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The Crocheted Tablecloth beautiful story….. makes you understand that things happen for a reason.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity

so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus… She missed it… The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet…. ‘Pastor,’ she asked, ‘where did you get that tablecloth?’ The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, ‘EBG’ were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do… She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison…. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says God does not work in mysterious ways….

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you, His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through.

So when the road you’re traveling on seems difficult at best….Just remember I’m here praying and God will do the rest.

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot!  All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.

Father, God, bless all my friends and family in whatever it is that you know they may be needing this day! May their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power and HEALTH! as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you.

Amen.

Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you. Within hours, five people have prayed for you and you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

P. S. Five is good, but more is better…

From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in.  A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold.  The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers.
He walked up to a policeman and said, “Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?  You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it’s awful cold in there for tonight.  Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.”
The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door.  When they come out the door you just say John 3:16, and they will let you in.” So he did.  He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered.  He looked up and said, “John 3:16.”

 

The lady said, “Come on in, Son.”  She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.  The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself: John 3:16….I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm. 0 Later she came back and asked him, “Are you hungry?”
He said, “Well, just a little.  I haven’t eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.”
The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food.  He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more.  Then he thought to himself: John 3:16… Boy, I sure don’t understand it but it sure makes a hungry boy full.  She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while.  As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16… I sure don’t
understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean.  You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life.  The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him.  She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights.  As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself: John 3:16… I don’t understand it but it sure makes a tired boy rested.

 

The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food.  After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.  She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face.  “Do you understand John 3:16?” she asked gently.

 

 

He replied, “No, Ma’am, I don’t.  The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.”

 

She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus.  He sat there and thought: John 3:16. .. .. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
You know, I have to confess I don’t understand it either, how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing.  I don’t understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die.  I don’t understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross till the end.  I don’t understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.
John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.”
Pass this on only if you mean it.  “I do Love God.  He is my source of existence.  He keeps me functioning each and every day.” Phil 4:13. If you love God and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done for you, send this on.
Take 60 seconds and give this a shot!  Let’s just see if Satan stops this one.  All you do is  (1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you this, “Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that You know he or she may be needing this day!.”

 

2) Then send it on to five other people.  Within hours five people have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to pray to God for other people.  Then sit back and watch the power of God.

 

From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Somali Intellectuals Forum

Mogadishu, Somalia
July 10, 2003

A drunk who had lost the keys to his home was on his knees looking for them under a street lamp, when a passerby offers to help in the search, but after some time with no success, the passerby asked the drunk, “Where did you lose your keys?” The drunk replied, “outside my front door.” “Then why are we looking for them out here under the street lamp?” asked the passerby. “Because,” replies the passerby, “there is more light here.” The Somali reconciliation conference currently underway in Kenya is being conducted like the search for the drunk’s keys.

Ambassador Bethwell Kiplagat is insisting on the same old formula that failed in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola and many times in Somalia itself. The Ambassador’s formula is let us satisfy the war criminals’ lust for power then peace will reign. Over the objections of the human rights activists, on July 7, 1999 the government of Sierra Leone and the RUF rebels signed a peace agreement brokered by the United Nations, Organization of African Unity (OAU), and ECOWAS, committed the RUF to lay down its arms in exchange for representation in a new government. It also included a general amnesty for all crimes committed during the civil war, and mandated the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and a national human rights commission. Sankoh, the head of the RUF who was in custody and sentenced to death was offered a place in a coalition government – with control of the diamond mines. The United Nations assembled a new peacekeeping force, and the RUF fighters, along with the other disparate groups of militia brigands, were supposed to integrate with the national army. That delusion came to an abrupt halt when the RUF took several hundred UN soldiers hostage.

Similarly, the civil war in Liberia was brought to an end with the election of Charles Taylor on July 19, 1997 with 75% of the vote. According to Human rights watch ‘the implicit threat that Charles Taylor would resume the fighting if he lost was high on the minds of Liberian voters. Many categorized their vote for the man who had started the war and whose faction had been responsible for widespread atrocities against civilians as “a vote for peace.”‘ With the support of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and eventually that of President Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Mr. Taylor got the power he killed many Liberians for. Somali warlords are hoping that with a similar formula i.e. the support of Ethiopia they too will taste and revel in the power for which they have killed hundreds of thousands of Somalis.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi should read again this quote from IRIN on 30 Dec 1998 in Abidjan “Liberia said yesterday (Tuesday) it might withdraw from the ECOWAS Committee of Six on Sierra Leone if governments continued to accuse it of arming and feeding RUF rebels.” Just as Mr. Zenawi’s regime is today a member of the IGAD steering committee on Somalia while arming the warlords in Somalia, Mr. Taylor’s was a member of the ECOWAS committee of Six on Sierra Leone while arming the warlords in Sierra Leone. Today, Mr. Taylor is an indicted war criminal for arming and supporting the warlords in Sierra Leone. What a difference a mere four or five years can make!

A government of the warlords, for the warlords, by warlords is unacceptable and will not lead to peace. The warlords Mr. Kiplagat wants to form the Somali government are the same ones who have not respected the ceasefire they have signed in Eldoret on October, 2002. It is about time Mr. Kiplagat learned from the mistakes of Sierra Leone and Liberia and first demand sanctions on the warlords who broke the ceasefire i.e. Col. Abdullahi Yusuf, Mohamed Dheere, Shaatigaduud and Muse Suudi.

Published on the July 10, 2003 Somali Intellectuals Forum.

2003: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, Clark Atlanta University conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree on Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president. The award ceremony was attended by an estimated 1,900 people, which included the CAU family, a host of local dignitaries, corporate executives and the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA), headed by its President, Mrs. Sue Yancy-Williams.

The two historical institutions, Atlanta University (founded in 1865) and Clark Collage (founded in 1869) consolidated in 1988 to become Clark Atlanta University (CAU). CAU is the largest of the United Negro College Fund institutions. It has an enrollment of nearly 4,500 students. It is considered the only private, historically black college or university classified as a Research University. CAU is also ranked high among the best buys in American higher education by National business and consumer publications.

The Liberian President, now Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was invited by the university to serve as the keynote speaker for its fall convocation.

The chairwoman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Juanita Baranco referred to President Johnson Sirleaf as “a strong symbol of courage, perseverance and leadership for men and women all over the world.” Another member of the Trustees highlighted that among the President’s achievements was – in 2006, Forbes magazine named her 51st in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

During President Johnson-Sirleaf’s keynote address, she said, “I am deeply touched by the invitation and the honor bestowed upon me and my country. I am glad to be back in Atlanta,” she told the crowd. In May, President Johnson-Sirleaf came to Georgia to attend the high school graduation of her granddaughter, Jenelle Elsa Sirleaf of Acworth, Georgia.

In her address, she noted that the history of Clark Atlanta University and the history of Republic of Liberia were somewhat similar; Clark Atlanta University was established for educating “Negroes”, while Liberia was established for blacks seeking freedom. She stated that while the intent of establishing Liberia as a place of refuge for blacks was honorable, there were serious injustices that were done to the indigenous population, which eventually led to Liberia’s civil strive.  But in spite of these unfortunate circumstances, Liberians as a people, are determined that “Liberia indeed will rise again!”

She added that education and foreign investment are crucial to rebuilding the nation, which was devastated by the civil wars, and that the government is working to rebuild the schools that were destroyed and to educate Liberian young people, many of whom never attended school during the civil wars.

According to her, “No country in the world has ever developed without an educated work force. Those countries that function best have gender equity through equal access to education.”

She called on CAU and American leaders to help by providing scholarships for Liberians to study in America and to support such initiatives that will enable Americans to work and teach in Liberia.

Liberia is a country with long historical ties with the United States. It was established in the 1820s as a home of refuge for blacks who were declared undesirable, therefore, not needed in the United States. Today, the U.S. is the country’s top partner, responsible for restructuring the country’s army and security.

President Johnson-Sirleaf appealed to Atlanta’s business community that, the country’s “Open Door” policy and abundant natural resources, i.e., gold, diamonds, forests and iron ore could provide mutual benefits for investors as well as her country.

Published in the September 13, 2006 Edition of The Perspective.

2006: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

The “Power of Prayers” sounds good to the ears of listeners. However, in order to understand it, we need to first understand the word – POWER. If I may ask – what is POWER? Based on the definition provided by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, POWER is the capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect; the ability to act or produce an affect or mental or moral efficacy.
Power than can be utilized if we turn it into a proper direction, and if we collect it to one place, when we keep lens in sunlight and focus it on a paper, paper start burning, that is a small example power of rays (sunlight). It is safe to say, in this universe everything has its own power, but the thing is how we utilize it, is what counts. For example, if we pray to God, we first understand who is God, What the prayer is, why we are praying.

I am reminded of the statement that reads, “Never ever underestimate the power of prayers”. Whether it is Jehovah, Allah, Nyesua or Glepor you pray to, your prayers will be answered. Through prayers, the Supreme Being that we worship responds to our needs.  It is through prayers, we communicate with GOD.

According to recorded history, human beings have been praying for as long as humanity has existed. Rich or poor, literate or illiterate, the urge to pray is equally present in all. W.M. Urban described this as follows:

“In wandering over the earth, you can find cities without walls, without science, without rulers, without palaces, without treasures, without money, without gymnasium or theatre, but a city without temples to gods, without prayer, oaths and prophecy, such a city no mortal has ever seen and will never see.” (W.M. Urban, Humanity and Deity, p. 15)

The problem with humanity has to do with our various doctrines in explaining the desire of the GOD that created ALL of us in His image; but in their attempt to do so; some of these individuals or institutions profess to be godlier than others. A good example is the atrocities suffered by Africans, Native Americans and other indigenous people in the name of religion.

This approach was not necessary, because “Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goals”, says Mahatma Gandhai.

Since the urge to pray is universal in character and crosses racial, cultural and religious boundaries, we might want to know the essence of prayer; the meaning of prayer; what is the purpose of prayer? What effect prayer has on individuals who pray? Or what effect prayer has on society?

The answers to the questions above are more important than the form of prayer itself. When we pray, what really happens to us? The prayer normally consists of reciting some words and possibly some body movements. This is true in all religions—only the forms may be different. Do the words have any effect on the individuals who pray? From the study of Psychology, we know that words have powerful effect on individuals as well as people. But for that to happen, it is necessary that words are clearly understood and their meaning and context fully comprehended. This ensures that the mind actively participates in the prayer also along with the body. Without this, the prayer will become a somatic routine, regardless of how much piety is attached to it from outside.

Thus we see that prayer has a very deep connection with the mind. But this mind-body connection, although made sincerely, should not be superficial that only produces a placebo effect. This has to be real. And a real connection can be established only when the power and the meaning of prayer activate the mind’s cognitive faculty. The so called doctors of religions, on the other hand, have perpetuated a myth which keeps people satisfied by performing the act of prayer without trying to establish this mental cognitive connection.

Prayer is related to purity of heart. As we forgive others, God perpetually forgives us. Forgiveness is one of the deepest parts of love because it is one of the most difficult to give. But anger is devastating to prayer. The prayers of children are extremely powerful; because their faith is pure.

During prayer,  we are suppose to surrender our problem entirely to God; be humble; forgive all of our enemies; have faith; do not doubt; thank God in advance and praise Him, and pray from the heart.

This summed up in Katherine Kehler’s article, “Reason to Pray. According to her,

  • · We pray to have fellowship with God
  • · We Pray to Follow Christ’s Example
  • · Prayer is Vital to Spiritual Maturity
  • · Prayer Brings Results
  • Prayer does change things and the
  • Scripture clearly teaches that prayer can even change the course of history

In Proverbs 15:8 we read that the prayer of the upright is God’s delight. Revelation 3:20 tells us the result of asking Jesus Christ into our lives is having fellowship with Him. The Westminster Catechism teaches that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What an honor and privilege to have fellowship with the King of Kings!

Sometimes we make the Christian life so complicated. We read so many books and hear so many messages on prayer that our head spins with information. But I find when I go back to the Gospels and find out what Jesus did, my thoughts come back to God’s perspective. Praying was important to Jesus. Luke 5:16 tell us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. The very Son of God made prayer a priority even though His day was filled from morning until night. If the Son of God was so dependent on fellowship with God the Father, how much more should we?

Prayer involves talking to God and God talking to us through His Word and His Spirit. Just as we need food to keep well physically, we need spiritual food to keep growing spiritually. We can miss a meal and not feel any ill effects, but if we go without food for a week, we begin to weaken. We can go one day without feeding on God’s Word or praying and not suffer any apparent effects. But if we continue this practice, we will become undernourished spiritually, losing the strength to live a victorious life for Christ and to maintain the boldness necessary for a vital witness for Christ.

Find below a sampling of various prayers by believers in the Almighty Creator:

Hindu Prayer for Peace

Oh God, lead us from the
unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in
celestial regions.
May there be peace on Earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees
plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent
beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all
through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all
and may that peace come to me also.

Muslim Prayer for Peace

In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations
that we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say “PEACE.”

St. Francis’ Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . .hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . .joy
Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . .as to console
To be understood . . .as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . .that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . .that we are born to eternal life
Baha’i Prayer for Peace

Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in judgment,
and guarded in thy speech,
be a lamp unto those who walk
in darkness, and a home
to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring
be a breath of life to the body of
humankind, a dew to the soil of
the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

Buddhist Prayer for Peace

May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness—
the children, the age, the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood

Christian Prayer for Peace

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS,
for they shall be known as
the Children of God.
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you
pray for those who abuse you.
To those that strike you on the cheek,
offer the other one also,
and from those who take away your cloak,
do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you,
and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask for them again.
And as you wish that others would do to you,
do so to them.

Sikh Prayer for Peace

God adjudges us according
to our deeds,
not the coat that we wear:
that Truth is above everything,
but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attaineth God when we loveth,
and only victory
endures in consequences of which no
one is defeated.

Native American Prayer for Peace

Almighty God, the Great
Thumb we cannot evade to
tie any knot;
the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees:
the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
even the footprints of an antelope on
a rock mass here on Earth.
You are the one who does
not hesitate to respond to our call.
You are the cornerstone of peace.

African Prayer of Faith

In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word,
Which comes out of your mouth.
That word!
It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.

So why do we really pray?

Religious leaders are very particular to mention—and rightly so, that it occupies a central place in religion. But their emphasis is more on the act of prayer rather than its spirit and purpose. Performing the act of prayer is an end in itself to them. Religious leaders do not emphasize the fact that prayer is a means to achieve some concrete goals in life. This aspect of prayer is normally overlooked and consequently the prayer becomes a soulless ritual done primarily to please God and for individual personal salvation in the hereafter. In other words, they do not want people to find out the true essence and meaning of prayer in order to revive it.

A simple, conventional answer may be that we pray because our forefathers have been praying and told us to pray, just as we tell our children to pray. Or that we pray because God has asked us to pray. But for many people who are sincerely searching for a more meaningful answer, this may not be satisfactory. First of all, God has given us freedom of choice for everything, including prayer. So we do not have to pray if we do not want to. In fact, in good times, most of us don’t. Only when some personal tragedy strikes (or when we reach old age) that many of us start praying regularly.

Thus, we see that there seems to be no single reason as to why people pray. Everyone can come up with his or her own answer and feel satisfied. In fact, this is what we normally do. But as we mentioned before, the answer that transcends space, time, circumstance and human emotion can only come from God. Therefore, it has become a tradition or a practice to say:

Dear Lord, we come before you

on this day you made possible,

for us to offer you our prayer of thanksgiving.

And for giving us this opportunity, to serve you.

Lord, dear you God

in whom we believe, and place my trust

for which, we have no reason to worry

about the trappings of the world.

Especially so, about what we will eat

or clothe our bodies with and put over our heads.

Because we know for a fact that if you can provide

for the ravens, who can neither sow or reap

nor have storehouse or barn,

but yet, you meet their needs each and every day

you can do the same for us.

Therefore, we have no need to worry

about my own needs.

Dear Almighty God,

we pray this prayer of thanksgiving to you

for being so good to us and our place of birth;

and in spite of  our many shortcomings

you continued to love us just the way we are.

You knew before we were born,

the trouble we had in store for you.

Yet, you went on anyway

to put us together carefully

into my mothers’ wombs,

so unique and different

from others you created.

You cared for us since;

in spite of  our shortcomings.

You did not stop there;

yet you promised to protect and guide us

throughout difficult times.

Even when we did all the wrong things

that were not pleasing to you,

you stuck to your words

by carrying us along the by-ways

and the highways of this world,

in good times as well as in bad times.

We have come to realize that it was you all along

who pointed us in the path of righteousness;

to walk past the Valley of Death and to fear no evil.

For Thy has been with us in spirit

And it was your voice all along that said to us:

“With power from me I will make my people strong.

In fact, they will go whenever they wish

wherever they wish, and wherever they go

they will be under my personal care.”

Father, we are glad to be a living testament

of your unconditional love and power.

So, we thank you for granting us peace, understanding

and most of all, for us to remain humble in our undertakings

Because we remember you saying,

“All who humble themselves before the Lord

shall be given every blessings

and shall have wonderful peace.”

With peace and love, we’ll be able to do Thy will

To stay away from complaining, argument and jealousy.

For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition,

there will be disorder and every kind of evil.

So give us patience to learn to get along happily

At least, to be content in most situations.

For we came naked from our mothers’ wombs,

and with nothing we shall return when we leave this earth.

So Lord, we promised each and every day

to live by your Golden Rules;

to consider others as better than us

Instead of paying back evil for evil like before;

we will do as your Son taught us to do

love our enemies as we love ourselves.

For love forgets mistakes;

it is kind and it keeps no record of wrongdoings.

Therefore, when the going gets rough

it is from you we seek help and advice;

and as usual, you instruct us to wait patiently; not to fret

and worry because it will only leads us in harm’s way

But draw from Job’s experience

and see how our plan will turn out.

It usually turns out the way you say it would

So thank you once more for your tender loving care.

From here on, we promise never to criticize anyone,

no matter how much wrong they may have caused us

We will remain faithful to what you have taught us

By continuing to love those who despise us.

For you have made us to understand

not to judge those who despise us

instead,  to obey your commandments.

Because it is only you who is fit to be the judge

So thank you Father for overlooking our faults

and for making everything impossible, possible for us.

“For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Now we know and appreciate all that you’ve taught us.

Therefore, we come before you this day with joy in our hearts

to offer you this our prayer of thanksgiving

for the goodness and mercy you have shown us.

Words alone are inadequate to list all that you’ve done for us

Including the countless times you have rescued us.

So Lord, we ask that you remain our refuge!

Please don’t let us fall flat on our face again!

Save us from ourselves and enemies;

For you are the only one who is able to answer our prayers.

Rescue us from the temptations of this world

So have mercy on us our Lord and Savior;

you have brought us this far,

and have been too good to us!

For this and the many miracles

you have performed on our behalf;

we ask that you accept our prayer of thanksgiving

for all that you’ve done and continued to do for us.

Amen!

Our Prayer of Thanksgiving by Siahyonkron Nyanseor

© Copyright – December 25, 2006: Siahyonkron Nyanseor

All Rights Reserved

2006: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

© By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

“Santa Claus” and “Old Man Beggar” were once a unique art form in Liberia until the 1970s. I don’t know precisely when this type of entertainment got started, but those that I discussed the subject with, told me that it might have started during the Tubman Administration – sometime in the 1950s. However, Santa Claus and Old Man Beggar would appear during the Christmas season. Parents as well as their children looked forward to Santa Claus and Old Man Beggar entertaining them in their communities.

Unlike the Santa Claus or Old St. Nicholas of Western society, the Liberian Santa Claus and Old Man Beggar did not bring presents to children; instead, they used their gifts and talents to bring joy and happiness to the people through entertainment for which they got pay. This was an art form that produced its own unique music, dance and songs. Songs such as “Merry Christmas, We Are at ‘Your Door”, “We Are, We Are, Santa Claus We Are”; “Old Man Beggar, join the Beggar”;  “Zamgba Die Kpelle People Put On Shoes”; “Monrovia Girl Stop Drinking Lysol, If You Want To Live Long, Stop Drinking Lysol”; “Ah Yea, Ah Yea, Sarah Rascal, You Eat My Money, You Say You Don’t Want Me”, and “Duugbomaa Saonyonkpenge” were among the popular songs the people were entertained with. There was a Speaker whose task it was to grace the occasion; and Old Man Beggar usually performed a special dance called “Hot, Hot Water, Klegbutu,” which most women enjoyed seeing Old Man Beggar perform.

Old Man Beggar was always dressed in raggedy clothes. Also, he had a big pot (beer) belly, while Santa Claus was elegantly dressed in the latest fashion. Santa Claus had names like “YGC” (Young Girl Chaser) and “SND” (Sea Never Dry). At one time, this writer danced as YGC, while Lott Carey Mooney and Yango Gibson who later sang and played guitar for the popular “Shade Band” were part of our group; Lott Carey sang and Yango  played the guitar and Saw.

Whenever two Santa Clauses met, they competed to determine who the better performer was. Both Santa Claus and Old Man Beggar provided a unique entertainment for parents as well as their children during the Christmas season. This form of entertainment was something the people looked forward to every year. The organizers came mainly from the poor and working class neighborhoods.

The Speaker was an important character to the celebration. In a call and response fashion, he would begin the celebration by introducing Old Man Beggar in this manner:

“Toodayyy, time deliver one, one dayyy”. And in response, the audience would say – “ah yea”. The Speaker would continue: “I wonder why, poor Monrovia gone – on on.” (Audience) “ah yeaaa”. The Speaker would then begin his speech (usually dressed in coat and tie with a ledger/writing pad in his hand):

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Women and Men, Boys and Girls, Old People and Young People, on behalf this poor, old, unfortunate man, I bring you season greetings from the most highest, omnipotent person in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Ruler and Prince of Peace.

“My encounter with Dr. Mr. Old Man Beggar (pointing to him) began the 1st day of December. Early that morning, the woman I was staying with, Ma Sarah, sent me on the beach to buy fish to cook ‘Pepper Soup’ for Papa, her husband who was home sick with fresh cold; there I met this ‘big hellever’ man with big pot belly (pointing to his stomach), dressed in raggedy clothes lying on the beach. At first, I thought he was dead.  I was so scare, I was about run when he said to me, ‘Young man, don’t be afraid, I am a harmless old and hungry man, I need your assistance. Please help me! Can’t you see the way I look? Come closer for me to tell you my misfortune.’”

I went closer to him, that’s when he told me the whole story about his ordeal, which begun like this:

“Young man, don’t let my looks fool you! I am no small potato; I am an important person who was returning home after many, many years of study abroad – America, England, France, Russia, Germany, Japan and China, where I earned my GED, BSc, MA, Ph.D., M.D., D.D.D., KGB, FBI, AT&T, CBS, ABC, NBC, NBA, NFL, MTV in dancecology, musicology, lyricology, sportscology, newscology, communicationcology, philosophy, science, and ethics. While returning, we met up with a terrible storm that wrecked our ship; and all my belongings, food, clothes, certificates, diplomas, degrees, and other important documents that I was traveling with got lost; all of the 365 persons on board with me drowned, except me. Doesn’t that tell you something? Perhaps, the Almighty GOD saved my life in order for me to spread his MESSAGE OF LOVE to mankind”.

Right than, I made up my mind to help Dr. Mr. Old Man Beggar, and at the same time, I thought of the Good Samaritan story Jesus told to the lawyer:

“A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho.  Robbers took his clothes, beat him, and left him for dead. A priest came down the road and saw him and passed him by. Then a Levite came along and saw him lying there and did not stop.

“But a Samaritan came down the road and saw the man. He had compassion and went to the man to help him. He put bandages on his wounds, took him to an inn, and looked after him.

“When it was time for the Samaritan to leave, he gave the innkeeper some money to take care of the man, adding: ‘If you spend more, I will repay you when I return.’

