Hello everyone!

Yes, I’m back from Minnesota. I flew back yesterday afternoon.

Minnesota folks treated me so well that I invited myself to go back there next week but it didn’t work, lol.

Did I deliver my message? You better believe it! They were ready to accept and eager to hear what I had to say! Praise the LORD! The covenant renewal dinner party was just “off-the-chart!”

Holding each other’s hand, each married couple renewed their marital vows. Then the senior pastor, Pastor Abebayehu, said, “Okay, now you guys can kiss.”

Well, you guys might think that they just kissed lightly. Oh, no! Beloved, some of these married couples forgot that we were around them. Yeah, they kissed as if nobody’s business!

I love it! I love it! I love it! I was so joyful that I became very emotional! Seriously, it was one of those “breath-taking” moments!

Do you want to know the theme of the covenant renewal night? Well, the theme was: "Sexual intimacy is a celebration of oneness!"

I only have one complaint about Minnesota though. I couldn’t accept the weather at all. Precious, it is COLD down there! No, no, no! Not acceptable for me on September! And I took all my summer dresses and you can just imagine how I was clinching my teeth together to preserve my body temperature. I put the thermostat of my hotel room on heat, 75 degree. They were laughing at me when I told them because for them 45 degree is like summer. Anyways, I’m glad I’m back to Maryland where the weather today is going to be 75 degree. Don’t you love that! I do!

Other than the weather, I had a wonderful time. I was spiritually revived and challenged by the ministers’ zeal and passion for the work of the Kingdom of God.

So, I would like to take this moment to say, “Thank you so much” to Pastor Abebayehu Abebe for opening the door for me!

“Thank you” Pastor Abebayehu, for all the love and care you and your better half have shown me during my stay! “Thank you” especially for the Sunday night dinner at your house! Yes, I agree with you, as you told me million times, lol, that your wife is the best cook!

I also would like to say, “Thank you” to all the pastors and ministers down there for opening your doors, hearts and arms and accepted me and my message as if I was literally sent by God. May the LORD bless you and yours!

And last but not least, I would like to say “Thank you” to all the folks at the Minnesota “The Unique 7000 Church!” You guys are just amazing! I already missed each and every one of you! May the LORD bless and keep you all! And those of you singles who promised me saying, “We will be married people by next year,” don’t forget to invite me for your wedding, lol! ///

Packing for the Minnesota Trip

First thing first: Thank you all for the beautiful birthday wishes! I seriously sat down and read all of them. Thank you so much my friends! I really appreciate each and everyone of you! God bless you!

Well, I’m packing now for my trip to Minnesota tomorrow at 4am and I thought it will be nice to say "Bye" to all of you, my Facebook fans.

And, don’t forget to invite your friends who live in St. Paul, Minnesota or closer to come over there and worship God with us. I pray and hope God will give us a wonderful time!

If you especially know married couples who live there, please tell them to attend the Saturday program which is going to be one of a kind! I’m telling you! I know I’m ministering at the service but you know what excite me a lot? Well, before dinner, all married couples will take their wedding ring and renew their marriage vows and the ceremony of putting ring on their spouse’s finger and exchanging gifts will follow.

Believe me in this! I will bring all the beautiful culture I’m seeing there and "copy and paste" it in DC for our Valentine’s Party. So, get ready if you are going to be around here during that time.

I’m telling you, I’m more than excited! What is there to be excited about in this dark world than to see marriages thrive! For me, NOTHING ELSE!

So, please invite yourself or your friends to come over there!

Some of you dropped me some questions about the whereabouts of the hotel or the church, but believe me in this, your guesses are as good as mine, lol. This is my very first trip to Minnesota. So, please look at the address on Google maps or on your GPS (make sure you get the correct address from the flyer first).

And some of you told me that you already invited your friends to come over. Please tell them to meet me at the end of the program, on Saturday or Sunday and tell me who send them over there so that I will send you a "Thank you" note!

