Sunday, November 14, 2010

Goodbye my baby...

What is it with humans and animals? Especially dogs and cats. I like cats, but I'm definitely a dog person. Cannot remember a time where I was without a dog, even growing up I remember all our dogs. From the little Maltese to the beautiful Boxer. And a few will remain with me always ...

And the one that I will never forget is my dear Borrels, a mix breed between an English bulldog and something, or was it an American bulldog and something?

Got him when he was eight-months old, eleven-years ago. And the people that sold him to me said they are getting rid of him because he was chewing their shoes. Did not see that happen in my house... Can't remember that I ever struggle to house-train him. He was just one of those "without problems" dogs. The only thing he did enjoy to chew was plastic bottles. Loved them!

He was named Borrels because he was as white as snow and had this little black spots on his skin, looked like bubbles, thus the Afrikaans Borrels ;-) He had the most beautiful brown eyes, and the most beautiful personality. I loved him and he adored me!

I remember the times that I was sick or sad, he would sit at my feet and follow me in the house. Not leaving me alone until I felt better. I would know when he's sleeping, because could that dude snore! And as big as he was, he thought he was a baby. Scared to death of the weather, and fireworks... He loved to travel, when the car door opens, in jumps Borrels, especially when I visited my parents. To them he was almost like a grandchild ;-)

But all good things comes to an end. I thought he would live forever. I wanted him to live forever. But Borrels had skin cancer and he really struggled through the last winter with his coughing and sneezing. I had to make the decision to let him go. He would not be getting better... and I did not want to see him suffer.

Goodbye my baby, I will love you forever and will never forget you. You were my best friend, my baby, my companion, my protector, you made me laugh and you made me cry...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unmerited Favor

This is something that I've written more than a year ago, but I was thinking about it more and more this week ...

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life in God’s favor. Each and every day!

We’ve been taught that grace is God’s unmerited favor that is bestowed upon sinners:
Rom 3:24, "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (NKJ) 
It’s also defined as undeserved mercy ~ however all mercy is undeserved; that’s the meaning of mercy. Grace is so much more than mercy, think of this: mercy just gets the criminal off the hook and out of jail, but grace pays the debt of the criminal and sets him free to enjoy the good life.

God’s salvation is not merited; it’s a GIFT from God, something given freely! Jesus paid our debt of sin and in receiving Him we are set free to enjoy God’s love and to live in His favor
Prov 8:35, "For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD;” (NKJ) 
Mere words cannot adequately express the true meaning of God’s grace and His greatest token of love, His Son.

This made me think, we know that it is not all about our works and that good works will not get me in heaven … but as I dwell upon this grace of God in which I now stand … will it not motivate me to do good works or more good works?
Titus 2:11-15, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 
12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 
14who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 
15Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.” (NKJ)
Back to everyday life. One of my friends said to me that she experiences God's favor in the everyday things like finding a parking space right in front of Pick and Pay. While others are driving around in circles, mmmm.... Another friend said that if it wasn't for favor she would have been fired from her job long ago. Why? She speaks her mind in an environment where it is not  permissible. And she's the only one getting away with it! There's a lot more examples, but have you ever spent time thinking of the ways you are experiencing God's favor in your life? It's in the little things that we don't even realize, the little things that goes unnoticed every day.

That been said: 
  • Do you have the attitude to receive from God? 
  • Are you living your life based on the true meaning of grace?
  • Are you walking in God’s favor like Abraham did? 
(Image from Google Images) 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunset ...

Two things I love, a good rainstorm and sunsets. And last week I was fortunate to witness a few beautiful, or rather gorgeous, sunsets in the Northern Cape.

Not much to say about these, I think they speak for themselves. But I've realized again how amazing God is and how great His creation, His goodness, greatness, perfection, love and His presence in my life. Looking at the pictures I'm still in awe and I'm still experiencing the peace, and I'm reminded of the following Scripture:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4: 11-13)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

... and still we complain

While I was looking through the pictures of Swaziland, old and new, I was thinking about life. Yes, I do that sometimes! And I was reminded again of how fortunate we are. I have a job, a home, a car, two dogs (they are a blessing!), clothes, family and friends, food to eat ... three times a day, and so much more. And still we complain! I can't remember that I ever was hungry or had to wonder where my next meal would come from. I don't know how that feels and can't even imagine. I never have to wonder how I'm going to stay warm or dry. I don't know how it feels to be abused, to life on the street ... and still we complain. I can't help but think that God sometimes just sits and shakes His head ... And I was reminded of this poem in Scared written by Tom Davis:

I had a dream, Momma,
and in it the sky was blue as water;
I was thirsty, but it was too high
for me to lift my face and drink.

Patches of green were scattered
like emeralds over the red earth,
but I had no hands
and could not gather a treasure of grass
to hold against my baby bird-like chest.

Nothing was sound,
and everthing was broken.
I looked for you, Momma,
but you had gone.
I woke up and lay on my mat
weaving your name into a blanket
to keep me warm.

I tell myself
that you aren't gone,
you've only flown away,
like a shining black bird
and all your days are spent
breaking twigs with your beak
off the sticks that maim and beat
To build a nest for your Precious,
And for me and Abu.

And we wait, mouths open
Schreeching with our dry mouths
past the screams lodged deep
inside our tiny throats.
Come back for us.
Take us beyond the sky
where you are.

 Adanna a little girl that knows hunger, abuse, death, cold and things that we cannot imagine.

And I go down on my knees and thank God, and I feel the compassion He is talking about in His Word. And I'm so thankful, but also so sad for the world out there... lost.

Check out these blogs:

Tom Davis, Musings from Graceland and Moms4change

Monday, September 6, 2010

B-Team Prayer T-12 days!

B-Team Prayer T-12 days! Read more about the team that will be visiting Swaziland during September :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spoken Word Worship

Ever heard of Spoken Word Worship? Well, I've come across Amena Brown while watching a Matt Redman DVD - Facedown. And I was just moved by her passion, the emotional feel of her poems, her voice and realness. Take a listen for yourself!

Amena Brown is a poet, speaker and journalist. Amena has performed and spoken at events all over the country such as The RightNow Conference, Thirsty Conference, National Youth Workers Convention, Catalyst Conference, Atlantis Music Conference, and the 2008 National Poetry Slam Competition.

Amena is both regal and dramatic in her creative interpretation on the stage. This nonconformist lends her voice to finding inspiration, truth, and purpose and encourages those she encounters to do the same

Go visit Amena Brown on her website and read more about this incredible lady.

And here for your reading pleasure this beautiful poem by Amena:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Check out the ZOO CITY review!!

Visit the Blog from my very good friend, Werner Diedericks, and read the excellent Zoo City review.

While you are there, see what else he is up too :-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

"How He Loves" | Jared Anderson

One of my favorite Jared Anderson songs. Isn't it awesome "how He loves us"!

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight
Of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us

So we are His portion
And He is our prize
Drawn to redemption
By the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean
We're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth
Like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently
Inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

Oh how He loves us so ...
(John Mark McMillan)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia ~ C.S. Lewis

I am very excited, because this is my first guest post written by 15-year old Sarah Hampshire. She read The Chronicles of Narnia and I've asked her to write down her thoughts on the books. So here goes!!

Clive Staples Lewis was born on 29 November 1898 and he died on 22 November 1963. He is commonly known as C.S. Lewis and he was one of THE best authors that ever lived. He is known for his series of books called The Chronicles of Narnia. I recently read the entire set and it is one of the best set of books I have ever had the privilege of reading. The characters are well described, the attention to detail amazing and the way C.S. Lewis put small biblical truths in the books is so sneaky that if you did not know what they are, you would not notice them.
I personally think that the movies made based on the books do not do them justice because they leave out a lot of key detail. 
The books are about four children who get into Narnia and the adventures that they have while they are in Narnia. I would highly recommend the books to anyone who loves to read. Especially those of you who love a good fantasy / adventure read.
 ---Sarah Hampshire

 I have to agree with Sarah, Narnia was definitely one of my favorite reads and the little life lessons in the books are priceless!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Okay guys and gals ... no research here. Just my thoughts and my own personal experience ... so, read with an open mind.

These past few weeks I’ve been involved in a few discussions about counseling … and being a trained Social Worker and Trauma Debriefer I guess I have seen and experienced most of it-more or less ...

So here is a quick comment on my personal experiences. I was a counselor for more than ten(10) years and also received my share of counseling due to compassion fatigue, trauma and burnout. So I was fortunate, or unfortunate, to experience both sides of the coin …

What I’ve seen is that counseling is mostly reactive, this means that we react on an existing problem or crisis. And the answers or solutions to these issues usually come from the counselor and not necessarily from the patient or God. And now you will say, but what about the Christian counselor? Well, even though you might depend on God for guidance you still tend to add the ideas, theories and your thoughts to the table … whatever the situation might be, we are still addressing the problems reactively; we are still doing crisis management.

I have learned that if there is a crisis there is a crack somewhere ~ in your foundation. We tend to hose the fire with water and hope it doesn’t act up again, but somehow it always does. And then we just pour some water again, we are treating or fixing the symptoms. Why not go for the whole shebang? What’s the real cause? Are you really in Christ? Do you really know God? Do you experience Him? Are you actually listening when He tells you to get your act together? Are you allowing Him to influence, infiltrate and flow through your whole being? What about sin?

Lol, and I know that I’m stepping on some toes here … But hear me out. I’m talking here from a Christian perspective.

I’ve only experienced true healing when I fully submitted to God, when I totally allowed Him to work in me, when I did what He told me to do and what He expected me to do, when I allowed Him to change my heart and renewed my mind. When I became a full and active participant of the Body of Christ, when I allowed a mentor to speak into my life and when I became accountable to another person. When I was sure of my rebirth, that I was called unto Him and that His truth must be the foundation of everything that I am – then I could say for the first time; “I am free”, “I am healed” and “I am healthy”.

Why are we always trying to take God’s work out of His hands? Can we do anything better than the Creator Himself? Hey, God designed all the sources to feed us! He gave us the truth … why not start using it …Why not start from the place where it all makes sense? Why not knock on the door of the Counselor?

And then go from there … give good COUNSEL.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review SECONDHAND JESUS : Trading rumors of God for a firsthand faith ~ Glenn Packiam

As you know but now, I love Glenn Packiam’s music and his books. Go and check out my thoughts on BUTTERFLY IN BRAZIL. Glenn's second book, SECONDHAND JESUS – TRADING RUMORS OF GOD FOR A FIRSTHAND FAITH. Secondhand Jesus was published by David C. Cook in 2009 and is a must read for every one that’s wondering if there’s shortcuts to God, struggling with that personal relationship with God, thinking that they cannot hear from God, living through the grapevine and whose life is falling apart …

Mark Buchanan writes in the foreword:
“It’s a clear-eyed and unflinching look at how Christians, pastors included, miss Jesus and misrepresent Him. It’s ruthless and yet loving critique of how often we, with all the best intentions, redefine what it means to know Jesus and worship Him alone.”
“But this book is not a tirade; it’s no self-righteous harangue against modern innovations followed by a stern call to return to that ‘old time’ religion. It’s more a confession and a plea. It’s bone-deep admissions of personal failure, a heartfelt repentance for that failure, and a soul-stirring call to put aside childish things and to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It’s honest and forthright. It’s inspiring and convicting. It confronts, and it invites.”

And that’s exactly what this book did for me within the first few pages. Glenn once again shared on a very personal level, which opened up a lot of issues I’ve been experiencing. Ever experience a “what the heck” moment? That moment when you feel and see your life falling apart, everything comes to a halt and you wonder what the heck is going on … A loved one dies, you are in the middle of an ugly divorce, you’ve lost your job, your house, your car, diagnosed with a deadly illness …

I was there in 2003 when I was involved in a serious head-on collision where my best friend died, as well as the driver of the other vehicle. A week before the accident I was diagnosed with burn-out and compassion fatigue and my relationship was not what it was suppose to be. Believe me, my world was falling apart - everything, all at once! And the words of C.S Lewis became a reality:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”


Now, I had a relationship with God. I knew Him well. I spoke to Him daily. But it was obvious that I’ve missed some pretty important things …

Glenn says in Chapter One, “But every once in awhile, our hands are pried off our faces, our eyes are almost forcibly opened, our ears are unplugged. We catch a glimpse for ourselves, a glimpse that will be our undoing. And our salvation. In that moment, we are ruined and redeemed by that little glimpse.”

I remember, when the oncoming vehicle was coming for us, I was praying like never before … but I also knew that no matter what, God’s Will will be done. And I’ve experienced peace like never before. I knew where I will be going should I die and at that moment I also knew that all will be well … But I also knew that a lot of things will be falling apart …And fall apart they did :-)

But I also realized, as Glenn states in SECONDHAND JESUS, that I have believed rumors about God that have kept me from Him, kept me from really knowing Him. I have relied so much on the church … the do’s and don’ts … ensnared in religion … counselors … We get so comfortable with it all that we don’t go to the Source and check, yes check.

I have learned that God will not always give me what I want … I have to know His Will, His plan … seek Him and He will give me what I need. There’s a huge difference between what I want and what I need! I have learned that full surrender and obedience leads to God Himself – the greatest blessing of all, and Kingdom living. God is not an add-on to my life … I cannot just “add” Him to my doings, my plans, my everyday life … my life is God. Ha ha ha, God is not pleased with me just because I’m good! Glenn says, “But grace is not just a second chance. If it were, it would not be that amazing, because no matter how hard we try or how many times we try, we cannot fully please God. We simply do not have the ability. The truth-and it’s painful to admit-is that no matter how good we are, we will never be good enough to satisfy God’s holiness.” The only way is humility … such a difficult concept in today’s world where we want to be someone, something … pride can be the greatest and most difficult struggling blocks.

One of the statements that Glenn made that really shook my world is:
“God’s justice is not simply philosophical; it’s personal. Every time I sin, I am spitting in God’s face, insulting Him b my insistence on living apart from Him. I am saying He is not enough-not good enough, not powerful enough, not worthy enough-to have my devotion, dependence, and obedience. When I sin, I am in essence saying that God is not God. And if God is to be God, He cannot tolerate such mutiny and insult. It is an affront to His character. And I am the offender.”  Wow! I did not know what to make of this … then Glenn wrote, “Our response to God is not to try and repay or try to filter our behavior enough to become better. It is to surrender, completely and fully, out of love for Him. The only way to respond to such lavish love from God is love in return-the kind of love that makes us give ourselves fully to Him.”

Since 2003 I have come a long way. I have grown so much. God have shared so many secrets with me. Gave me many many promises. I have experienced that intimate and personal relationship with Him, I know now more than ever that He IS alive … because He speaks to me every day. I see and experience Him in my life, daily … I can see His hand everywhere. I can do the most stupid of stupid things and I know He is there, watching and guiding. I know He's smiling at me right now. I know that I make Him laugh. He enjoys my questions and challenges. I know that I love Him more than life itself … and that I will sacrifice my own life for Him. I cannot and don't want to forsake Him. I want to know Him more and more ...

Today I can say what Job have said:
“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand-from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry-forgive me. I’ll never do that again. I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” (Job 42:5-6 MSG)

I realize that this is more a testimony than a book review, but I needed a lot of these things opened up for me, again – Glenn managed to do that for me. Thank you Glenn for a brutally honest and hard-hitting book!
Read it for yourself, it will change your world. You will realize that you’ve relied on rumors … and I pray that Jesus Himself will reveal the truth to you.

Be blessed!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Billion Condoms and 40,000 Sex Workers - Sex Tourism?

[WE4JSW7P6TNE] This article in The Huffington Post on May 10, 2010 says it all :
By Iva Skoch, GlobalPost
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- The taxi drivers hustling around the bars on Long Street in Cape Town say they are ready for all the soccer fans that will flood the city in June for the World Cup. So are hotels, restaurants, breweries and, inevitably, prostitutes.

