Introducing... Charis Rae!

I'm so honored to be a part of Charis Rae's blog launch (a.k.a. Grace from The Girl Upstairs), and here it is!

The Friendship

Hey ya'll! Today's post is different from anything else I've ever done. First though, I'll tell you a bit about why the title has two meanings.
I have an awesome, amazing, incredible new old friend. Why new old? Weeellll... you see, I met her several years ago but then lost contact. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found her three years later... on Stuffie Adventures! If you don't already know who I mean, I'm speaking of Rebekah (a.k.a. Rebcake)! We started commenting chatting, and then we both agreed to have a real WORD WAR! :D :D #supercompetitivepeeps
So yeah. We decided to *ahem* write a 5K word story and post it on our blogs. Mwhahaha. :) Wanna see hers first? That'd probably be best so that you can save the boredom for last. Personally, I love hers way better than mine. :) Read it right here!

Cho-Cho darted in front of me and danced across the rough terrain of the Hengduan Mountains. I trailed after her, navigating around the tall bamboo.

“Wait up!”  I called. Cho-Cho turned and giggled. Even though she was native to Myanmar, otherwise called Burma, she was fluent in English - although whenever she got excited or worried, she’d switch back to Burmese.

“Hurry up, Elise!” she retorted cheerfully, her accent only slightly penetrating her words.

“I’m trying!” I replied laughingly. Cho, as I called her, waited for me until I was only a few steps behind her. She grabbed the bamboo in front of her and pushed it out of her way… and then let it fly back into my face.

“Hey!” I protested. Cho cackled playfully. “You did that on purpose!” Of course she did. We continued traipsing about the mountainside until Cho looked into the sky, shading her eyes with her hand.

“I need to return to my family’s farm,” she informed me, watching the position of the sun.

“I should go back to my parents too,” I regretfully said. Cho’s family lived on a small farm in the countryside of the Hengduans, while my parents lived in the nearby village, serving as doctors. My mother had actually gotten her degree in teaching, but then went on to become a family doctor. Since the village was so small and unnoticeable to the Burmese officials, my parents were able to use their positions to bring the villagers to Christ. The two of us, inseparable friends, journeyed down the side of the Hengduan until we reached the faint rocky path that led to Cho’s home.

“Will I see you tomorrow at school?” I asked Cho. My friend glanced over her shoulder at the little bamboo house that sat in the middle of the farm.

“Maybe,” she mused. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to come, but I will try!”

“Okay!” I waved goodbye as she disappeared into the thatched house. I trudged down the trail alone, thankful for the friendship that I had with Cho.  We had become friends when we were six, when my parents first came to Burma with me. We’ve lived here ever since – for six whole years. When my parents began speaking of Jesus Christ among all the Buddhists, Cho’s parents were angry and wouldn’t allow her to even speak to me. That was when I was seven. About a year later, Cho’s father, Hwang, had a serious machete accident that could’ve easily been fatal without a doctor. The service that my father had done for Cho’s father, saving his life, had instigated a renewed friendship. Mr. Hwang respected my father, and despite our differences, he allowed Cho to play with me because of Mr. Hwang feeling indebted to my father. He wasn’t, of course, but I was grateful for a friend.

As I approached the small village and our home on the outskirts, I skipped towards the bamboo hut that was shaped like a U. There was a long portion at the front that served partially as the clinic and partially as the school. The two other sides that protruded from the front towards the back were used as our sleeping quarters and kitchen. Oftentimes, Cho and I would play in the little space inside the U with our homemade dolls. I ran in the side door of the sleeping quarters, searching for my mother.

“Mama!” I called, my bare feet padding on the bamboo mats. Through the open windows, I heard her call from the kitchen. I darted across the little space which I personally called the ‘courtyard’ from old English stories.

“Chapati?” Mama asked, holding out the thin pancake-like bread.

“Yes, please,” I said politely, taking the offered snack.

“Please take one to your father as well,” Mama requested, handing me a second chapati that was neatly wrapped in a piece of cloth.

“Yes ma’am,” I ran from the kitchen into the clinic, where Papa was stitching up an open wound that one of the villagers had. I watched with great interest, for one day, I was determined to be a missionary doctor like Papa.

“Keep the bandage on it,” Papa, otherwise known as Doctor Morganthal, instructed in perfect Burmese. “Wash it with clean water once a day, and then bandage it with the strips I’ve given you.” After the man had left, I approached my father, who was washing his hands vigorously and disinfecting the table.

“Mama sent something for you to eat,” I handed him the parcel.

“Kyay,” he told me, unwrapping it and withdrawing the chapati.

