Thursday, February 24, 2011


Having returned from the Philippines only a few days ago, I can’t adequately express what I’ve experienced over the last five weeks. I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window where open fields and wooded acres replace the pavement and buildings of the city. Clean country fragrance fills the air that I breathe instead of smog and the stench of sewer. The stillness surrounding our home is a welcoming relief from the constant honking of horns, blaring music and chattering marketeers. Ahh, the comforts of home! However, having returned from halfway around the world, the tranquility of home is not capable of erasing the pictures in my mind or the pain in my heart:

• Fields Avenue in Balibago, Angeles City, Philippines: Countless bars line the streets; girls dressed for seduction lure the passersby to enter. Their bodies communicate that sex is not only for sale, but it’s cheap and there’s a lot of it!
• Drugged in order to endure the pain in her heart, her beautiful body dances before the drooling vultures waiting to make their purchase for only 1,200 pesos ($25.00)!
• Old enough to be her grandfather, “the customer” lustfully parades his trophy down the street for others to see before directing her to his hotel room.
• Bus loads of men arriving for their weekend package deals.
• Multiple men leaving the bar together with their new purchase; one girl.
• Fearful of what they might do to her, two of her friends walk with her as far as her “dates” will allow. When she returns, her friends surround her with comfort knowing that her “dates” were likely violent.
• Aware that her job barely provides enough to eat, her precious children have no idea what she endures in order to feed them.
• The threatening glare of the mamasan (female pimp) directed toward the young girl who is too frightened to dance. She’s a virgin, a "cherry girl." Mamasan knows that she will bring in as much as 24,000 pesos ($500)!
• Fear is etched in his face as I interview the father of an “at risk” daughter. His greatest concern; “Will she receive a scholastic scholarship to complete her education or will she have to sell herself in order to survive?
• The little girl on the streets of the Red Light District trying to make money to survive. Selling roses to the men who just purchased their “date,” might feed her today, but it won’t be enough to prevent her from entering into the next generation of “dancers.”

Over 70% of Philippine women live in poverty, thus making them and their children particularly vulnerable to prostitution.

There are an estimated 375,000 women and girls in the sex trade in the Philippines, mostly between the ages of 15 and 20, though some are as young as 10.

Angeles City is one of the largest sex tourist destination in the world with just over 15 thousand women working in its various sex establishments (brothels, bars and videokes).

There are more than 1.5 million street children in the Philippines that may end up in prostitution and drug trafficking. Many will either be stolen from their villages or sold by their families to prostitution recruiters. Poverty stricken children and teenagers are often lured into the industry by promises of money and care, only to be coerced into the sex industry for tourists, kept there by threats, debt bondage and the fear of poverty. Being the country with the fourth greatest number of prostituted children, authorities have identified an increase in pedophiles travelling to the Philippines. Men from around the world use 60,000 to 100,000 children in the Philippines for their sexual pleasure! Notorious for offering sex with children, children as young as ten years old have been rescued from brothels in Angeles City!

Why do the authorities of Angeles City or other cities allow such sordid exploitation of women and children? The business is lucrative! When the international sex mafia moves in and invites sex tourists from all over the world to come and purchase sex to their heart’s desire, the economy of a city flourishes. Exposing and prosecuting sex tourists threatens a valuable revenue source that governments and businesses have come to depend upon, particularly in developing nations like the Philippines.
What do I do with the pictures in my mind and the pain in my heart?
I don’t want to merely go on with life as if this were only an experience to write home about.

I cannot continue in my comfort while millions of women and children around the world have to choose between starving and serving 20-40 lust-filled men per day.

Lord, how do you want me to respond?


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Several years ago, along with a few other adults, Gary and I had the honor of taking 70 teenagers into the poverty stricken mountains of Mexico on a working mission called UKANDO.

Prior to departure, we were provided a detailed packing list which included moist wipes. Shortly after arriving at the ministry headquarters, there was no question about their necessity. There was no running water! In fact, the only useable water available was that which we hauled up the mountain along with other supplies. At the end of each long, hot day of construction, mixing concrete and digging cisterns even a short cool shower would have been luxurious! However, we would be using moist wipes for the next ten dirty days!

Every morning, we could all be found waiting in line at the only “bathroom” available. The toilet was flushed with a bucket of water. However, in order to conserve water, the rule was; “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down!”

One day the young man ahead of me finally stepped out of the bathroom and sheepishly asked for assistance. He’d poured water in, but the toilet didn’t flush. I explained that slowly pouring the water didn’t create enough force. “Instead,” I instructed him, “you need to use a little oomph.” Before I could warn him about not using too much gusto, the burly farm boy thrust a bucket of water at the toilet bowel! He was covered from head to toe with its contents!

