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The Moral of the Story

August 24, 2001

Cindy Trane Christeson

"We are all strings in the concert of His joy."

-- Jacob Boehme

"I'm so happy to know that not all Americans are gangsters," my friend

Tertia said to me with a smile.

We both laughed. Tertia and I were walking along the beach and talking

about her impressions of America and Americans. Tertia, originally from

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South Africa, lives with her husband, Hani, and their four children in

Cairo, Egypt. Hani has been here before, and knew his wife would love

exploring our country.

"This is my first time ever to the States, and I had so many ideas of

what it would be like and what the people would be like," she explained.

"I'm afraid I got my impressions from television, and they weren't really

the best."

She explained that she heard that Americans were materialistic and

very self-centered.

"Well, you certainly will find people like that, but I'm glad you've

been pleasantly surprised," I said. "We have a lot of great people here."

"Everybody we've met is extremely friendly. It seems like you can

strike up a conversation with anyone," Tertia continued. "I've noticed a

respect for godliness. We've been so warmly welcomed, it seemed like God

screened everybody who came our way and only sent people who were

especially warm and lovely. So many people have gone out of their way for

us."

I was thrilled to hear Tertia say that, because she and Hani took such

good care of us and many of our friends when we visited them in Cairo.

When I first went there, I didn't know what to expect either, and we were

also wonderfully welcomed. Everybody we met was warm and hospitable and

eager to hear what God was doing in our lives and in our country. In turn

we were anxious to learn the same from them.

Over the five days Hani and Tertia were with us, we walked many miles

on the beach, around Balboa Island and through shopping centers. It was

fun to see our country through the eyes of someone who has never been

here before.

Tertia soaked in the sights, sounds, smells and scenery. She loved all

the flowers and greenery, and must have taken about a thousand pictures.

We walked, talked and shared about our lives. We also prayed for each

other's families, friends and future as well as for each other's

countries. We laughed at some of the differences in our countries,

especially how we each spend our evenings.

"It seems that you Americans head for bed before we are even thinking

about dinner in Egypt," Hani said.

After our experiences in Cairo and hearing of Tertia's and Hani's

experiences here, I realized how easy it is to make judgments about

people without having the right information. I also realize that though

our countries and cultures are so diverse, we have so much in common.

Just as each ingredient is essential in recipes and each part of our

body is unique and important, so too with every member in the family of

God. We each play an essential part and are an important instrument in

God's great concert of life.

And you can quote me on that.

* CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON is a Newport Beach resident who speaks

frequently to parenting groups. She may be reached via e-mail at o7

cindy@onthegrow.comf7 or through the mail at P.O. Box 6140-No. 505,

Newport Beach, CA 92658.

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