two malls are going to be built, it's God's plan."
"What will we do?"
"Put it in prayer. God willing we may sell our house and move to a quieter locality."
"But the rates quoted are too low."
"We are His children and what we can do, is pray."

"Sir, I am a real estate agent. Can I talk to you regarding the sale of your house?"
"No, I don't want to waste my time."
'Sir, this time I brought a very good offer. It is fifty lakh rupees for your house and it's a very good deal."

"Cathy, Praise the Lord."
"Yes, thank you Jesus."

Rev. William Myers sipping tea, at their new house, said,"Mark it's because of your faith that you were able to sell the house at a very good rate and buy a beautiful house in a locality of your choice."
The pastor kept silent for a second and looked at Mark and said slowly, "Some decades back, Corrie Ten Boom said that, ˜Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."

Victor Jasti from India has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

'We're about to crash' we're not'

"I was just having my tea, when the emergency message was played," said my aunt
Dr. Mary Carla, as we settled in the taxi at Hong Kong International Airport. She had just arrived from London by British Airways Boeing 747 to attend a medical symposium at The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine to be held on September 3, 2010 and to spend a week with us.

"Then what happened?"

"Nothing," said my aunt nodding her head, "The crew came running down the aisle to pacify the agitated passengers saying that it was an automatic message triggered by a computer."

As I am her favorite niece she had kept her promise to visit us at Hong Kong at the first opportunity after I got married to Dr.H.K.Wai, with whom I fell in love, when we were doing our MD. My husband is a Chinese and I am an Indian and this is the first Indo Chinese marriage in our family. Though we are American citizens, most of our relatives are in India and because of the difference in language and culture there was a lot of opposition to our marriage and if it was not for my aunt's stand we would not have been welcomed in most of the families.

"How did you take it?" I asked in all innocence just to keep the conversation going as I didn't know of what all had transpired inside the British Airways flight.

"Cynthia," said my aunt in her soft voice, "I have told you many times that you have to pray before you step out of your house, before you sleep, as you wake up, before you eat and before you write your exams. If you have prayer on your lips and Jesus in your heart you won't panic. You just cannot."

Pausing for a second as she looked out from the car window, she continued, "From the time you wanted to be a doctor I have been telling you that with Jesus in you, you will have a smile on your face to show to others, particularly your patients that you have Him and His grace. Eliminate fear, for that; bring Jesus to stay in you, permanently."

Turning towards me, she said, "Everyone in the plane thought that they were going to die and made nuisance of themselves, but I kept calm, as I know that my Jesus is on the throne and he is able to look after me and all my needs."

Victor Jasti from India has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

To Dance In The Shadows

Dew lay like a wet blanket on mother deer and her young one, as they drew warmth from each other. Young buck stood, impatiently shook off moisture and stared ahead. He was anxious for his daily snack of young shoots.

It was difficult to penetrate the fog with his stare, and he listened carefully for any outdoor movements. By now both deer stretched to their full and beautiful stance, from pointed black noses to waving white tails.

Their shades of camouflage brown blended with surrounding willows. And a string of thick pine provided a screen for extra protection. Mottled leaves acted as a carpet of comfort, in the dampness of October's chill. Winter's tease of an early snowfall left behind clumps of whiteness.

Mother deer and her young one meandered silently along an ancient trail. Familiar trees were their guideposts. Ahead lay an open space, which was once a continuance of this trail they followed. They did not understand it had been transformed into an area of clear cutting. To them it seemed as if some wild beast had taken a huge bite out of the forest. The sun acted as a warm breath upon mother and son. Absorbing the scent of cedar, there was no warning of danger.

Stepping into the open, a sudden explosion of sound broke the silence. It was followed by another loud rush of air. Young buck stood still as an icicle hanging from a cave entrance. Images of humans with sticks of thunder swirled fearfully in mother deer's brain.

Instinct swung her head quickly to the side, whacking young buck roughly into the protection of the forest. His instinct allowed him to lay silent as a garter snake, awaiting further instructions from mother.

Like a ballet dancer, she hurled away in mighty sprints away from her young son. Her movements used brush as cover, as she detoured back to familiar well-worn trails, further away from her son. A flickering white tail drew her pursuers like a magnet.

Explosions of sound followed her flight, as she disappeared from sight.

Young buck lay where he had fallen. His last view of mother was her rising and falling in mighty leaps, her white tail-waving goodbye for now. And his child-like stare saw his mother as a shadow in the mist, knowing she was being followed by something harmful.

A son lay motionless as a tree, aroused ears listening intently to strange chatter. It was not the "rat-a-tat-tat" of a downy woodpecker. Nor was it the piping sound of a chickadee.

He sensed danger nearby, and his nose prickled from a strange scent. For the first time in his life, he felt fear. Suddenly he lost any desire for food. Browsing on bark and twigs no longer interested him. Where was his mother? Family was part of his makeup, not just skin, bones and heart. He inherited patience and caution. And this saved his life a second time.

An acute sense of smell inherited from the genes of his ancestors reached a new plateau. There again, that new sound, a thudding upon the ground, a vibration. Wary movements became shadows moving through the misty woods. His eyes pierced the gloom. Sounds that were moving in the direction his mother took had turned and approached his hideout.

It was time to move. Young buck stood shakily. The commotion that entered this section of the forest was ominous. His ears were on full alert, tuned to hear even a falling leaf.

Nervous bubbles of air blew through pursed lips. A frantic message whispered to his mother, "I'm coming," a thought carried on a current of wind. His tongue licked at moisture in the air, the sun eagerly evaporating the balance of dawn's signature. The mist was his blanket of protection, and now he knew it was time to leave the shelter and head in the direction his mother took.

