Building People. Spreading Hope.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Graduating Daughter

It’s hard to believe that you’re graduating from high school. It feels like it was yesterday when I was holding you in my arms with your curly hair always blocking your full face and couldn’t separate you from your juice bottle. Congratulations on graduating from high school. You can’t go higher than high school, right? ;)
As you step into the open horizon of possibilities, I want to give you some wisdom that you may need for your journey through life.
1. You’re created in God’s image. Never doubt your value. Everything about you first class! The DNA of God is within you. You belong to the royal family. You’re God’s property. Nothing you do will separate you from the love of God. God blessed you before you were born and the blessing always overrides the curse. Therefore, you cannot fail. You’re destined for greatness. You are and always will be magnificent!
2. You’re beautiful. Beauty is an inside job. The world will define and redefine beauty. Have fun trying out the latest fads and fashions. However, remember that true beauty comes from within. You’re at your sparkling best when you have a heart after God. Your character is the true measure of your charisma. External beauty will fade but the closer you get to God, the more dazzling you’ll become.
3. Build healthy relationships. Check out the boys. Enjoy the attention but protect your heart. It’s normal to be attractive to boys. You’ve had a good looking Dad so don’t go out with an ugly boy! ;) Don’t go after duds who are going nowhere. Follow a man who pursues God first and then you.
4. Speak positive, uplifting words. Go easy on sarcasm. It’s all fun at the moment but sometimes, it can cut like a knife and last for a lifetime. The same is true of kind words. Healing words mend the soul. Think of compliment as putting ornaments on a person. Death and life are in the power of your tongue.
5. Be a generous person. I still remember the day you found a “surprise” twenty-dollar bill in your pocket while we were eating at Chili’s restaurant. When we were about to walk away from our dinner table, you slipped the twenty-dollar bill on the table for the waitress saying, “I didn’t even know I had it. She probably needs it more than me!” As long as you’re generous, you’ll never lack for bread – rice in our case.
6. Look at your glass as half full. There will be times when you may feel a lot of negatives coming your way. Gratitude in those moments will guide you out of your darkness. Fact is, you’ll always have more than most. Keep your eyes on the prize and not the problem. You can get better or you can get bitter.
7. Keep yourself happy. Only you are responsible for your own happiness. Being the middle child, you have a tendency to keep everybody else happy. If you always do that, the only person who won’t be happy is you. It’s ok to have it your way once in a while.
8. Enjoy the outdoors. You cannot beat nature in the most comfortable home. When you get out of your palace, you’ll discover God’s garden. Plant trees and decorate your home with flowers – they’re God’s jewelries for our stressful lives.
9. Travel whenever you can. This is easy for you because you’ve been travelling the world since you were born. Never stop being adventurous. When you leave your home, you discover God’s world. The people you meet and the sights you see will truly make you a rich person.
10. Be spiritual but not religious. I love to see you worship but God enjoys it much more. Worship is the doorway to miracles. The Bible is your life’s compass — showing you the way. The Holy Spirit is our Helper but He will only tell you what’s in the Book. So stay familiar with it. Your prayers are a mighty weapon for tearing down spiritual strongholds. God can do more with your prayer in a split second than you can try to change a person for a lifetime. And remember, when you share Christ with others – whether by words or deed — you become a Star!
Well, I started off giving a few life-tips but now it looks more like the Ten Commandments. Let me close by making it more personal to you. Sabrina, you’re always going to be my favorite even though I’ve said the same to your brother and sister. ;) You can always come home without expecting any condemnation from me. I love you and I always will. 
Congratulations Sabrina. I’m proud of you - my high school graduate!
With You, For You!
Spread Your Influence:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Tribute To My Dad

This is how I’d like to introduce and remember my father for the rest of my life. I spent a day and a half and had a wonderful visit with him on our recent mission trip to India. Even though he was getting frail, he lived a fully functional life. On April 9, 2016, I got the dreaded call from my eldest brother, Pat. Our father had taken his last breath on earth and his first in heaven! My Dad had been promoted to glory. 

His life was filled with highs and lows. My father was born in the early thirties to a poor family in a village in India. In order to support his family, he had to drop out of school in seventh grade. He was around twenty-years-old when he married my mother who was about sixteen years of age. Life was a short-lived bliss and they had four boys. Suddenly, when I was one, my mother passed away. Dad loved mom and almost always had tears in his eyes while talking about her for the rest of his life.

He didn’t surrender to struggles. Shell-shocked, dad took up on an offer by a Methodist orphanage to send his four boys there. The earliest memory I have of my father is that he came to visit us on the limited days parents were allowed to meet. He couldn’t give us much but even a pack of cookies was received with great joy. Sitting on his lap and hugs were a rare treat but they were greatly appreciated and anticipated. 

He was a gentleman. After graduating from high school, my brothers and I were in search of our identity. I was fresh out of college and I had just moved to Nepal along with my two brothers, Neil and Guine. My father had made the treacherous journey to come with a village friend to meet us. We were young and dumb — who put him back on the bus the next day. We were so focused on our lives that we didn’t appreciate his visit. He obliged and traveled back to India. Dad never resented it. I never saw him getting mad at anybody.

He was a small town man with a big world view. Even in his advance years, he read the newspaper front to back. Once, we relocated him from the village to New Delhi — the big, capital city of India. He missed his social connections in the village so after about three months we moved him back to his native village. In the years to come, Dad traveled the world to spend time with us but he always went back to the village.

He loved construction. My father was a visionary. Whether it was to build our brick house (in place of the mud house), the local church (biggest building in his village), or anybody else’s building project — he loved to direct and supervise construction.

He was a leader in his community. Poorly educated but highly gifted in his talent to connect with people. When he was able, he would walk to the market every day. There he chatted with the people and enquired about their well-being while sipping on a cup of tea. Whenever he had money, he’d help those in need. He was loved and well respected by his community.

He was a man of prayer. My father didn’t say a lot but he made it up in prayers. He didn’t pray in public but often he would wake up between 3 and 5AM and pray to God to use his four boys for His purpose. Sitting in a mud house under a thatched roof, it didn’t seem possible but he didn’t consider what he saw in the natural. I say this to the glory of God, thirty years later all four of his boys are serving the Lord. Together, we’ve traveled to more than 150 countries and preached to millions of people. Over thirty of our extended family members are serving the Lord because of the answer to my Dad’s prayers. 

Friend, if you have a living parent, don’t take them for granted. Give them a call. Celebrate their lives while they’re still with you. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Put it on your schedule to spend time with them or else you’ll never find time for it. In the Ten Commandments, there’s only one that comes with a promise in return – "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus20:12 NLT). Friends, let us love, respect, and honor our parents. They’re the reason, we’re here.
I love and miss you, Dad!