You guys are just amazing! Thank you! If God’s will, I will see you all, of course on Facebook, lol, on Tuesday. Till then and until Jesus comes, stay in Christ!

In Him, Missy.

Question of the Week

A4P Guest: “I read some of your articles and read what you’ve been writing about men and I have a question about that. So, as a single man, I know that women have menstrual cramp during their period cycle but how that pain feels and how they process it from the inside, I don’t know. I don’t know because I’m not a woman but a man. On one of your recent blogs, titled "Issue of Kissing," you said this: “When a man looks at his wife’s naked body, he thinks – – -”. So, my question for you is this: While you are a woman, how can you know what a man thinks? ”

A4P: I live in a neighborhood where I see deer as often as I see human beings. I know that is a little funny but hey we love to see them.

Like 20+ years ago, I began to think a lot about the deer in our neighborhood because they seem to be very “foolish” when it comes to staying away from trouble or I will say, staying away from the highway. As if they were cars, they tend to jump in the middle of a busy highway and die.

I love animal and I love these precious creatures of God but I hate to see them dying left and right. Then I began to read and learn a lot about them. I learned that these precious animals don’t just die every day and around the clock; even if that was what it felt like for me. Rather, they die during the fall season. Yes, this is the season for most of them to depart from this life.

And I also learned that they are dying during the fall season because it is their “mating” season. So when you look at a deer during October or November, you have to know that the only thing in its mind (well, there is no mind to it only instincts but let’s say it has mind just for the sake of the discussion) the only thing in its mind is sex.

So, if I write on my blog saying, “If you see a deer during October, make sure you drive slowly because the deer won’t see you. The only thing it sees is a female deer and the only thing it thinks about is sex,” will I be questioned how I happened to know that while I was a human being not a deer?

You see, if you are sitting there and trying to know about only men, you will soon face danger when you start dealing with your woman.

Yes, it is good for you to know about women. You don’t have to be a woman for you to know about them. Read about how their brain works, process and interpret information. Know about women’s sexual nature; how they think about sex so that you know how to handle your woman. Otherwise you may try to attract your wife sexually by being naked because that is one of the ways you get sexually attracted. And if you try to attract your wife that way, you will fail terribly.

BTW, are you interested to know what your future wife may think when she sees you naked? In case you are interested, let me tell you.

This is what she thinks: “When am I going to finish doing the laundry I’ve started in the morning?” or she most probably thinks like this: “Thank You, LORD, for creating clothes for my husband to wear them every day.”

For you to know this about your woman, you don’t need to be a woman. All you need to be is a person who is willing to learn and live according to the right information you have about you and others for the good of you and others (in this case, your wife). And at the end, make sure you share with others the information which changed your life and marriage for better. ///

A Lovely Surprise

Three of our kids play for their schools’ sport team (our daughter plays volleyball and two of our sons play soccer for their schools.)

If you are a parent, you know what that means for me, their mother.

Well, if you want to find me after 3pm, all you have to do is to look for me on 450 Annapolis Road which is the main road I use to drive back and forth.

Their games, practice and pick-up times can be at the same time or 10 minutes apart or worse. Sometimes dropping their cleats or jerseys pretty much keeps me on the road. Yes, sometimes they forget their stuff home and I have to take it. (But I don’t do it always because if I keep on doing it, they don’t learn responsibility.)

But these days, three of them are really good at remembering and preparing their stuff before morning. But today, my little one mistakenly switched his jerseys with his big brother’s jerseys. When we got to their school, my older son called to let us know that my little one had his jerseys. So, I dropped two my kids off and drove back home as fast as I could so that my older son could get his jerseys before he left for his school.

Then I grabbed my youngest son’s jerseys and drove back to his school.