I didn’t ask him how many packages of moist wipes he brought, but I could see the panic on his face!

I’ve read, “In North America alone, the 83,000 tons of disposable wipes bought in 2003 would need 9,000 18-wheel trucks to transport them and the convoy would stretch for 68 miles!” Research also shows that wipes, including baby wipes, contain more than 10 hazardous chemicals including:

Denatured alcohol - “may be fatal if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin. Inhalation or contact will irritate or burn skin and eyes and may cause dizziness or suffocation.” (ERG, 2008)
Propylene Glycol - Commonly found in cosmetics, anti-freeze & solvents and linked to many severe health problems including contact dermatitis, skeletal muscular and kidney damage and liver abnormalities.
Phenoxyethanol - Used in inks and dyes and rated as #3 (serious hazardous material)! It is extremely hazardous in case of eye & skin contact, ingestion and inhalation. Is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system and liver and has carcinogenic potential.

Knowing that chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in our bodies, imagine the potential consequences moist wipes have on our health!

Whatever happened to good ‘ol soap and water? There are obviously circumstances where this is simply not an option! Yet, we often purchase products that are health hazards when it’s easy and less expensive to make those which are not only safe, but beneficial.

Whether you use them for disinfecting surfaces,
diaper changes or to freshen up,
there is certain to be an essential oil or blend to help you
create the perfect moist wipes!


1. Unscented Liquid Soap Base
2. Carrier Oil - olive, jojoba or sweet almond oil.
3. Essential oils chosen according to your preferred scent and needed medicinal benefits. Examples:
A. Antibacterial: Tea Tree, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Palmarosa, Calendula (babies), and Sage. Use individually or blend.
B. Disinfectant: Grapefruit, Lemon and Sage.
C. Calming: Neroli, Bergamot, Chamomile (babies), and Geranium.
D. Energy/Fatigue: Black spruce (on kidney area) and Pine.
E. Concentration/Alertness: Basil, Peppermint, Rosemary cineol and Eucalyptus.
F. Moisturizing: Jasmine, Lavender (babies) and Helichrysum.
4. Water
5. Paper Towels - Bounty type.
6. Air-tight Container – cylinder-shaped wipes container works well.

1. Mix 1.5 tsp. soap, 2.5 tsp. carrier oil, and 5-6 drops essential oil.
2. Add 1.5 cup water and mix thoroughly.
3. Cut roll of towels in half horizontally, remove cardboard core. Place towels in container.
4. Pour mixture over towels. Allow to sit until evenly saturated.
5. Thread first wipe from center of roll through opening at top of container.



All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SPIRITUAL - Delight in the Suffering of Parenting

I recently received a note from a mom in anguish over her son’s approach to unresolved issues in their relationship. Certain that there are many parents who can identify with this situation, it is my prayer that sharing her note and my response will be helpful to others.

Mom: I received a very painful letter from my son. I don't know what to do or how to answer. I seriously don't remember half the things that he referred to, but, for the most part, he's writing about his life growing up and how it’s my fault that he has issues now.

I've asked God to lead me and to help my son. I know that he's not unfounded about some things, but he's not correct about them a1l. It’s unfair of him to beat me up with words for the rest of my life. I made mistakes that I can't change. I'm beside myself and really need Jesus. I've had a multitude of bad in my life. I’m not seeking sympathy, but I do demand respect. I don't disrespect him for his mistakes. Just me searching for answers.

Me: Hearing your pain hurts my heart! I’m so sorry!

Although I don’t know all the details,
it sounds like your son has unresolved hurt and anger
and is trying to express those emotions in the best way he knows
….as unhealthy as that may be.

Obviously, your desire is to establish healthy communication with him. As painful as his letter is, it very well may be the beginning of this. Your careful response is very important.

May I suggest a number of things that I believe would be helpful to express to him:
• His words obviously hurt you, but you are thankful that he felt safe enough to share with you.
• Hearing his heart has helped you to know and understand him better and this is important to you.
• Although your perspective is different than his, you do realize that “he's not unfounded about some things.”
• Out of your wounded heart and sinful nature, you’ve made mistakes which have hurt him and you are sorry.
• Ask him in a “yes” or “no” question if he can forgive you.

As much as it hurts and seems unfair,
this isn’t the time for you to defend yourself or point out his mistakes.
This is a time to be willing to hear his heart.
Pray for more appropriate opportunities to help him see his unhealthy approach.

You made the statement, “I demand respect.” While I understand your desire, this statement may add more fuel to the fire. We can demand respect until the cows come home, but we can’t force others to respect us. If we approach relationships with this expectation, we will certainly be disappointed! Even if it were possible to do everything to earn respect, whether or not a person demonstrates respect is dependent upon the condition of his heart. Having another person’s respect is ultimately neither here nor there. It is Jesus whom we desire to please. As we learn to walk more closely to Him there will be people, including family, who not only don’t respect us, they will likely think we are “whacked out” and treat us so!