“You’re welcome,” I replied in English, with a little smirk on my face. Mama was always concerned that I would lose my American heritage by speaking Burmese all the time, so she mostly spoke to me in English. Papa, on the other hand, wanted me to continue being fluent in Burmese, so he spoke to me in Burmese. I actually enjoyed it, being able to switch back and forth between languages. Suddenly, I heard a pounding on the front door. Papa quickly placed the bread back into the cloth and hurried to the door.

I knew better than to be in his way while a patient was in the clinic, so I started to return to the kitchen.

“Elise, it’s Cho-Cho,” Papa called after me. I hurried back to the front of the clinic, where Cho-Cho was standing. She spoke in rapid fire Burmese, and I understood most of it.

“Go on ahead, Elise,” Papa allowed. “But return for our evening meal!” He spoke the last few words a bit louder, seeing as how Cho and I were dashing towards her house.

“What happened?” I asked, panting, as we sprinted up the trail. In short gasps, Cho explained in English.

“My father… was tending the animals… and he saw a snow leopard… attacking something…” Cho paused for a second to catch her breath as we continued to run.

“If something’s hurt, my father…” I tried to take a breath as Cho hurried me along.

“No, no, I need you,” Cho grabbed my hand and pulled me into the farmyard. She ran to the edge of the field, and I followed. Kneeling beside a furry object laying limply on the ground, Cho’s jet black hair fell into her face.

“It’s a red panda,” I exclaimed. Bloody gashes covered the tiny animal’s body. Cho nodded, and her eyes met mine.

“The leopard was trying to kill him,” Cho motioned to the animal laying between us. “My father thought it was attacking one of our animals, so he scared it and killed it as it was running away.” I stroked the red panda and noticed its weak pulse and shallow breathing.

“Let’s take it to the clinic,” I suggested. “Papa can help us take care of it.” Cho nodded, and together we lifted the small animal into my arms. I carefully avoided touching its wounds as I carried it down to the village.

At the clinic, my father let me do a lot of the things, but helped me and guided me through what to do. Cho watched anxiously from the other side of the low table as I cleaned and bandaged the woods. Thankfully, the claws of the snow leopard hadn’t gashed too deeply. I gently petted the little guy’s head. He weakly looked up at me with his big round eyes.

“You’ll have to take very good care of him while he recovers,” Papa said to Cho. Cho shook her head and replied in Burmese, “I can’t take care of him. I have too many chores to take care of and I have to watch my brothers.”  Both of them turned towards me, and my stomach started fluttering as if butterflies were flying around.

“Elise?” Cho prompted.

“Papa, could I?” I started getting excited. A smile stretched across my face as I waited impatiently for his reply. Papa pretended to think about it for a few minutes.

“Where would he stay?” he pointed out. “And what would he eat?”

“Cho can help me gather food for him when we’re out playing,” I suggested. “And for a little while, he can sleep in here.” Papa looked a bit skeptical as he eyed the two twelve-year-old girls standing before him.

“Alright,” he finally conceded. Cho and I squealed and hugged each other. I reached over to red panda stretched out on the table. Papa smiled and said, “He’s lucky to have you girls,”

In reply, I stroked the panda’s fur and grinned. “That’s his name!” I declared, and after sharing a look with Cho, we both exclaimed unanimously, “Lucky!”

That evening as Mama braided my wavy brown hair, I gazed at Lucky, who was resting in a basket after an evening meal of insects and water. Personally, I found his menu somewhat appalling (I could never get used to the custom of eating… bugs.) but I helped feed him anyways.


Cho, Papa, and I attended to Lucky with great care so that over the course of several days, his wounds were quickly healing. After a week and a half, we decided that Lucky was healed enough to get some exercise without tearing the cuts open again. Lucky strolled around the courtyard, but found it much too boring for his liking, and dismally returned to his basket.

Cho and I were very disappointed, and then realized that naturally, Lucky would be very unhappy without trees to climb or real bamboo to eat. Until then, Lucky had been eating only some fruit, insects, water, and some leaves. Mama offered to watch Lucky while I went to help Cho babysit her brothers.

At their farm, Cho and I chased after four-year-old Htwe, and Lwin, who was ten.

“Lwin! Htwe!” Cho reprimanded the boys standing in front of her. Lwin had evidently been picking on Htwe. She let loose a long string of Burmese, most of which I understood. After giving them each some fruit to eat while we sat in the shade of the bamboo forest, Cho and I discussed Lucky.

“If only we had somewhere for him to play, and something for him to eat that he would like. He’s starting to refuse the things we have,” I commented mournfully, my chin in my hands and my elbows on my knees. Cho’s father walked past right about then, and seeing our despair and the boys fighting, he made a proposition.