After seven months of life, young buck's curved hooves were strong, and attached to long slender legs. Each step followed carefully in a straight line, as he quietly left the protection of his hideaway. His natural senses led him towards a familiar trail. He brushed noiselessly against a poplar. There were few left in the area, since a beaver colony felled many for a dam.

Over the next few ridges was young buck's destination. A memory of succoring from mother waited along with water and lush grass. He knew the place from those first moments life took on meaning. Now his lean body began a forward lope as a symphony of movement. He was determined, through the exercise of young muscles, to flush fear from his brain.

Not so far away, experienced ears picked up the deer's gathering strides. A hungry male coyote drank in young buck's "wild" scent. The vision of freshly chewed meat helped assuage gnawing hunger in his belly.

Tensing, the coyote inched forward, along with three shaggy family members. They awaited a signal to attack knowing from past experiences only through a team effort could their hunt be successful. A short distance separated them from their prey.

Young buck stopped suddenly. He was fearful to even turn and look behind. Both ears expanded to full attention, instinct detecting an overpower presence meaning to cause harm. His eyes, a deep pool of blackness bulged nervously. Plans formulated. Then he sensed something coming quickly as a runaway train, a coyote rushing swiftly to his right side.

An instant jolt of young muscles launched young buck into a sprint for survival. His body went from camouflage and stillness to soaring and a harrowing, narrow escape. Snapping teeth had leaped for his flanks. And a "Whoosh" of air propelled him forward, faster. The chase was on.

During the next while, four meat-hungry coyotes crisscrossed young buck's path. Pausing in wonder, his fleetness surprised them. With determination the coyotes traversed his trail. Tongues lolled, empty bellies aching for a meal. This was a harvest year for the pack. Growing pups demanded much food.

Except this was not meant to be an easy victory; a healthy young son was eager to find his mother. Fear was left far behind as he led his attackers on a hard fought chase.

Young buck discovered worn trails leading to forest retreats carefully selected by his forefathers. Powerful legs allowed him to run easily. His racing rhythm was meant to cover miles of territory. And he did so without undue hesitation.

Fallen clumps of brush tested his sprinting. Like his mother, young Buck's white tail bobbed up and down. "Can't catch me," it teased. He had an appointment to fulfill. And somehow knew it was his destiny to lead a long life. Majestic leaps across narrow brooks annoyed his sluggish pursuers.

Short-legged coyotes could not keep pace with this long-legged jumper. Their heavyset bodies slung low to the ground, and their hindrance added to by clumped raspberry bushes and deadfall.

Tired paws barely scrambled for a toehold in weary scampering up each rising ridge. After an hour's chase dry tongues hung limply. And squinting eyes no longer saw their intended victim.
Nor did they care, anymore. Young buck had simply disappeared.


A blanket of evening shadows ended the celebration of dusk's last sunny fling. Maturing eyes managed to understand the protection of a darkening sky. Indeed, young buck was no longer afraid. He had passed his bravery test with flying hooves. Those sneaky coyotes were abandoned far behind, left in a merge of confusing trails.

In headlong flight, he traveled speeds of up to 40 mph resting often to listen for his dogged pursuers. Instinct brought him to this destination place. It was inbred in his young heart. And the sheltering sanctuary saluted him with a welcome of peace. He sniffed the air carefully. Then heard another deer's blowing sound. It saturated young buck's senses with a familiar scent.

A confident son moved forward in strength and love. It was Mother calling and he knew she had been waiting patiently for him. What tales they would share with each other, as they relaxed in the coolness of evening.

Young buck stepped forward from the shadows. He had a surprise to share. His first set of antlers protruded as short spikes. Yes, it was a special moment. Diamond-like stars had gathered in his honor. They winked approval for his bravery.

The stillness of the forest created a garland of peace, and protection. It surrounded this private place. Young buck was home.

(c) by Richard L. Provencher

Richard & his wife Esther Provencher believe in the power of prayer, as Richard continues to heal from his stroke in 1999. They are pleased to share their Copyrighted work, for your personal enjoyment. Richard can be contacted via his URL:

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Hunter & Dreams

Morning dew was like a wet blanket wrapped around Matt's shoulders, as he waited patiently among the sheltering shrubs alongside Cooking Lake, Alberta. He adjusted the leather strap on his backpack, placed a duck call to his lips and lovingly patted the 12-gage shotgun across his legs, prepared for quick movement.

Matt scanned the horizon, embers of sun preparing to burst into an egg yolk of brilliance. He hoped his left leg wouldn't cramp up again. Absentmindedly he gave it a rub, felt the weight of his weapon, took a deep breath, then released the tension, excitement almost overwhelming him. Now he was ready.

Mallard flocks and Teal hurried by several times, too high right now for a good shot. This waiting for the correct moment was like a game of chess; your move.

Yesterday about this time Matt was carrying a bucket of grain for the sheep on dad's ranch. Within bellowing Baa's from 21 wooly critters jostling in line for their regular munching he whistled a morning tune. The words were jumbled, same as his life had been these past few months, but it helped him be patient with himself, something he needed working on.

Things were getting a little better between mom, dad and himself since leaving his love nest and coming home. They warned him about the mess he was stepping into and him being stubborn didn't help. It was dad's fault. Yes, he thought, I'm the same as my old man. Mat smiled to himself wondering if he would also grow to look at life with black and white thinking. But, at nineteen it was his decision to make.

Alice finally came right out and said, "Maybe it's time for you to take a hike." And he did, more for her sake. Living together was a tricky option for himself, not quite mature to husband a single mother and young baby, but willing to try.

