A few days ago I was invited to go and speak to the San Fernando Kiwanis, and when I was there I met a man who immediately came up, gave me his card and said, “I would love to speak more with you about your non-profit.”  When I arrived home he called and invited me to attend a lunch yesterday that was for  entrepreneurs. I graciously accepted his invitation and  went.

While I was waiting for him to arrive I received a text message from him sharing that he was stuck in a parking garage and couldn’t get out, and that I should just stay and enjoy the lunch. So, I did.

I sat down and two men came and sat beside me. We started in with the normal conversation, “Hi my name is Gina. I was invited here today as a guest, and I’m very pleased to meet you!” The men introduced themselves and then when we were done I looked to the man sitting across from me  and asked, “Where are you from? I know  you are not from around here.” The man smiled and said, “No, I’m from South Africa. My family and I moved here a year ago.”

The man sitting next to me then asked, “Why did you pick America?”

“Because, America is the land of the free and home of the brave. America is where my family and I can do and become anything that we want to be. We can worship the way we choose. We can own a business or we can be employed by one. We can purchase a home that is our name, and we can walk around the neighbor without fear of violence. ”

As he spoke his smile kept getting bigger. The excitement in his voice was contagious, and then he continued… “I sit in an office with those who were born in the United States of America, and each day I get to listen to them complain about the country. The economy, the lack of this or the lack of that, and I want to stand up and say, ‘STOP IT! You live in a country where people roam free, and if you want to see what living in a depressed country is like, please… come visit Africa.'”

When the lunch was over, I  opened my purse and pulled out a verse I was given when I was 17. I had attended  Church camp, and one night we all sat around a bonfire, and the Youth Pastor handed each of us a piece of paper. Our instructions were to open the paper after he counted to three and then read the verse out loud. The verse reads:

Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. Numbers 11: 11

When we finished reading it the Youth Pastor threw a substance on the fire that made the fire grow tall and each of us jumped back in fear, and all he said was… “Don’t ever complain about the blessings that God gives you… You don’t want to kindle the LORD!”

As I was walking back to my cabin that evening I looked at my girl friend and said, “Oh, now I see why parents only count to 10 when they’re upset. The Number 11 belongs to the Lord!”



1 Comment

Filed under Faith

One response to “AMERICA THE LAND OF…

  1. Dr Gary M Stuhlmiller

    Thank you for this post, and I agree with the man from South Africa. People for more than 200 years have come to this country because of the hope it offers..freedom and opportunity. It does not offer entitlement. When I was a senior in college, I had the opportunity to tour eastern Europe, then still behind the infamous Iron Curtain. We were a group of American college kids in the early 1970s..plenty of campus unrest because of the Vietnam war. What a shock for those who had mindlessly protest anything and everything about the establishment in this country! We saw such repression and poverty, and those radical young men returned home flag waving Americans ready to shout the praises of our country. Here is a warning….in 2008, we elected a president who vowed to fundamentally change America. The unspoken message was this..because 1% is not as it should be, we are going to change the 99% that is wonderful and which has given hope to generations throughout the world. The baby goes out with the bathwater. I hope all legally voting American wake up and appreciate what we have before it is willfully destroyed.

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