“Why don’t you build a bamboo platform with some branches from the woods? Have the boys help you. Lwin, don’t be foolish with your machete.” Mr. Hwang instructed in Burmese. “And you could always find some young bamboo shoots to feed the animal.” Cho and I both leaped up at his suggestion.

“Thank you!” I exclaimed in perfect Burmese. “Come on, Cho!” We brought the boys along, and Lwin and Cho brought their machetes. On our way down to my hut, we took turns chopping down several long pieces of bamboo. Cho and I were pretty decent at using the machete, but Lwin wielded the tool with deft hands. His speed and precision with which he felled the long poles was impressive. I noted that even Htwe wanted to help by helping collect and carry the small bamboo shoots. Once we arrived at my house, our arms were full of branches, long poles and young shoots of bamboo, and other plants to surround the building with. We carried everything into the courtyard, where Lwin used his machete to cut the bamboo sticks to the right length before pounding them into the ground. Lucky walked out from the open door beside his basket and watched curiously as Lwin and Cho used some string my mother provided to tightly fasten the beams together. Lucky quickly fell asleep, seeing as how he’s a nocturnal animal. Soon, we had a knee-high bamboo frame, with another taller structure that reached above my head. When I asked Htwe if he wanted to assist me while laying bamboo stabilizers, he first shyly shook his mop of shiny black hair, but after some coaxing, he bent over beside me and helped place several pieces of bamboo on the frame. Cho followed after us, tying the pieces tightly in place so that they wouldn’t slip and hurt Lucky. Lwin was busy replanting the random plants we had dug up from the forest to transplant around the building. Slowly but surely, the project was taking place. The sun was beginning to set when we finished laying some leafy branches all around and on the bamboo platform.

“Come here, Lucky!” I called, holding out one of the fresh, tender shoots from the bamboo jungle. Lucky walked over lazily and grabbed the stick from my hands with his paws. He stripped the young leaves off the bamboo pole happily, munching and crunching away.

“He likes them!” Htwe announced. I looked over and Cho with a huge smile on my face that mirrored hers.

“Yes, he does!” I replied excitedly. “I hope he notices the platform soon.” Almost immediately, as though Lucky had heard and understood my words, Lucky abandoned the last pieces of the bamboo and scrambled skillfully up the platform. He climbed to the tallest place and simply chilled on the cool bamboo slats. His paws draped over the sides as his cute little eyes slanted shut.


“He’s so adorable,” I murmured. Cho smiled and came to stand by me.

“He is pretty cute,” she agreed. Lwin eyed the red panda.

“So he likes it?” he questioned.

“Absolutely,” I answered. “Come on inside, I’m sure Mama has plenty for us to eat.” At first, they hung back, not wanting to impose upon us – a feeling of anade. I urged them to come, and they did at last. Mama did have food prepared – lots of it.

“Why are you cooking so much food?” I questioned, snitching some of the vegetables from the table. Mama offered some food to the others, and they took the offered bowls of rice and fruit.

“Don’t you remember, Elise?” she prompted. I shook my head. Nope, I didn’t remember. “Tonight is the Bible study dinner, dear.”

“Oh yeah!” I declared. “Cho, Lwin, Htwe, do you want to stay for dinner?” Cho had become tense when Mama mentioned the Bible study.

“No, thank you,” Cho said stiffly. “We need to be going.” Lwin looked hungrily at the delicacies.

“Cho….” He pleaded. Cho shook her head firmly.

“We need to go. We don’t want our parents to be worried about where we are,” she explained.

“At least have a drink of something before you go,” I insisted. “What would you like to drink?” Customarily and politely, they all replied, “Anything would be fine.” I served them two options – water or the juice from one of the native fruits. Cho took water, and the boys quickly accepted the juice.

“Goodbye!” I called after them as they departed. Cho merely waved, and wasn’t as chipper and friendly as usual. After they were out of eyesight, I slumped against the wall.

“Mama,” I sighed. “I’ve been praying for Cho for six years! Will God ever reach her? She gets tense and stiff anytime I mention the Bible or Jesus… or anything pertaining to God.” Mama looked sadly through the window at the direction the threesome had gone.

“I know you’ve been praying for her,” Mama stopped stirring the ingredients on the long, low table. She stood from the cross-legged position she had been in and came over to me. “All I know is that God answers prayers. Continue praying for Cho. Don’t stop, darling. And… you’re being a light. Don’t let your flame go out.”

