Here are the Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
3. Nominate three bloggers each day.
My nominations for today are:
“Take a look at that gorgeous guy who just walked in,” Rita said to her friend, Kadisha as they sat at a corner table having dinner. It was a Friday night and they had decided that they would treat themselves to a nice dinner before heading home. They were at a Middle Eastern restaurant which a co-worker had recommended.
Kadisha followed her gaze and her heart leapt and started pounding wildly when she recognized the tall, athletic figure following the waitress who led him and his date to their table. It was Fadi. He looked gorgeous in the burgundy sports jacket, black shirt and black pants. Her eyes shifted to his date. She was tall and beautiful with thick, shoulder length black hair. The black cocktail dress she wore flattered her figure and gave her a look of elegance. Was she his girlfriend? Kadisha wondered and sighed. “That’s Fadi, the guy I’ve been telling you about,” she told her friend. “Remember I told you that we work on the same floor but in different departments?”
“That’s him?” Rita exclaimed, staring at her. “None of the men I work with look anything like that. Who’s that with him?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re still interested in him, right?”
“Yes, but as you can see, he’s with someone.”
“Is he married?”
“That’s good. Most of the men in my department are married and the single ones stay clear from single women like me. I think I scare them because I am a single mother. Most men or at least the ones I’ve met don’t want to date single mothers. They avoid us like we’re a plague.”
Kadisha looked at her friend. “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out between Jim and you,” she said.
Jim was the man whom Rita had been in a relationship with and the father of her now teenage son. It turned out that Jim was married but separated from his wife. He met Rita at a resort and they became involved. They dated for a while and then the relationship ended when Jim reconciled with his wife. It took Rita a long time to get over the hurt but Kadisha had been there for her, helping her to pick up the pieces and encouraging her to concentrate on raising her son. Rita found it difficult to get back into the dating game. The men she met lost interest soon after they learned that she had a son. She never heard from any of them again, not even the ones who were fathers themselves. They were running away from blended families.
Rita shrugged, “I guess he wasn’t the one for me, after all,” she said. “We wouldn’t have been happy. His wife would have always been between us. If there’s a man out there for me, I will find him someday. Until then, I can live vicariously through my friends. So, what are you going to do about Fadi?”
Kadisha picked at the Eggplant dish with almond yoghurt and pickled chilli which smelled and looked appetizing. “Nothing,” she said. “He’s never really shown any interest in me. We say hello to each other and exchange pleasantries.”
“Do you know anything about him?”
“A co-worker told me that his parents are expatriates from Lebanon. They came to America when he was a baby. He has two older brothers.”
“I wonder if his brothers are as handsome as he.”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t look now but I think he just noticed you. Ahh. He’s getting up and—he’s coming over.”
By now, Kadisha was in quite a state. Her heart was beating at an alarming rate and her hands began to tremble. I must keep calm, she told herself. She looked up the same time he arrived at their table and smiled. He was looking at her. “Hello, Kadisha,” he said, smiling which made her heart melt.
“Hello, Fadi,” she said, barely audibly. She turned to Rita, “This—this is my friend, Rita.”
Rita beamed up at him, holding out her hand which he clasped in a firm handshake. “It’s nice to meet you,” she said.
“Likewise,” he replied. He turned his attention back to Kadisha. “I didn’t notice that you were here until just now. If I had seen you earlier, I would have come over earlier to say hello. Is this your first time here?”
Kadisha nodded. “Yes, it is.”
“I’ve been here before. How do you like it?”
“I like the place, the food and the people.”
“Well, I hope you both enjoy your dinner,” he said, although his eyes were still trained on Kadisha. Then, he excused himself and returned to his table.
As soon as he left, Rita looked at her. “I thought you said he has never shown any interest in you,” she scolded her. “The man couldn’t take his eyes off you.”
“If he’s interested in me, why is he here with her?” Kadisha demanded.
“Have you ever given him any encouragement? Does he have any idea that you are interested in him?”
“Well, I didn’t want to make it obvious since he never showed me any signs that he was interested.”
Rita rolled her eyes. “At the rate the two of you are going, nothing will get resolved. Either you or he has to make the first move.”
“It’s not going to me as long as he is dating someone else.”
“I wonder why he didn’t bring her over to meet you.”
“I expect he has his reasons. Let’s change the subject, please.”
“All right. This short rib in the beetroot glaze is delicious. I love Middle Eastern food.”
