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Dear Friends, Readers, Brothers and Sisters,

I send you greetings in the name of our Lord and plenty of warm sun from beautiful Africa and as an advertisement says, they call it Africa, we call it Home! I pray that you are all well and His Hand is upon you, His love, protection, provision, grace and mercy is with you. Amen!

You might have noticed that recently the blog is not as active as used to be. So, as I am sitting in a nice cafe where there is electricity and internet connection, I wish to let you know that I have not forgotten you. The issue is that water level in reservoirs is low that means electricity cannot be produced according to demand. So, for first time in Zambia, we are in 8hrs load-shedding a fact that influences communications as well. It is what it is, we just become practical and pro active, being prepared for even more difficult days as the hot season will come in few months. I am sure that humans, animals and plants looking forward for next rainy season.

No matter what we deeply love our land and we are grateful to the Lord for each day’s favour!

If we miss each other at times, know that I appreciate you and love you truly, looking forward always to hear from you and share as our days allow.

Talk to you soon, when no post on line please go back to all those previous posts (almost 200 in this blog and more than 400 in the http://www.lovingministry.org) and get some inspiration, download my e-books, are free, and refresh knowledge of our God.

Big hug and love,

Dimitra

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October 2014 was expected to be special for us who call Zambia our home. As a matter of fact October 2014 exceeded our anticipations!

Zambia exists as a nation (One Zambia One Nation) since the 24th October 1964. In the beginning, our region was a without borders area inhabited by various tribes, co-existing, speaking their own languages, having their own traditions and educating their children according to their morals, ethics and knowledge. When a beautiful sunny day the big foot of the Europeans – in our case, the British – stepped in, they designed borders on a map. They named that nation Rhodesia ! Today’s Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe cover the region of ex-Rhodesia. As you understand no Zambia existed before. Zambia is YOUNG at 50!

Great celebrations were organised owing to our Golden Jubilee. Everybody was excited. Artistic and of historical nature exhibitions took place. Each province organised dances, functions, music, food and endless speeches. The greatest fete went on in our new Independence Stadium in the capital, Lusaka. People queued since the previous evening. They slept outside the closed gates waiting the next morning.

During the past 50 years, the nation had five presidents: two died, two in life and the recent one unfortunately in a hospital in U.K. He was not present during the celebrations. Few days later, the nation mourned his death – counting three out of the five. However, our first President and fighter for freedom, Mr K.K. Kaunda at age 91 feels and looks great! Life peculiar, eh?

Thus, one week we celebrated, the next we mourned. Within the week following our Golden Jubilee of freedom from the British Empire, we are paradoxically governed by our Vice President whose parents are an Englishwoman and a Scotsman. According to our Constitution, presidential elections should take place within three months.

Among all those happy and sad moments, my garden had its contribution:

Since beginning of October a particular lily keeps blooming (see photo attached). It was given to me by a friend when I started planting my garden. I thought that it was just greens. I planted it around the biggest and more dominant Acacia tree that exists in the garden. I had no idea that it was a lily.

“So what?” you would say. Look at it and compare the colours to Zambian Flag! Any similarities? Aha! The green symbolises our fertile land, the mustard our superb copper produce, the black for the Zambian people and red representing the blood shed for freedom and independence.

(It might not be clear in the photo but the soil where lilies were planted is black. All colours perfectly in place!)

What a wonderful coincidence! I enjoy looking at them, taking care of them, as I desire to care and give back to Zambia.

Within those 50 years, so much achieved by this nation. I could not be less proud for this land. There is still much to be accomplished. I do trust this nation for a great future. My wish is that I could become a small brick on the pavement of excellence. Sometimes I wonder whether I have loved a person, a thing, a land or anything, more that I have loved this soil…

October is our hottest month and colourful as many others. Rainy season follows the heat. As I drive in Lusaka’s traffic, I pass time – while wait for the front car to move few inches – looking at the beautiful trees that bloom. Those ancient giants are in full purple and orange coloured flower bouquets. One can see tree branches weighted under the load of juicy fruits, fruits freely available to all. People stop and grab “one for the road”.

