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.

Send Me

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
- Isaiah 6:8 -
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"
- Romans 10:14-15 -
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
- Acts 1:8 -
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
- John 20:21 -
Everyone, anyone can be used by God. We must just be willing to do what He asks. Like Isaiah, we ought to say, "Here am I, Lord, send me!"
I want to be sent.
I want to help change the world for the better. I want to be sent to the remotest parts of the earth!
What about you? Are you willing to be used by God? Do you trust Him that He has a plan for you, a better plan than anyone else?
Maybe you think that you can't be used by God. It's a lie that so many people believe. They believe that (to quote my Sunday School teacher's lesson this past Sunday) 'I can't do it. I'm not..... enough.'
Replace the dots with something you think you're not enough of to serve God.
Perhaps you say, "I'm not strong enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not old enough."
Even characters in the Bible had this false assumption in their head. Think of Gideon (the focus of the Sunday School lesson last week that I learned), who said:
And Gideon said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house." But the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man."
(Judges 6:15-16)
Something that I struggle with is, "I'm not old enough." For this fictional lie that so many young people are told, we refer back to Paul's wise advice.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
- 1 Timothy 4:12 -
Will you offer yourself to God and tell Him, "Here I am, send me."
Do it. You won't regret it. His plan is always better!
~ Light4theLord
To God be the Glory!