So, I got to the school and headed to my son’s class. My youngest son’s classmates know me. Whenever I come to his class, I usually show my face through the glasses so that somebody sees me and calls for my son. This time, all his classmates were looking at me and didn’t call my son. They just stared at me. For a moment I thought I was invisible but the thing is they all were looking at me. So, I opened the door. The moment I opened the door, everybody shouted, “Happy Birthday Mrs. Banko!”

I looked like a 10 years old girl standing in front of an 11 years old boy who said to her, “I like you!” I mean, naturally I am not a shy person but if you catch me off-guard, you will find out that I’m in fact a very shy person.

I said, smiling, “Thank you guys!” And my son came out, closed the door behind him, took the jerseys from my hand and said smiling, “Happy Birthday Mom and I love you!”

Isn’t that lovely and sweet!

And my Berhan, oh how he surprised me! I thought he left for work. I mean I saw him off. I thought he left for the day. Little did I know that he came back with my favorite freshly cut red roses and big "I love you" balloon and stood at the door!

Oh, LORD, please help me to serve this family to the best I know how. I can’t pay them back for all the love and care they are showering on me but at least help me be the person You want me to be to each one of them. ///

P. S. Do you want to know what my teens said to me? "Happy 100 years birthday, Mom." Yeah, that sounds like a teenager wish, doesn’t it?

Happy Ethiopian New Year to all my Ethiopian fans!

And today is my birthday!

Yes, as I was told, I came to this world at 7am at the Ethiopian New Year’s Day! Well, if you connect the dots, you should know why they called me “Meskerem.” I came on the first day of the first month of the brand new year! Fantastic! Isn’t it? Can you just imagine the joy of my family to see a brand new baby on the New Year’s day! I can only imagine!

For those of you who don’t know the meaning of my name, it means September; however in Amharic, if I’m not mistake, the exact meaning of Meskerem is brand new joy, new sunshine, new moon, brand new season, brand new beginning on and on and on. Praise the LORD!

Happy 2007 for all of you who are celebrating Ethiopian New Year’s Day!

Oh, how I missed my home town back in Ethiopia! I still remember the morning breakfast and all the singing the neighborhood kids used to bring to each house. I heard that people don’t do that anymore. How sad it is! That was the highlight of my memory of the Ethiopian New Year’s Day. Oh, well, it is gone now. The new generation will have another memory. ///

Only One Principle

A4P Guest: “If I ask you to give me only one principle to do dating and courting right so that I won’t sin against God, what would be that principle?”

A4P: Excellent question!

Only one principle: When you want to hide an action from others, you should know that you are sinning against God and others.

Let me ask you: If you want to kiss your date, do you do it in the church, in front of your pastor, and other believers or do you want to do it at the back of your car, at night time, a time that nobody can see you?

Do you “pet” your date in the church or in the dark room of your apartment?

If you are honest, you will say that you won’t do those things in public. I mean do I need to say that those things are considered as "foreplay," an important step for a sexual intimacy of married couples? I don’t think so because I recently said that. Foreplay is not for you as a single person. So when you want to do those "biblically illegal" stuff, you want to hide them. Don’t you? The moment you want to do that, remember that you are sinning against God and others. So, stay away from those things.

Well, that being said though, there is a question that begs an answer: Do you have high regard to the church of Christ and to the believers of Jesus Christ?

Similar question: Do you have anyone you honor and respect enough for you to limit yourself from acting out inappropriately, sinfully?

If your answer to any of the above questions is “No” or if you say something like, “I don’t have a church. I don’t care about anyone and I don’t care what anyone says about my life,” then the above “principle” is useless for you!

That means if you don’t have a home church which you are part of and believers who care about you, you are right there in a danger zone. The stage is set for you to fall in sin. And when you are in that zone, you have no choice but live in sin.

Remember, we need each other (as the part of a Body of Christ) so that we stay away from the trap of the devil (our body organs, such as stomach or liver can’t fight alone apart from the body but when they stay in the body, they can fight virus, bacteria and even cancer).

