Monthly Archives: April 2015

Should women pursue men? 

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Upon having a discussion with a friend this past week, the conversation delved in to the proverbial:Should women pursue men? topic. My friend an advocate, me an adversary. After exchanging opinions back and forth, I decided I needed to research this topic a bit more from a Biblical standpoint and ascertain what God’s word says about it.  


Mark 10:6

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

When we start from the very beginning of creation, we discern that God first created male then female; hence the order, Adam–then Eve. Next, let’s go on to Christian courting. I don’t say dating because I do not believe Christians should date multiple people at one time, but if he or she meets a godly prospect, the two should begin the process of getting to know each other for the purpose of marriage. 

Genesis 2: 22,24

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Beloved, you will notice that most every Bible verse pertaining to man and woman, almost always LEAD with ‘the man.’ Moreover, as we examine the above verse in Gen 2, it firmly establishes the fact that God “brought the woman to the man.” It did not say that the woman went looking for the man or the woman had to find the man. Therefore, it backs up my theory that a woman shouldn’t go looking for a man, but God will put her in a situation, without her own effort, to meet her husband.  

A perfect story is that of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in- law. Because Naomi’s husband and sons were killed, Ruth left Moab with Naomi to return to Judah. Boaz a relative of Naomi, owned a barley field in which Ruth worked. Boaz quickly noticed Ruth and inquired about her. For he was greatly smitten by Ruth, and ensured that she was safe,  protected and well taken care of. By the story’s end, Boaz bought Naomi’s land and along with it, won Ruth’s affection. 

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13

Ruth was not only put in the position to meet her future husband, but also to become heir to the lineage of Christ. 

And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:17 ESV.

Continuing, if a woman persues a man, she will never know if the man initially desired her, was initially attracted to her or would have chosen her; or if she’s just an option until he finds the woman of his dreams. In the above context, one can clearly deduce Ruth was Boaz’s dream woman. Not only was he mystified by her beauty, he also negotiated with the elders of the city to buy her mother-in-law’s land, and in turn won her love! He fought for her! I believe a woman devalues herself when she’s the pursuer of the relationship. I’m not talking about merely striking up a conversation with a gentleman if you happen to be in the same space, or letting a man know that you are interested, but more so I’m talking about women who are constantly calling, texting, nagging, stalking and pressuring male suitors into a relationship. What you are saying is, ‘I am desperate!’ Men can smell loneliness, desperation, and low-self esteem a mile away! 

This mode of thinking is shifting the natural order of relations between men and women that God divinely created; this in turn is reversing God’s laws. And, it is slowly weakening the male/female dynamic. Women are teaching men to be passive as opposed to being the aggressor, the hunter God created them to be. The male/female roles are slowly shifting, women are asking men out on dates, buying dinner, buying gifts and financially supporting men. In turn, this is creating a devaluing of the woman’s worth; her femininity, her mystery, her desirability, not to mention her bank account! Additionally, this behavior is deprogramming our young daughters to not have any self-worth or self-respect. It is teaching them to devalue themselves by persuing men as opposed to being persued; as opposed to knowing their value and worth, that when the right man does come along it will be an organic relationship where both parties want a mutually loving, respectful union, and not that of an unbalanced one where the woman is the one striving, suffering to maintain a man’s affections. 


Women need to be whole in themselves before looking for a man. How do you do that? By learning how to love God infinitely first, only then will you know how to truly love yourself; and most importantly, know what true love is. With so much love for herself, she will know that a true lady exudes confidence, allowing men to take notice of her. And, if the one she has her sights set on doesn’t acknowledge her, she has enough self-worth to know that this guy is not worth her valuable and precious time. More, that he doesn’t know the price of a masterpiece. Therefore, she stays high on her mantle, knowing that the right man will come along and know that this one is different, precious, rare; different from all the others, a true beauty and too costly to lose! This is what will constitute a long-lasting passionate marriage. 

Proverbs 18:32 says,

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

The way you start a relationship is the way it will end. Why start off soliciting a man and when he finds exactly the type of woman he’s looking for, dumpsf you. Christian or not, no one appreciates what comes too easily. Remember when you asked God for something and it wasn’t until years, maybe decades later before you got it, and the gratitude and appreciation you had for it?

The following are tell-tale signs that you are not whole:

1. Every time you go to social events, you scan the room for men, and  strategically try to put yourself in a man’s line of view or direct path.

2. You cannot enjoy time with friends, family without stating your desire to be married. 

3. You are jealous of other couples, or is overly critical of a man’s girlfriend/spouse.

4. Get depressed, cry a lot, critical of being single. 

5. Struggle with lust, masturbation, fornication. 

6. Thinks everything is a sign that you should be married: events, newspaper advertisements, passing by baby clothing or bridal stores by happenstance.  

7. Thinks that a man is the missing piece to your life. You haven’t finished school, established a career, are habitually unemployed, are an adult living at home with parents. Have no goals, ambition, or drive. 

8. Always giving examples of women who chased men and married them. 

9. If you have to have a man all the time, it means you don’t like being with yourself. 

10. If you don’t like being with yourself, nobody else will!


Whatever we think on, dwell on, will eventually surface. As a Christian woman you have to be very careful in selecting a mate because what shows up may not be from God. You may end up getting used, disrespected or taken advantage of. 

A woman who is truly whole looks like this:

She wakes up every morning, happy, content, and can’t wait to start her day. She is thriving in her career as well as her personal life. She is happy and always smiling. Her life is full and complete. She stays busy working in ministry, volunteering, making sure her children, family are well taken care of. She is strong in her faith. She helps out others wherever there’s a need. Her life is full and has value. She barely has time for herself. She encourages and uplifts others. It’s not  about her, but loving the souls around her. She never complains. She always puts herself last: last to leave work, last to be served, last to eat dinner. She’s a giver; a giver of advice, time, love, money and hugs. Others wonder in amazement of her endless energy and inner beauty. She gets up the next day and does it all over again. 

Women, are you whole?

-Puja Nagual      


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Christian Arts & Empowerment Network Event

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Christian Arts & Empowerment Network Event

The Christian Arts & Empowerment Network in conjunction with Wedding Weavers professional party planners and decorators, hosted its second annual Small Business Expo And Stage Show this past Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Brooklyn, New York. The event commenced at 3:00 p.m. and went on well into the night after 11:00 p.m

FOOD, FASHION, and FREE are my three favorite words, and with the clever meshing of a Christian market, fashion show and Gospel dinner all rolled into one, I not only fed my physical body, but my spiritual body as well! At the event’s opening, guests were free to peruse tables of more than 25 vendors. There were food vendors, bakeries, jewelry, couture clothing, high-end makeup, insurance, legal services, Amway, natural body care products, as well as wedding planning vendors. 
 

Creative Gift’s Model

 
Among companies in attendance were: Melinda Perez, independent consultant representing Younique makeup line, which was one of my favorite booths! I bought the much raved about 3D fiber lash mascara. 
 

3D Fiber Lash Mascara $30

 
This is the “it” mascara in the makeup community! For more info on the Younique product line please contact: 
Melinda Perez at melsuniquelashes@gmail.com
917-564-9641
Also in attendance was Gigi’s Gourmet Cakes. Let’s just say my moniker this night was Fat Girl Slim. Lol… I literally ate my way through this whole event! I bought luscious pastel colored chocolate covered strawberries and cupcakes from Gigi! Each pastry was melt in your mouth delicious! She’s a young woman who just graduated from culinary school and is doing her thaaaaang! Her caramel cupcakes, topped with sweet buttercream frosting and drizzled in mouth-watering caramel was my fav at her table!  
  

Gigi’s Caramel Cupcake

 
  

Gigi’s Gourmet Cakes

 
 

Gigi’s Caramel Cupcake

 
To purchase any of Gigi’s sweet treats, please feel free to contact her at:
Giselle Jacob
gigisgourmetcakes@gmail.com
Next on the list was A1 Catering Services, who provided an eclectic array of international foods for the event. For free! Attendees got to chow down on free food all night courtesy of A1 caterers! Amongst my favorite were the scrumptiously delectable Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), steamed spinach, and puréed white beans.

A1 Catering Services

That was my first time ever tasting puréed beans, and it was quite delicious! Among other dishes served were baked salmon, beef sliders, Carribean bread pudding, apple pastry, and cheesecake! If you need good food with an International flair catered at your next event, please feel free to contact: 
Chef Rawle Britton
A1 cateres 
917-803-5220
Facebook: Chefrawle Britton
 

ButterMEssentials

 
A sampling of hand cream from ButterMEssentials, and I was convinced that these products are made with dedication and love! My hands were so soft afterwards, even after I washed them a few times. BME provides a range of products for men, women, and children; including but not limited to: hair and body butters, hair puddings and pomades, elixirs, shampoo, conditioners and skin moisturizing bars, as well as facial and body scrubs. 
Contact ButterMEssentials at:


Next on display was A-Squared Fine Costume Jewelry. A-squared jewelry was mouth watering eye candy to a babe with a fierce sweet tooth for fashion! There were so many exquisite and intricately designed pieces to choose from. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings–all meticulously handcrafted. They also host jewelry parties. 
 

A_Squared Fine Costume Jewelry

 
If you would like to buy pieces from A-Squared Fine Costume Jewely or would like to plan your own jewelry party, please visit them at:
A-Squared Fine Costume Jewelry 
Owners Aiesha A. and Aisha D.
347-400-0663 or 718-813-4234
Instagram: @a_squaredjewelry
asquaredjewelry@gmail.com
 

Creative Gifts’ Models

 
Moving on over to the lovely ladies at Freedom at Hand, an Amway business brand. It was such a pleasure stopping by this booth. We not only talked shop, but talked Christ! I love the spirit that indwells God’s people. It always feels like you’re reconnecting with family! To my surprise, I learned that Amway is still around! Who knew? If you would like to purchase Amway products from an independent consultant, please contact:
Freedom at Hand
Angela Luna

Some of the many other vendors on display were: My Sweet Confections exotic cakes and cupcakes, they can be reached at 856-357-6415.  

My Sweet Confections

 

Sweetie Koolture

Sweetie Koolture Children’s wear. This line not only caters to kids, but adults as well! Mrs. Uniquia hand designs all original painted, jeweled, or bedazzled art work. I have my eye on a pair of shi-shi jeweled cat-eye eyeglasses! Yes Ma’am!  For purchases, please contact: 

Uniquia Shukrquan  347-262-2131 uniquiteez.parker@gmail.com

If you are in the market for legal advice or services, please feel free to contact:

Legal Shield
Sandra Harewood Fredric
Independent Associate
syfrederic.legalshieldassociate.com

Worldwide Financial Group
c/o Okoro I. Egwu 
Patricklgwe2002@yahoo.com

Wedding Weavers 
Brooklyn’s best party planners and decorators. Contact:
Wedding-weavers.com
646-464-0835

Culture Vibes
Professional DJ service
917-803-5220
cvibesinternational@gmail.com

There were many more vendors, I didn’t have time to cover them all. Last, for the entertainment segment of the event, the artists that performed represented different aspects of the Christian community: singers, praise dancers, choirs, musicians and a mime. The performers are noted as:
Kenise Etwaru, Little Miss Parkinson, Anhiker Parker-mime, 
R Frasers Give Back Inc, E-Praise, Ashley Nichole, Caroline Labastille, Nassau Tabernacle Worship Team, Fashion by Dr. Pat Jonas. 

  
Hosting the event was Wedding Weaver’s matriarch, Joanne Cummings, with whom I got a chance to sit down one-on-one to discuss the event:
PN: How did you come about starting this event?
JC: Wedding Weavers had been serving in Guyana since 1997, and hosted several exhibitions there. We migrated to USA and decided to start our bridal consultation in New York. In an effort to get the word out that we are around, we decided to host the exposition here in Brooklyn. Of course we know there are other small business owner’s ready to start their businesses, we extended an invitation to those interested…and here we are now…our second annual expo. 
PN: How much does it cost to attend?
JC: The expo is free to the general public. It cost nothing to attend and the entire NY community is invited.
PN: What was the overall attendance and what benefits would a future vendor get out of having a table at Christian Arts & Empowerment Network? 