“But...” I paused to find the right words. “It doesn’t seem like one candle does a lot of good. I’m not even a lantern. Just a candle…”

“I don’t care if you’re a candle, or a blowtorch, or even a match… one can light another. Remember that, Elise.” Mama turned back to her cooking.

“I will,” I promised. “How can I help?” She laughed.

“Why don’t you make the dessert?” Mama pointed to the bowls she had set aside, and the ingredients lined up beside them. I cheerfully obeyed, constantly ‘testing’ the different foods. Mama laughed as she saw me gasp for water on an especially spicy dish. I still wasn’t used to all the flavorings. Believe me, the little bit of ‘American’ food that I remember from when I was younger was very different from what I was testing now.

About an hour later, when dusk began to come, several families, and single men and women filed through the clinic door and joined us in the schoolroom part of the entrance. There, Mama and I had set up the low table and several bamboo mats for sitting. When everyone had taken a seat, Mama and I brought out the food, serving e ach person. As we dished out portions, each person greeted and thanked us. As I returned to the kitchen, my simple but pretty dress swished around my ankles. Mama had made me change out of my adventuring clothes into something nicer, and she had twisted my hair into a bun and stuck fresh flowers in the center. Unfortunately, several wavy wisps floated in my face and I was continually brushing them behind my ear. I reached the kitchen and balanced two more bowls. Mama gracefully bent to serve each person, and I followed the best I could. When all of the guests had received the food, we set the last dishes on the table and sat down beside everyone else.

“Let us pray,” Papa said in Burmese. We all bowed our heads as Papa blessed the food and asked God for protection while we studied His Word. This was the fourth week we had met for dinner and the Bible study, and everyone was praying for protection as the religious freedom in Myanmar was considered on the worst end of the spectrum. Papa finished praying, and we all began eating. I pressed some rice together with my fingers, created a small patty before placing it in my mouth. Suddenly, we all heard banging on the door – authoritative pounding that sounded angry. Before anyone could move, the door burst open and several of soldier-like policemen entered. My eyes immediately darted to the Bible rested beside Papa’s right thigh. He obviously had the same idea, and while keeping his eyes on the police, he slid the book underneath him.

“Stand up!” the harsh and crude men demanded, hitting one of the women who refused to cry out in pain. “We know who you are, you anti-Buddhists!”

We all stood, which once again left the precious Burmese Bible unprotected. Everyone tried to avoid looking at it, because if everyone was staring at the Bible, the police were sure to catch on.

“We are with the State Peace and Development Council,” one man shouted. “What are you doing here?”

Mama, composed and calm, replied solidly, “We are merely gathering for the evening meal.” One of the parents of the two young children (the only children other than me) added, “My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon.” Which was indeed true. I piped up to add to the statement, “I even made a special desert. It is in the kitchen.” The men began circling us. They would come to the Bible in just a few seconds. I glanced around the circumference of the table and saw several people with their eyes closed or mouths moving to form silent words – they were praying, just like I was. When the inspecting man was only three people away from Papa, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Lucky strode into the room as though nothing was wrong. I tried not to gasp. What if they hurt him? The nonchalant red panda strolled along until he came to Papa, and then curled up at his feet – right on top of the Bible. I fought the urge to gape. Was this God’s plan to protect us? I almost wanted to laugh, but I refused to. My heart started beating faster as the man got closer… and closer… until he was right next to Papa. He seemed unusually interested in Lucky. What if the policeman picked up Lucky? He didn’t. Instead, he looked up at Papa.

“Who’s panda is this?” he asked in Burmese, obviously not expecting Papa to understand. It was natural for Mama and me to speak it, because Mama looked as though she was a native, because she was part Filipino. I, too, inherited her coloring. Papa turned around, surprised at the red panda at his feet. He nearly moved to move Lucky, but then realized how Lucky was part of God’s plan for protecting His people.

“My daughter and her friend rescued it from a snow leopard.” Papa stated fluently in the man’s own language. At first he was surprised, and then he asked another question. Poised in the position to reach down and pick him up, or at least pet him – which would probably cause Lucky to move – the man inquired, “Is he tame?” I knew I had to take the chance to protect the one unhidden Bible in the entire house.

“He is partially tame for me, but that is because I take care of him every day. I do not know what he would do to a stranger. He is a wild animal, after all.” I said as though I didn’t care. This set the man back on his heels, and he seemed embarrassed for being so interested. The men gruffly circled us again, passing by a resting Lucky four times. They could not find fault with us, even after they searched the entire house. Even after they left, everyone stood, silent. Then Papa, lifting his hands to heaven, thanked God for protecting us. Everyone sat down and began conversing and praising God jubilantly.