I love you Zambia, I love your internal and external beauty and as E. Hemingway wrote in the “Green Hills of Africa”, “Where a man feels at home, outside of where he’s born, is where he’s meant to go.”

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Friends travel together through life…no matter the transportation, D.S. ©

 

I do not know about you but talking about my life, I have to say that friends are so important. When still an atheist, friends were the number one in my life. Since I became a Christian, God is number one and very, very close my friends follow.

I can’t imagine how my life would have been if not with my friends. I always try to respect them and stay loyal to them. True friends remain passionate for each other even when they have not seen each other for long time. When they meet… is like no time passed by!

What friendship means? Is it an important relationship in our life? Can we exist without friendship? What is the definition of friendship?

Searching back in time we can locate the first definition of friendship through the writings of wise ancient Greek philosophers (philosopher = a word that means “friend of wisdom”. Philia means friendship in Greek, Sophia is wisdom = do the maths!)

Checking in Wikipedia under Aristotle & Philia, we read:

“Aristotle gives examples of Philia including:

“young lovers (1156b2), lifelong friends (1156b12), cities with one another (1157a26), political or business contacts (1158a28), parents and children (1158b20), fellow-voyagers and fellow-soldiers (1159b28), members of the same religious society (1160a19), or of the same tribe (1161b14), a cobbler and the person who buys from him (1163b35).”[2]

In his Rhetoric, Aristotle defines the activity involved in Philia as:

“Wanting for someone what one thinks good, for his sake and not for one’s own, and being inclined, so far as one can, to do such things for him” (1380b36–1381a2)”

And when we look at Friendship, we read:

“In recent times, it is postulated that modern American friendships have lost the force and importance they had in antiquity. C.S.Lewis for example, in his The four Loves writes:

To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it. We admit of course that besides a wife and family a man needs a few ‘friends’. But the very tone of the admission, and the sort of acquaintances which those who make it would describe as ‘friendships’, show clearly that what they are talking about has very little to do with that Philía which Aristotle classified among the virtues …”

Apologies if I overwhelmed you with too much information. It was necessary, as it seems that in our days everybody searches for a friend but we have forgotten what friendship is and how it is applied – at least, in some cultures and societies.

Friendship takes two! It is like tango: it takes two to tango! As any other relationship, it does take two committed people, it does take effort, it does take communication and mostly, it does take LOVE!

Who taught us to be friends? Nobody! We learnt on the way and so many times, we got it wrong!

Aristotle told us what Friendship is. He gave us its definition. The very true and interesting observation is that friendship is not a limited love. It is an Unconditional Love. It is attached to lovers, nations, towns, colleagues, neighbours, churches, mosques, synagogues, tribes and clans. Friendship exists within other relationships. There is friendship between couples (not only lovers or parents), between co-workers, between believers. Any other kind of Love includes the meaning of Friendship.

Though, it is the Lord who comes to teach us what friendship is, through that amazing book called Bible – the written word of God:

What can we learn?

  • To be called friend IS IMPORTANT;

James 2v23

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”

ü  We share important things, small and big with friends;

John 15v15

“…no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

  • Friends are not only important, they are a necessity in life;

Ecclesiastes 4v10

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

  • A true friend is a friend forever, especially through the difficult times. A true friend is more important than blood or just a fellow believer;

Proverb 18v24

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

  • A friend acts in a certain way, as described below;

Proverb 17v17

“A friend loves at all times…”

John 15v13

“Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The last scripture speaks tons! That’s how Jesus proved that He is our friend: He gave His life for us.

As we meditate on the above, let’s think – be honest – whether we have truly loved our friends, whether we have appreciated them and let them know that we have. (Keep remembering that friendship needs feeding, independently of its length in time.)

Let’s remind our self that the closest and greater friend we have is Jesus. Do we truly appreciate Him? Do/will/have we really give (n) our life for our Friend?