Arguably, the soccer World Cup is to the sex industry what the holiday season is to candy shops. A temporary surge of excited people feeling collectively festive, willing to pay for a bit of extra indulgence.

South Africa's Drug Central Authority estimates 40,000 sex workers will trickle in for the event from as far as Russia, the Congo and Nigeria to cater to the wide taste spectrum of some 400,000, mostly male, visitors and their apres-soccer needs.

Henry Africa, 49, drives a taxi in Cape Town and, aside from the usual airport pickups and winery tours, he also operates the "Bright Red Tour," which he expects to be a hit among soccer fans. For the equivalent of 500 dollars, he'll shuttle customers from strip bar to strip bar all night and even bring them over to a safe-sex practicing prostitute, a relevant selling point in a country where one in five adults are estimated to be HIV positive.

Over the years as a cabbie, he says he has seen it all: men hoping to try sex with someone HIV-positive, men getting drugged, beat up and robbed because they thought they could find what they needed on their own.

"If they don't know where to go, they can end up in trouble," said Africa. "What people pay for is safety."

Safety has remained the main keyword here, a month before kick off. Hosting the prestigious world soccer tournament is the country's first post-apartheid chance to be in the global spotlight for news other than that associated with South Africa of the last two decades: out-of-control crime, an immense gap between the rich and the poor, racial tensions, staggering AIDS rates and presidential eccentricities. It is South Africa's chance to finally shed its infamous label of an unsafe tourist destination, a tag so despised by locals.

On April 17, in an article titled "Enough already -- stop dissing this fantastic country," the author Carol Lazar sums up the sentiment in the newspaper Star. "The hype overseas whether or not South Africa is a safe country to visit is the biggest waddle around ... Enough now from these assholes oversees who spread doom and gloom," she writes. "Visitors to South Africa, whether they come for the World Cup or just to holiday, will have the experience of their lives."

It's no surprise South Africans are defensive about outside criticism. The country has worked hard to show off the "new South Africa" to the world. It has been promoting the marvels of ethnic diversity and advertising its national parks. It's built brand new stadiums, renovated airports, repaired roads and installed free condom dispensers. But the country realizes none of it will matter unless it can provide the one thing everyone is focused on -- safety.

All nine South African cities hosting the games have increased police presence in strategic areas. The Cape tourism board issued a code to try to curb sex tourism. Children around the country are being educated about the dangers of World Cup-related sex trafficking. AIDS awareness campaigns have been launched.

Even President Jacob Zuma -- himself a polygamist, father of at least 20 children and an infamous condom skeptic -- isn't taking any frivolous chances with the World Cup. During his official visit to the United Kingdom in March, he asked the government to supply 1 billion extra condoms to South Africa before the upcoming tournament.

In the view of many, this was seen as a progressive move from a president who doesn't exactly lead by example. Just last week, Zuma announced his HIV tests came back negative, although he has admitted to having unprotected sex with women other than his four wives. Others rolled their eyes at South Africa shooting itself in the foot again by promoting itself as a country that encourages sex tourism and prostitution.

Either way, Britain responded by sending 42 millions condoms, a number sufficient to supply almost every citizen of South Africa with one condom or every tourist expected to travel there with one hundred. Still, some fear that exposing so many rowdy soccer watchers in such a high infection-risk area might result in an increase of HIV rates upon their return to Europe.

A Congolese prostitute, who goes by the name "Scarlet" and works on Long Street, arrived here last month and will stay in Cape Town for at least a few months or maybe permanently, "if God allows," she said. She wears a black tank top with the logo of Bafana Bafana, the name of the South African national soccer team, "The Boys."

Work has been slow, she said, but she's hopeful the World Cup will change that.

"White men like black women," she said proudly about the anticipated wave of soccer fans in search of exoticism.

Scarlet says she uses condoms most of the time, unless men pay her extra to not use one. "Men don't like condoms," she said.

Most do, however, like soccer.

ONE(1) BILLION CONDOMS!! Did I see correctly? Everyone is planning on making big money from the World Cup, but I can't help but think that the only industry that will "benefit" ... will be the sex industry. Is this what we are left with? One billion condoms, 40,000 sex workers, human trafficking of boys and girls, abuse and misuse of every kind? In a country that is already struggling under one of the highest HIV/Aids infection rates.

The question that we should be asking: 

Am I going to turn my face away?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Enjoying my beautiful country

Usually when we have a management meeting we leave very early in the morning, usually around five(5) and we get back at around eight(8) in the evening ... that is around eight(8) hours on the road and just about that amount of hours in the meeting. the scary part is that it all happens in 24-hours! Because of that it's not unusual that we miss the beauty around us; either we are still fast asleep, tired, irritated, not in the mood for stops (except coffee) or wasting time on the trip.