“God has saved us by using a red panda!” one lady beside me exclaimed. It was indeed incredible. Right after the men had left, Lucky rose and returned to his outside platform.

“Perhaps for this very reason, God allowed you to rescue that animal!” another woman told me. I agreed with her. I smiled at how amazingly creative God is.

I so badly wanted to tell Cho about the whole event the next day when I went along on one of her guided tours of the Hengduans, but I knew she wouldn’t like the fact that we were having the Bible study. Every now and then Cho would take a few people and show them around some of the unmapped, beautiful places of the mountain. She got some money for doing this, and her family often needed it. Today, it was only two young couples. Cho led them to several pretty waterfalls, a huge bamboo forest (rather than just the strips of bamboo lining the roads and other various places), and places where the wild animals roamed free. One couple both had an expensive camera hanging around their neck, and they were constantly snapping photos. Cho explained in English that giant pandas require a cool, moist climate – and so does bamboo, which is another necessity for the giant pandas. One of the trips I went on with Cho, we saw a giant panda as it lumbered away.

“If we’re extremely quiet, we might be able to see a giant panda up this way. It’s a hard trek. Are you up to it?” Cho asked the four tourists. They all vigorously nodded, and we climbed the steep trail to the higher portion of the mountain. My best friend placed her finger to her lips, signaling extreme quietness. We continued to traipse through the bamboo until we suddenly heard heavy footsteps. Cho pointed quickly to the right, and we followed her until we sighted a huge black and white head and several strips of bamboo laying beside the lounging panda. They all started snapping pictures, and finally, Cho directed us away from the wild animal. We returned to the main scenic trail, and they all began exclaiming over how amazing their guide was. The two photographers were so excited that they nearly burst. The wife said something to her husband, and the man pulled out a one-hundred dollar bill for Cho. That was worth…. I did the math quickly in my head – 136,590 kyats!

“I cannot accept that,” Cho protested.  “You have already paid the tour fee, and I am happy that you were able to see that giant panda.” Her hands were shaking, as she was always nervous speaking to strangers and tourists personally outside of the tour. I asked if I could speak to the couple alone, and took them aside.

“I’m really American,” I said first, to explain. They both eyed me curiously. I continued. “My mother is part Filipino, that’s why.”

“Oh. Okay.” They were both befuddled as to why I had asked to privately talk to them.

“In Myanmar, there is a cultural thing called ‘anade’. It’s the fear of imposing upon others, and it’s really widespread. There isn’t an English equivalent, but for example, if I asked a guest that wasn’t personally close to me what he or she wanted to drink, they would probably reply, ‘Anything would be fine’ or something along the lines of that. No one wants to be impolite and impose upon you. Secondly, one hundred dollars in American money is currently equivalent to somewhere around 136,600 kyats – the Myanmar money. If Cho brought all of that home in one day, as well as the tour guide fees, her father would probably be embarrassed, because that’s a lot more than he makes most of the time. The average daily income for a general labor worker is somewhere around two dollars in U.S. money.”

“Oh, wow.” The lady gasped. “Are you serious?”

“Absolutely,” I promised. “I just wanted to let you know that.” I then took them back to the group, where the two privately spoke to Cho, and when they returned, Cho had a huge smile on her face.

“What did they say?” I whispered curiously to Cho.

“I’ll tell you later,” she replied with a little smirk. I wrinkled my nose and shook my head and her.

“You’re so mean.” I teased. She laughed.

After the tourists returned to the big cities, Cho and I climbed up to one of the hidden ledges that overlooked the waterfall below. It was a mosquito-infested place, but it was our special hideout. Cho never ever showed it to any tourists, even though it had a spectacular view. The waterfall below us had gorgeous, rocky boulders that caused beautiful waves to flow over them. On our right was a huge section of bamboo that extended beyond the eye could see. Cho was about to tell me all about what the guests had told her when the unthinkable happened.

Suddenly, the ground crumbled from beneath Cho’s feet. She screamed, clinging to the mossy overhanging bit of roots and dirt, knowing it would give way soon.

“Elise!” she screamed. I didn’t know what to do. At that moment, I felt the ground groan beneath me as well. I knew only one thing to do, and I could die if I tried it and failed. I had to try. In a split second instant, I reached and performed the stunt that I had to pull off.. or at least one of us would die.

It all happened within five minutes. We both stood on the solid ground, watching the ledge that just a few minutes before we had been sitting on float down the stream below and crumble at the mercy of the rocks.

Cho’s wide brown eyes stared up into mine. Her dark hair fell limply around her deathly pale face – understandably, seeing as how close she had come to death.