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

 

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Dearest Friends, Readers, Colleagues,

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Thank you for being with LovingMinistry during 2013, introducing yourselves, commenting in a constructive way, sharing and supporting. I pray that our Heavenly Father keeps blessing you each day of your life and that this new year 2014 is prosperous in all aspects, emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, that you are used by the Lord for His work and His kingdom, in Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen!

This blog just celebrated four years since created and I want you to know that the blog’s existence became a tool of healing for me in so many ways and in so many levels.

I cannot be more thankful to God and to you all. They say that life is short so let’s enjoy what and when we can. I disagree. I believe that life is long enough for us to make the true choices and decide to follow the path opened for us, one step at the time. All the rest will follow!

Blessings and love,

Dimitra

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Falling in love again

Falling in love again! What a great feeling! What you just said? With a man? Oh, no, no! We fall in love with others but we also fall in love with places, animals, situations, life!

I am falling in love again, not with a man but with a town! Lusaka, my present home. When, years ago, I first arrived I was shocked realizing that African towns could be quite modernized. Still, Lusaka was still a bit primitive in comparison with South Africa’s or Zimbabwe’s  capitals.

Lusaka was developed in her own way. She had adopted western elements. Concurrently, it was clearly and obviously an African town inhabited by Africans plus people from any known nation on earth. It was here that I first tasted Chinese, Mongolian, Indian or Arabic food! I came across any kind of faith freely practised in a country which was otherwise declared a Christian country by her president in 90’s.

As time passed by, this town started changing in many ways: traffic is present since cheap second-hand – in great condition – Japanese cars arrived; today, any good desired is   available and accessed in all those new built shopping malls; glazed buildings pop around our beautifully maintained roundabouts; economy is blooming, placing Zambia in the 24th position on the List of countries by real GDP growth rate when U.S.A is 127th or U.K. 175th! What a paradox! Nothing is as it really looks like, eh!

As years passed by I felt that  Lusaka was not the town I knew. Even so, I said to myself: “develop your property and sell. Then go out of this town; go where true Zambia is”.

Today, I am surprised for one more time! As I started integrating into the city again, my feelings changed. It seems that I am falling in love with this town, all over again.

I discovered that many of the neighbourhoods and commercial centres are still there. I keep discovering new places created as the town expands.

I love seeing all those truly old indigenous trees keep growing along the paved roads. It is as being in the thick African bush and yet driving through tarmacked roads. The old houses still standing in most of the areas around the town while new neighbourhoods appear lavishing with modern houses surrounded by beautiful gardens creating a sense of African taste. Ah, one of the most amazing and strange things in this multi nation and multi taste place are the flowers, the huge gardens, the swimming pools and luxury of the middle class. A luxury that in my country of origin applies to the truly rich citizens. But not here! Mid class is a happy place environed and segregated by poor people. Poverty is, however, a status of relevancy. A poor person might be very rich within his community and even missing nothing when a mid class man might be poor within his own or feel so.

Lusaka is not a common town. I look forward to unearth, explore and observe new gems, enjoy the creative part of this place. I know that I need to be tolerant with the unattractive component. A place can be as a human being: we love the whole creature.

And this is exactly the point of this article: loving the whole creature! It is a point that us, Christians, at first to understand and then learn to practice. We cannot choose what part of life or which characteristics of a human we will love and which not!

We love the whole creature. We might do not agree, we do not need to accept the inappropriate portions but love concerning, we love the whole package.

Loving God is loving Him in whole as the Alfa and the Omega into our life. We are not to choose which part of Him is convenient or understood and keep it into our heart. We love Him as He is and there is no democracy at that level. It is black or white. There are much that we might not understand, comprehend or accept easily, however, we love Him with all of that, yet believing that when we meet face to face He will explain the incomprehensible and mysterious. We see and understand in part as the Bible tells us:

1 Corinthians 13v12

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

Loving our neighbour is a love in whole. Our neighbour is the whole; it is the whole earth and humanity. We do not choose. Obviously, we will not meet or acquaint the whole earth’s population but still, we keep loving by acting on what is for humanity’s benefit. The whole life is a recycling bin! What we put in, reflects on us and our life, yet, reflects on what we contribute upon earth as a chain connects each one of us. Somehow, somewhere, somewhat, it will reflect while we might have any clue.

