Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Very Special Date

Message by Diana Clark

At the age of 70, I became a photographer and a writer, without any formal training – what a coincidence! Or is it? I am learning that some so-called coincidences in life aren’t coincidences at all.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Therein lies the answer: It is the Lord directing my paths. 
One path led me to “Friends Needing Friends” and eventually to the Apple Store where I bought an iPad.  I took the iPad to a FNF meeting and used it to take a couple pictures, which led to becoming the FNF photographer.
Another path led me to become a volunteer at a United Methodist Home, which involves facilitating a senior writing group; that has inspired me to write my memoirs, as part of my legacy, and also several short stories about the little things in my life that are meaningful to me, or simply a pleasant memory. So, now I’m a writer!
I have discovered that writing can be extremely therapeutic. Whether it’s anecdotes to share with others or journaling for your own benefit, it is an outlet for your innermost feelings. I encourage you to give it a try; you’ll be surprised by how many stories are stored in your memory bank – what a wonderful part of your legacy they will be IF you record them. 
Here is a sample of the type of story I enjoy writing and sharing. It’s called….
A Very Special Date

Shortly after becoming a widow, I was invited on a date with a very handsome gentleman in celebration of my birthday. I was hesitant, but I could not resist. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going – he wanted it to be a surprise.
When the day arrived, I leisurely dressed for the unknown event. I wanted to look nice for my date. It brought back such fond memories of when I was dating my husband during our courting days many, many years ago. 
When I answered the door that evening, there he stood, as handsome as ever, holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. How thoughtful of him. He smiled, gently kissed my check and said “Happy Birthday.” I fought back the bittersweet tears as I located a vase and quickly arranged the bouquet. 
We drove to a very nice restaurant where we shared a delightful dinner. When the meal ended, he looked at his watch, “We better leave now in case traffic is heavy. We don’t want to be late.” Late for what, I wondered.
He headed north and crossed the bridge to Philadelphia. At last we arrived at our destination the Mann Music Center featuring a performance by the River Dancers. How exciting! 

It was fascinating to watch the precision and energy of the dancers. It was almost contagious. We walked about during intermission; he was attentive to my every need. When the show ended, I held his arm as we walked back to the car. Conversation never waned as he drove me home.

It was a very special date with a very special gentleman. As he was leaving my apartment, I hugged him tightly as I said, “Thank you, Honey. I had a wonderful time.”
“You’re welcome, Happy birthday, Mom, I love you.”

It was definitely one of the best days of my life and made even sweeter by the fact that it was my daughter-in-law’s idea.  I am very blessed.Thank you Doug and Jen.  I love you both dearly!

"Because He Lives" by Guy Penrod

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hagar - Her Need Got God's Attention

Today is a great day of celebration because this is the first time Shari Hervold's message and Pastor Bruce's music will be heard audibly in our Friends Needing Friends blog and in many countries. Praise the Lord for His many blessing. 

J. Bruce Sofia
 There are many gifted and talented people in the world, however, the number lessens greatly when we look for those who use their talents and abilities for the Lord. There are even fewer in number who with honesty and integrity give their talents and abilities for the benefit of others. Today it is with privilege that I introduce to you a very special lady, a unique and exceptional person who has unselfishly poured out her life for others - she is affectionately known to all as Shari. Meet a marvelous women with a true passion for the welfare and salvation of men and women from all walks of life.  - J. Bruce Sofia, Sr. Pastor at the Gloucester County Community Church, Turnersville, N.J.

     Hagar - Her Need Got God's Attention

Message by Shari Hervold

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Go and Enjoy!" Yea Nehemiah!

It’s time to “Go and enjoy!” Yea Nehemiah!

Friends Needing Friends International is celebrating two noteworthy milestones: the New
Jersey chapter is celebrating its 28th anniversary and the blog is celebrating its 27,000 “hits” in over a dozen countries. While all the praise for every accomplishment of this ministry goes to God, I think there is scriptural precedence for celebration and partying. One only has to look in the book of Nehemiah to read of such a celebration.
The rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem is recorded within this book. It was not an easy process. The workers became discouraged and wanted to quit, their enemies taunted them, and Nehemiah had a lot to contend with in leading the people in the process. Once it was completed and the beautiful city of Jerusalem was again well defended, those Israelites who had been taken captive and were not living elsewhere began to come “home” to Jerusalem, which once again began teeming with people. Then Ezra, the priest, called the people together to read the Law of God aloud to them, as it had been a long since that had occurred. They were so happy to once again hear 
God’s Word that they wept openly. 
The eighth chapter of Nehemiah tells us that Nehemiah told the people to stop their weeping, for the joy of the Lord was their strength. Then, he told them to do something that might seem a little curious to us; he told them to “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks. . .” Ladies, that’s a celebration. This ministry has been developed with tears, moments of wanting to give up, and discouraging remarks from outsiders, but FNF, as well as the blog, is stronger than ever. To God be the Glory! This calls for a celebration. It’s time to party!

The twelfth chapter of Nehemiah records the joyous occasion of the dedication of the wall. I think it could well serve as a model for what Friends Needing Friends will be doing in June. Verse twenty-seven tells us that they celebrated with songs of thanksgiving. It is fitting that you women give thanks to God for FNF, not forgetting to be thankful for Dotti, the founder, and Florida director and maintainer of the blog, and Mary Lou, the New Jersey director. And don’t forget all those who work so hard each month to put on the lovely meetings that you enjoy.

I also note that the scripture states that they celebrated joyfully.  There is a difference in merely being happy and being joyful. Happiness comes from without, but joy comes from within. 

These folks were happy, taking pleasure in the moment, but they were also joyful, which is long lasting.  The Florida chapter is throwing a blog party and its New Jersey counterpart will have a lovely luncheon with a special speaker and musical presentation.  I encourage you to not go light on the fun, food, and frivolity.  After all, the whole of this ministry is dedicated to you women who have endured mourning accompanied by many tears.  Take to heart Nehemiah's words: "Do not mourn or weep...Go your way, enjoy choice food (don't even think of counting calories) and sweet drinks. . . for the joy of the Lord is your strength."Congratulations to FNF, its blog, and each of you ladies who minister to each other faithfully month after month!  God is celebrating with you.

            Reflection: If you are reading this blog and have not asked the Jesus of the Bible to become your Lord and Savior, I implore you to do so now.  If you long for a lasting joy in your life, I ask you to trust in Jesus Christ for eternal life made available to you through His death and resurrection.  Jesus Christ himself said that if you come to Him, you will become a child of God and a joint heir with Him in all the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who trust in Him.  It is the best decision you will ever make.

Message by Shari Hervold

Thank You Jesus

At our age we might not be dancing to the music, but we can still tap our feet to the beat and celebrate. FNF has worked very hard over the years serving the Lord. Therefore, let's get ready as we listen to the next song. "Celebrate Good Times" I wonder what they sang as they celebrated in Nehemiah's time.  (Smile)

Friends Needing Friends in New Jersey is a special sisterhood of widows and has great leadership. Pastor Bruce Sofia of the Gloucester County Community Church has been the Pastor of FNF for 28 years and Mary Lou Tweed is now the director of this fantastic sisterhood.

These ladies help with all the desk needs for the organization and have been with the sisterhood for over 25 years. God Bless these ladies.

Congratulations to all these ladies! These are the ladies that God has sent to FNF. I love them all dearly.

The ladies all meet at Wedgwood Country Club,

Turnersville, New Jersey.

Diana is our photographer from the N.J. chapter.
Thank you Diana for all your faithfulness and loyalty to FNF. May God truly favor you.