Monday, September 29, 2014

The Plight of Widows ~ conclusion


Good morning dear Ladies ~ I hope you had a nice weekend, feeling God’s love and peace surrounding you at all times.

Today we have the conclusion of Tom’s piece for us about widows in other countries, especially in India, where he is involved with helping widows there.


As individuals, we do not need to let this suffering go on ignored.  Kerusomen Gospel Ministries is a small Christian Organization based in the very southern tip of India, which currently cares for  the needs of 13 widows by providing each of them just $15 a month. It is amazing to see how far and impactful only $15 can go.  This money is primarily used by the widows for food and medicine.  Kerusomen Gospel Ministries is particular in selecting only the orphaned widows.  These are women that have no other support or family to help them.

I (Tom) have personally been involved with Kerusomen Gospel Ministries for 10 years and I have been to India four times and seen their efforts to help the orphans and widows of India.  The need is great and our resources are limited.  There are so many other widows we would like to assist.


By: Tom Caprio
Master of Divinity Degree
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School



Friends Needing Friends is prayerfully undertaking the support of 5 widows at this ministry in India.

They are: Leela, Valsala, Mary, Lekshmi and Ammu. More pictures and information on these ladies will be coming soon. 

Here are a few pictures taken from Tom’s last trip there.




Below we have Tom with Saha Simon, president and founder of Kerusomen Foundation.


Saha’s wife Anju assists him in the ministry. She has written a thesis on widows, studying only a marginalized group in India. May God’s blessings continue to be on their work.


In the photo above, the black arrow is pointing to Trivandrum, which is where the mission is located. Some of the dear ladies we are supporting here live miles away from the mission.

Dear Ladies, we are blessed to be living in this country. Even on our worst days, we do not have it as rough as these dear ones do. Let us bless these dear widows with prayers and our gifts. No matter how big or small, the gifts are all precious to God because they are from our hearts, and will be used to His honor and glory as we help support our dear sisters ~ Leela, Valsala, Mary, Lekshmi & Ammu.


And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
And whatsoever ye do,
do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men;

Col_3:17 & 23

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Plight of Widows–Part 2


Good morning Ladies ~ Today we have part 2 of this little series.

Let us continue to pray for all widows everywhere.


Unfortunately, today for many widows, the loss of a husband is only the first trauma in a long-term ordeal. Widows, in these settings, are often the poorest of the poor and least protected by the law.  Most people are unaware that 245 million widows suffer in silence worldwide.  There are over 100 million widows living in poverty today. 81 million widows have been abused and millions have been ostracized and abandoned around the world, simply because they are widows.  Many are victims of property theft, social isolation, physical and psychological abuse.  Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of widows is, in effect, invisible.  It is amazing to find something that impacts such a large section of the population in such a drastic and  horrible way, and yet, there is such a lack of public outcry for the suffering of widows and their families.  The problem is virtually ignored by many governments, the international community, and civil society, and even women’s organizations.

Despite the lack of recognition, there are growing efforts to give this problem greater public awareness.  In 2005 the Looma Foundation began recognizing June 23 as a day to remember and raise awareness of the plight of widows and in 2010 the United Nations officially adopted June 23 as ‘International Widows Day’.

Abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today.  Poor nutrition, inadequate shelter and vulnerability to violence, combined with a lack of access to health care, can impact the physical and mental well-being of widows. In many countries, widowhood is stigmatized and seen as a source of shame.  Widows are thought to be cursed in some cultures.  Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.


There are more than 40 million widows in India (approximately 10 % of all women in India), where widowhood constitutes a low status social institution as well as a personal condition, thousands of widows are disowned by relatives, ostracized from society and made homeless, forcing many women to seek informal work as domestic laborers or turn to begging or prostitution as a means of survival.

By: Tom Caprio
Master of Divinity Degree
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


To be continued.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Plight of Widows


Good morning Ladies ~ Today we have the first part of a piece written by, our guest speaker last week, Tom Caprio.