They talked about other things during the rest of their dinner and Kadisha tried to avoid looking over at the table across the room. She enjoyed her Chipotle chicken pastille with fennel and pickled blackberries while Rita delved into the Lamb rump with sorrel pesto and vanilla-braised chicory. For dessert they both had the Roasted pineapple, macadamia, coconut ice cream. Rita signaled for the waiter and after splitting the bill, they grabbed their handbags and left the table.
As they approached Fadi’s table, he saw them and stood up. Rita said to Kadisha. “It looks like we’re going to meet his companion after all.”
Kadisha had no choice but to stop at the table. Up close his date was even more stunning. I don’t stand a chance, she thought.
“I’d like you to meet Gaelle, my sister. Gaelle, this is Kadisha, my co-worker and her friend, Rita.”
Kadisha stared at him. “Your sister?”
“Yes, Gaelle is my sister. Her fiancé was supposed to be having dinner with us but something came up and he couldn’t make it.”
“I thought you only had two brothers.”
“Yes, I have two older brothers and a younger sister. She was born here long after we came to America.”
Relief washed over Kadisha and her face brightened. Turning to Gaelle, she held out her hand. “It’s really nice to meet you,” she said.
Gaelle smiled at her. “I’ve heard so much about you,” she said, much to Kadisha’s surprise. She turned to her brother. “Now’s your opportunity to ask her,” she told him.
Fadi took Kadisha’s arm and drew her aside. He lowered his head so that he could speak softly in her ear. Her skin tingled where he touched her arm and her pulse raced because of his proximity. She could smell his cologne. “I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tomorrow night. ”
Kadisha nodded. “I–I’d like that very much,” she said.
He seemed very pleased and relieved. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow evening around seven.” He gave her one of his business cards to write her address and phone number on the back. After she jotted down the information, she returned the card to him and he placed it in the breast pocket of his jacket. “Good night,” he said.
She said goodnight to him and to his sister and then preceded her friend out of the restaurant. As they walked to the parking lot, Rita nudged her, laughing. “See, I was right about him liking you,” she said. “His dinner companion turned out to be his little sister. And while you and he were talking, I confirmed with his sister that he isn’t dating anyone. So, there’s no reason for you not to go out with him.”
“He invited me out for dinner tomorrow night.”
“And did you accept?”
“Of course, I did. I’d be a fool not to.”
“This is so exciting.”
They reached the car and after they were strapped in and pulling out of the parking lot, Kadisha sighed. “Now, I just have to figure out what to wear.”
“If you like, I can come up with you when we reach your apartment and see what you have. You want to dazzle and impress him at the same time.”
Kadisha mentally sorted through the outfits she had in her wardrobe. “I think I have a couple of dresses that may work. If I run into any trouble, I’ll call you later and there’s a boutique round the corner where I live just in case I need to buy something.”
“Okay, so if I don’t hear from you later, it means you found something to wear but I want you to call me on Sunday and give me the juicy details of your evening out with your handsome co-worker.”
Kadisha laughed. “I will,” she promised. “Have a good night, Rita.” She got out of the car and waved as her friend drove off.
As soon as she got to her flat, she went straight to her bedroom and pulled open the doors to her wardrobe. She went through the dresses hanging there, praying that she would find something. Her eyes fell on the burgundy halter dress with the flare skirt. It was fairly new—in that she had only worn it once and it was simple but elegant. She would wear her hair up. The silver metallic strappy sandals would complete the outfit. Satisfied and relieved, she closed the doors and went to take a quick shower. She stayed up to watch the news and then went to bed.
The next day, she cleaned the apartment, did laundry and went grocery shopping. The time went by very quickly and seven o’ clock soon arrived and so did Fadi. When she opened the door and saw him standing there, her heart stopped. He looked absolutely gorgeous in the dark blue suit, light blue shirt and no tie. His gaze traveled over her and she could tell that he liked what he saw. “You look very beautiful,” he commented softly.
She suddenly felt very shy. “Thank you,” she said before she turned to close the door and lock it. Although she was wearing high heels, he still towered over her. They walked to the lift and rode it in silence to the lobby.
In the car, they talked about different things and then, he said to her, “Kadisha, I want to date you.”
“I want that too.”
He smiled. “Good.” Then, he reached out and taking the hand resting on the seat beside her, he raised it to his lips. She trembled when she felt them brush against her skin in a gentle caress. Their eyes met for an instant and locked in a steady gaze. Then, he released her hand turned his attention back to the road ahead of him. She sat there, her mind whirling and her heart pounding. Tonight’s dinner was just the beginning of what promised to be a very exciting relationship.