This time around we decided that we are going to sleep over and take our time reaching our destination. You see, we are fortunate to have our management meetings in the beautiful Lowveld in the Mpumalanga province. And we miss the "fortunate" part because we are always in a hurry and ... but these past two days I've realized once again that we need to stop and appreciate the little things around us; friends, companionship, a good laugh, praying together, drinking a cup of coffee, spending time with old friends, making new friends, slowing down, enjoying nature and watching a Bollywood movie in the middle of the week ^^,)

Here is just a few photographs of what I've enjoyed the past two days in Nelspruit and Kaapsehoop :

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What I got from Butterfly in Brazil ~ Glenn Packiam

I first made my acquaintance with Glenn Packiam by way of New Life Worship, thanks to my brother-in-law. Always in search of new music they were a breath of fresh air. Then I happened on Desperation Band and the fact that Glenn Packiam is not only an avid blogger but also a writer. Finding his Blog challenging and though provoking I got myself a copy of his first book, Butterfly in Brazil – How your life can make a world of difference.

But before I go on with Butterfly in Brazil here’s a bit of background on Glenn:

Glenn Packiam is an Associate Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he leads the Sunday Night Campus and serves as the Director of the New Life School of Worship. As one of the founding leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band, Glenn has been featured on several Desperation Band and NewLifeWorship albums including Everyone Overcome, the award-winning My Savior Lives and the most recently released Counting on God. Glenn has written a few well-loved worship songs like "Your Name", "Everyone (Praises)", and "My Savior Lives." His second book, Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith was released with David C. Cook Publishing in June 2009, in conjunction with his debut solo album Rumors and Revelations from Integrity Music.

Back to Butterfly in Brazil that also became our first Book Club read at Church, which led to a lot of  “A Ha-moments” and “Ha ha ha moments” … that is now due to all the different South African pronunciations …But seriously, it is an excellent book to read as a group of friends or in a book club.

What makes Butterfly in Brazil so special is the examples Glenn uses out of his own life; how he grew up, met his wife, his studies and how he grew in his relationship with God and his lessons learned. Glenn also uses a lot of human stories; for example Rosa Parks, Frank Wills, Martin Luther, Nehemiah, stories of athletes, etc. that makes the book so much more personal to the reader.

In Chapter One Glenn writes: 
“BEGINNINGS are only as significant as their endings. A runner who doesn’t win the race finds no consolation in a good start. Successful endings are often determined by the very ordinary moments in the middle.”
That made me think; like me always looking for a new challenge, a new book, new music, etc. we all focus on the “new”. And we forget about all the stuff happening in the middle, which is usually the thing we don’t want to talk about and would rather like to forget. Because it usually is the struggles, the failures and heartache, but Glenn states clearly that successful endings are often determined by the very ordinary moments in the middle … The hard work, the blood sweat and tears, the failures or near-failures, the moments we want to give everything up and just let go, the moments of tears and depression.

Glenn also writes:
“Everybody wants to start a revolution; but nobody wants to fight to the last man standing.”
It happens so often that we start something, especially something we feel passionate about, but when the going gets tough … the people gets going and you end up the last one standing. That is if you don’t throw in the towel somewhere on the road yourself. Why is that? Is it the quick-fix life we are living in? Everything has to happen the easy way, I don’t want to work hard, pray hard and keep going?

Glenn again:
“We long to be extraordinary, to be remembered long after we’re gone, to be part of something greater than ourselves, to leave a legacy; yet we don’t want to go to work on Monday morning. A life of humble beginnings can end with epic significance. One life can make a world of difference.”
I guess we don’t want to start with the small … we don’t want to be faithful with the little given to us. We don’t know how to persevere anymore, we just want to “add water” and presto there we go! The fact is that life doesn’t happen like that; we all have to start somewhere, small and insignificant and sometimes have to re-start … and persevere and stay the course.

I always wondered why it is so difficult to get a team going or why people don’t seem to realize their dreams. All of us have such wonderful skills, gifts, ideas and tools; but are stuck in the “far far away future” or the “one day or next year.” Sounds like SHREK and the land of FAR FAR AWAY :) But what the hey, right “here and now” we are struggling to get things done!
 “Burning hearts for lost souls don’t make anything happen; but hands used to make a meal, build a shed, clean a home, or wash some feet are doing ‘the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to do.’”

Glenn showed me that:

  • You should get involved where there is a need. Be it the small group at the school that’s cleaning the school grounds. Heaven forbid, that is beneath me!! No, that is where there is s current need – you cannot safe the earth if you don’t start with picking up papers! The soup kitchen at church, reading to elders in the old age home, whatever and wherever there is a current need.
  • Be faithful there, even if it’s boring or not 100% your thing. There are so many people getting involved in teams or events and they end up leaving after 2-3 months because they feel their task is “unimportant”.

    “As Christians, we become God’s men or women on the inside, like spies on a covert operation. As long as we stay ‘on mission,’ God has as agent on the scene. We’re His hands and feet, on location, doing what needs to be done.”
  • Get your focus right. We tend to focus on the hungry and burdened outside our community, while those on the inside are struggling and fending for themselves. I’m involved in Swaziland, but my Home Church is also reaching out to the people living on the streets in our hometown with something as simple as soup and bread rolls. Get to know your environment and the immediate needs there …
  • And last but not the least, leaders you should also get your hands dirty. People will follow when they see you “do”. Leaders are constantly complaining that the volunteers or team members are lazy and not getting the work done, but they are following the leader’s example … Make sense to me :-)

    “Lasting change happens when we learn to work with others to harness the strength of diversity and numbers.”
Butterfly in Brazil brought back into focus what should be important, what is important, and practical. I really believe that if we cannot be faithful to the little things, God (and the world we work and live in) cannot and will not entrust the larger things to us.