The moment we decide to separate ourselves from the Body of Christ, we will be snatched by the devil. Then we start to hide everything.

Remember, devil steals us first from the family of God; then convince us not to care about others; then kills us (kills every good thing we have and may even kill us) and at last he destroys us to the point of nobody is able to remember neither us nor our descendants. Read John 10:10 ///

A Call for Fathers!

Most teens are losing their lives in the middle of this corrupted world not because they want to get lost but because their fathers are not getting involved in raising them.

Most teens are 100% dependent on their mothers who work two or three jobs to make the ends meet or try her best to be a mother and a father to her kids since her husband doesn’t get involved.

Are you a father? Are you involved in your sons’ and daughters’ life?

Making money and bringing the money is not all about fathering but being there for kids and being 100% involved in your kids’ life. Please don’t let TV and the culture raise your kids. It is not the church’s responsibility to raise your kids. The Bible says, “Teach your children about the law and precepts of God.” It never gives this instruction to the church but to you, fathers. Fathers you are not called only to be providers but protectors, servant-leaders, teachers, spiritual models, mentors, lovers and representatives of God to their daughters and sons.

Boys may get older physically in years but they can’t be MEN without a father who shows them how to be A MAN; or more how to be A MAN OF GOD! There are 40 and 50 years old or even older boys walking around. They are stuck in boyish-hood status because they have no way of knowing what it means to be A MAN! And one way for a boy to claim his manhood is through finding his sexuality and letting his sexuality be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Henceforth, one of the identifying characteristics of A MAN is SELF-CONTROL; (He knows how to control his sexual urges!) He knows how to channel his sexual desires to its rightful place (marriage); he is not given over to his sexual instincts. He uses his brain to harness his sexual urges; his sexual body part doesn’t tell him when to have sex but his heart which is molded and shaped by the WORD OF GOD!

Are you that man? If you are not, seek men of God in churches. Stick with them! Tap in to their lifestyle and “catch” their character. Find a mentor for you to follow after so that you come out of “boyish-hood”. Then you will know how to fight for your boys; know how important it is for you to be there for your boys and girls! ///

A Loving Confrontation which Released the Captive Free

I was very excited to see this brother of mine in Christ preaching in my home church. I remember that Sunday morning as if it was yesterday. I met this brother in one revival conference immediately after I received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. He was a bit older than me and he had been a follower of Jesus Christ for quite sometimes. Though our meeting was for a brief period of time, he left a mark in my heart when it comes to loving Christ and being sold out for the cause of Christ. After that meeting, I didn’t see him for a couple of years.

Within those two years of time, he began an international ministry and was invited to our church to speak. I was very excited to see him behind the pulpit. I could tell he recognized me from far away and I couldn’t wait to see him after the service. In the middle of his message, he mentioned about his marriage and their first child. So I learned something new about him that I didn’t know before.

Sitting there and listening about his ministry and family, I began preparing answers for the possible questions he might later ask me. I knew I had to congratulate him for his marriage and son but didn’t know what to tell him if he would ask me about the proposal ring I was wearing on my ring-finger.

So, the service ended and I ran to him and we hugged and exchanged warm greetings. I sure was very happy to see him. As I guessed it, the first thing he noticed was my proposal ring. So, he asked, “I see ring on your finger. Congra! Praise the LORD! So, where is our brother?”

I smiled and didn’t reply. He insisted and said, “Seriously, where is he? I want to meet him.”

I knew that he wouldn’t take a smile for an answer. So, I said, “He doesn’t come to church.”

He stopped as if the whole world stopped moving. Without saying a word, he stared at me as if he would hear me say something like, “Kidding.”

Then he asked, “What do you mean he doesn’t come to church? Does he believe in Jesus?”

I wanted to cry. Trying to pull myself together, I said, “No, he doesn’t come to church and he doesn’t believe in Jesus.”