Russell Wong and Vonetta Willimans attended the same high school and the same university. And now they were working at the same company. Her friends teased her, “It seems like the two of you are destined to be together. Why don’t you go out with him?”
“He hasn’t asked me,” Vonetta informed them curtly. Was it that obvious that she had a thing for Russell.
“We’re living in the twenty-first century, gurl. Why don’t you ask him out?”
Vonetta’s heart skipped a beat at the thought. “I-I can’t,” she stammered.
“Why not?” Gwen asked, rolling her eyes. “It’s obvious to me that he likes you. I’ve seen the way he looks at you. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
“If that’s true, why hasn’t he asked me out?”
“Maybe he’s shy,” Sharon suggested.
“Or maybe he’s not sure that you would want to go out with him.”
“Why, because he’s Asian?”
“Have you and he ever spoken to each other?”
“Yes. We’ve talked to each other many times. You can say we’re friends. He’s from Hong Kong. He moved here with his family when he was three. He has three sisters and one brother.”
“He’s very good-looking.”
“Yes, he is,” Vonetta agreed. “And very reserved.”
“If that’s the case, how on earth did you two get to talking?”
“Well, we had a friend in common–Michelle Forbes and she introduced us. I think she liked him but it never got further than friendship. The three of us hung out for a bit and then it was just him and me. We sat next to each other in class and had lunch together.”
“And was it the same in university?”
“And neither of you dated other people?”
“Then, why on earth didn’t you two go out with each other since then?” Gwen sounded exasperated.
“What about now?” Sharon asked. “Does your workplace have a policy against co-workers dating?”
Vonetta shook her head.
“And even if they did, what they do outside of the office is their business,” Gwen said.
“Gwen’s right,” Sharon told Vonetta. “I think you should ask him out.”
Vonetta swallowed hard. “I’ve never asked a guy out before,” she protested.
“Well, there’s a first time for everything,” Gwen quipped. “Do it over the phone if it’s too much trouble for you to do it face to face or better yet, text him.”
“Yes, text him.”
“Do it now,” Gwen urged. “You might not have the courage to do it when you’re alone.”
“Yes, do it now.” Sharon was beginning to sound like a parrot.
“All right,” Vonetta acquiesced. Heart pounding, she took out her cell and flipped it open. Taking a deep breath, she texted a short message. “Hi Russell, it’s Vonetta. Are you interested in going out with me?” She quickly pressed the button to send it before she chickened out.
“And now we wait for his reply.”
“What if he doesn’t reply right away?” Vonetta asked.
“Don’t start panicking if you don’t hear from him. Maybe he’s busy or he doesn’t have his phone with him. If you don’t hear from him today, text him again tomorrow.”
Vonetta’s brow creased and she sighed. “I probably shouldn’t have texted him,” she said. Just then her phone rang. She looked at the display. Her heart skipped a beat. “It’s him,” she announced.
“Wow, he didn’t waste any time,” Gwen remarked, impressed.
Vonetta answered the call. “Hi, Russell.”
“Hi, Vonetta. I got your text. I would love to go out with you. I wanted to ask you out for a very long time but wasn’t sure that you would be interested.”
“I’m so relieved to hear that,” she admitted. “I was thinking that we could go to this tapas restaurant that recently opened and has gotten very good reviews.”
“Sure. When would you like to go?”
“Is tomorrow evening at seven good for you?”
“Yes, it is. Vonetta, are you free later?”
“Yes, I am.”
“How would you like to go to the Starlight and watch the latest Mission Impossible movie?”
“That sounds great.”
“We’ll grab some take-out before we go the the drive-in.”
“I’ll see you at six.”
“See you at six.” She rang off. “We’re going to the drive-in later and to dinner tomorrow,” she announced excitedly.
“Wow, two dates in a row.” Gwen was thrilled. “Well, have fun and give us all the juicy details the next time we get together.”
Vonetta laughed. “I will,” she promised.
That evening when Russell went to pick her up, she was waiting on the steps in front of the entrance to her flat. Her heart leapt when he stepped out of the car, looking really good in a black tee shirt and a pair of faded jeans. He smiled and held the door open for her, his gaze traveling over her small frame clad in a red tee shirt and denim capris. “Are you in the mood for Thai?” he asked as they drove off.
She smiled. “It’s funny you should mention Thai. I’ve had a craving for Mango Chicken all week.”
He picked up a Mango Chicken for her and a Ginger Chicken for himself. The food smelled so good in the backseat that her mouth was watering. As soon as they were inside the drive-in, he reached for the bag and they took out their containers. After saying Grace, they dug into the food. It was every bit as delicious as she remembered. Afterwards they had Lychee Cheesecake.
