"Christ brought us together through His death on the cross…you're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here…God is building a home. He's using us all - irrespective of how we got here."
Ephesians 2: 16-22
Gaining an Understanding of Individuals Who are from a Different Culture or are a Different Race Than I Am.
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Leviticus 19: 18
Have I tried to gain a better understanding of those individuals who are not the same culture or race as I am?
"There is no principle of the heart that is more acceptable to God than a universal ardent love for all mankind which seeks and prays for their happiness."
"Strangers … are just your friends that you don't know yet."
Margaret Lee Runbeck
Of all the things that have touched my heart since Transformation Garden went online three and a half years ago, it is the number of people, especially women, who have responded from around the world and who are part of our Circle of Prayer and who receive the Daily Devotionals.
Since March 2007, when individuals in other countries were able to find Transformation Garden on the worldwide search engines, we have had people respond from over 179 different countries. Many of these countries were places I had studied about in school but where I didn't know any "real" people in that particular part of the world.
Things are different now. And thank God, Transformation Garden, for me, is what has been key in making things so different. One thing I have found is that when you are praying for someone, no matter where they live or what their race or cultural background, your heart changes. Your perspective changes. Your goals change, too.
Let me explain. Several years ago, I saw on the weather report there was a hurricane that appeared to be headed directly toward the Island of Jamaica. Several years ago, I would have been saddened, even concerned. But now, my first thought was for Sheri, one of our Circle of Prayer warriors. I don't know Sheri personally. I wouldn't even recognize her in a crowd. But I know her name. And I know the names of many others of my "sisters" in Jamaica who are part of Transformation Garden. I've prayed for them. Now when I hear of something happening in Jamaica, my first thought is for my "extended" family there. It is the same with the girls who live in the Fiji Islands - many of them. And for all our ladies in Zimbabwe and Nigeria as well as the girls in Ghana who are reading my book.
The fact that we as women (and men, too) are praying for one another knits our hearts into a sisterhood and brotherhood of love, concern, care and understanding. That was Jesus' great longing before He left earth to return to heaven when He told His disciples that He wanted all of us to be one. One heart of love - His heart of love - should be beating in unity inside each one of us.
I have received many emails over the last few years that I deeply treasure but there are two very special ones I want to share with you today. One was from Sue, in the United States. She is a dear! She sent me an urgent request on June 15, 2007. She had Christian friends in Pakistan who were suffering because of a terrible drought in their village. She asked all of us to pray and we sent a "prayer blast" around the world to all our Transformation Garden praying partners. During the night, here in the United States, while we were sleeping - God's hand began to move. At 12:36 a.m. I received this email: "It's raining in Pakistan, praise God!" Whenever I see sadness, war, turmoil, heartache, hunger and my heart breaks for the tragedy so many of my fellow sisters in this world endure on a daily basis, I go back to this email. I couldn't make it rain. Neither could you. But we could pray - and we did. We became a unified force - voices in unison asking God to act on behalf of our sisters in a place in this world where many of us may never visit but yet our hearts are forever woven together because we are one in Spirit … we are one in the Lord.
Not long ago I received an email from Zibuyile in South Africa. We have many "sisters" in South Africa who come to the garden each day. Her email stated: "I am overjoyed about discovering the Garden of Eden." I just loved this! If Transformation Garden can become for all of us around the world a place of peace and hope - a garden where we meet God and walk and talk with Him as did Adam and Eve in that perfect home God created - what greater blessing can exist. For in this garden where harmony reigned supreme, every heart beat with love for one another and the world was one.
May we together open our hearts in love to each other and gain a Heavenly understanding that "in Christ" we are one…in concern…in care…and in love.
"Give us, Father, a vision of Your world as love would make it. A world whose benefits are shared, so that everyone can enjoy them; a world whose different people and cultures live with tolerance and mutual respect; a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is fired with love; and give us the courage to build it, through Jesus Christ the Lord."
Women of Guatemala
"You have called us to be one,
to live in unity and harmony,
and yet we are divided:
race from race,
faith from faith,
rich from poor,
old from young,
neighbour from neighbour…
O Lord, by whose cross all enmity is brought to an end,
break down the walls that separate us,
tear down the fences of indifference and hatred;
forgive us the sins that divide us,
free us from pride and self-seeking,
overcome our prejudices and fears,
give us courage to open ourselves to others;
by the power of your spirit make us one."
Opening worship of the sixth assembly
of the World Council of Churches (Vancouver, 1983)
"We are one in the Spirit,
we are one in the Lord,
and we pray that this unity
will one day be restored,
and they'll know we are
Christians by our love."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.