I began to bit my cheeks from the inside to chase away my tears which were quickly welling up in my eyes. I vividly remember his sad look; and he said,

“Missy, then this ring doesn’t belong to you. You belong to Christ and the person you are talking about doesn’t belong to you. You can only marry a believer as the Bible says. There is no exception to this biblical principle. The Bible clearly says that we can’t marry an unbeliever. Do you understand me? You are a child of God and you can only marry a man who is a child of God. No way around this! Take this ring out.”

I felt like throwing up; not because I was disgusted by what he was saying but because I was confused to the point of not knowing what to do with my life.

I didn’t even know where the Bible says that believers shouldn’t get married to an unbeliever (now I know where to find it, lol, 2 Corinthians 6:14) but I heard that verse being preached and I wanted to do it as it says but didn’t know how to do it.

Oh, how I wish you could see his face. He was speaking to me shutting off everybody who was standing and waiting to talk to him. I knew he cared about me. I could sense his brotherly love for me. He was speaking the truth in to my life. But I didn’t know what to say to him.

Well, my “an unbeliever boyfriend” promised to pick me up from the church. So, he came and picked me up after the church service ended and asked me if I wanted to go to DC for lunch.

“Lunch? No, I don’t want lunch. I want to disappear from this life,” I said to myself, looking away from him.

When I didn’t reply to him, he asked me, “What’s wrong with you?”

Oh, how I love that question when it is asked at the right time. Without wasting my time, I said, “You and I can’t be together. We can’t get married.”

Without exaggeration, I hated the next breath my lungs took at that moment because I didn’t want to see myself after saying those words to the man I love to death.

Beloved, that was nineteen years ago. Oh, there is a God who hears our prayers; there is a God who collects all our tears in His hands. There is a God who hears our “unspoken” prayers. I praise Him forever!

I didn’t know that God had already been working in his soul. Oh, before I or he realized it, God put his soul on “the royal chariots” (Songs of Solomon 6:12). Christ was already sitting on the throne of his soul and changed his life forever.

Then, within a very short time, he became the man of my dream, a man who lays his hands on me and prays for me and says into my ears things like, “Oh, how I praise God for giving me you as a wife”.

I’m very thankful for the people God put in my life during those tough times. I thank God for that brother who risked his relationship with me as he decided to confront me about my compromised lifestyle. He stepped into my personal life to tell me the pure truth of God. He was determined to tell me that what I was doing was not right.

Yes, let’s not pass a brother or a sister in Christ when we see them living in sin. When they want us to celebrate with them about their compromised lifestyle, let’s let’s dare to step in to their life in love and truth. Let’s say to them something like: “No, I won’t celebrate with you and for you because what you are doing to yourself will hurt you; will hurt your children; will hurt the Body of Christ and will hurt the next generation. I love you and I care about you. So, I don’t want to see you get hurt like this. You are rebelling against God and if you continue in this path, you will ultimately destroy your life.”

Yes, let’s speak the truth in the life of our brothers and sisters but we have to make sure that we do it with care, love and respect. When the truth reaches out to others with respect, love and compassion, it does miracle in their life. ///

Hmm, Exceptional but not too Unique

A4P Guest: I read most of your articles but your last two articles about kissing changed my life forever! Thank you!

Now it is getting very hard for me to convince my girlfriend for her to embrace God’s standard of sexual purity. I told her to read some of your articles. She liked your page and read some and unliked your page the next day. I don’t know what to do?

A4P: You know, sometimes it takes time for all of us to take the Truth of God to heart and make it ours. We all need time to process it through. Sometimes we struggle and try to defend our side of the story. We may quote Bible verse here and there and try to give million excuses and explanations why we are right. And most of the time, we know that we are wrong but we do it anyways because we need time to let go to what we hold on to for years. And that my dear is not easy to do for all of us as it is for you.

The good news is the Truth of God patiently waits for us, unwaveringly. It changes us but no one and nothing can change it!