“That was really good,” she remarked leaning back in the seat. The trailers were showing now. It had been ages since she came to the drive-in. The last time was with her family and when she was in primary school. They were chewing gum to get rid of the taste of the rich food.
He turned to her. “Yes, it was. That’s the great thing about a drive-in. You can bring your own food.”
“I used to come to the drive-in with my family when I was a child. It was a treat for my sister and me. My favorite snacks were Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars, Pimento cheese sandwiches and Sweet Potato Hummus. What about you? Did you and your family come to the drive-in?”
“They came only when there was a Jackie Chan movie.”
She laughed. “I’m a big fan of his too and Jet Li’s. Actually, I think Jet Li is kind of cute.”
Russell stared at her, his expression serious now. “And what do you think of me?” he asked quietly.
Vonetta’s heart skipped a beat when she saw the expression on his face. “I think you’re gorgeous,” she said, sounding a tad breathless now.
“And I think you’re beautiful,” he muttered before leaning over and kissing her, his going about her waist.
Vonetta closed her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.
The way you feel when you kiss him for the first time. Like fire within … Like every part of you that came from a dead star is alive again – Nikita Gill
The kiss lasted for several minutes but when the movie started, they forced themselves to stop and watched it. But, their minds were on other things and she felt her body react when he held her hand, rubbing his thumb against the back, making her skin tingle. She could hardly concentrate on the movie. When, it was over and they were on their way to her flat, she turned to him. “Thanks for an incredible first date,” she said.
“You’re welcome,” he replied.
“Would you like to come up for a while?” she asked.
He looked at her. “Yes,” he said simply.
When they got to her place, he parked his car underground in her space–she didn’t have a car and they held hands as they walked to the elevators. Her heart was racing as she unlocked the door and as soon as they were inside and the door was locked, they reached eagerly for each other, aching to continue what they started at the drive-in.
Russell ended up spending the night. The next morning they had breakfast on the terrace before he went home. Dinner at the Tapas restaurant was romantic and they went dancing afterwards. They became a couple and they met each other’s families, a nerve racking experience for both of them initially but in time both families accepted the relationship. The following year they got married in a lavish ceremony thanks to their parents’ extravagance.
And now they were on their honeymoon in Algave, Portugal. As they stood on the balcony of their room overlooking the beach and the royal blue waters, Russell put his arms around her waist and drew her against him. “This is paradise,” he murmured.
“Yes,” she agreed and she owed it all to Gwen and Sharon, her bridesmaids and the best friends a girl could ever have. Thanks to their persistence and encouragement, she was here in “paradise” with the guy she had been madly in love with since high-school. She raised her glass. “To Gwen and Sharon, the best friends a girl could ever ask for.”
Good Friends don’t come easy…Friends come and go..but Good Friends are Treasures you find..Treasures you keep! – Midge Gonzaga
For I am the LORD who heals you – Exodus 15:26
I read this story and was so touched by this young woman’s love and compassion for others who were experiencing what she once experienced. When a leprosy patient cried out, “Don’t open my bandage!”, Sakshi revealed her own hands and feet which clearly showed traces of the disease. She assured the patient the disease was not as result of some sin. Many people who have leprosy believe that some sin in their lives is the cause. Sakshi once believed this too.
Sakshi was a teenager when she found out that she had the disease. As the eldest her younger siblings used to look up to her until she got leprosy. They abruptly withdrew from her and wanted nothing more to do with her. Friendless and rejected, Sakshi became depressed and hopelessness drove her to attempted suicide. Thankfully, her father saved her and encouraged her. He told her that she was a precious child and urged her to strengthen her heart through the pain and hardship.
“So my papa was becoming so much a comforter to me and he comforted me and even my brother and sister, they used to hate me, and they don’t want to talk with me, they were not in home at that time when I was doing all these things,” Sakshi shared. “So my father, he saw me and he pulled me from there, and he made me understand everything, and after that I became ok.”
After speaking to her father, she gave up trying to end her life but was still experiencing loneliness and it didn’t help that people were blaming her for contracting the disease. This is similar to what Job himself experienced when he lost his livestock, possessions, servants and children and was covered in painful boils. He was blamed for what happened to him. His friends offered him no comfort and told him that he must have committed some evil for all these things to have happened to him. He was all alone but he clung to his faith in God and God healed him and restored his losses.
