Friday, June 03, 2011


Hannah wanted a child badly.  She had been married to Eli for many years and had been unable to get pregnant.  She was depressed, cried and even refused to eat.  Other mothers taunted and teased her about her inability to bear a child.  She was miserable! 

She and Eli did, however, have a strong faith.  Each year they would travel quite a distance, much like going on a spiritual retreat.  In Hannah's day they didn't have a church in each neighborhood and so going on a retreat to visit a church and pray in this special place, called Shiloh, was very special.  On one trip in particular Hannah was feeling very depressed about not having a child.  She got up early and went into the church to pray.  She cried and prayed silently for quite some time.  A priest saw her in the church and, not knowing Hannah personally, thought she might have been drinking and so he asked her to leave.  Hannah very quickly shared her story with the priest.  He then understood her sadness and prayed with her asking that God bless her and Eli with a child.   

Hannah and Eli returned home and a short time later she became pregnant.  Imagine the happiness that she and Eli felt.  She gave birth to a baby boy she named Samuel, meaning "I asked the Lord for him." 

The following year rolled around and Eli began to prepare for the family's next trip and spiritual retreat.  Hannah was still nursing little Samuel but felt God talking to her.  She spoke to Eli and shared how blessed and happy she was with her life and baby son.  She recounted the events in the church with the priest and told Eli that she would stay home with baby Samuel until he was weaned.  But, the following year she would go on retreat with Eli and back to Shiloh where they would leave him to be raised as a priest for the church.  We're not told of Eli's reaction to this other than that he loved Hannah and respected her wishes. 

So, the following year Eli and Hannah packed up again, with young Samuel, and they travelled to Shiloh.  As people did in that day, they brought offerings to God to be sacrificed.  The same priest that had prayed with Hannah before the birth of Samuel was still at Shiloh.  Hannah approached the priest and shared her vision with him.  She presented Samuel to the priest and they prayed and worshipped God until she and Eli returned home. 

Little Samuel grew and became one of God's special ministers on earth.  We are told that Hannah and Eli visited Samuel each year and that she made clothes for him.  I am sure that they returned year after year for and continued to have a relationship with God and their son Samuel.  God also blessed Hannah and Eli with other children as well.  The Bible tells us that Samuel grew and was a favorite of God's and the people that he served in Shiloh. 

It is hard to imagine a mother giving her child to anyone.  But, what we can understand is that Hannah understood God's gifts and blessings in her life and chose to dedicate her son to God's service as a token of her faith and love.  Not many mother's could give up their young children in this way and this is what makes Hannah a "gutsy woman" in my eyes. 

You can read more about Hannah, Eli and Samuel in the Bible in 1 Samuel chapters 1-2 and beyond.  Hannah, mother of Samuel, we thank you for showing us absolute trust, faith and service to God's work!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Tererai Trent

On Friday, May 27, 2010 Oprah aired one of her last shows and did an update on Tererai Trent.  Now, here's a gutsy woman!  Born in rural Zimbabwe she had no future as a young girl.  Her wish was to be able to go to school but instead, her father forced her to marry at age 11.  By age 18 she was a mother of three.  If she told her husband she wanted an education, he beat her. 

In 1991, Jo Luck, from the Heifer International Foundation visited Tererai's village.  She asked every woman about their dreams and Tererai responded by saying she wanted to go to America and get her B.S. degree, then a master's degree followed by a PhD degree.  Jo Luck said, "If you desire those things, it is achievable." 

In 1998 she moved to Oklahoma with her husband and five children.  Just three years later she had earned her B.S. degree in agricultural education.  In 2003, the same year her husband was deported for abuse, she earned her master's degree.  Wanting to earn her PhD and return to her beloved homeland she pressed on and in December, 2009 she earned her PhD.  She is now happily remarried and gearing up to help her village and people in a big way.

Oprah doanted 1.5 million dollars to help Terarai build a school.  She started a fundraiser, selling T-shirts with the name "Tinogona" on them which means, "it is achievable." 

This was such a moving story and Terarai truly is a women who had a dream and let nothing stop her from achieving her goal.  We have so much to learn from her and I look forwarding to following her progress on her blog and website and in her work with Heifer International.  I hope you do too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rebecca (Neuenswander) Welsh

Recently I learned about Rebecca Neuenswander Welsh while doing some Internet surfing. Her story is compelling … While travelling abroad Rebecca was horrified to witness orphans begging for food in the streets of the cities she visited. The faces of these young children burned into her memory and even after returning home to the USA she could not get the faces out of her mind. As a martial arts instructor she worked with young children every day and took the initiative to develop what she called a “compassion curriculum” to teach her US students about orphans. In short, it was her students here in the USA that came up with the idea for a fundraiser for orphans in Mexico. HALO was founded because children helped children. And, let’s face it, HALO was founded because Rebecca took action and for that she is a gutsy woman!
HALO, according to the website, is a team that is comprised of “….individuals who have made a decision to serve and make a difference in the lives of desperate children around the world. From graphic designers to public relations experts to artists, HALO is able to reach our mission because of each person who is part of our team.” To date they have over 100 volunteers and interns.

“The HALO Foundation is committed to enhancing the living conditions and providing art therapy for orphans worldwide. HALO provides American youth with opportunities to learn philanthropy and volunteerism by seeing the world through the eyes of the less fortunate.”

Spending a few minutes today to look at Rebecca’s work and the HALO website would be time well spent. I commend Rebecca and the entire team at HALO for daring to care and for daring to take action on something that deeply touched her!