“Y- You could’ve died saving me,” she stammered hoarsely. I knew that as I took the risk.

“I know,” I replied softly. “But there is no greater friendship than one that is willing to lay down his life for his friend.” Cho stood still, shocked.

“But… why?” she whispered.

“I knew that if I died, I would go to heaven,” I said honestly. “And… I once had a friend who died to save me.”

“Who?” she questioned.

“Jesus,” I answered. “He died to save me.”

“Why would he do that?” she inquired further. I paused only for a slight second, weighing the cost of my reply – I could risk a friendship being lost, or a soul being lost. It was an easy decision.

“He wants to have a friendship with us and have us come live with Him in heaven forever, but since God His Father is a perfect God, He cannot allow sin into heaven… because the punishment for sin is eternal death and separation from God. Because God wants each of the people whom He created to belong to Him, He had to send a perfect, holy sacrifice to die for our sins. And so God sent His only beloved Son, Jesus, to earth to die for us.”

“Jesus… died for you?” Cho questioned.

“He died for everyone. But He didn’t just die, He rose again so that we could live with Him.”

“So… He wants to be our friend?” Cho asked.

“Yes, Jesus wants to have a relationship with us – just like you and I are friends… but closer.” I added.

“But heaven is just for good people who have done good things,” Cho protested.

“No,” I said sadly. “So many people think they can get to heaven by doing good work, but it is through faith in the Father that we are saved. We have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved…. not through good works.”

“Elise,” Cho paused. “Can I be friends with Jesus? When can I meet Him?”

“Of course, Cho! Jesus wants to be your friend too… you can meet Him now, if you want to.” I offered.

“But… don’t we have to go to a priest?” Cho asked, confused.

“Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with you, Cho, and He is here with us. You can ask Him into your heart right now, if you want to. Just ask Him to be your Savior and to forgive you for your sins.” I longed for Cho to come to Christ. I waited anxiously for her reply.

“Okay,” she said. “Can you introduce me to Him? He knows you already.”

“He knows you too, Cho, because He created you. But I’d be happy to introduce you.” The joy I felt was immense and immeasurable. “God,” I said. “This is Cho, my friend. I’ve been telling you about her for several years now. She has something she wants to ask you.” Cho paused, looked up, and then whispered.

“Do I have to do it in English?” she asked in a hushed voice.

“Not at all. God understands any and every language.” I assured her. In her clear Burmese, she prayed with her eyes tightly clenched shut.

“Dear God, I’m Cho. Elise has been trying to tell me about You for a very long time. I’m sorry for refusing You and not listening to Elise. I’m sorry for being mean to my brothers and disobeying my parents. I’m sorry for sinning and for all the bad things I’ve ever done. Will You come into my heart and save me please? I want to be Your friend. I believe that Jesus died to take my place on the cross and to save me. Thank You for everything.” Her long eyelashes fluttered open.

“Did I do it right?” Cho asked worriedly.

“It was perfect. Cho, welcome to the family of God.” I hugged her tightly.

“Elise,” she asked shyly. “Can… can I have a Bible in Burmese? I want to be able to read it for my own and tell my family about God and how He can be our friend.”

“Cho, I would love to give you a Bible. Come on,” I beckoned. As we descended the trail, I turned to her with a huge smile on my face.

“Now we’re really inseperable.” I said mysteriously.

“How’s that?” Cho asked.

“Because now we aren’t just friends… we’re sisters in Christ. And that means we’re sisters forever.”

Pray for Ana Harris Day!

Tomorrow, Monday, May 15, 2017, is Pray for Ana Harris Day! Started in the Young Writer's Workshop Community, we have asked everyone to please pray for the amazing Ana Harris - please visit her blog to read her story! She has persevered through so many hard times, suffering with extreme mold allergies, Lyme's disease, and a whole biotoxin thing that I still am not sure I completely understand! Please, spread the word! Send it out to all social media and reblog please! It's super easy, just click the reblog or share button on the right side - it will only take a minute!
~ Light4theLord

Memorize with Me!

Scripture Typer Bible Memory Verses
Come and memorize the 89 verses of 1 Thessalonians with me! Join ScriptureTyper first, and then join the special group by clicking on the Scripture Typer box on the left sidebar!

A Blogging Secret Everyone Should Know

Actually, not everyone should know, but....