“God doesn’t define success or greatness the way we do. And he doesn’t define failure the same way either.” Wow and ouch!!

I also believe in servant-hood, and our biggest stumbling block here is PRIDE. I am an expert control freak and I struggle to submit, but I have learned an l-o-n-g time ago that God is the type of person you should rather submit to otherwise your will feel the consequences. There is no place in His Kingdom for my own little kingdom … The more I surrender to His plan for my life, the more I see the true and bigger picture.

“If we live each phase of life as if it’s a stepping stone to greatness, we will find ourselves living each moment at half-speed. God wants us to take what’s stirring in our hearts today and act upon it here and now. Instead of waiting for great things to happen, we should be asking God, “What do I do about this idea now? I know that someday there may be a greater fulfillment of the dream – maybe there’s a piece that won’t unfold until twenty years from now – but what do I do here and now?” everything God has put inside us must be expressed and acted on here and now – or it will never multiply and grow. No matter how small and seemingly insignificant it might be, we can do something today; we can get started with something”

One of my favorite stories in the book is about Ben Couch that moves to Nepal in February 2005. Now I’m not going to relate his story here, you have to read it for yourself but Ben wrote the following in his journal:

“[The world] belongs to them. They are the central figures of time – as though history is just the telling of them from one to the next.
    Economics – the story of those who risked money to create more;
    … Religion – the story of those who risk believing in something that could possibly be wrong;
    … Music, arts, poetry, movies, social life belong to the heart that is willing to risk;
    Evangelism – is the risk of rejection;
    Pastor – risk of leading;
    Inventions – all must begin with the risk of their being impossibilities;
    Business, millionaires, farmers, and entrepreneurs – a risk of weather, soil, and seed.
    In all things, there are unknown factors, but the world belongs to those who embrace the unknown and risk failure to pursue greatness.”

So, if you want to be part of something extraordinary … something bigger than yourself … now is the time to start. Get involved!!

Get Chapter 1 – Beginnings here and start today!

Here is Glenn talking about his about book Secondhand Jesus - Trading rumors of God for a firsthand faith.

(All quotes from Butterfly in Brazil – Glenn Packiam. Tynedale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois, 2007)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rescuing girls from sex slavery ~ CNN Heroes

I happened on this article by Ebonne Ruffins posted at CNN HEROES  thanks to a friend.

Here's a few quotes from the article, but please go and visit the page and read for yourself :

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.

"I used to be really sad and frustrated with what was happening in my life," she said.
The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta's visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.

"The brothel where I was ... there [were] many customers coming in every day. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn't comply, [she] would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons."
 It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims.

"Families are tricked all the time," said Koirala. "The trafficking of the girls is done by people who are basically known to the girls, who can lure them from the village by telling them they are getting a nice job. It's a lucrative business."

By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993.

 I also checked out the Maiti Nepal website and what they are doing.

MAITI Nepal was born out of a crusade to protect Nepali girls and women from crimes like domestic violence, trafficking for flesh trade, child prostitution, child labor and various forms of exploitation and torture. A group of socially committed professionals like teachers, journalists and social workers together formed Maiti Nepal in 1993 to fight against all the social evils inflicted upon our female populace. Most of all, its special focus has always been on preventing trafficking for forced prostitution, rescuing flesh trade victims and rehabilitating them. This social organisation also actively works to find justice for the victimized lot of girls and women by engaging in criminal investigation and waging legal battles against the criminals. It has highlighted the trafficking issue with its strong advocacy from the local to national and international levels.

I'm just once again reminded that we should start to walk the talk and not wait for others to make a change. Change can start with one person ... taking action on an existing platform. We don't have to re-invent the wheel, just get involved right where you are, locally, and you will make a difference.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Follow-up on SCARED and PRICELESS by Tom Davis

Just a quick follow-up on SCARED and Tom Davis' next book PRICELESS. Priceless will be released on June 1st 2010. You can download Chapter 1 free here. For a limited time only you can also get a free download of SCARED  here.

She is Priceless is a website by Children's HopeChest and focus specifically on sex trafficking. Please go and check it out and become part of the solution.

Here is some trafficking data from the website:

Monday, April 12, 2010


Tom Davis is surely one of my heroes and a man I have a lot of respect and admiration for. Tom and a team are currently in Russia and Moldova to, and I quote:
Because we're sick of the evils forced on young girls who are being lured and kidnapped in the sex-trade industry.
Over 20% of women in Moldova are forced into the sex trade, which makes it the highest rate in the world. That is children and orphans simply disappearing from the streets … 30,000 women have literally disappeared in a country where the capital city has over 250 brothels! Now, some might say that Moldova is one of the poorest countries in the world, but that is no excuse or permission to exploit women or children.

Yet, this is a country filled with secrecy. You don't see hundreds of young women walking on the street offering themselves to passersby like in Bangkok. Technically, prostitution is illegal in this country under the new government but for years this was the center for women that were shipped into and out of to various places in the world. It was a clearing house of sorts where they would receive passports and paperwork.

One of the main ways girls get trapped is attempting to escape from the country for a better life abroad. 90% of the population wants to migrate out of Moldova because this is the poorest country in Europe. The opportunities are few and women long for a better life. This is the perfect environment for a trafficker. That life is promised to them by a company who offers, "great salaries" in England, America, Germany, etc. They sign up, get on a plane, and that's when the nightmare begins for them.