That really wasn't the problem. Her ex was always hanging around, ignoring the Court's Peace Bond, forgetting the many times he threatened her if she looked at another man. Why did that wife-beater insist on making things complicated for everyone? He should have been made to move to the far side of the planet.

Matt didn't enjoy the hassle of being considered a second hand lover every time George phoned the house at all hours of the day. He was insistent about getting back together with Alice, and too often Alice had long conversations. It was hard for Matt to even consider a lasting relationship with that nut sniffing around. And it hurt when Alice even whispered about getting back with her husband. Seemingly she enjoyed violence in her life.

There was no reasoning with her. What the heck, Matt figured it was better to take her up on her suggestion. Matt left and returned to the family farm, helping out with needed chores.

Matt stirred from his memories. Several ducks had broken off from a group, perhaps sent ahead to secure a safe landing spot. They came closer. Matt's simulated calling began to tease them back and forth, finally in the right direction. From a kneeling position his shotgun blast knocked one unsuspecting Mallard from its flight path, parachuting it to the ground. Almost like a lump of fallen dreams tumbling from the sky. Another shot went astray and a fleeing pile of feathers retreated in shock, leaving its mate behind.

With no further action in the sky, Matt retrieved his catch and hung it from a protruding branch. After settling back on his rubber mat he thought about that coyote lingering by the neighbor's woodpile yesterday. It's gray color with black on the bottom third of its tail wiggled happily as the creature pranced in anticipation looking for mice.

At the time he thought about getting his .22 and potting off the cute dog-looking killer. Coyote were such a nuisance in this part of the country. He would bet a year of steaks that animal was part of the pack responsible for ravaging a dozen of their sheep last autumn, something the family couldn't afford. The llamas had been a let down, being more interested in nuzzling with each other, oblivious to anything around them when needed. Since dad picked up half a dozen donkeys, the coyotes stayed clear of the farm.

Matt simply watched the animal trying its best to catch rodents, enjoying itself. The pest wasn't quite as frisky as his parent's dog, Misty or husky as Storm, a Pyrenee. But the coyote was having a good time and it would be a shame to end its life. Permanently. Besides, what if it had a mate depending on the wild creature? No use both of them losing a lover.

Yes, it was good to think, to plan ahead. A job, working things out, at least it provided a challenge. It was something Alice couldn't seem to do. Stand still, talk and forget her ex-husband, who couldn't care less about her and the baby. But she seemed to take it the wrong way. Matt wasn't trying to control her. "Open your eyes to what's happening?" he ended up shouting. 'Do you really want to live like that, always wondering when the next fist will come?" he often repeated.

Never once did her ex even pay maintenance payments, forcing Alice onto the Welfare rolls. Living with Alice was good. But, after a night in the sack, Matt realized very quickly there was much more to life within a family. He didn't mind necessary chores, tidying up around the house, helping prepare meals and learning how to change little David's diapers. Too bad Alice's ex-husband didn't think about those necessary duties.

But then, Alice and David had their own lives to live, and somehow they would survive precious journeys as many tomorrows awaited them.

Another flock came by and this time Matt's shooting was quite successful. Two more flying missiles were flushed from the sky with one just winged and doing a flopping dance. Getting up in a rush Matt sloshed through the shoreline water, then grabbing the victim, sharing the pain he knew was in its broken wing.

The mallard stared without fear somehow understanding this was the end. A broken neck soon removed nature's magnificent creature from an episode of further pain. Matt knew some humans were like that, wounded, feeling useless and unwanted waiting for doom. But then, this duck would be tasty, not useless and unwanted. And would offer itself up as a small feast for tonight's supper.

Yes, life was full of decisions. Like knowing when to leave Alice and return home. It meant there would be a chance for renewal within his own family, a re-focusing of his future. Bringing home meat for the table, would be his peace offering--for mom, dad and his brother, Travis. It was indeed an opportunity to share with loved ones. And seek forgiveness for those words he had left behind.

With the support of his family, Matt was sure days ahead would be better ones. Just then another flock approached his hideout. After lips blew a calling, Matt sighted down the barrel, focusing on his end bead.

Got him!

(c) by Richard L. Provencher

Richard & his wife Esther Provencher believe in the power of prayer, as Richard continues to heal from his stroke in 1999. They are pleased to share their Copyrighted work, for your personal enjoyment. Richard can be contacted via his URL:

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stranger At The Doorway

Working Sunday evening was Bonita's usual custom, a chance to plan ahead for classroom activities. She was a trusting person. Her husband worried about her being alone at school.

"Nothing could happen in this little town," she assured him.

A sound, something out of the ordinary caught her ear. It sounded like a downy woodpecker bullying a weathered tree. She left her classroom, turned on hall lights and slipped down the deserted corridor.

"Hello, what do you want?" She spoke through the front door, hesitant not quite sure if she should fling it open. The shadow through the glazed door was about her height.

"Please. Can you help?" A distressed voice with a touch of panic in its tone, responded from the other side of the glass.

"It's late and the school is closed," she called back. Glancing at her watch she noted 7:10 PM. A fact she'd remember over and over in her conversation with the police later this night.

"I am not sure of the correct night but I am in the Karate Club. I am a student here, in your son's class. In Andre's class," a teenaged voice said.

Opening the door a little she noted the young man's dark hair and heavy set. He was around eighteen years of age and maybe 180 lbs. This Ontario town was a friendly place and the young man said he knew her son. What should she do? She wondered. Her heart said to open the door, but?

"Is anyone else here yet? I just signed up for this course and I don't want to miss my training." The young man sounded genuine enough.

"There's no one else here," she said rather crossly. "I'm preparing lessons for my class. Karate on Sunday night, really?"

