One of the movies I watched the most often when growing up was Man of La Mancha.1 It seemed that every couple of months, some parent, youth group leader, or teacher decided it was time for a rerun. I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I do have a soft spot for this film.
When I was 17, I went with friends to spend carnival in the city of Salvador. We rented a very cheap house and slept on the floor like most of the locals. Even though our neighbors were very poor, they were exceptionally nice to us. The simple life they lived and the love and friendship they gave freely were the secret to the happiness and laughter they shared. It dawned on me, for the first time, that love was the answer for many of the problems of humankind.
In a video clip I watched on YouTube some time ago, one of the participants in a panel was talking about a trying time in her life that had led to serious depression. A friend advised her to put together a list of 1,000 reasons for gratitude, so she started keeping track of the good things that came across her path each day, and slowly the tide of negativity turned.
We live on a country road on the outskirts of a small town. There are two ways to enter our village from our side of town, but both present several obstacles for cyclists like my husband and me.
One entrance has a STOP sign that is habitually ignored by the motorists, many of whom pay no attention whatsoever to the right-of-way rules. Many folks use this road as a shortcut and don’t realize that there are narrow stretches, pedestrians shopping at roadside stalls, and lowly cyclists on our way to town.
Have you ever wondered why it seems that some prayers aren’t answered? Have you even ever, like me, wondered why it seems that it’s your prayers, specifically, that aren’t answered?
Having been a believer all my life, I’ve prayed for many, many things, and I’ve also often experienced the disappointment of my prayers not being answered—at least, not in the way that I’d expected or hoped.
There are many instances when we pray for people and they are healed immediately or within a short time. But we also experience situations where we pray for some very serious afflictions repeatedly over months and even years, and still don’t see the results we’ve asked for. We could then be tempted to wonder what has happened. Has something gone wrong?
A few years ago my life changed, and not in a small way. There were so many changes at once. It was quite overwhelming and rather discouraging at times.
First, I had to move back to my home country, Ukraine, after having lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina for six years doing missionary and volunteer work. My two sons, who had always been with me, had grown into wonderful young men and moved on to pursue their goals. I needed to find a place to stay, a job, things to do, and motivation to go on.
Have you ever been stuck behind a truck in the middle of rush-hour traffic? The sight of a dirty truck, loaded down with an assortment of rusty metal objects and black, oil-laced fumes pouring out the exhaust pipe, is fairly common across Africa. To be caught behind one in a traffic jam is no one’s idea of pleasure.
Did you know that parking lots at midnight can be very romantic? I’m talking about the romance I experienced with Jesus while walking in a parking lot.
I needed to get some daily exercise and I only had two options: either go to the air-conditioned gym or walk in the warm outdoors. Since I get cold easily, I chose walking outside in the heat. However, I found that even for me, there’s a limit to the heat I can take. So since it was a very hot time of year, I had to wait until it was cooler outdoors—which turned out to be close to midnight.
Some years ago, a friend and I were on an overnight bus trip to another part of South Africa. We stowed our bags, connected our headphones, and braced ourselves for the long uncomfortable hours ahead. Before the journey began, I remember thinking I wish teleporters existed, and we didn’t have to waste all these hours just to get somewhere. Little did I suspect what was coming.