The majority of women and girls that are trafficked come from rural areas. Over 10 percent are under 18 years old, some as young as 12 years old. Traffickers recruit women and girls through different strategies:

Direct contact ~
Women and girls, or their families, are approached by traffickers. The traffickers are often women from the same village who have previously worked as prostitutes or have been trafficked abroad and became traffickers. The family is often paid money in advance and the woman or girl is expected to earn the advance and pay back the family’s debts;

Advertisements are placed in the press, offering jobs abroad ~
The advertisements directed at young women offer jobs as waitresses or house help, but more often bluntly state that the jobs are for those willing to work in the sex industry;

Tourist agencies offer full migration services from arranging passports and Schengen visas to transportation and work contracts. There are more than 3,000 tourist agencies, of which only some 140 have an official license to operate;

Job agencies ~
Out of a total of 100 job agencies, only fourteen have official licenses and these mostly hire men for construction work. Only three agencies offer jobs to women as waitresses and nurses. Others offer illegal work. Some of these enterprises are run by organized crime groups and operate as covers for trafficking.

From Tom Davis' Blog. Visit Tom's blog for more information, video's and photographs.

Furthermore, Children's HopeChest is launching a ministry to victims of sex trafficking in Moldova, helping to bring healing to girls rescued from brothels.

If you would like to bring healing to victims of sex trafficking, then HopeChest  invites you to make a gift toward their Stop the Secret Moldova Launch Fund.

There are four young women in two different safe houses in Moldova that needs help right now, $400/month provides care to one rescued girl for one month.

These brave young women were rescued, and now are embarking upon the long and difficult journey to healing.  The aftercare programs provide round-the-clock care, protection, medical care, and counseling.

   Support four survivors of sex trafficking for 1 full year: $19,200
   Complete the Renovation of Group Counseling Room: $1,200
   Finish the Security Fence: $1,400
   General Ministry Support: $3,200

Another way you can help now is to purchase a necklace. has come alongside Hopechest to help BREAK THE CHAINS of sex trafficking and orphan hood in Eastern Europe.  They are selling beautiful, hand-made necklaces for Mother’s Day, where the proceeds will benefit girls in Moldova rescued from sex trafficking.

Each of these projects is urgent, and provides healing to young women who have been rescued. To support any of these projects, click the donate button at Support Moldova  and put “Support Moldova” in the notes section of the give pages. You can also visit the web page for more information.

We can make a difference. We can change the world. When we lead with compassion, we can move from apology to action. And out of action springs hope-hope and life - Tom Davis, Red Letters.

Please re-post this, spread the word - start the fire and be part of the change.

 Another issue close to my heart is Child Abuse and in India Farah Khan Ali is lending her voice to the Fight against Child Abuse.

The time has come to ACT now and raise our voices before another child is harmed and becomes another newspaper report in a paper tomorrow. As a parent and as a concerned citizen I feel as a collective voice maybe we can make that difference so that the world is safer place for our children to grow for they are our future generation. Join Me my giving me your support as I take on this long and arduous journey to punish the perpetrators who scar the innocent minds of our children forever....

Read more on Farah's plea to Wake up and Stand up at Farah Khan Ali Friends Club.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SCARED ~ A Novel on the edge of the world

This is one of the many FIRSTS for me. My first "book review" ... not exactly a review, but more the "after-effects" ... Isn't that what 's suppose to happen after good reading?

I’ve re-finished Scared ~ A Novel on the Edge of the World written by Tom Davis over the long-weekend and thought it was one of the most blatantly truthful and sadly beautiful books I’ve read in a long time.

Being involved in Swaziland for the last couple of years it makes Scared just such a more amazing book, it’s about Swaziland and her people. Publisher, David C. Cook says in his note at the beginning of the book:
“Child advocate and speaker Tom Davis gives us a gripping portrayal of the hurt and pain that affects many in Africa. This story reminds us of our need to be engaged in being light in a very dark world. Some scenes will grip and haunt you, some passages you will want to run away from - but this is real life. And real life requires true Christ followers to act justly and love mercy. May Adanna’s story inspire and embolden you.”

That is exactly what happened to me. I’ve always had a passion for the hungry, the hurt and the abandoned and I love Swaziland and its people ~ but reading this book started a change in me ... a shift in how I thought about others … how I see myself in relation to others …I experienced true compassion. Not just that “shame, the poor things” or “it’s so sad” type of feeling but gut wrenching compassion.

Swaziland has one of the highest HIV/Aids infection rates and we know that there are thousands of orphans in the country, but that might be all we know. We don’t realize the huge impact it has on these people’s lives, we don’t know how they live each and every day, we are not aware of their true every day struggles. But knowing makes it so much more personal and real. The plights of the children are basically the following:

“ Both of her parents died from AIDS, then a distant uncle took her in. Her life was reduced to the life of a slave. She was forced to work fifteen hours a day, and her uncle sold her body to men in the community so he could have money for alcohol. Then he began violently raping her on a daily basis.” (From Scared by Tom Davis)

That is the story of so many little girls in Africa. The Swazi Observer of March 8, 2010 reported:

"ABOUT 80 children have been raped in Swaziland in the last two months, police have said. Statistics released by late last week indicate that from January to the end of February, at least 121 rape incidents were reported in the country, and more than two-thirds of these involved children. Such alarming figures have fuelled the call for urgent passing of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Bill into law.