Living in this country of ours where we still have freedoms to enjoy, we often do not see or hear about what is going on in other countries.  This piece by Tom is a real eye-opener to the conditions that widows are forced to live in.

Let us remember to pray for these dear widows, living in dire straits.


The Plight of Widows: Cries and Suffering That Often are Ignored

James, the brother of Jesus wrote, "This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world". (James 1:27)

Unfortunately today, two thousand years later, widowhood has become a "social death" for women in many developing countries (especially in India and Africa).  In these areas unmarried women are "owned" and controlled by their fathers, married women belong to their husbands, but widows fall into limbo, become outcasts and no longer have any protector.  Widows are shunned from society, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition and the fact that they're seen as a financial drain on their families.   In addition to losing her husband, the primary provider of her household, a woman's social status depends on her husband.  When her husband dies, a woman no longer has a place in society and she is tossed to the very fringe where she will suffer extreme forms of dishonor, abandonment, discrimination, poverty, isolation and hopelessness.


Once widowed, women in many countries often confront a denial of inheritance and land ownership rights under customary and religious law as well as degrading and life-threatening mourning and burial rites and other forms of widow abuse.  Without inheritance rights, including a lack of rights to the property of their birth family, widows find themselves financially insecure and totally dependent on the charity of their husbands' relatives.  Widows are often evicted from their homes and physically abused - some even killed - even by members of their own family.  To regain social status, widows are expected to marry one of their husband's male relatives, sometimes unwillingly.

In Genesis chapter 38 we see how Judah's daughter-in-law Tamar became a childless widow after her husband Er, Judah's oldest son, died. As was the custom of the day, Tamar then married Onan, Judah's second son.  Onan died shortly thereafter and Tamar became a childless widow a second time.  Custom called for Judah to have his third son marry Tamar, but Judah feared he might lose his only remaining son so he had Tamar return to her father's house until his son was older. God had mercy on this abandoned childless widow and through a series of events (which you can find in Genesis 38) she gave birth to twins from Judah himself. Tamar's first born son Perez, fathered a lineage that included King David and even Jesus Himself!

Another example of the ancient custom of redeeming a widowed relative if found in the book of Ruth. Here we see Boaz, a descendant of Judah, Tamar and Perez, redeeming Ruth, a widow who was gathering scraps of grains from his fields, after he found out that she was the wife of a deceased relative.  Together Ruth and Boaz had a child, Obed, who would go on to become the grandfather of King David and it was through the lineage of King David that Jesus was born.

By: Tom Caprio
Master of Divinity Degree
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


To be continued.

Friday, September 19, 2014

God works all things out


Good morning my sisters,

I would like to update everyone about our last meeting of 'Friends needing Friends'. Our meeting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and people from different areas where expected to come.  At 8:30 a.m. I received a telephone call from the manager of the Country Club stating we could NOT have our meeting because they were doing renovations of the meeting area and kitchen.

My first reaction was HELP LORD! Panic!  I did talk the manager into just letting us have the meeting and no lunch.  He agreed.  What I thought would be a disaster, God spoke through our guest speaker, who reminded us that God was in control and who knew - if this was to be a lesson for all of us that what we were enduring at this meeting, our sisters in India were experiencing far worse conditions.  WOW! Did the place get very quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Tom's (our guest speaker) statement gave the ladies a lot of food for thought.

In several posts, I would like to share with you Tom Caprio's message about the Widows in India.

Dotti Ackerman

To be continued.



What’s Next Lord?…

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Today’s Grief Tips ~ from some of our ‘sisters’


Good morning dear Ladies ~ In today’s post we will have more tips that have helped some of our ‘sisters’ through their time of grieving.

In sharing these tips, we comfort each other, which in turn helps us to comfort others. Even though we ourselves may be hurting.

No matter where we are in our journey in this ‘sisterhood’, we are all growing in God’s grace, His love and His tender mercies.

Let us continue to pray for, encourage, and help each other with each new day.