"You're here. Maybe I'm wrong. Could be another night. Thank you. Merci."

As the young man turned to go she felt a chill. Something was not quite right. "Mommy, you imagine things," her daughter always admonished.

Bonita returned to her lesson preparation after turning off the hall lights. Her full concentration broken, she thought of the young man. Those eyes held deeper meanings.

Another tapping, this time louder. "What now?" she muttered as she purposefully retraced her steps flicking on hallway lights as she went.

The same voice apologized. "I am sorry to bother you again Madame, but I have to get something in the gym ... my equipment. Should be washed or something like that before school tomorrow."

She could sense the excitement in his voice. His physical energy seemed to tumble out as she hesitated before opening the door slightly ajar again.

"Please, Madame."

She noticed his eyes nervously flicking from side to side. "Why do you have to go to the gym?" Suddenly coming to a decision, she almost shouted, "I can't let you in. School's closed. Now why don't you leave me alone, I have assignments to do."

"I am sorry, I should not bother you. I come back tomorrow and get my things." His English was laced with a soft French Canadian accent.

Back to the classroom she strode, smacking off the lights with an angry determination. She was anxious to get back to her work plans, finish them and get home. These interruptions were ridiculous.

Yes indeed, her husband wasn't pleased with her Sunday evenings alone. Why not? It was her chance to catch up on lesson plans and besides he needed his peaceful moments, too. It was part of their pact.

Home was for the family. Any work to be done was for the office. There had to be a separation. Simple enough, there was work and then family. Maybe a coffee would help relax her. Mother always felt she was high strung.

Suppressing a quiet giggle she filled the water urn. Then doled out coffee grounds into the filter and set the burner to 'on' as she poured water into Mr. Coffee. Should she just head home? She mused.

"Oh no, not again!" she shouted at the walls. New tapping repeated every five seconds, "Tap-Tap-Tap" then a pause and "Tap-Tap-Tap" again. She hurried angrily down the hall, smashing the light switch on. "Ouch that hurt."

She swept along, new pumps stomping a nasty message on the polished floor. Rushing at the door she demanded loudly, "You again?"

"Yes, it's me," A puppy dog whimper answered.

"Who is this?"

"MEEE." There was a pleading now.

"I mean your name. What's your name?"


"Claude WHO??" she screamed.

"Pardon?" he answered in a child's voice.

"For goodness sakes Claude, what do you want? I can't get anything done. Why are you bothering me? Please go away." Fear chilled her voice. Anxious gestures added emphasis to her statements."

I promise not to bother you again."

"Then goodnight!" she answered.


"What now?"

"Wait a minute. Please Madame."

"For what?" She was curious about what it was going to be this time. Listening to his whimpering tone was very aggravating. He had a sort of a get-on-your-nerves kind of voice. "What is it?" She bit at a nail. He was being an absolute pain.

"I must use the phone."

"What for?"

"To phone my parents. To come get me."

"Don't they know you're here?"

"Oui. But only in two hours are they coming for me. After Karate and there..."

Finishing his sentence, she shouted aloud "...doesn't seem to be any tonight! We've been through all this before. What can I do to make you happy so you'll leave me alone?"

"I will phone at the drug store, Madame. Please ... let me have a quarter. I have no change."

Maybe she should have listened to her inner voice. Or even to her husband and their various discussions about the night and strangers. And what could happen suddenly and unexpectedly. But she didn't. "If I give you a quarter, will you finally leave me alone?"

"Yes, Madame. Thank you."

He stood back from the door waiting for her decision. His coat was wide open, a little silly for this time of year. A blue turtleneck sweater hugged his lean neck.

She noticed his hands were in his pockets. He had on new running shoes and faded jeans. A typical teenager dressed for a cold November evening. Some sarcasm here, she thought. Fumbling in her purse she found two quarters. Fingering them firmly, she reached out to him.

A mistake. Her flash of warning came too late, too late. The door pulled open, and he quickly moved forward knocking her aside. This stranger she never knew was now inside the building, with no one else around.

An attractive lady teacher had reached out into the night. What have I done? She thought numbly.

His arm smacked off the lights, grabbed her around the stomach, one hand raised in a threatening gesture. Taken completely by surprise, her voice couldn't even raise a whisper of an alarm. He closed the door with a firm slam, then turned and punched her in the face. The blow glanced off her cheek, stunning her. This can't be happening. "No! No!" she now screamed. But no one was around.

One hand grabbed a handful of hair, the other punching her back and shoulder, again and again. Spinning her around, he slapped her hard. The sting made a nasty sound in the quiet room. "That will teach you. Being so mean to me!" he snarled.

She could hardly believe his rage. His face was puffed in anger, fists clenching and unclenching. She looked away, eyes searching for a weapon. Her brain refused to admit to this situation. It happened so quickly.

An innocent offer of help was now turned into fear and chaos. She was throbbing all over from his pounding. It was difficult to find will to keep standing. Don't fall. Stay on your feet. Tuck your head in. Protect your face, she told herself. Put your fists up. Don't start crying. Around and around went her spinning thoughts.

Another hard slap to her cheek brought her back to reality. This was real. Not a movie, nor a TV program. This was happening right now. Her beautiful strong son wasn't here to look after her. And her husband didn't know his wife was methodically being beaten up.

It was happening inside a darkened school hallway. And right in a quiet little town, while most families were enjoying each other's company at home. Do something. Think. Think.

Gathering her wits she opened one eye, surprised to be able to do so. She noticed the young man didn't even look old enough to shave. He had smooth skin, short hair. Why was he doing this? He's neat looking. Not grubby like some drug addict, she thought.