We harvest what we planted; what comes around goes around. Mostly, how we want to be treated, we ought to treat (see older post  “Do to others“).

Matthew 7v12

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Each action we take is to be based on love without expecting returns. I know, it is hard but that’s how it is. We have an obligation to practice it, trying the best and see where it goes. I do not mean to allow manipulation and abuse into our lives! We always draw the barriers as Jesus did when He had to.

When we desire to be loved, we hope that we are loved as a whole, with our good and bad. That’s the path to love. At the end of the day, it is love that all look in life. The path to love, is the path to life and living.

Love,

Dimitra

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

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travelling with expectations

We might not always know how the path of life will go, sometimes straight, sometimes left with a little twist onto the right but I believe that as Christians we do know the destination. A destination that it is not on this earth but in heavens.

However, we do spend years and years on this beautiful earth and some of us are born, grew up, get married, have kids and grand kids at the same town, at the same village, within the same county or country. Some of us hate the change, they refuse to leave the place where their ancestors lived, where tradition goes on and where all is familiar. There are others who pursue the change, who go for another place, another county, another challenging adventure.

I believe that both travel a journey, different journeys but still they travel. The journey is not about where but about how. We travel through this life and no matter how familiar is our environment, we keep being challenged and our actions/reactions make the journey.

We, still, might not know where that journey will take us but it is exciting to look forward for all happenings. They say that if we put something in our mind, it will come to pass. I am not sure about it. My present situation – for which I am going to talk to you just in a while – was a 20 years old desire but yet, along the way, I desired and dreamt aims that did not happen. So, how can I say!

Twenty years ago, I arrived in Africa and to be more specific, in Zambia. It was a life changing experience as I was exposed to a completely different world – you can read all in my article “Gratitude to Africa”.

My desire was to have my home here; to obtain a piece of this beautiful land and as I wake up each morning to go out and harvest berries, strawberries, passion fruits, guavas to prepare my breakfast.

It is the land where I met God, where I gave my life to Jesus and strange enough…He took me out of the place that I had made home. In time, I trusted Him that He knew better but I kept Zambia my base, especially during holiday. I could not give up. I have to confess that there was a time that another dream had become stronger than my return and permanent inhabitation here. It did not work out. Someone would say that nothing else worked out because my destination was here. Honestly, I do not believe so. Some other combination could have taken place. I can present you, in fact, with more than one possibilities.

This is not the point I wish to make. I just want to tell you my story about the place where my house is and we can absorb anything – or nothing – out of it.

It was 2000 and seven years after I first came into this land, when I had to travel away, far away to the Caribbean to work in Belize. I know, I know that there are million of people out there who wish to just go there for a few days holiday. They save and plan for all their lives! I spent almost three years there and I was paid for it! Nevertheless, my heart was broken. I had followed where the Lord took me but I went with sadness. I was tremendously missing Zambia. It was after four months and as I woke up from a bad dream when I realized that I was sent to a paradise and I would have been idiot not to extract the best possible. Eventually, I found myself achieving an international career without even realizing it; be paid to be in beautiful places around the world and meeting extraordinary people.

I was not any longer sad. I never stopped visiting Zambia, keeping my bank account (empty but maintaining it!), my post- office box (also empty), paying all necessities, renewing my national driving licence and so forth. Deep in my heart, that was my destination on earth. But who knows…life is full surprises!

In Belize and once upon the time, I got a piece of paper (I still have it and I plan to frame it!) and by making the assumption that I would obtain a piece of land equal to 1 acre (4000 m2), I started thinking of how I would like to build my home. I drew a parallelogram 40mx100m and imagining that the highest point was on the up side of the plot, I started designing the frame of the house. In fact, it was not one building but four located in a circle form as the traditional African houses are. In the middle, they keep the cattle but I had no such plans, so in the mid was the garden located. When I finished, I wrapped the paper and put it into my wallet and kept it there till 2004 – if not wrongly remember.