JC: Attendance has been excellent! There were approximately 150 guests that attended. We also got fantastic responses from vendors in NY. This year we had 25 vendors attend, and still had vendors who were happy to be on our standby list just in case someone couldn’t make it! Furthermore, it’s a way for the consumer to taste, then buy a vendor’s product.

PN: What type of vendors do you encourage to participate? Should they be Christian?

JC: Christian Arts & Empowerment Network and Wedding Weavers are owned and operated by Christians, however, we accept vendors from the length and breath of NY. Once the vendor is passionate about their product and crazy about their craft, we are happy to work with and alongside them to help their business grow while we work on ours…it’s about growing the community.


PN: Do you believe this event is keeping revenue in the local community? If so how? 

JC: When the small businesses in the community network with other businesses in and around the same community, the district is inclined to prosper. Providing jobs for the folk of that same community.
PN: Why is it important for Christians as well as minorities to start their own businesses? 

JC: We have Christian vendors who are involved in the music and entertainment industry. What a better way for a recording artist, dancer or fashion designer to showcase their talent and network. It’s important to start our own businesses so we can be in control of where we are spending our money, as well as support fellow Christians and minorities. We in turn, are passing this business model down our family lineage, to ensure our children will be well prepared for their futures as opposed to depending on someone else to give them a job! 
PN: Why did you decide to add the entertainment and dinner aspect to the event? 

JC: The dinner adds a sophisticated atmosphere to the event. It also helps to offset some expenses. Since folk may buy a table or just a seat, they enjoy the same kind of service as if they were at a 5-star restaurant.
PN: How much is the dinner and what type of food and service is provided? 
JC: The cost per dinner ticket is $25 per person. It’s a three course meal. This year we offered Caribbean flavors. The appetizers and main meal were from Wedding Weavers, while dessert was compliments of A1 catering.
PN: What direction would you like to see this event going in the future? 

JC: This event has the potential to become the highest of its kind in new York by New Yorkers! This is only our second year. Last year two of our vendors were able to use the expo as their starting platform. There’s a new record label and fashion designer who launched their businesses since. And we we’re happy to be associated with their start. That’s what we want: to help birth entrepreneurs! Having event sponsors would certainly help us more! We want to empower young people. Gizelle from Gigi cakes just graduated from culinary school. We want to see her and others like her grow!
PN: What information should future vendors, artists and church groups who want to be a part of next year’s Christian Arts & Empowerment Network event know? 

JC: For those who are interested in joining with us for next years expo, we would say spend some time getting prepared. The expo is your pop up store for the day … you want to show you best and be able to offer your best then and thereafter to your clients … professional standards are what we work with. The cost to the vendor to participate is most affordable … that’s the last thing to be concerned about. Know your elevator pitch and educate those volunteering in your booth.

PN: When is the deadline to apply and what are the event fees associated to participate? 

JC: We start accepting applications from May 1, for the following year. The deadline for payment is 1 month prior to the event date. In 2016, the expo is scheduled for April 9. For a first time vendor, the fee is a minimal $100! 
PN: Who is the primary vendor/entertainment contact? 

JC: That would be me, Joanne Cummings. Please feel free to contact me at: info@christianartsen.com 646-464–0835 or 636-737-7443.  
JC: Also, We would like to say a great big thank you to our sponsors:Terrance Barker from Image Audio, Lady Rhonda Fraser from RFrasers Give Back, Dr. Pat Jonas fashions from creative gifts and DJ Sean from CAEN. Wedding Weavers is happy to be associated with photographer Stephen Paul.
PN: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Joanne! I admire your strength and dexterity! More, your zeal for God and His people! God bless your future business endeavors! 
JC: Puja…thank you! I appreciate it! 
 