Gathering her survival instincts she pushed back. Hands grabbed at the air, wind milling her arms, keeping her head up. And pushing. Pushing. This act of defiance surprised him. He thought she would simply scream or go into shock. He couldn't believe she hadn't fainted.

He pulled out a knife, "I know you Madame Bisson."

How did he know her name? Oh, that was mean. That hurt. She had contributed so much to this town. Why was this happening? She managed to suppress her sobs. Her eyes widened as she stared at the knife. Think, girl. Your life is in serious danger.

The assailant just stood there, uncertainty on his young face. A mole on the right side of his cheek twitched nervously. The reality of the knife captured her full attention.

It looked about six inches long, a hunting knife of sorts. She saw his face was flushed. Her heart hammered as they watched each other, the owl and the rabbit. She knew which one she was this very moment. Don't run. Stare him down.

The situation was extremely tense. Anything could happen. At least he wasn't moving towards her. "Why are you doing this?" she finally asked. Her voice was taut. Did it sound frightened?

"You were mean to me."

"I helped you."

"You didn't let me get my Karate suit."

"I explained why." Keep talking. Keep him talking, she said to herself. She rambled on and explained about working with the school children. How much she loved her family and about the town and her spare time interests. It was a one-way non-stop conversation.

And he listened. A little confused but interested. After staring at her for a while he said. "Take off all your clothes."

"I will not! Look, if you want to rob me, or the school, do it! I have $11.00 in my purse. Take it! That's all I have. Do what you want but don't touch me again. I mean it!" She glared at him.

He looked at her carefully, realizing she meant it. She wasn't even afraid of him, even though he had a knife. He didn't mean this to happen. The young man seemed to be in a trance. This lady who did him no real harm suddenly seemed so far away. Her voice became an echo. This was crazy. What made him do it?

"I go to your school. In the same class with your son, Madame Bisson, I am sorry. Please forgive me. I am sorry. " A few moments later he was gone. Just like that.

She heard his running steps disappear before the slam of the front door. He left her there with her head pounding and her bruises aching. She heard a car screech by on the street.

Limping slightly, one hand to her cheek, she went through the front door, of the first house, a rectory. The priest almost fainted at the sight of her. He stared at first. She had one eye swollen, cheek and mouth badly puffed, clothes torn. Her eyes blazed with a furious anger.

"Call-Call the police!" She stammered, looking fearfully behind her as evening silhouettes blanketed the town.

He did and Claude was later arrested. After trial he was convicted of sexual assault.

Richard L. Provencher

Richard & his wife Esther Provencher believe in the power of prayer, as Richard continues to heal from his stroke in 1999. They are pleased to share their Copyrighted work, for your personal enjoyment. Richard can be contacted via his URL:

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Quake In Christchurch

"Happy birthday Naomi."
"Still an hour to go."
"OK we'll wait," laughed Peter.

The birthday was to be celebrated on Saturday the 4 September 2010, but because of sudden change of plans by Naomi's parents who are leaving to London in the early hours of Saturday, the party was preponed for Friday the 3 September.

Naomi was the only child of Frank Peter and Doris Amelia Peter, both software professionals working for a UK based company.

Naomi, Neil, Peter and David are close friends right from their primary school.

Neil Adams and Naomi, after their schooling, have completed their graduation in Computer Animation at Hyderabad and wanted to go for higher studies in London. But because of certain procedural delay, their admission was rejected and Neil, not wanting to waste a year, sought admission in CPIT, the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and is staying with a family friend in Hornby, an outer suburb near Christchurch. Naomi is very friendly with Neil and in a couple of years if all goes well, planned to get married.

Peter and David at 09.30 pm suddenly had the idea to ring up Neil and tell him about the preponed birthday party, but hesitated as it would be 04.00 am on Saturday, the time difference being six and half hours between Hyderabad and Christchurch.
"We will let the phone ring twice and disconnect it," exclaimed Peter, "Neil will definitely phone back as he knows Naomi's number."

At exactly 10.00 pm, Neil rang up, and Peter answered, "Neil we are celebrating Naomi's birthday today itself and thought that you may like to wish her."
"Wow, why today?"
"Because her parents are leaving for London tomorrow morning."
"Where is she?"
"She was here just a minute back," said Peter looking for her, "David has gone to call her, she'll be here any minute. What time is it?"
"It's about 04.33 am."
Peter laughed and said, "You didn't think it's strange about her calling so early in the morning."
"Peter when you are in love, nothing's strange."
"Wow Neil"
"The party must be going in full swing. I can hear the music."
"What's a party without you?"
"Oh my God. Oh My God, Peter, the ground's shaking. Peter I think something strange is happening."
"Neil what's happening?"
"Oh God, Peter, I'll call back." And the line was disconnected.

"Neil was on the line?" asked Naomi, rushing towards him.
"It was Neil," said Peter slowly, "But he sounded agitated."
"Something strange had happened. Loud sounds and the line was cut."
"Did he say, he'll call back?"

The call came at 11.15 pm.

"Hello, Peter?"
"No, it's me David, here talk to Naomi."
"Neil, what happened? We were all worried."
"Naomi, happy birthday."
"Thank you."
"Naomi, Christchurch was struck by a massive earth quake."
"Oh My God!"
"As I was talking to Peter, there was this big bang and suddenly the house started shaking and there was this smashing sound, I thought a large truck had just driven through the front window."

