A Merry Heart
A Word in Season
As I Imitate Christ
Down Memory Lane
Ripe For The Harvest
Take It To Heart
The Parents'
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The Rhythm of Life
We Are The Church

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Volume 4, Issue 5 - March/April 2008

" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

~ Romans 8:28 NIV ~

Hello, and welcome to the March/April Issue of FaithWriters' Magazine. After a short break over January and February, we're back with more wonderful articles, stories and poems to inspire, encourage and keep you pressing on in God--and it all starts right here on the front page.

"Yes" and "no" are such little words, yet they both carry so much power. I tend to think of them as crossroads words, in that the use of either of them may change the direction of our lives, or the lives of others, quite dramatically--sometimes with eternal consequences.

Raising Derrick
By Debbie Roome

It was a simple little question. A matter of saying yes or no. Yet looking back, the answer changed the course of our lives.

It was 1992 and we had been living in South Africa for just over a year. We had four children under the age of six and number five would soon be on her way. Enter Ethel Zuma--a lovely woman who was working at our children's preschool as a cleaner. She was looking for accommodation, so we offered her an outside room in exchange for help with our ironing and housework. A few weeks after moving in, she approached us with one simple question. "I have a five-year-old son who lives with my mother in the rural areas. Can he come and live with me?"

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Our front page feature this issue left me pondering that very thought, as Debbie Roome shares with us a time when she and her husband listened to God's wisdom, said "yes," and welcomed five-year-old Derrick into their home. (That's Derrick today in the picture at the top of the page). I know you'll be blessed by their story, Raising Derrick. Two little words, but what great impact they both can have.

Jan Ackerson is one of our favorite FaithWriters' contributors. She's a regular winner in the weekly Writing Challenge, and is somewhat of a chameleon when she writes. You never quite know what to expect with Jan, except that it will always be something very worth reading. Her story, Flames, in Ripe for the Harvest is no exception. In fact, I believe this is one of Jan's best ever--and that's saying something. Satirical parable is about the closest I can come to describing this very clever message about evangelism. Don't miss it.

Do you ever find your eyes wandering around the room when someone is talking to you? Or perhaps hardly hear what they're saying because you're too busy thinking about what to say next? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you aren't alone. Listening doesn't necessarily come naturally--which is something most parents would very readily testify to. Yet, active listening is a valuable skill that we should all cultivate--particularly if we aspire to leadership.

FaithWriters' newcomer, Filoiann Wiedenhoff, shares some helpful hints on how to improve our listening skills in her article Learning to Listen as a Leader. The main goal of being a good listener is to be a blessing to others, and this is a really good, down to earth article to help us achieve that goal. Even if you are already a good listener, you may still learn a thing or two. I know I did.

Still on the subject of listening, I was particularly drawn to a poem by Sheri Gordon, Please. When my step-father died, I remember my mother saying that many of the sympathy cards she received actually made her feel worse. The platitudes meant to comfort sometimes had the reverse effect. When I read Sheri's poem, I immediately thought of Mom's comments. This is a poem written straight from the heart, and I believe many will echo the message. It's about being there, being a friend, and listening and loving. It's not the typical Rhythm of Life type poem, but it is very special.

Another quite different contribution this Issue can be found in one of my favorite sections, We are the Church. Living Stones, by fellow Australian, Fiona Stevenson, would best be described as a reflective comparison of the church in today's world. It is definitely food for thought. Are we truly being the living stones Christ intended us to be? Without even asking that question, Fiona leaves the reader considering their own experience as part of the Body of Christ.

For something a little lighter, don't miss Darlene Hight's true story, The Roller Coaster in A Merry Heart. Being an amusement park wimp from way back, I have to admit that Darlene's experience with her granddaughter made me laugh and cringe--all at the same time. If you need a chuckle, this is the story for you.

Then, take a detour Down Memory Lane and enjoy Sandra Fischer's delightful true story, Driving a Lesson Home. Sandra's humor shines through and this really is a treat to read (particularly for any parent who has ever dared to teach a teen to drive).

Here in Australia, at least in my home state, our learner drivers have to gain 120 logged hours of driving experience before they can go for their full license--and there's no driver's education in our schools. That means, apart from the odd driving school lesson to fine-tune the young learner's abilities, the onus is on the parents to help them reach that goal. Thankfully, it was only 50 hours when my two were learning, but even that meant an awful lot of nail-biting, invisible brake pumping, car door clutching moments.

Apart from having to act as a driver instructor, being a parent also requires the wisdom of Solomon--on a daily basis. The rules seem to change from generation to generation, if you believe the media, and many kids have become expert at getting what they want, when they want it. Unfortunately, what they want is often not what's best for them, and that's the theme of Chrissy Siggee's story, Butterfly Cakes and Parenting Skills. This story really is an ideal inclusion in our Parent's Survival Guide section, and I hope it's an encouragement to every mom and dad who reads it.

TJ Nickel's article, The Wise Helper, in A Word in Season, is on a similar theme. The wisdom of the world is even starting to infiltrate into the church, but there is one place where it comes to an end. This is a challenging article and one that is most appropriate at this time of year.

A few months ago, many FaithWriters' friends were praying for my husband, Steve, and me as we came very close to finally, after two years of waiting, seeing a breakthrough in an area that would free us up to make the "sea change" move we'd been longing for.

Actually, it's a "tree change" more than a "sea change," but you get the idea. The land's been waiting for us since 2005, but there is one rather big, very important obstacle in the way.

Once again, as things eventually came to a grinding halt, I mentioned that I was going to start acting as though the move was imminent and start packing boxes and preparing to go-whenever that may be. That was when one particular friend wrote to me to share a word of encouragement based on her own experiences.

As soon as I read Tammy's email, I knew she had to write it as an article so that others could be encouraged, as she had encouraged me. Tammy did that, and it is an absolute joy to be able to share her story, A Cup of Hope. Believe it or not, we even have a virtually identical mug to the one Tammy mentions in her story, which just made it all the more meaningful.

So, if you are waiting for God's direction or green light at the moment, I hope you'll be blessed and encouraged by Tammy's testimony.

As for Steve and me, we're still waiting, but we know God's in control--and our beautiful one acre of land certainly isn't going anywhere. It will still be there when God opens the door for us to go. In the meantime, we have our cup of hope.

Anyway, that's it for our March/April Issue. Don't forget, if you read something that really impacts you, please take a moment to write and let the author know by contacting them through the Letters page of this magazine. Your words of encouragement are such a blessing to them.

Until next time, may God bless you and your loved ones as we remember the sacrifice of our Savior and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

Deb Porter
Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine