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Archive for June, 2015

Dear Friends,

Every company needs a vision so everyone can follow it and get where they want to go. Many companies fail because they didn’t have a vision. How do you know how to get to where you’re going if you don’t even know where that place is?

The Bible says in Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NLT)

“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

Companies and businesses also need a mission that answers the question: Why do you exist? What is your purpose? Most companies exist to service people, whether they are for profit or not for profit, the end goal is usually to help others by producing services or products that will help people in the end.

Well, the same way, we as humans, need a vision and a mission in life. The vision will help us know where we want to go during our life’s journey. Where do we want to end up at the end of our lives? It’s amazing how many people never think about that and live their lives directionless.

The mission will reveal to us why God created each one of us. He created us for a unique purpose—one that only each of us can fulfill during our lifetime. We need to ask God to reveal our mission to us. Otherwise, we will live purposeless lives, not feeling useful to society, and will also be unfulfilled.

And in the same way that most companies’ vision and mission are related to helping people in some form or another, our personal vision and mission is connected to helping others too. Even the people who dedicate their lives to helping animals or the environment, in the end, they are also serving people so we can all have a better place to live.

Knowing God’s vision and mission for us in our lives is crucial to living the life that God intended us to live. I pray that you ask God to reveal to you His vision and His mission for you. You don’t have to be a world changer in order to feel that you contributed to the world but you do have to feel that you did your part—regardless of how small you may think your part is.

We all have a part to play in the plan of God and it is our responsibility to discover what our part is and then do it.

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Dear Friends,

Some of you know that I teach a women’s leadership program called The Master’s Program for Women. The purpose of this three-year journey is to discover our talents and gifts, and pursue the calling of God in our lives. Our last session was dedicated to finding our natural talents and discovering if our jobs align with the work God wants us to do in His Kingdom, which is our calling. The goal is for our careers to either align with our calling or, if they are different, then to allow the career to fund our Kingdom calling.

One way to find out your natural talents is by taking assessments such as the Strengths Finder (based on the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton). The purpose of this assessment is to help you find your raw talent that, when cultivated and developed, can become a strength. These strengths can help you then identify the types of jobs or roles where you have a better chance of being successful in the workplace. The authors analyzed the research performed by The Gallup Organization of about two million people. The purpose of the study was to find out why some people excelled at some areas and others don’t. They also want to bring the concept to the business setting and encourage companies to focus on the strengths of their employees versus focusing on only improving their weaknesses.

I want to encourage you to pursue finding your talents, the natural gifts that God gave specifically to you. In addition, God also gave you spiritual gifts that, when combined with your natural abilities, you can maximize your work for God while you’re here on earth. I want to share two Scriptures where God clearly tells us the different types of gifts we find amongst all of us brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 12:4-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

In addition to these types of gifts, God also gave us spiritual gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

1 Corinthians 12:28 New Living Translation (NLT)

28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.

These are spiritual gifts that God has distributed amongst all of us and it is our responsibility to discover them, develop them, and use them for His glory. As you can see, “He (the Holy Spirit) alone decides which gift each person should have.” We don’t have any control over which gifts God gives us. He chooses for us. He does the same with the natural talents and the color of our skin. God decides all of that at the moment when He created each one of us. He knows the best combination of gifts that we each should have in order to fulfill our unique calling and serve Him the best way.

I encourage you to ponder on these Scriptures and ask God to reveal to you not only your natural talents but also your spiritual gifts. If you look at the list above and think, “Oh no, I don’t have any.” I would disagree. We are all the church and at the minimum, God gave us the gift “those who can help others.” I always say, we’re all here to help others, you just have to find your niche!

So, find your gifts, pursue your calling, go out and serve God by serving others. You can do it!!

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Dear Friends,

I just came back from a vacation in Dominican Republic so today’s blog is a Letter to My Dominican Friends. Enjoy!

It was June 24, 1979. I was only 13 years old when I arrived to the Dominican Republic from my war torn country of Nicaragua. The D.R. was the only country my family could fee to because my dad’s sister married a Dominican and his family was willing and able to help us. That help was no little undertaking as my family of eight arrived with nothing but 26 pieces of luggage and six kids ranging in ages from 14 to 1 ½ years old. That’s a lot of people to feed and open up your home to without knowing how long we would stay.