Let go & let God. Trust in God to help you. Turn to family & friends. Take care of yourself. Fix yourself up, do not stay home & become depressed. Share your grief with God & others. Join a support group such as “Friends Needing Friends”.



Believe that God will never leave you or forsake you.  He is with you at all times.



Demonstrate compassion, calmness, inner peace via your presence and tone of voice.  Be a good listener & slow in giving advice.  Identify with feelings expressed, minus long stories of personal experiences.



Encourage a friend who is grieving and invite her to ‘FNF’ meetings. Everyone I invited loved the programs and have greatly benefitted from meeting others who are experiencing the same grief.



Allow yourself to grieve and trust in the Lord to ease the pain.



“Be still and know that I am God” is a Bible verse that helped to keep me centered in my blessings.



May these tips be an inspiration to you.

Before I close this post with another uplifting song, I want to add this piece that blessed my heart. It was attached to a bear that I was given by FNF when I was a new widow of about 3 months.

~ Jesus Cares ~


There is never a day so dreary
   But God can make it bright,
And unto the soul that trusts Him,
   He giveth songs in the night.

There is never a path so hidden,
   But God can lead the way,
If we seek for the Spirit’s guidance
   And patiently wait and pray.

There is never a cross so heavy
   But the nail-scarred hands are there
Outstretched in tender compassion
   The burden to help us bear.

There is never a heart so broken,
   But the loving Lord can heal,
The heart that was pierced on Calvary
   Doth still for His loved ones feel.

There is never a life so darkened,
   So hopeless and unblessed,
But may be filled with the light of God
   And enter His promised rest.

There is never a sin or sorrow,
   There is never a care or loss,
But that we may bring to Jesus
   And leave at the foot of the cross.


Song for today:

‘He’ll Do It Again’

by Beth Buck

Let us remember:

It is of the LORD'S mercies

that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;

therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him,

to the soul that seeketh him.

Lamentations 3:22-25


Love, hugs and prayers ~ Rainey

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Need Each Other


Hello Ladies ~ Today we have a note of encouragement from one of our dear ‘Sisters’. May you enjoy it and be inspired, to ‘be there’ for each other, and to love and pray for one another.

We Need Each Other

by Joanne Lewis

After reading Apostle Paul's letter to Titus, I began to reflect on Paul's life.  Paul spent much time traveling and preaching. He received little rest.  The emotional and spiritual tension he dealt with was worse than the lack of rest.  He often met misunderstanding and suspicion.

Do you know, Paul's life was much like our lives as widows?  We often find it hard to rest - especially at night.  The emotional and spiritual tensions are very draining - has God forgotten us? Has our faith weakened?  We are often met with misunderstanding.  Why don't you move? Why are you moving?  Why are you staying there alone?  Why don't you go out more?  Why did you leave our Saturday night club?

When Titus visited Paul, he was in a cheerful mood.  Titus's friendship brought Paul rest.  Their time together was very spiritual and physically refreshing to Paul and helped Paul tackle life with a renewed vigor.

"Friends Needing Friends" is our Titus.  It renews us monthly. Widows need each other when we are feeling discouraged or depressed.  Just seeing a friend who "understands" can brighten your day.  Just last week, this happened to me as I was food shopping - food shopping for one - a job I really hate.  I met one of my “FNF" friends and suddenly realized - I must stop feeling sorry for myself.  I am not the only one who must shop for one; you know, my whole day brightened.

We cannot do without one another.  We are privileged because we have "Friends Needing Friends" to help us meet our needs - spiritually, emotionally and socially.  As widows we need each other.

Let us pray... Lord, thank you for friends who meet our needs.  Thank you for the encouragement they give us.  Help me to help others as they have helped me.  Amen.

Joanne Lewis



It is so true my dear friends. We do need each other.  Now, I have a great suggestion for you this morning.

Pray and ask God to use you to start your own 'Friends Needing Friends" widow ministry.  God wants you to serve Him and what better way than to have fun doing it.

