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Tag Archives: people

Generosity in Cuba

We had just finished a delicious dinner of rice, beans, pork and fruit, when Inervis, the leader of the camp crew, asked us to join her and the fellow staff members in the yard. It was our last night in Camp Canaán, which is where our group spent the majority of our time during this 10-day mission trip to Cuba.   Much of our journey included getting to know the people and culture of the country while sharing resources collected in America with a variety of small village churches. However, this ... Read More »

The Power of People

There were six rows of benches on either side of the aisle. Each bench sat four people, which meant our United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team took up 25 percent of the space. It was Wednesday evening, and we were at a United Methodist church in Manajanabo in the center of Cuba. It was their midweek service, and it was packed. There was music, drama, reading from the Bible and songs sung by so many different people. Five small children came up, one playing a ukulele, and sang a song ... Read More »

Perfect Loves Drives Out Fear

“What does it mean when the Bible says perfect love drives out fear?” I asked this question to the thoughtful group of Bible study participants as we gathered around the table at The Lamb Center, a day shelter for homeless and poor individuals where I lead Bible study on Tuesday afternoons. We were studying some of the many places in scripture, which talk about fear and courage. At this point in our discussion, we had landed in 1 John, chapter 4, verse 18. Where God’s love is, there is no ... Read More »

Set Free

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” – Galatians 5:1 Several years ago, in the midst of a carpool drop-off, a friend said to me in passing, “Someday I want you to tell me why you always seem so content.” If I recall correctly, I laughed and said that my kids and husband might disagree with her characterization but that I would love to have coffee and chat more about it. And ... Read More »

Is God Good All the Time?

“God is good…All the time! And all the time…God is good!” Ah, the call and response of a faithful people. We like knowing how to respond. But do we believe it? Is God really good all the time? For the parent who’s just lost a child? For the man who’s just received a dire diagnosis? For the teen who is bullied, the wife who is abused? What of the family without a home? The children who live in fear? The list goes on and on. Is God really all that good? ... Read More »

Do We Actually Want Authenticity?

It’s okay to not be okay. This is a quote from a wonderful email a friend of mine sent recently. It even serves as the introductory line to a popular Christian song on the radio. However, do we believe it? It is ironic that we live in a world begging for others to be authentic. But in my experience, I don’t believe we are truly comfortable when people actually live into authenticity. It’s raw. It’s messy, and quite frankly, people are generally uncomfortable when sitting too closely to another person’s ... Read More »

We Are All Neighbors

I was reminded about how connected we all are when I was in the grocery store the other day. From a distance, I recognized a woman who I’ve met twice during the Floris Guest House, our church’s week of hosting homeless guests. I smiled as I remembered meeting her and felt grateful that we’d been able to help her for at least two winters. I smiled at the thought of seeing her in the grocery store just as I would a neighbor. In the next instant, I also felt hopeful ... Read More »

When God Reminds You Why You are Serving on a Mission Trip at a Kitchen Table

Note from the editor: In October 2016, a team of nine people traveled to Tappahannock and Montross, Virginia on a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Tornado Recovery Mission Trip. This post comes from one of the volunteers, J. Scott Nicholls. When disaster hits, even though it may take a long time, buildings, homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed by nature can ultimately be rebuilt. Personal belongings can be replaced, though keepsakes cannot. It is hard to see the devastating impact these events have on the “individuals,” both ... Read More »

No Parking Any Time

I don’t believe in the New Year’s resolution thing. However, I am a big fan of finding certain words to focus on at the beginning of a new year. Usually I pray about it and ask God to show me what I need to work on. Surprisingly, this year my focus words are not from the Bible. What a shock! Actually, God gave me words based on his ideas but not in his book: “No parking any time. Keep moving.” I have found over the years that I have a ... Read More »

Islam: A Question of Faith

The Muslim observance of Ramadan chanced to fall during the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup (June 28-July 28, 2014). As a sport scientist I knew that fasting or even skipping meals was not a recommended nutritional practice for sports participants, so fasting from sun up to sun down? That couldn’t go well. Wouldn’t this put observant Muslim athletes at a disadvantage? What a terrific angle to pursue for my sports blog! Unfortunately, I knew very little about Islam or the Muslim observance of Ramadan, but I knew someone who did. An ... Read More »

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