It was January 2003 when I was informed that a specific piece of land that I had visited sometime ago, was on sale. It was just few days before my holiday in Zambia ended – just returned from Aruba – and on my way for a new job in Uganda. I had no time to work on it. The good Lord provisioned a great friend who through power of attorney took over. The plot was pursued, the house was designed according to the original sketch done in Belize and eventually by 2005 a borehole was present, the foundation and slabs of the four buildings were there. The funny story is that the land was 1 acre – however the dimensions were different – and the best place to build was the upper side of the plot!

The years passed by and my good friend took care of the place, planted all indigenous trees as we had agreed and I kept visiting the place. Every time, it was a blessing to see all how grew and the wonderful location.

I could have fully build but I felt that there was no purpose as long as I was not living continuously here.

When this place was procured, I prayed and I said to the Lord that this was His land and His purpose on it. I told him that I wished to be my home but its full use needs to be under His plans and purpose.

All came true! Today and few months after my return to Zambia, the so called Little Red Riding Hood is built and stands happy and solid on this land. That’s my home! Someone asked me for how long I am here, this time and I answered ….”till my funeral”! By God’s grace of course, I can’t fully know.

As I said in the beginning, it was not done exactly as originally planned, a lot of things and events took place in a very challenging way but still here I am alive and strong and here the little house stands…the rest is history! What is to come is unknown but I learnt through all those passed twenty years to trust the Lord, to trust my dreams and my instincts, to keep travel the journey without allowing the opposition to cease the walk, to cry for as long I need, to grief for as long it takes, to laugh with all my heart and mostly to be honest with others and myself.

I do own all the above to my Lord, to the people who came across my path – the ones who were/are for a reason and a season and the ones who are for life – and the knowledge that nothing goes waste/in vain.

The scripture that keeps coming into my heart is:

Deuteronomy 28v9: The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

Dear friends and readers, nothing goes in vain with the God we love and serve, all has its purpose. We cannot know what the future holds but we do learn from the past and we can keep planting seeds today.

Let’s keep travelling with great expectations in our hearts! AMEN

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

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The month of March has arrived! It is more than four months since I arrived in Zambia and started organizing my re-settling in a country that is my home. In few days, I will return briefly in Ireland in order to wrap up my life there and come back– for good – in Zambia.

I arrived in Zambia with vital excitement and great expectations – likely C. Dickens’! It is a place where no matter what happens I always experience the feeling of belonging! During the past four months I was subjected to a lot of highs plus plenty of disappointments which brought me to the point of getting sick, not to mention broken-hearted.

My good Lord and few good friends kept lifting me up, so life is going on! My dream is alive again and I enjoy seeing it taking shape.

There are moments in life that the pressure is so massive that we just desire to give up. If we give up, we might cry for a while as we grief for our loss. Nevertheless, the relief from the strain will give us some peace of mind! Years later, we may realize – and cry over split milk – that we gave up too early or that the dream was worthy going all the way!

My heart still confirms and insists that I need to keep fighting what I have to battle. The provisions are there to cover the needs!

I know that facing delays, corruption and theft, takes all my energy and saddens my soul. However, I still look at the big picture and I know that I know that not so far in the future I will enjoy the fruits of my hands. All hardship will be forgotten!

Above all there is a truth:

My first coming in Zambia, my connection with this land for 20 years, the dreams dreamt, the dreams achieved and to be achieved, my return, all efforts done…all is given to me as a gift from my God, my Lord. The reason I am here is because of Him.

One thing I do know, is: what God starts, He completes. When, in between, difficulties exist, I can use them to learn to rely on Him and I can become stronger; I can “be still and know that He is God!”, because He told us:

Psalms 18v30(b)

“He is a shield of all who trust in Him”.

Psalms 56v22

“Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalms 48v14

“For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide, Even to death.”

Amen!

 

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

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