The exit from Nicaragua was an adventure like the ones you watch in the movie theater. My father found out that the Red Cross was sending a cargo plane to rescue people from El Salvador. There were no commercial airlines flying into the country anymore as these were the last few weeks before the revolution won. We left the house at around 2 a.m. and went to a motel next to the airport. At around 5 a.m. we went straight to the runway at the airport and my dad went to talk to the pilot. The plane was full and the pilot told my dad “There is no way I can fit your family into this plane plus you’re not on the list.” He continued to help the other passengers (who were natives of El Salvador and were being rescued) into the plane so my dad started sneaking suitcases into the cargo plane. All of the sudden the pilot realized the number of suitcases that were in the plane and asked around “Who do these suitcases belong to?” My dad said, “They’re my family’s.” Then the pilot responded, “There is no room for your family at all.” My dad then replied, “I’ll trade you one or two suitcases for each one of my kids and my wife.” The pilot agreed and soon all the kids were in the plane along with my mom… But there was no more room and my dad had to stay—with 25 suitcases. Only one suitcase made it in the plan. It was mine—and I had to share everything with the entire family later!

So my dad stayed behind, sitting on top of one of the suitcases looking down at the ground… alone in the runway… no planes on site. We didn’t know if we would see our dad again. That scene is forever in my memory and to this day brings tears to my eyes…But that is when God interfered. One passenger plane came from Argentina and was going to Costa Rica. The plane had one seat open. And my dad was allowed to get in the plane. He left all the luggage with the Red Cross and gave instructions to send them to my mom’s sister’s house in El Salvador, which is where we were going. God is good!

My dad contacted friends in Costa Rica and they bought him a ticket to El Salvador. The next day we reunited with my dad in El Salvador. Meanwhile my aunt from Dominican Republic arranged to have eight tickets bought for our family to fly to the D.R. the next day.

So that was the story of how we arrived to the Dominican Republic. My aunt and uncle converted their little office into a bedroom for my parents and put a small crib for my youngest sister. The rest of us were placed in the garage. Yes, I lived in the garage with the heat and the bugs that live in a garage in a Caribbean island. But we were not thinking of the heat or the mosquitoes or the mice that frequently visited. We were thinking, “We are free.” No more war, no more going to bed each night listening to the noise of machine guns or helicopters in the background, no more sitting on the floor with a mattress over our heads praying and asking God to show us the way out of the country. He had opened a door and we were now in D.R.

Even though we moved to D.R. empty handed, my parents had their faith in God and were willing and able to work hard to start their lives over in a new country. The Dominicans adopted us and opened up their hearts to my family. The Dominicans adopted me. I was the “Nicaraguan girl with the funny accent.” That’s ok, I thought the Dominicans were the ones that talked funny. And so I adapted wonderfully to their culture and learned new words and slangs. I also learned not to say some words from Nicaragua because they meant something completely different there—usually it was no good. Yes, I had many embarrassing moments but most of the time we simply all laughed and had a good time learning each other’s cultures. Oh, and of course, I learned to dance Merengue and also learned to love their food like mangu, croquetas and verengena.

I lived in the D.R. until I was 19 years old when my family decided to move to the United States, to Minnesota…probably the furthest State from the D.R. and for sure the coldest! While in D.R. I attended El Calasanz school in Santo Domingo and then spent the last three years of high school at the Colegio Santo Domingo where I graduated. I then attended three semesters at the UCMM (Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra). The four older kids in my family left D.R. one at a time. I was the third one to leave D.R. and came to Minnesota in January, 1986.

I built my life here again and wasn’t able to return to D.R. until 2007, 21 years later! I went with my husband and kids so they could see one of the countries where I grew up. Now 8 years later, I came back with my husband again. The first time I went back I was able to reconnect with a few of my Dominican friends but this time I reconnected with most of my friends and I’m so happy!! Thanks to technology I’ll be able to stay connected with them going forward.

So to all of you who made the effort to see me on this trip. Thank you so much! To all my “Bubbles ’84” dear classmates who made it to the little reunion, thank you! Thank you! That meant so much to me. Friendships are very important to me and I have deeply missed my Latin friends all these years, the friendships from my childhood and teenage years. But now I feel I have an opportunity to continue and grow athose relationships that started so long ago. I have a special heart connection with each one of you that will last a lifetime. When we see each other again, it feels like time has not passed by and we pick up where we left off because we have that special connection and trust.

I promise you I will be back way sooner than 8 years and that I will stay in touch. Thank you for your love and friendship. I treasure each one of you!

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