Wedding Weavers set design

 

Rooted in God

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“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7,8

You may be reading this right now and and are going through your own personal storm. We go through different seasons in our lives and perhaps at this current moment your season is sickness, joblessness, loneliness, an impending bill that you don’t know how it’s going to get paid, or where the money is going to come from. Perhaps your season is hopelessness, depression and despair; no matter how much you pray or read the Bible, sadness glooms over you. Perhaps your season is a wayward loved one; a rebellious child, a cheating spouse, a backslidden relative, or a cantankerous boss. 

Beloved, the verse in Jeremiah admonishes us to be like a tree planted by the water. Water represents peace, stillness and calm. Water is soothing and relaxing. It says it “sends out its roots by the stream.” The steam is Jesus! The verse is saying to grab a hold of God. He is the peace that will still the storm. More so, not only cling to Him, but be rooted and grounded in Him! That no matter what way the wind blows, your faith, trust, and livelihood will be in Jesus Christ! Beloved, even though torrential rain may pour down, your leaves will remain green and intact. If we define green it is stated as: 

The color of life, renewal, nature, and energy. It is associated with growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. 

It means that whatever season you go through, God is right there with you! You may face horrendous trials, but God will give you the strength, courage, and boldness to go through it! And the best part, the verse says you won’t cease to bear fruit. While you are going through these trials, God is producing sweet fruit in you: patience, long suffering, forgiveness. Joy! Joy in the midst of your trials! Amen! 

James 1:2-4 says, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


@healingbalmcafe

A Christian in Thailand

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A Christian in Thailand

I had been wanting to go to Thailand since forever! I can remember as a child, it seemed as if every product, toy or candy was labeled, made in Thailand. I envisioned a tropical island with colorful flowers, sandy beaches, and people lounging on hammocks all day, sipping fruity drinks out of coconuts. Thailand…it sounded so exotic! And, it was very fascinating to me that these products came all the way from across the world to my local stores.  

Thai coconut ice cream

             

Fast forward to now as an adult. Because of the foodie in me, and a penchant to try foods from different countries, I was reacquainted with Thailand. The first Thai dish I tried is still my favorite: Pad Thai! It was love at first bite!  Moreover, Thailand has become quite the popular tourist destination in recent years. Many of my friends have made the trek some 8,000 miles or so across the world, and they’ve all come back telling me how fun, lively and exciting it was! Not to mention all the shopping they’d done and all the great deals they found at rocket bottom prices! It’s settled, I’m going one day, I quipped! 

A few years later, the time, or shall I say times came, but both trips fell through. Quite disappointed, I thought Ok, am I ever going to get to go to Thailand. While complaining to God over the mishaps, a thought came to me, did you ask God should you go. What? Ask God? As a Christian, it didn’t even dawn on me to ask God should I take a trip. I’m so used to taking off and running when I make a decision about something, without first ensuring if it is God’s will. I was then reminded of the Buddhist culture there and the many temples and idol worship in Thailand.

God has taught me over the years, that there are different hierarchies of spirits reigning over different regions of the world. If you pay close attention you will notice that different cities, states, countries have strongholds presiding over it. Whether it’s terrorist groups, abject poverty, violence, drug smuggling etc. I believe that behind the scenes of these problems are demonic entities. I have discerned many different spirits at work over many places I have traveled. And, some places the spiritual warfare was so heavy, I was very uncomfortable and miserable the whole time I was there and it required deep prayer! 
Beloved, no two Christian walks are the same. I had a Christian friend who went to Thailand, and like others, she came back with nothing but rave reviews! That made me even more excited to go! Well, another opportunity came last month for me to make the voyage. So I began to pray over my Thailand trip and asked God for direction, protection and guidance. After enduring 21 plus hour flights, I was finally on Thai soil! We were met at the airport with warm greetings and welcoming smiles. The Thai people are very hospitable, and only in Thailand am I regarded a Ma-damme! Ha! We arrived at our hotel in Sukhumvit, downtown Bangkok close to midnight. Exhausted and in search of food, the streets were alive and full of action. There were so many people out and about in the wee hours of the morning, it reminded me of Times Square in New York City! There was an excess of bars, clubs, restaurants, and to my surprise, street food vendors. Needless to say I had my first sampling of authentic Thai food, and I was not disappointed!  