Unlike Job, Sakshi had some support but it didn’t stop her from worrying or believing that she had done something to contract the disease. As time went by, her condition grew worse. One of her fingers bent in an awkward position and when she experienced terrible pain in one of her legs, the doctors encouraged her to amputate it but she was afraid to do so. And it was around this time that she met a few Gospel for Asia supported missionaries who encouraged her and prayed for her. They told her about the about the love of the Healer and Sakshi began to pray in faith and ask Jesus to heal her own body. And her prayer was answered. Jesus healed her!
After she experienced complete healing, Sakshi decided that she would dedicate her life to serving the Lord and helping others. She attended Bible college and served in leprosy ministry after graduation. She made it her mission to reach out to the shunned and the rejected. “Nobody is there to comfort [the leprosy patients] and to give any kind of encouragement. Nobody wants to love them, hug them or to come near to them to dress them.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God – 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
“By seeing them, I am thinking that I will fill the gap,” Sakshi said. “I will give that love, which they are not getting from their grandchildren and daughters… I will become their daughter, I will become their grandchildren, and I will help them and encourage them and I will love them.” With the love of Christ flowing through her, Sakshi touched the untouchable and despised by doing simple things such as helping them with housework, giving them hugs, washing clothes and combing hair. She showed them the love of God and how precious they were in His sight. He has not forgotten them. God used her testimony to give them hope. He does not cast people aside because they have leprosy. When Sakshi cried out to Him in faith, He heard her and answered. He intervened when she wanted to end her life and through her father, He spoke “words of life into her weary soul”.
January 29 is World Leprosy Day. You can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from this disfiguring disease by helping the Leprosy Ministry to share the love of Christ and the Gospel. We hope to see more people like Sakshi dedicating their lives to serving Jesus and bringing others to Him. Be a part of the ministry which reaches out to people who will hear, perhaps for the first time, about a kind and compassionate Savior who is not afraid to touch and hold them. He loved the unloved.
Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother – Zechariah 7:9
Source: Gospel for Asia
He left the glory of heaven to come into our world. He was willing to rearrange His life so that He could come here and live and walk among us. He traded in His majesty for our humanity. He left His home to come to a place where He had nowhere to lay His head. He left the adoration of the angelic host to come to a world that did not know Him and to His own who did not receive Him.
He left everything to come into a world that was plunged in darkness, filled with sorrow, sickness, hurt, violence and pain. Why? Why did He come? Would you come to a place where you would be rejected, unappreciated, opposed and despised? He did. Would you reach out to people who are always trying to trap you and challenge everything you say or do? He did. Would you wash the feet of the man who would betray you and share bread with him? He did. Would you forgive the man who denied three times that he knew you? He did. What about those who spat on you, mocked you and wanted you dead, would you forgive them? He did.
Why would Jesus subject Himself to such improprieties? It’s simple. Love. He did it all for love. Love for the Father and love for us.
Love filled His heart as He walked the streets, touching, healing and ministering to people. Love filled His heart as He drove the demons out so that the person was in his right mind again. Love filled His heart as He gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk and the dumb speak. It was love that filled His heart when He touched the leper instead of just speaking the healing. His word was just as powerful as His touch but He chose to touch the untouchable.
It was love which prompted Him to forgive the paralyzed man because He saw the man’s true need. Everyone saw his physical need but Jesus saw his spiritual need and He responded to it. It was love that made Him encourage the widow of Nain not to weep before He touched her son’s dead body, giving him life again.
It was love that broke down barriers when He offered salvation to the Samaritan woman at the well and healed the daughter of the Greek woman. Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans (John 4:9). There was animosity between the two groups. And women were not highly regarded. In fact, when a Jewish man started off his day with prayer, he thanked God that he was neither a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. Gentiles were seen as in a very unfavorable light. They were seen as unclean or common (Acts 10:28). It was unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with them or go to their homes. So, these two women had two strikes against them–their nationalities and their gender. Yet, to Jesus these things didn’t matter. He loved them and wanted to offer them what the world couldn’t.
It was love that made Him call the woman with the bleeding problem, “Daughter” and offer her words of encouragement. He wanted to assure her that her faith had made her well. And it was love that made Him look up at the despised tax collector up in the tree and invite Himself to his home for food and fellowship. It was in love that He reached out the unreachable, the unloved, the discarded, the neglected and the undesirables. His love knew no boundaries, no barriers. It was freely given but not always received or returned.
It was love for you and me that made Him endure the insults, the whipping and finally the Cross. He bore the indignity of being nailed to a tree between two thieves, treated like a criminal although He had done nothing wrong. Yet, He did all of this so that believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life and that the world through Him might be saved.
Love came down to save a perishing world.
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself – John 12:32