Naomi listened calmly as Neil was silent for sometime, "It was the aftershocks again. Wow, this was the first time that I was in a middle of a massive earthquake. I did experience small quakes at Hyderabad, but it was nothing to what I experienced now. It was absolutely shocking and I was terrified and scared of what's going to happen next. I immediately opened the front door and running inside, banged on the bedroom door waking Uncle and Aunt and made them rush out in their night clothes. Only afterward we dressed in warm clothes. Oh, boy, it was good that your call came before the quake struck, thank you Jesus. Because I was fully awake I could stand the earthquake as it gradually built up and got bigger and bigger and scarier and scarier. For a short while I really thought the building I was in was about to come down. It's an eighty year old wooden structure, but there was no damage except for a photo frame which fell down and an old shelf which toppled down."

There was silence for a moment and Neil continued, "I rushed out to our neighboring houses and banged on their doors as I could not see any lights, to discover that they don't have any electricity. We are the only ones in that vicinity to have power, and oh God, I really thanked the good Lord, for that. Just imagine no power and these frightening big flashes of lights looked like lightning across the sky, are in fact power transformers exploding."

"Naomi, don't worry if the line gets disconnected," said Neil, "Because of these power outages and the aftershocks, anything can happen. The roads have massive cracks and it is dangerous to travel by car. One of our family friend, Stella and their family who stay two blocks away, are staying with us. Aunt Veronica and Uncle Paul are busy preparing soup. Hot soup and bread go a long way to make a scared person, to relax and be comfy. Everyone down the street are wrapped in blankets and oh boy, when they saw us with hot soup, they really felt happy and are cracking jokes. A bit of the Kiwi spirit, I suppose."

Naomi could hear the continuous rumbling sound and presumed that it must be the aftershocks which Neil had earlier explained.

"Naomi thank Peter for the phone call," said Neil, "It was because of that, that I was able to help my family and others, down the road. And Naomi, take care. I miss you."
"I miss you too, good night."
"Oh, no, good morning."
"OK, good morning, good afternoon and good night."

Victor Jasti from India has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

You Changed My Life

You Changed My Life by Max Lucado, I would greatly love to recommend this book for anyone, everyone, young or elderly alike. This book is about real life touching short stories that will capture hearts, they are simply remarkable. They are real life people, like you and me, but with remarkable hearts. You will be amazed to know that there are so many people with unselfish and generous lives who are willing to sacrifice their self being to be a comfort to others.
One that touches me is A Remarkable Love, it is about a man who was injured in a fire trying to save his parents. Unfortunately, they perished and this man's face was badly burned and disfigured. He went into seclusion, even his wife was not permitted to see him. One day his wife went to see a Dr. Maltz, earnestly pleading with the doctor to "disfigure" her face so that she can be like her husband. What amazing love!
Will we ever be able to do that? Because she wants to share his husband's pain, she is willing sacrifice her face as well and hoping her husband would let her into his life again.

Practising For Devotional Night...

This afternoon Jennifer called me to go to over to her house to practise for tomorrow's Devotional night at 8pm. I went over at 3pm and we had a wonderful time practising and praising the Lord in songs and worship. There were 4 of us, Raymond, Juliana, Jennifer and myself.... the 12 string guitar and the tambourine worked perfectly well together.

Well, lets pray everything will run smoothly tomorrow... God will be in control...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Please : Do Touch

I secured the hand written note on the transparent dome with scotch tape. This was definitely not standard protocol, but after 20 years in the neonatal intensive care unit, I knew how to navigate the system.

"Please, Do Touch," the note stated in bright red letters.

The note was a call to action for nurses who would work in the unit over the next few days. I gazed down upon the tiny baby girl now sleeping within the contraption that fought to save her life and reached through the porthole to give her one final caress.

It was a rare occasion that nurses had to take on this duty with such intention. Most times, we had to tear family members away from their tiny infants in order to perform the medical tasks at hand. That was not the case for Little Princess. There were no visitors. There was no family. This beautiful baby girl was all but alone in the world. Her three-day-old chart offered no explanation about the circumstances of her mother.

With two consecutive days off ahead, this was normally a time to celebrate. Instead, I wondered how I could squeeze in a visit to the hospital amidst my chores and errands. I could drop in while Mandy was at ballet, I reasoned. It would be just enough time to hold Little Princess and gently touch her tiny arms and legs - just in case the other nurses missed the note.

I slowly removed my hand from within the incubator, hoping the release of my touch would not awaken her. Her tiny chest, and all the connected wires and needles, continued to rise and fall uninterrupted. I checked the monitors one final time, added notes to her chart and departed.

My family didn't seem to notice my mental absence at the dinner table that evening. I was glad to hear that Keith finished his essay and Mandy had made the cheerleading team. Hard as I tried, my thoughts could not stick to these conversations.

I could not help but wonder if Little Princes would ever sit at a dinner table surrounded by family, talking about homework and cheerleading. One thing seemed certain, there would be no stories shared about those who came to visit her in the hospital; no classic cock-eyed hospital photo to occupy the coveted first page in her childhood photo album.

As I drifted off to sleep that night, I prayed that whatever might come of Little Princess' life, she would never fully comprehend how alone she was in her first days of life.

"Ready to go?" I called out to Mandy the next morning.

"It's too early, mom," she returned.

"I need to run by the hospital while you're at your lesson," I explained, grabbing my purse, a journal and my camera. "Let's go!"

It was a ten minute drive to Mandy's ballet studio - a trip normally filled with lively conversation.

"It's another preemie, isn't it mom?"

"A little girl," I said with a small crack in my voice.

"Give her a hug for me when you get there," said Mandy, exiting the car.

I pulled into a stall in the hospital garage and opened the journal, carefully writing "Little Princess" on the inside front cover. I dated the first page and proceed to jot down some notes about how she brightened the NICU. I then made my way up to see her.

"What are you doing here?" asked Nurse Margaret as she tended to our Little Princess.