 


Upon taking the MRT metro train back that night to the area we were staying in, I wondered had we taken a wrong turn, or went down the wrong street. There seemed to be prostitutes on every corner, including a plethora of transgender sex workers, genitalia statues, T-shirts, key rings, and magnets. There were legalized (or so I was told) sexual enhancement pills sold by street vendors, condoms and, sex toys were openly displayed on vendors’ tables…What?! Either I was too hungry or too tired the night before when we arrived, and didn’t notice this. My whole time in Thailand, this was synonymous everywhere we went. As I continued walking down the crowded street, I felt a hand straddle the small of my back and backside, you’ve got to be kidding me! I turned around and yelled! It was a septuagenarian Westerner claiming to be shielding me from getting bumped into! Yea right! He profusely apologized. 

Which segue’s me into the ubiquity of the many older Caucasian men with very young looking Thai women. There was one couple checking into a hotel, and the girl looked like she was no more than 14-years-old! My heart wept. The culture shock had finally hit me! I did not expect to see an explosion of this type of activity in the central part of Bangkok, but in the more infamous Nana Red Light District, which I’ve  heard so much about. 
That night at the hotel, I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen. It made me realize how blessed I am to be born in a country with a flourishing economy, where a woman has many opportunities to provide for herself and her family in a way that does not demoralize, demean, or devalue her. 
The next few days consisted of touring the country. One of our stops along the way was in Damneon Saduak in Ratchaburi province. We stopped by the elephant riding, Chang Puak camp.  

 Beloved, I have watched many videos and have read about how these elephants are taken away from its families at a very young age in order to be trained to entertain tourists. The training is conducted by the elephants being savagely beaten with bullhooks on the forehead, limbs, and shoulders, and being chained up by themselves for hours at a time for the luxury of tourists wanting pictures riding on them. This cruel and inhumane treatment causes the animals physical ailments, and some literally go crazy.  

Chang Puak Camp

I do not condone animal cruelty, so I choose to feed it instead of ride on it. Later, on a boat ride through the floating market we stopped at a temple. As a Christian, I could not assign myself to go inside the temple, so I admired its history and architecture from afar. At the trip’s end, my friend’s and I discussed the aforementioned, and we all agreed that some of it was a bit unsettling.  

In summation, there was a reason my first two trips didn’t pan out. I thought I was going to Thailand to have fun and share good times with friends. But God had a different plan. He had to prepare me for what I was about to experience. As a person on a spiritual journey, how often do I forget that God direct’s my path for His will. God allowed me to see through the eyes of the spirit, as opposed to eyes of the flesh. I realized that’s why my trip was so different from the people who had gone to Thailand before me. And, I am most thankful for that! It brings me from a place of subjection to objection, from selfishness, to selflessness. To be open to the concerns of our brothers and sisters globally. There are strongholds over this beautiful country that need to be broken: fishing slavery business, idol worship, mammon, child sex trafficking and the remanent of the sex trade, birthed by American soldiers during World War II, that grew exponentially during the Vietnam war; and sadly, remains perpetuated by Westerners to this day. 

In contrast, I love the genuine and sincere hospitality of the people of Thailand. However, like any other city or country there are a few people who may try to take advantage of you. More, I love the architecture, the shopping; spending wisely, you can get more bang for your buck in Thailand! I love the exotic foods and desserts, and being able to have access to organic, locally grown fresh fruits and veggies! You can literally taste the freshness in each bite!     

  
According to Operation World’s (A Global evangelical organization) statistical data, the percentage of Christians in Thailand is 1.10%. That is a very low number. Beloved, the laborers are few but the harvest is plenty. Luke 10:2

There is a spiritual need in Thailand. You may be asking, “what can I do?” Pray! What I love about prayer is that it reaches the far ends of the world without you ever having to leave the comforts of your home! Won’t you join me? In your prayer time please remember to pray for Thailand. Please pray that God sends the laborers. 

-Puja Nagual
 

Life is but a dream…

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If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

-Proust