All you have to do is invite several of your widow friends to your home.  You could even serve them some cookies and tea if you wish.  What Christian doesn't like to eat a little something sweet? (Smile)

As far as what to say and do, our blog has all the material you will need, and it even offers music to open your meetings and enjoy.

Remember---to pray first to get God's direction.  Then please, write and let us know so we can rejoice and pray for your ministry.

God's blessings,

Dotti Ackerman

Founder & Director of 'FNF'



This coming Monday, the 15th, is our meeting/luncheon for our so. FL sisters. 

I am really looking forward to it as we had a vacation last month so it will be so good to see everyone again. If you can, bring a widow friend with you.

Have a great weekend and see you Monday ~  Rainey


Monday, September 8, 2014

After the Storm



Good morning dear Ladies ~ Today we have another uplifting and encouraging poem written by our ‘sister’ Diana Clark.


After the Storm

Acknowledge the storm
That ripped through your life,
Tore open your heart,
And filled it with strife.
It happened to you,
This you cannot deny,
Then hear God's response
To your desperate cry,
"Trust Me."

Accept all the changes,
Don't grope for the past,
Cherish the memories
But move forward at last.
It happened to you,
It's okay to ask why,
Then hear His response
To your heartbroken cry,
"Trust Me."

Adjust to the difference,
You must yield to the flow;
At times you'll be frightened
By things you don't know.
It happened to you,
But press on--you must try,
Then hear His response
To your struggling cry,
"Trust Me."

Endure those times when
Your prayers are a groan;
The journey is hard
But not yours alone.
Consider your loved ones,
It's their plight too -
A twofold heartbreak,
For they care about you.
Yes, it happened to them,
It goes beyond "my..."
Then hear His response
To each one's cry,
"Trust Me."

His grace is sufficient,
His promises, true.
It's not about me.
It's not about you.
It's about God the Father,
His glory, His plan
For eternal salvation
Through Christ, Son of Man.
It happened to Jesus,
He suffered too,
But He chose to trust Him-
What about you?

"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6

(Read: Psalm 71:1, Matthew 26:39, Romans 8:26-28, 2 Corinthians 12:9)


With permission by: Diana Eileen Clark from her booklet

"Simply Put ~ Inspirational Poems of Hope as You Journey Through the Valley"


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Who Can I Be …


'Real Answers' by Pastor Bruce Sofia'


Dear 'Friends," this question was submitted by your captain, Dotti. It came out of a sermon series from the book of Ruth entitled "The Rewards of Character."

Ruth became a widow very early in her life - she was probably in her mid to late twenties.  She was the wife of a man whose religion was different that hers, yet when her mother-in-law, Naomi, also a widow, decided to return to her homeland (Israel), Ruth said these immortal words in which our marriage vows today find their root:

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God. [17] Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

When Naomi returned to her home land she felt that life had "done her in," and that the Almighty had not treated her kindly.  She had lost both her sons and her husband.  Yet, in the midst of a life of loss and sorrow, somehow Naomi's faith spoke loud and clear.  Ruth wanted what Naomi had, and she caught it.  As the story unfolds Ruth's faith and character stands tall, and she becomes a shining light in a world of darkness (remember, this was the time of the judges "when every man/woman did what was right in her/her own eyes").

The question submitted by your inspiring leader was: "Who can I be according to the book of Ruth?" You can, with the LORD'S help be the following person.

1. A friend. When Naomi needed someone by her side - Ruth was there.

2. A provider. When Naomi needed someone to go to work and put food on the table - Ruth was there.

3. An attorney.  When Naomi needed someone to fight for her rights as a land owner - Ruth was there.

4. An assistant.  When Naomi needed someone to be a surrogate mother - Ruth was there.

6. A defender.  When Naomi needed someone to stand up for the integrity of her husband's name - Ruth was there.

7. A godly model.  When Naomi looked for someone who valued what God valued - Ruth was there, stepping up to the plate.

The true and real of who and what you can be as found in the personalities and character of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi are:

      1. You may not be able to provide for everyone who has a need, but you can provide for someone who has a need.

FOR INSTANCE: Besides our tithes and offerings, Sheryl and I help support one widow, two missionaries, and one orphan through Compassion International.