I aimed my camera at the pair -- "Say cheese!" I snapped about twenty photos on that day alone.

As I downloaded hundreds of pictures later that month, I marveled at the progress Little Princess had made. She was a fighter! And, good news was spreading through the hospital about a potential adoption family that would soon be visiting.

"Is that her?" asked Mandy pulling up a chair next to me as I downloaded the last set of photos. "She's so cute! She looks cross-eyed in this one photo" Mandy giggled.
"I know. That's my favorite!"

I printed out the photo and inserted it into the front page of a photo album I longed to give to Little Princess' new family, along with her journal.

The second photo was one of me reaching through the porthole of the incubator. And there, in the photo, was the note I had written not so long ago: Please, Do Touch.

I realized that Little Princess had done just that. Through her bravery and her will to survive, she had, indeed, touched me.

Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a website writer for her church, a wife of 26 years and a mother of two wonderful sons. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised.

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God calls the Outcast by names

"Come here, Come here!" Somebody behind you calling...."Hey, don't try to avoid me, I know where you are heading...don't go there, but turn to me." Said a affirming voice. I felt so different after hearing that voice, I'd never experienced that kindness in that voice, all I heard is the 'teasing', 'mocking' voice.

I am not sure who is behind me, I do not dare to look at that, not sure where I would end up with, or someone was a pretense, pretending to be nice to me. I knew by heart, no one likes me or not to think someone would want to be my friend. Who is behind me? I do not dare to know, or well, I just keep on walking, heading to the way I want to go, there I think I find my safety zone, burying myself there and nobody can find me there. That I can finally find my relief, no mocking, no teasing there!

"I am calling out for you, you are loved." The voice kept following me....

Oh who is this. As I turned .....I did not look straight at that person, but.....something captured me, is that...I saw a man's hand extending toward me, he lays open his palm and look much like a 'welcoming' signal to me...Oh a hand open wide for me!! I have never seen such a hand opening wide for me like that.....I slowly and slowly look up....wondering who that was.....

"I am Jesus, I am the friend of the outcast, if you are one, then you can come to me." Said the gentle voice with an open hands.

I started to find my tears falling down on my cheek, I realized who He is, the one that I used to laugh about...I'd never thought that Jesus can remember such a 'me', an outcast!

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Short Story-The Cleaner

Jimmy changed my life in ways I can not possibly explain. At times I wondered who was saving who. It hadn't started out like that for either of us.

I had always felt like life was mundane. Ordinary. Unspectacular. Until I met Jimmy. Then it became intimidating. And after he died I saw my true potential. My life had not changed one bit, but my perspective had.

I was a cleaner at the hospital. I worked nights. I didn't do well at school, I guess I never really got it. I remember trying, sometimes, but it just seemed a little bit beyond me. I left as early as I could and though I could read and write a bit I just thought that someone like me didn't really have much to offer.

This has been my first and only job. I do my work well, keep to myself, stay out of trouble. I don't get paid a lot but I don't need a lot either. I suppose I was happy enough, before, but I can't say I ever felt useful. The thing that has kept me going through the dark days, the boring days, the soul-sapping sameness of it all, is faith.

I still look back on the day I was saved as one day worth remembering. I remember the feeling of anticipation, fear, excitement, nervousness, all mixed up. Then the relief, the lightness, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was the best day of my life.

There are some real radicals at the church I go to, but I'm not one of them. They are exciting types, all hyped up, not afraid of anything. At least that's how they seem, I don't know them really. Never had a chance, I am pretty tired after a night's work when I get in there, and I leave again straight away. I like the speakers, most of the time, and I think about what they say. Sometimes I read my bible, but it is a bit of a struggle. Often I just don't get it.

Then I met Jimmy. He was twelve and he was dying. It was one of those horrible cancers that you hear about. The tragedies of everyday life. The night I met him he was awake. I didn't realise at first. I always try to be very quiet when I collect things from the wards at night. Some of those people in there get hardly any sleep, so I don't want to be disturbing the sleep they do get.

He gave me a fright. He was lying there so still and I was creeping around, trying not to make things clink when he said, "You don't need to worry about me". I jumped out of my skin!

I didn't really know what to say. I wasn't used to kids. Especially sick ones. "Are you all right?" I said. Well, that was clearly stupid, because he obviously wasn't.

"I'm dying", he said. "I'm scared". I didn't know what to say. I thought about the promise of God. And wondered whether this kid had ever heard of Him. The yawning chasm of choice appeared before me; should I mention it? I teetered on the edge of decision and stepped back. I didn't know what to do. I stood looking at him. "Oh". I stood there a second. "I have to get back to work".

I left. All night I thought about him. I see things all the time at the hospital. Things I don't really want to know about. This was the first time, I had ever asked about a patient's health. Not much point really, what can I do? I'm not a doctor.

Still, I couldn't get him out of my mind. He said he was scared and I didn't say anything! I didn't even try to reassure him with the normal platitudes that people come up with. I am sure you will be fine. Don't worry, nothing to be scared about. Not that it would have helped, but I didn't even try. And then there's God, surely I could have mentioned something to make him feel better. But what would I say?

I felt guilty all week. I realised that even though I knew lots of words about God, I didn't know the reality. What I mean is, I knew about God in my mind, but not in my heart. I couldn't explain Him to anyone except for using those same old words you hear all the time. The ones I heard before I got saved; that didn't really mean anything to me. Like "Jesus will take away your sins". Ummmm so? What's a sin anyway? "Jesus will set you free". From what? Now I understand it, but before? Not a chance.

What I really wanted was to say something that would help. That would make him feel better. That he didn't have to be so scared. So whatever happened; he would be ok.