You're probably thinking I'll say something about writing or photography, because those are my 'things'.
But it's not about either of those things - it's something that will hopefully help improve your blog and it's super duper easy!
Ready to get started?
First of all, look around ALIML.
If you hover over a photo, you'll see little buttons pop up over the picture (as seen in above photo) with three options to share: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
If your attention happens to drift to the right, you'll see a blue sidebar with even more options to share, with a verse reference at the top. With a click of a button, you can share what you're reading on Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Wordpress, Blogger, or email it to a friend. And if that's not enough, you can click on the bottom one to choose from even more sharing options! Cool, huh?
If you scroll and read a while, you'll see a little popup form appear on the screen.
It reads:
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Another awesome feature of what I'm going to tell you guys!
Well, wait a post.
~ Light4theLord

The Skater's Waltz

Hey ya'll! I decided that I wanted to record one of my favorite piano pieces, 'The Skater's Waltz' and so I did. :D It took three tries (the first time I horribly botched it up because I forgot to warm up, and the second time I was halfway down the last page when the phone rang. *facepalm*) but I did it! :) I hope to have it up sometime soon.
Oh, and uh.... those are my miracle skates in the picture above. I had been praying and praying for ice skates (and I have to admit I prayed for the pretty white ones. :D ) for several months (almost a year) and we found them in the perfect size for an amazing price at Goodwill (I love that place!)!
~ Light4theLord

Why Are We Here?

Why are we here? It's a question that many people ask themselves. Why do we exist? Who created us? Did we really evolve from a microscopic being?
The answer to this question is a parcel of truth that many people search after. It is the reason for our entire beings.
Often times, if no other answer can be found, people believe that we were randomly created by an explosion and millions of years of evolution. They believe that we have no purpose in life other than to enjoy ourselves and have fun. They believe that we're here to get rich and be successful. They believe we're here to do whatever we want to so as to make ourselves feel 'good'. They turn to whatever makes them even the slightest bit 'happy'. Food, friends, shopping, fame, the internet.
But still, even if they're unwilling to admit it, there's a longing. A deeper meaning to life.... it's a search, a search for truth. Somewhere inside them longs for purpose, and longs for a meaning to all of this.
God created us for a meaning. He didn't have to. But He did. Why? Why would He create us and place us here on this beautiful earth which He created? What is the meaning? Is there a meaning?
There is a meaning. In Isaiah 43:7 (NASB), we find why we are here.
"Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made."
We are here for a deeper purpose than just 'being happy' - we are here to glorify God in anything and everything we do.

But to a lot of people, that sounds just plain boring. But it's not! When we serve God with our entire being, He puts into action an amazing plan for us.

He gives us peace (John 14:27) that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and guards our hearts and minds. It's the most amazing peace you could ever have. There's no need to stress or worry about anything, because God is in control. Always has been, and always will be! That means that no matter what, even when things are out of your control, you can ask Him for His peace because He is in control.

We are to give Him the glory in everything.
He created us for His glory, and also to have a relationship with Him. Isn't that incredible?
We ought to feel extremely minuscule when we compare ourselves with the billions of stars, galaxies, and all the complexities of His amazing and intricate designs.

But even though we're so small in our comparison to the rest of His creation, He longs to have a relationship with us. Is that not amazing, or what?! The fact that the God who created everything - and yes, I mean everything - wants to be with us and call us His children.... just wow.
He loves to see us enjoying His creation, but even more so, He loves it when we take the time to spend time with us.
Even more so, He loves us. He loved us enough to - nearly 2,000 years ago - send His only and beloved Son to earth to give us hope. He sent His son to die for our sins, to love us, to save us, and to rise again so that we may have hope for eternity! He did this all out of love for us.

When you think about that, it's not so hard to give Him the glory, eh? :)

I hope and pray that while you read this blog, you see the phrase 'To God be the Glory!' several times. It's taken from Philippians 4:20, which reads, 'Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.'

If you love reading the Bible, you'll notice that Paul almost always signs off giving God the glory, like in Romans 16:27 - to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

For another wonderful example, read  1 Timothy 1:17.

If you've been wondering 'Why are we here?', I pray and hope this has given you a reason to live... for God. If you've never had hope that will last throughout all eternity, you can have it today!
Perhaps you are being asked by God today what the disciples were asked 2,000 years ago - 'But who do you say that I am?'

'Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.'
- Psalm 100:3 -

If you ask, "How can I have that hope?" The answer is straight from Acts 16:31.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,"
How will you be saved?
(Acts 15:11) But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus,
(Ephesians 2:8-10) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Call upon Him and He will answer.

~ Light4theLord
To God be the Glory!