      2. You may not be able to be a friend to everybody, but you can be a friend to someone. (Did you know you can be a friend to someone and they may not be a friend to you?)

SOMEONE IN THE CHURCH - gives me money  twice a year to buy clothes.  I don't know who they are, the gift comes anonymously.  I cannot repay them for their kindness. But for years they have been a friend to me.

      3. You many not be able to be everyone's defender, but you can be someone's defender.

FOR EXAMPLE: The former mayor of this Township goes for sentencing the first week in April.  The Lord willing I will be there. I wrote a letter to the judge in his behalf asking the Court for a "downward departure."  Why? First of all, I believe in Jerry Luongo.  Secondly, when we needed a friend he was there.  When we needed a defender, he was there.  When we needed something done, he was by our side helping.  Am I going to trade that in because someone might think less of me? Never! Never! Before God, you and I have been called to "Do Right, and Give the Consequences to God." Standing by Jerry's side in this hour of trial is for me the right thing to do.

      4. Lastly, you may not be able to obey everyone who issues you a command or requests something of your, but there is someone you can obey and when you do the lessons you will learn about life will be immeasurable.  No one will ever obey you if you have not first learned to obey.  No one will follow you if you haven't first learned to follow; and, no one will follow where you will not lead.

In conclusion, in answer to the question posed by Dotti, you can be what Ruth became to Naomi, maybe not to everyone but to someone, and that will make your life different for the better.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Widows Witnessing ~ 1 Sept. 2014


Dear Ladies ~ I hope you are all feeling the love, peace, joy and strength of God flowing through you. Remember, that no matter what we are going through each and every day, He is always with us.

In this post we have more tips on what has helped us in our grief. We are all unique personalities, we deal with grief in our own ways, yet sometimes we feel the same things and have similar experiences.  Sharing lets us know we are not alone. As we read what others have written we may see other ways that will help us on our journey.

When we share our stories, our grief tips and the many ways that God helps us in this journey, we bless and comfort other widows. Each of us has something to share, and who knows better how to share advice to another widow than you.




When feeling lonely or low in spirit, I get out and do something for someone else. If I can't go in person, I can make a phone call or send a note.  In the process I end up feeling better. ~T.G.


When life is blue, stay positive and reach out to others. Get involved. Be a shoulder for someone.  ~ B.S.


If I feel down, I get on my knees and ask for God's help. He lifts me up - I can always feel His presence. ~ E.M.


Grief is a very emotional time in life that teaches us to be patient with ourselves. It's a personal experience that tests our inner strength and emotions in many ways. ~ FNF Sister


When feeling sad and alone, I stop at the local nursery and look at all the beautiful flowers God have made for us to enjoy.  It lifts my spirit and makes me feel happy. ~ B.P.


Pray and focus on God. ~ E.M.


I feel like I could have written any one of these bits of advice.  It will be 21 months for me since joining this sisterhood, the 9th of this month, and I've come quite aways since those early days. God has been my strength, He has and still bottles my tears.  Every day is a gift to be thankful for.

Scripture in Psalms have been such a source of uplifting encouragement to me.

I will close this post with the following scripture in Psalms. It starts out with sorrow at losing our loved one but goes on in praise for God delivering us.

The sorrows of death compassed me,
and the pains of hell gat hold upon me:
I found trouble and sorrow.

Then called I upon the name of the LORD;
O LORD, I beseech thee,
deliver my soul.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
yea, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserveth the simple:
I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul;
for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Psalms 116:3-7 KJV


Thank you dear Ladies for writing from your hearts. Others will be blessed and touched by your words.

Listen again to the beautiful song below and may you always feel God by your side. ~ Rainey


‘One Day at a Time’ by Lynda Randle