I kept mulling it over. It even motivated me to pray. I asked for help. I asked for wisdom. I asked to know what to do. I asked not to be so scared. I asked not to lose my job; I didn't think I would be able to get another one.

I tried to prepare myself every time I went back into the room. I kept getting myself all worked up before I went in. My stomach churned; I did feel a bit sick. I used to like to the quiet calmness of my job; now I was just all stressed out most of the time. But every time I went in, he was asleep. Well. I wasn't gonna wake him up! Then for a couple of weeks he wasn't even there at all. Finally I relaxed. I supposed he must have gone into remission and gone home. Or maybe worse; that didn't make me feel good.

Then I forgot about it. I got back into the normal flow of life. I did what I always did. Funny though, I felt like I had missed out on something. That thing that is just around the corner, just out of sight, but you have a feeling its good. I thought it was like someone would feel if they had done something amazing.

One day I went in and there he was sitting up, fully awake, looking at me. My heart dropped to my shoes. I wasn't ready.

I blurted out, "I'm sorry I didn't talk to you the other day. I didn't know what to say."
Jimmy shrugged, "That's ok, no-one does."

I breathed in very slowly, pleading mentally for help. "Do you believe in heaven?"

"I don't know. Dad doesn't, Mum doesn't know. We had a dog once. It got run over and they said it went to dog heaven but we could tell they didn't believe it."

He sat there for a minute. "They try to hide it from me. They don't want to tell me. They think I don't know. But I know what is going to happen. I don't want to be forgotten, when I die they will forget me, I may as well not even have been here at all."

I felt tears pricking my eyes. It was bad enough to be so sick and probably going to die but so hopeless as well. I couldn't help myself. "I don't know very much about anything. I didn't pay attention at school. You probably know more than me about heaps of stuff. But what I do know is that there is a heaven, and there is a God and he knows who you are. And he knows how bad stuff is right now. And he will never forget you. So you will never be forgotten. Not a chance."

I couldn't believe all that came out of my mouth so quickly. I was gob-smacked. But it felt right. I was excited, God had actually used me!

Jimmy looked relieved. And a bit more relaxed. "Really?" Then he looked a bit suspicious. "How do I know you're right?"

Oh fudge, flip and faith. I am going to get fired. "Jesus is the one you need to talk to. You need to ask him. You need to pray. You need to ask him to come into your heart and forgive you for all the stuff you've done wrong. When I did it I felt amazing."

"Ok". He just sat there. "Shall I help you?" I asked, desperately hoping I could remember things right enough. We went through it but it didn't seem real. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. That I was actually doing this; this wasn't for me to do. Other people were far more qualified.

Afterwards he looked worn-out. "You look beat" I said. "You need to get some sleep. If you feel lonely, just try talking to Him. Jesus will help you. It is what He's here for".

I completed my jobs and left. He was asleep before I left the room. I spent the rest of the night in a state of amazement and awe. I felt useful, like I had finally done something that actually mattered. I never thought it would happen to me. Jimmy saved my life that night. He saved it from being ordinary, mundane, ineffective. He helped me get a glimpse into potential I never knew I had. He helped me overcome my fears and self-imposed intimidation.

We talked a few more nights after this. I forgot about being clever and getting it right. I just talked about how I knew God was GOOD. And why Jesus had to die. And how by doing it, he conquered all. And how He had helped me. And the great thing was; you could see the change in Jimmy. His face had changed. He was, I don't know, confident.

I wasn't there when he died. It was my nights off. When I went back he wasn't there, so I asked about him. He died the day before.

I went to the funeral, even though I felt like an intruder. Jimmy had an open coffin and I have to say that he look amazing; like a little angel.

A couple of weeks later, I went into his room to clean and there was a man sitting there. It gave me a bit of a start because the room was still empty. "Did you know Jimmy?" he asked me. I was a bit nervous about what was going to happen. I said yes.

He kept looking at me, assessing. "He asked me to give you this". He handed me an envelope. "I just want you to know, that you made a real difference to him, in the last few weeks". He started to cry. "We will never forget him. We miss him so much".

"I won't forget him either" I said. "He changed my life".

Jimmy's Dad left. I opened the envelope. There was a card inside. All it said was THANK YOU.

Born and raised in NZ. Beginning the writing journey.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Church Worship Practice

This morning we had to lead the congregation in worship... and on Saturday we had our practice that lasted two whole hours!! phew.. i was so exhausted by the time it ended and thank God, the worship was smooth this morning.. I can feel the Holy Spirit in our midst and I was feeling very happy.. I wonder how others felt... but I really love to praise the Lord..

Andy doing the drums, andrew the organ..
me the guitar, chun and jennifer the singers..
It is indeed a wonderful experience singing and praising our Almighty...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Worship Practice

In another half hour or so, I will leaving for my worship practice. This time I will be playing the guitar and I hope to play my tambourine too... gosh... how to play two instruments in one go. I think for the praise songs with a faster tempo, I will play the tambourine and for the slower songs in worship, I will play the guitar... How about it? I leave it to the Lord... :)
Andy will be playing the drums for tomorrow service.. .I hope he comes punctually this evening....
Songs are Come On And Celebrate, For All You've Done, Hosanna In The Highest, With All I Am...
Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Purpose In Life

It all starts with God... here is some excerpt from the book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

What do I want to be? What should I do with m life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. The Bible says, "It is God who directs the lives of His ceatures, everyone's life is in His power."

In other words, we must begin with God. Int is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.

The only way we can find out our meaning and purpose in life is revelation. That is .. ask God. God has not left us in the dark to find out our purposes in life. He has clearly revealed His purposes in our lives through the BIBLE.

We must turn to God's word, not the world's wisdom.