May 05, 2016

Eagle's Wings in Auburn

I remember seeing a bald eagle as a kid on our drive up to Big Bear Mountain, but never up close except of course in the Zoo.

Today, I saw one in the park behind my house! This hungry eage was so patient as he scoped out his dinner among the man ducks and fish in our local lake. As he sat in the tree, a small aggressive bird would dive bomb this majestic eagle and the eagle was hardly disturbed. After some time, we saw this great bird launch himself from the tall pine tree, and then move swiftly toward a group of ducks. "Not the baby ducks!" I thought. I shouted to a lady with her 5 year old, "Look! A bald eagle!" With a splash, and loud squawk of the ducks, the huge eagle skidded the water and came out with its meal.

As he flew overhead of me, I saw the fish in his claws. Wow! Up he flew. 2 nagging birds followed him, trying to get at the fish. Undisturbed it seemed, the eagle flew in large circles higher and higher. The 2 birds kept pestering him, but this eagle went higher and higher, slowly but surely.

When he reached so high that I couldn't see the bold yellow beak or white tail anymore, the one black bird gave up, but the second kept at this bird at least 6x the size of him. Unfesterd, the eagle just kept going round and round, higher and high until it was too high for the little black bird. It was so high that all I saw was a black dot in the sky flowing on the surf of the wind- so calmly and confidently-- safe and satisfied with his catch.

It was a great lesson from God for all of us watching on the shore. When troubles or our enemies attack us, they are no match if we just stay focussed on our goal of being fed, and faithful to feed those we are responsible for. When we are being pursued, just go higher and higher and higher until the enemy can't breathe the air we are breathing and fall away without even our efforts.

Eagles also represent revival and renewal when they visit us. I pray that Auburn, along with your cities experience a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit during this Easter Season!

March 22, 2016

Unexpected Unity

I was recently invited to join a University prayer gathering at a local Christian University in Rocklin, CA. After the prayer, one of the lovely young students was telling my friend Pam about how she attended a Catholic Mass and had such an awful experience. My friend casually looked over to me, because she knew this was a divine set up that I would 'happen" to be there at that moment.

The young lady spoke about how her major is inter-cultural studies and she wanted to experience a Mass because Pam told her how she attended a Mass and someone (ME!) explained it all to her so clearly and she "loved it!" This sweet girl had quite the opposite experience and began crying. She even left her phone in the pew and returned 2 minutes later to find it gone. She was told by the person handing out bulletins that there was nothing they could do but to call the office on Monday. Poor girl!

When she was done unloading upon Pam, I looked at her, opened my arms and said, "I am SO sorry you had that experience. I am Catholic, and I want to ask your forgiveness. That is not the heart of our Church." We talked and wept for a few minutes. She couldn't believe this was happening. Healing and unity flowed.

A wise Lithuanian Bishop once told a group of us, "God wants to build community through love. If there is no love, He will build it through suffering." Let us reach out in love to those who are visiting our parishes, our work places, our social groups we attend and make them feel very welcome. It's a new day-- a new season in the world when fear and self protection seems to be increasing all around us. Let's walk in the opposite spirit and be friendly and genuine in the market places. You and I can make a difference!

June 01, 2015

Amidst the shaking of nations all around us and even within our own country, I wanted to thank everyone for your prayers. A lot of good things are happening around the world! This letter is too short to share them all...

Here are a several answers to our prayers:

1. My friends in Nuba Mountains, Sudan are alive and well! They were able to celebrate Easter without bombing! That is an amazing thing. Please keep praying for my friend Margaret Camarca, Dr. Tom Catena (Times 100 top inspiring persons for 2015) and the Sisters and staff. Please pray that the northern Arabs and leaders have encounters, dreams and visions of the True God, and the Father's love--an aspect not present in their religion. Missionary friend have told me that they know of first hand experiences of other religions having these divine encounters.

2. Wonderful time with my California Family.
It's been such a blessing to have these last 2 months at home. My dad is struggling with his "water on the brain" chronic condition and is such an example of suffering with patience. My Mom also has dealt with it with increasing patience also. I'm so grateful to now be in the same State I've been able to spend time with some cousins and my sister and her boyfriend and my Aunts and Uncles... It's great to be back in Cali!

3. I got a job in Sacramento with Sutter Health Care and move in early August!

4. A beautiful ecumenical gathering happened in Phoenix on May 23rd that I attended called the John 17 Movement (which is the name of the 4 page document I wrote last Fall.) Pastor Giovanni and his son, Luigi, who are part of the reconciliation movement in Italy and work with Matteo Calisi presented a video Pope Francis made for us. You can see them all on the links below. Pastor Joe Tosini of John 17, will be bringing a group of over 100 pastors for a private meeting with Pope Francis during the September Congress in Philadelphia. The Catholic Bishops of Phoenix were there and all gave inspiring talks. My new friend Suzy Kranitz led the praise and worship time for over 1500 people from all different churches. I am sure God wants me to share this grace to Sacramento.

5. Joseph Ofuho continues to do well in Medical school. He has two more years before he returns as a doctor to work in Sudan. I also will be able to sponsor a dear Rwandan friend, Pastor Joseph, who has been working for decades to help heal Africans to receive healing from their wounds. God is expanding their borders to even serve churches in Asia. They need $12,000 to buy land for their training center. Also, dear friends from Emmaus Center Catholic Charismatic center in Uganda also have a huge clinic that they are trying to get sponsored. If you know of any groups who would like to help, please let me know. Please pray for all of these three wonderful African brothers and their families.

6. Nate and Kate Freeman are doing great in the Steubenville mission house. The Monday prayer meeting continues to grow. I will be back in Ohio for 2 weeks this month to work and it will be a joy to see them and rejoice in all God is doing in Steubenville.

One of the key things that I am learning lately, or should say trying to learn, is the simple truth that God is with us... always-- at every moment. This transition has been both wonderful, but trying. I keep reminding myself, "No need to worry about if you're going to get a job, or where you will live. God promises to guide us if we are open to be led. Psalm 23 says, 'He sets a banquet before us amidst our enemies". Lately my enemy was and sometimes still is: Anxiety and fear. God tells us 365x in the Bible not to worry-- once for every day of the year.

I deceitfully feel in control if I worry--like I'm doing something about the uncertainty ahead. To instead walk each day calmly amidst uncertainty, trusting that the One who created me, leads me and loves me so much is what brings rest and peace to my body, mind and spirit. It takes courage and a letting go of self control to trust God WILL show me what doors to walk through if I do my best to listen and keep learning how to talk to God and listen to the still small voice. I'm learning... and so are you. It's worth the struggle and we are designed to live this way.

May your and my beginnings of summer be filled with increasing awareness of God's presence all around you. May His love for you encourage you to walk in peace, free from worry and fears so that your light will shine into the dark places around you and put a smile on people's faces!

Blessings and love to all of you!!