VOTD: Ephesians 3:20-21

Truly That Was Grace

This piece that I wrote is just a rather crude telling of the point of view of the centurion.
I was a skeptic
An unbeliever
My heart was hardened
My life was broken.
I witnessed death
Like no other
I led my men
In killing another
 I found it my duty
To serve my country
No matter what
No matter the bounty
I had power
I had riches
Yet I had emptiness
And I was held by chains.
I had control
I had the best
But my conscience
Wouldn't let me rest. 
I had status
I had knowledge
But I had no freedom
From my guilt and shame.
At the first
I balked and shied
But now not a flinch
As the victims bled.
This was my life
I knew no other
I wish I could
But who would bother?
My life was wrenched
My heart was twisted
There was an empty trench
No one could fill.
Yet another crucifixion
I thought nothing of it
Until the man
Cried out in agony.
At that moment
When the sky grew dark
When the voice called out
When all else became stark.
It was then
That I realized
This man I was killing
Was not a criminal.
He was no criminal,
He was no sinner,
He was a King,
He held throne forever!
The mocking sign
Above His head
Read ‘King of Jews’
As He bled.
I stood before Him
He breathed His last
I saw His blood
As from here He passed.
I knelt in reverence
Removed my helmet
Exclaimed with authority
What I wished I had said before.
“Truly this man
Was the Son of God!”
He deserved a crown,
Not that of thorns.
He died for me
He took my place
I witnessed it
Truly that was grace.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Continuing the series of stories written in the POV of characters from the gospels' accounts of Easter, I present to you, 'Mary, the Mother of Jesus'. This story is collectively written from all four accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, but the ending is taken from Mark 16.
Nothing I had ever dreamed could’ve prepared me for this day. My wails were loud and forlorn. I refused to be comforted. I watched the Savior of the world be nailed to a crude wooden frame, nails being pounded into His wrists.
I remembered everything that I had pondered in my heart up until this day. I remembered the night of His birth, and the animals that were the welcoming committee for His entry into this world. I remembered the gifts of the magi who had traveled so far to reach us. I remembered the nights we had to flee from those who wished to kill Him because of the prophesies. I remembered singing to Him before night fell. I remembered watching His earthly father, my husband Joseph, guide His small hands over a piece of wood, teaching Him to carve. I remembered the panic that filled my being when I found out that He was no longer with us on our way home from the Passover celebration. I remembered the astonishment of finding Him in the temple. I remembered the miracles He did, the time He changed water to wine at the wedding. I remembered…
A cry went up from my Son, and I wept with and for Him. His disciple, John, was at my side, yet I ceased not from my anguish. It was then that I remembered the words of the devout and righteous man, Simeon, at the temple. And a sword will pierce even your own soul. He was precisely right. It was as though they were piercing a sword through my own heart. The moments stretched into what seemed like eternity as my Son, my Son that I loved, my firstborn, was hanging on the cruelest of all of the Roman’s punishments- the cross.
In an unforetold instant, darkness fell over the land, and the sun was obscured. It mattered not to me. Who cared if the sun grew dark? My Son was dying. A mother’s love for her child is one of the greatest possible loves. I wept.
It was then that Jesus spoke. Through His pain, He said to me, “Woman, behold, your son!” and to John, who stood at my side, He spoke and said, “Behold, your mother!” This touching act of His assuring that I would be taken care of broke my heart into shattered pieces again.
A sudden hush grew over the crowd, and a cry rose from the throat of my Child.
“It is finished!” He exclaimed, and then bowed His head. He was gone from this earth. I fell to the ground, and in a moment, John was beside me as I mourned the death of Jesus.
I stayed for several hours, and the beloved disciple of my Son stayed with me, accepting me into his household. I followed the man who took my Child’s body from the cross, and watched from a distance as the man laid Him in an unused tomb cut from rock. The lush garden that surrounded it provided serenity for His burial place.
The Sabbath was a numbing day for me as I realized that my Son was dead.
On the first day of the week, however, I went with a young woman, Mary of Magdalene, to the tomb. We conferred with one another, asking who would roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb so that we would be able to anoint His body with spices. As we approached, I immediately saw that the stone had been rolled away, even though it was extremely large. Had someone known that we would come to anoint His body? As I entered the tomb, I was taken by surprise when I noticed a young man sitting at the right, wearing a dazzling white robe. I was amazed. Who was this man?
“Do not be amazed;” he instructed. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.”
His words accurately described the place where I had seen the prominent man lay Him. It was then that I realized who he was. The angel continued, “But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’”
I was both fearful and joyful. Was my Son really alive? Astonishment gripped me, and together with Mary Magdalene, we hurried to tell the disciples. It was incredible.... unbelievable almost.

Introducing... Charis Rae!

I'm so honored to be a part of Charis Rae's blog launch (a.k.a. Grace from The Girl Upstairs), and here it is!