So, give her time. Approach her in love and respect. Try to understand why she is saying what she is saying. You see, we usually don’t choose sexual immorality because we are sexually immoral people but we have deep seated unresolved issues, hurts and pains which we bring with us wherever we go. We may be struggling with low self-esteem; inferiority and/or superiority complex, we may not know how to give and receive love; we might be rejected as a child and we fear being rejected as adults and the only way for us to make sure that one is not going to reject us is by taking control of the sexual side of life. So, bear with her. Don’t preach to her. Make sure you stand on your ground but not in a judgmental way. Be open to try to understand her. Listen to her heart and mind. However never try to comfort her by giving her what she is asking you. Stand your ground!

A4P Guest: Let me tell you more about our issue so that you will have a good understanding of what is going on. I’m not new to your page. I’ve been following you for the last seven months. My girlfriend and I were sexually active. We both go to church. She is in choir and I help out in the music department. The first day I read one of your articles about sex before marriage, I got convicted. I read it while I was at work. I couldn’t wait until I went home and I cried before God. I knew that day what has been destroying my life. I wanted to glorify my God in my sexual life. So, I called her and told her about your page. She read the article I read and she said, “she is writing what she thinks is right. She is entitled to her opinion. What is a big deal about that? We can’t put God in a box and say, sex before marriage is a sin.”

I was about to hung up the phone but I knew I shouldn’t act that way. I realized that she was not convicted but I told her that I wanted to stay away from sex. We were not doing sex every day or anything but like once a month. She was very upset with me. After that we never had sex but we continued kissing and everything else. I knew it was wrong but I felt like I needed to do it for her and I didn’t know how to tell her that it was wrong.

Now, after reading your article about kissing, I told her that I wanted to stop kissing and petting too. She was very upset with me.. She even said, “Is this woman your God or you are still following the God of the Bible? If you are following the God of the Bible, then God is not against love.” She always thinks that she knows everything about God and the Bible.

Right now, even seeing her makes me nervous. I feel like I am losing my relationship with Christ whenever I am with her. I think I am at the crossroad where I need to choose one road since I can’t take both. Do you think I am right to think that way?

A4P: It is a very sad reality. Yes, I believe you are right to think that. I think you have to let the girl go but don’t just shut her off. Tell her that you decided to move on with your life without her. Your decision may quicken something in her. I hope she won’t fake conviction but she may be willing to listen to you. Don’t force her to like my page. That won’t usually work. Instead, make the door open for her. Let her know that you still care about her. Tell her that you can be reached at the Cross of Jesus Christ and of course you make sure that you stay there. If she comes to you, she is yours brother! If she says “Good-bye,” let her go.

Oh, what a sad story! Many women out there are crying to convince their boyfriends to stay away from pre-marital sex; not the other way around. Yours is exceptional but not unique! Anyways, good luck my brother; and remember this: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” 1 Peter 4:14. ///

A girl in a relationship

Just because a girl loves to death the man she is in a relationship with doesn’t mean that she is his wife. She is still one of the girls who have a potential to be his wives.

So, whenever you find a girl who acts as if she is married to a man she is seeing, if you find her saying things like, "We usually like to eat steak on the same plate," make sure you lovingly pull her on a side and advise her like this:

"Don’t be foolish my Sista. You ain’t his wife and don’t act like one. Rather put distance between you and this man so that you encourage him to take the next step, the step to make you not one of the girls but the only girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Once he is yours legally and biblically, then you can even say, "We don’t like to drink from separate coffee mugs."

Isn’t the last statement sweet when it comes from a married girl who refers to her relationship with her husband! I’m telling you! It is just sweet! It is like listening to one of King Solomon’s beautiful and romantic love songs! And when we hear that, we tend to say to her, "Please say it one more time because it is sweet to our ears and pure and holy to our eyes! But when we hear it from a single and "in a relationship" girl, – – – – ///

Purity for the brave hearted!