Police Director of Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Senior Superintendent Leckinah Magagula has raised an alarm, especially to women and children - who are major targets of abuse. Senior Superintendent Magagula encouraged parents to keep a ‘hawk-eye' on their children, particularly during the current marula season. The seasonal marula brew and alcohol abuse had been cited as the leading cause for most rape cases in the country. Magagula said a number of children were raped on the way home after school and some at their respective homes.

Police have warned that most children were raped by people well known to them. The statistics show that they are in danger from their siblings, parents, uncles, neighbors and helpers. The unprecedented increase in rape cases has fuelled police to call upon parliament to urgently pass the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Bill to Law. Senior Superintendent Magagula observed that the country was using outdated laws with light penalties against the perpetrators. She prayed that parliament would apply the same urgency it shows when passing the Human Trafficking Law. The country is stuck with pre-colonial laws such as the Crimes Act of 1889 and the Girls and Women's Protection Act of 1920. In essence, such laws cripple the efficiency of the judicial system and do not effectively address the evolving trends of abuse. "It is high time perpetrators are given harsher sentences," she said.

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill have been tabled in both Houses of Parliament and this legislation seeks to address some major gaps which appear in the current laws dealing with sexual offences and domestic violence. For instance, it has broadened the definition of rape to cover not only unlawful sexual intercourse with another but also unlawful sexual acts committed under certain circumstances, including any coercive manner, under false pretence or by fraudulent means, under duress, fear of violence or psychological oppression."

That might be the story of some little girls in your hometown. I can hear you say, “What?” It is true, a few friends and I had a quick soup-run in my hometown a while ago and I was stunned at what I saw. We had families evicted from their homes, people wandering the streets because they had nowhere else to go, and YES, 12 -13 years old child prostitutes. This was within a 3-kilometer radius from my home ~ abuse, poverty, death, and destruction are all on my doorstep. This reality made me realize that I cannot ignore my responsibility any longer; I cannot pretend that it is not my problem or that I cannot be part of a solution.

Yes, Adanna’s story did “embold” me to take a step and do something. It did shake me into action. And it was not that difficult and definitely not that impossible. We can sit around in our comfort zones and think of excuses not to get involved or we can get off our couches and start making a difference. The choice is yours. Get involved where you are, find out what is the available platforms where you can get involved. Ask, “Where can I serve”?

If you want to read a life-changing book get a copy of Scared.

Go and visit the Scared publicity page at  Scared   or  Tom Davis' Blog for more on Swaziland and the plight of the vulnerable in the rest of the world.

I by no means want you to feel guilty, but I do want you to realize that we are ineffective and comfortable in our comfort zones and the time has come that we become "doers". The world around us will not change if we sit around and wait. The time is now and the place right where you are.

(Photograph by Werner Diedericks)

A preview of Tom's next book PRICELESS here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hello, Integrity still out there?!

This is something that I try to live by day-by-day, but also thought about the past couple of weeks. I think it's just because of all the things happening around me, around us, in the world. And I was wondering if INTEGRITY is still out there ... I see people going about their everyday life, fitting INTEGRITY in where they decide it should be. Be it at work, home, relationships, religion, sport, wherever. But shouldn't it be part of our entire life, everyday? What is INTEGRITY? It is incorruptibility, soundness, and quality of state of being complete or undivided. It has to do with perceived
consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome. Some people see integrity as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to motivations for one's actions. Some people use the term hypocrisy in contrast to INTEGRITY for asserting that one part of a value system that demonstrably conflicts with another... Being a Christian I love the description from R.B. Thieme, Jr.:
wholeness of character, consistency of word and deed, uncompromising adherence to a code of values. Christian integrity comes from living by the Word of God.
I know this is a lot of definitions; but I'm a stickler for research :-) But having read all this I just once again realized that INTEGRITY has to do with the consistency of what we do with who we claim to be. It should filter through and be our entire way of life; at home, work, play, sport, religion, relationships, how we shop, how we talk, conflict management, etc. Then why don't we steal a DVD, but we don't have a problem to make an illegal copy? We are law abiding citizens, but we don't stick to the speed limit. We believe that we should not tell lies, but we don't have a problem telling a quick little white lie to our children or friends. We don’t talk on our cell phone while driving, but texting and driving is okay … Do you really have integrity when you only allow it in certain places in your life? While reading about INTEGRITY I came across these quotes from people that we consider our heroes or mentors
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none - William Shakespeare
Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught - J.C. Watts
Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value - Albert Einstein
Quality means doing it right when no one is looking - Henry Ford
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world - Goerge Bernard Shaw
I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill - Mahatma Gandhi
It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways - Buddha
The time is always right to do what is right - Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare - Mark Twain

(Photograph at top of post by Werner Diedericks)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Welcome to my little space :)

This Blog will be filled with my obsessions, thoughts, ideas and passions. So hold on to your seats!! Some days I might have a lot to say and some days not … I might even ask a few friends to share their thoughts. I love people, books, movies, music and food.

I'm addicted to Bollywood, yip that's right. Rather difficult addiction here in South Africa, but I manage. Becoming an import specialist and the Postal Service, my best friend. On the topic of Bollywood, I'm dreaming of my Indian holiday at the end of the year. Any suggestions, ideas? Please share!!

Well, that's all for now. My first post will be here before the end of the week.
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