Writing what you want to say to your son gives the opportunity for careful wording while not getting distracted by his reaction. Even if you’d rather talk to him, I suggest writing it out first in order to think through what and how you want to speak. If you and/or your son tend to react rather than listen, I’d strongly suggest that you write to him! What you write can also be reread by both of you which is often helpful.

Father, thank You for Your presence in my friend’s life. Comfort her with an assurance of Your love. Teach her to delight even in the suffering, for it is necessary in answering her prayer to know and be drawn nearer to You. Use this to strengthen her dependence upon You. As her relationship with You develops, may she be a reflection of You in her son’s life. Lead her to respond to him according to your plan. Give her the exact words and show her Your perfect timing. Prepare her son’s heart to genuinely hear and respond according to Your wisdom. May Jesus be glorified!


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ever want to get away from the deeper issues of life and ponder something a bit lighter? Me too! So… let’s talk about the stench of sweat!

Winter isn’t the season when we worry so much about sweating. However, most of us typically slather on the antiperspirant anyway; just in case! It is interesting to me that God created us with the ability to sweat for some very important reasons; yet most of us are embarrassed by it. In fact, I know people who say, “I’m not sweating. I’m glistening!” Have you ever considered that the US is one of few countries that worries about body odor? Many other countries simply do not consider natural body aroma as being offensive.

The following is an excerpt from the essay, The Great American Nose:

One of the strangest phenomena you will encounter in the US is that of the Great American Nose. The American Nose may look like yours and mine, but in reality it's not. Whereas most of humanity is capable of smelling a wide range of odors, the American Nose can smell only two - good odors and bad odors, right odors and wrong odors. Of course, the American Nose prefers good and right odors. It is quite virtuous, therefore. It must have inherited all its genes directly from its Puritan ancestors.

After a careful study of the matter, I have come to the conclusion that there are only three good odors, and that all the rest are bad. The three good odors - artificial flowers, artificial lemons, and artificial spices - are used to mask all of the bad odors. Bad odors emanate from bathrooms, garbage cans, moldy things, and most of all, from human bodies. All natural odors are bad odors, as you can see, and there are hundreds of American products in the three good odors designed to mask all the bad ones. Wherever you find the Great American Nose, a hand holding a can to spray, a deodorant to roll on, an air freshener to stick up, or a cleaning solution to wipe on will not be far behind. Does the kitchen smell like cooking? Spray it with great amounts of artificial spice. Does a person smell sweaty? (Sin! Sin!) Roll on quantities of deodorant with scent of jasmine. Does the bathroom smell like a bathroom? ….

(Excerpted from 25 Strategies: Reading Skills for Intermediate-Advanced Students of English as a Second Language by Jacqueline Neufeld and Marion Webb.)

I assume you are getting the point!

Because of our obsession about smelling “good,” most mindlessly utilize products that contain known harmful chemicals
to camouflage the “stench”!

Nearly every antiperspirant on the market contains:

Propylene Glycol -commonly used as an ingredient in antifreeze! The Environmental Protection Agency has warned factory workers to avoid skin contact with this substance in order to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities!
Parabens – Mimicking the hormone estrogen, studies have shown that the long term, low doses of Parabens in deodorants accumulate in the body and can lead to cancerous breast tumors.
Aluminum - is linked to Anemia, Osteomalacia (softening of the bone), glucose intolerance, memory deficits, and Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, and Parkinson's diseases. A 2001 study showed that the aluminum absorbed after just one application of antiperspirant remained in the blood system 15 days! In fact, antiperspirants are considered an Over the Counter (OTC) drug because they contain Aluminum Zirconium!

Are we truly more concerned about BO than our health or are we simply ignorant of these dangers? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not much different than the majority when it comes to not wanting to smell like a locker room. However, I’m not willing to risk my health for the sake of smelling like a rose!

I like to play around with different body care recipes and this one is so simple and effective that I thought I’d share it!

Pour into a jar:
• 2 oz. vanilla extract
• 4 oz. water
• ½ tsp. glycerin
• 2 drops sage oil
• 20 drops tea tree oil
• 40 drops lavender oil
• 16 drops cedarwood oil
Cap the jar & shake. Apply to underarms with a cotton ball or use a spray bottle.
For those who don’t like the idea of smelling like a vanilla bean, use a floral or woodsy oil instead.

It isn’t necessary to smell like an old tennis shoe in order to be healthy. There are sweet-smelling and effective alternatives!