“Now I ask you,’ said Jesus, ‘which was truly a neighbor to the man who was robbed?’ The lawyer answered: ‘The one who showed mercy and helped him.’

“Then Jesus said: ‘Go and do likewise.”

“The Good Samaritan story motivated me to take Dr. Mr. Old Man Beggar home; I had him to scrub (bath) with hot, hot water, and I fed him. Afterwards, I summoned all of my friends with musical talent (pointing to the crew, which consisted of singers, drummers, the Saw Player, the Money Collector, etc.) for us to take Dr. Mr. Old Man Beggar around to spread GOD’s message of LOVE through song and dance to raise enough money in order to continue his journey around the world.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the true story of Dr. Mr. Old Man Beggar”.

While conducting my research, I was told that the reason this annual entertainment came to a halt in 1971 was – President William R. Tolbert made it a requirement for the organizers of Santa Claus and Old Man Beggar to obtain business license before performing anywhere in the country. This requirement led to the demise of this once unique art form of Liberia. In similar manner, President Samuel K. Doe outlawed the shooting of “Fire Crackers” during the Christmas season because he feared that attempted coup’s gunfire would be mistaken for someone shooting “Fire Crackers.” It is this kind of behavior that has contributed the undemocratic practices in Liberia, and many parts of Africa.

By the way, there is another thing that makes us a “special” breed of people, that is – the way we use the English Language. The example that readily comes to mind is, a person looking for work down Waterside or Baker (market), would say, “Who want work, who want work?” instead of saying, “I want work, I want work”. Since it is he that is looking for work, why ask, “Who want work?” Anyway that’s what makes us Liberians, and unique!

I truly believe we could turn this uniqueness into something positive by being honest with ourselves, fair, objective and civil in discussing issues pertaining to our country, and more important to elect leaders who will not become our “lords” but rather be about he people’s business. Using this approach as a point of departure, within less than ten years, we could rebuild our beloved Liberia from its present state of hopelessness to greatness – beyond what it presently is. Furthermore, we must never take the simplest thing in life for granted, like we did with the annual entertainment provided by Santa Claus and his pal Old Man Beggar.

In closing, I say to all of you out there in Liberia and the Diaspora, let’s do our best to come together before it is TOO LATE.

Oh, before I forget, “Ba, my Christmas on you-oh!”

Happy holiday!

© Copyright-Nyanseor, December 25, 2003

2003: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

Folks generally aren’t very creative in choosing names for their dogs.  That’s why there are so many named Rover and Spot.

But have you heard the plight of the fellow who thought it would be cute and named his dog, Sex?  It goes like this…

“One day Sex and I took a walk and he ran away from me.  I spent hours looking for that dog.  A policeman came by and ask “what are you doing in this alley at midnight?”

I told him I was looking for Sex. My case comes up next Tuesday!

But that ain’t the worse part.  One day I went to town hall to get a dog license for Sex.  The clerk asked me what I wanted.  I told him I wanted a license for Sex. He said, I’d like to have one too but you don’t need a license for sex.  Then I said, you don’t understand, she is a dog!

He said, he didn’t care how she looked.  When I told him I’d had Sex since I was 5, he said, you must have been an early bloomer!!

When I decided to get married, I told the minister I wanted to have Sex at the wedding.  When I protested that Sex had played a big part in my life and that my whole life revolves around Sex, he said, he didn’t want to hear about my personal life.

After my wife and I were married, I took the dog along with us on the honeymoon.  I checked into the motel.  I told the clerk I wanted a room for my wife and I wanted one for Sex. She said every room in the motel was for sex. I said, you don’t understand.  Sex keeps me awake all night, the clerk said, “Me too!”

When my wife and I separated, we went to court to fight for custody of the dog.  When I told the judge I had Sex before I was married, he grinned and said, “Me too!!”

Now that I’ve been thrown in jail, married, divorced and had more trouble with that dog than I ever imagined, I’m in counseling.  My psychiatrist asked me what my problem was.  I said, Sex has died and left my life.  It’s like losing a best friend and it’s so lonely.  He said, “Look, you and I both know sex isn’t man’s best friend.  Get yourself a dog!”

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