VOTD: Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Peter's POV

*Please note that while I tried to write this as accurately as I could, the gospels vary in their chronological orders after the resurrection and trying to follow and merge all four is rather confusing and hard to accomplish! Hope you enjoy!*
It was nearing the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also known as the Passover. On the first day, the Teacher sent me with my fellow disciple John, saying,
                “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.”
                “Where do You want us to prepare it?” we asked. He gave us a knowing smile, yet not condescendingly. He proceeded to give us specific instructions.
                “When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ And he will show you a large furnished upper room; prepare it there.”
                Somewhat skeptically, I followed John down the dusty paths into Jerusalem. We entered through the gate and stopped.
                “We’ve entered the city,” I stated obviously. John cocked his head and gave me ‘a look’. I just grinned. We were closer than brothers, for we had spent much time together serving the Teacher. I started walking and suddenly ran right into a man carrying a jug of water.
                “I am so sorry,” I apologized profusely. He graciously forgave me, and I grabbed John.
                “We have to follow him!” And so we did. When we arrived at the large home, John searched for the owner and approached him, saying, “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’” The man quickly showed us a well-furnished room in the upper portion of the house, not taken by surprise, as though he knew that it was going to happen.
                When all was prepared and ready, Jesus joined us for the meal, along with our fellow disciples – all ten of them. We began eating, and while we were doing so, the Teacher took some bread from one of the dishes and said a blessing. He then broke it and began handing it out to all of us. I was surprised, especially when He said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” I was already getting used to all of the figures of speech that our Lord used, but this was one of the oddest. His body? What was that supposed to mean? He then took a cup and gave thanks for it, and passed it around to each of us.
                “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
                We each solemnly took of the wine and drank as He instructed us.
                He then led us in a hymn, His rich voice filling the room. We all joined in, and when we finished, He quietly took us to the Mount of Olives. We climbed up to the top and listened as our Teacher spoke to us.
                “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
                I protested immediately. “Even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away!” I said it with conviction, and with resolve. Gently, my Lord spoke directly to me.
                “Truly I say to you, Peter, that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” I was hurt and offended, but even more so, I was determined to prove my loyalty and devotion to my Master.
                “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny You.” I clenched my fists and set my jaw. The others around me echoed my exclamation, crying out the same promise.
                Jesus just gave us a sad smile. He knew something… but what? We went to Gethsemane and He said to us, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” But He took the two sons of Zebedee and myself with Him and we observed as He began to be grieved. He turned to us, His countenance filled with distress. “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death;” He spoke quietly but firmly. “Remain here and keep watch with Me.” He then left us and went ahead a bit further to where we could no longer see Him or hear Him. My eyes grew heavy, and I stifled a yawn. We waited a bit, but then I slowly… slowly… drifted to sleep.
                I was awakened by a voice. “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Cryptic, again. I felt slightly ashamed and somewhat discouraged that He was disappointed in us. He went away, and I determined to stay awake, but the moments turned into minutes and soon a half hour had passed. I fell asleep once more.
                He arrived back and exclaimed, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” As He spoke, I stiffened in alarm. A dark figure lurked in the shadows. I relaxed, however, when I saw that it was Judas. He was our friend. He came to the Teacher and exclaimed, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Jesus quietly murmured, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Suddenly, soldiers and slaves of the high priest rushed forward and grabbed our Master. I leaped up and drew my sword, and angrily chopped off the ear of one of the slaves. Jesus quickly turned to me and admonished my action.
                “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”
                They dragged Him away, but I resolved to follow. And that I did – I followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priests.
                I sat in the courtyard, waiting and watching, warming myself at the fire. Around me, the chief priests and the whole Council was trying to obtain testimony against Jesus; the people quickly volunteered, but their stories were so inconsistent and even contradicted one another.  My mind was formulating several plans on how I might be able to rescue my Lord. I strained my eyes and ears trying to hear or see any of the leaders and overhear their plans and verdicts. I was completely focused when a servant-girl came to me and said mockingly, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” I quickly retorted the statement saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” I continued to deny her accusations. Finally, I moved away and went to the gateway to think. Another servant-girl saw me and announced to everyone, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” I made an oath quickly, exclaiming, “I do not know the man!” I was angry by now. What if I got caught? What would happen to my plans? What would happen to my family? If they judged Jesus harshly, what about His followers? It would be better if I stayed in the shadows and made sure no one knew.  I merged with the crowd, but one of the bystanders approached me. I tried to act nonchalant, but he said, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” I angrily began to curse and swear in the crude language of the fishermen. The man quickly retracted his statement and walked away fearfully. I shouted, “I do not know the man!”
                Immediately, a rooster crowed. I froze as the Teacher’s words came back to haunt me.
                “Truly I say to you, Peter, that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
                And what had been my reply?
                “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny You.”
                I was a traitor. A liar. I departed as hastily as I could and wept bitterly.
                “I’m sorry, my Lord!” I pleaded. “I’m sorry! Forgive me for denying You!” I prostrated myself on the ground and cried out to God.
                Morning came and I found myself asleep in a nearby thicket, where I was close enough to follow Jesus wherever He went. I watched stealthily as they bound him and led Him away. I followed quickly, and went to the governor’s place, where they delivered Him to the governor Pilate.
                I mingled within the crowd that had come for the governor’s feast. I knew as well as everyone else there that the governor released for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted, as was custom. Everyone gathered, and I followed.
                Pilate, in his royal robes, stood and asked the people, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” I happened to be standing beside a prominent man, who was obviously one of the elders. He threatened those around him that if they did not ask for Barabbas, they would be tortured. Other leaders persuaded the crowds in the same manner or with bribery. I refused to move from my stand.
                Everyone around me started shouting, “Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!” But I stood where I was and yelled as loudly as I could, “Jesus! Jesus!” My voice was lost in the crowd.
                “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate questioned.
                “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the crowds screamed. Pilate attempted to ask, “What evil has He done?” but they continued to shout and yell, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” The words were like hammers to my ears, pounding and resounding.
                “No!” I shouted. Then I was trampled by the riot.
                As soon as I recovered and made my way through the riot and into the streets, I begged of people to tell me where the crucifixion was going to take place. An old woman selling fruit croaked, “They took Him to Golgotha. They took Simon of Cyrene to bear His cross because He was too weak.” I thanked her profusely and bought some of her produce to show my gratefulness. I ran and ran until I nearly collapsed at the Place of the Skull. When I looked up, my heart wrenched. Hanging on a crude and sharp wooden cross was my Teacher. My Master. My Lord.
                Why? Why had they so unjustly crucified Him? I could not watch any longer as His cries of agony pierced the thick and heavy air. I returned to my home, mourning.
                The Sabbath passed like any other day, and I obtained information that Jesus had died, and was buried in a tomb of someone named Joseph, from Arimathea.
                The first day of the week came. I had just risen and was trying to find something to do. How could I take my mind of His death? I couldn’t. Suddenly, a pounding was heard at my door. Was it soldiers coming to take me away? I shook the thought off and went to answer it. Standing at the door was a woman whom the Lord had healed of seven demons, Mary Magdalene.
                “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” She was crying, yet she ran to John’s nearby abode and beckoned him to come also. We followed her to a garden, and followed her as she ran down the path. She pointed to a large rock which had been rolled away from the entrance of a tomb. I ran ahead with John, but he got there first. He stood there numbly, just looking in. When I arrived at the entrance, I thrust him aside and entered the tomb. The linen wrappings were merely lying there, and separated from those was the face cloth. John entered silently behind me and he saw it also.
                What had happened? I shook my head in disbelief and returned to my home.
                Only an hour later, I heard the same pounding on the door.
                “The Lord! He has risen!” she exclaimed, and a nearby woman who was named Joanna echoed, “He has risen indeed!”
                Mary continued. “I have seen the Lord, and He has said to tell you, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’ The angel that I saw who was dressed in dazzling white clothing also spoke to me, saying, ‘Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified and the third day rise again.’”
                I was in shock. All of this was happening too fast to even process. I met all of the disciples (with the exception of Thomas) that evening, and we all sat in fear with the doors locked and shut for fear of the Jews.
                We silently were huddled over a table when we all heard a familiar voice.
                “Peace be with you.” I turned quickly and leaped up.
                “My Lord!” I exclaimed, rejoicing in my heart. The others were startled and frightened, as though they were seeing a spirit of some sort. He spoke to all of us.
                “Peace be with you;” He said again, but continued this time. “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
“These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Only a little longer than a week later, He appeared once more to us, but this time Thomas was there. Previously, when we had told him that we had seen the Lord, he had stubbornly insisted, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
“Peace be with you.” Jesus spoke calmly, then turned to Thomas. “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Thomas trembled and spoke, “My Lord and my God!”
“Because you have seen Me, have you believed?” Jesus asked. “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” I lowered my head at this. I had also hardened my heart against those who had said they had seen the Lord before I did.
Later, at the mountain which Jesus had designated, He commissioned us as follows:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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!