Monday, August 22, 2011

My Dear Friend Leo Skogen

My dear friend and long-time brother-in-law, Leo Skogen went to be with Jesus three years ago today. He struggled with cancer and put up a good fight to the end. All his life his desire was to be like Jesus. He reached out to those no one else would give the time of day. He loved the homeless, the addicts and the loveless. He gave his money, his time and his prayers to so many and constantly told people about Jesus and the love that Jesus had for them. When I last spoke with him I told him how much I admired him because while most of us work for the next vacation or the next toy--each day he would start out asking God "how can I serve you today?"
He was a great man and one of my best friends. I miss him greatly.
I know he has seen Jesus face-to-face and that Jesus has told him, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
I can't help but wonder, "What are they doing in Heaven today?"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rachel's Modeling Debut

Last Sunday was our 2nd annual Hope 4 women international tea and dress a girl around the world style show at the Arrowhead Country Club in Glendale, AZ.
Women from around the country sent in their most creatively made dresses--they had to submit twin dresses because after our fashion show we entered the dresses into our Buy a Dress--Give a Dress program--the purchaser takes one dress home and its matching dress goes to a little girl in Uganda.
It was a great day! Over 200 guests arrived for high tea and our models were the cutest! We were blessed to have our Mid-India partner, Sheila with us. She spoke and MC'd the style show! My friend Angie MC'd the event and friend Lisa spoke about women sponsorship.
My speech was "Follow Your Dreams". Here is a portion of that speech.

How many of you dreamed of doing great things as a child? Think about the dreams you had—do you have those same dreams today?

We have a lot of young women here today who dream of being doctors, lawyers and princesses. When I was a young girl in rural Iowa I dreamed of being a famous writer and although I had no idea where New York was I dreamed of moving there and becoming a model.

As a writer I'm famous to about five people:)

The model dream? Well. . . unless there is a call for a 57-year-old overweight—never been botoxed or tucked or lifted woman—I think we can set that aside.

The wonderful thing about knowing our Lord is He will give you dreams you could never dream on your own.

(I then talked about the dreams that brought Hope 4 Women & Dress a Girl to where we are today and ended with the following)

What are your dreams? What has God put within your heart? Sometimes the dream may seem crazy—like having a tea party with the Pygmy women from the Congo—but if you ask God to be in it—that tea party can change lives—yours and theirs.

For me--being honored by women who have been pulled from the ashes and kneeling before little girls who never dreamed of owning a new dress. . . well, it’s a far cry from being a famous author or a model in New York. . . but I wouldn’t trade the life God has given me for all the glamour and glory of this world.

Every day I am in awe that God would use me and whenever I receive news of a woman transformed or a little girl receiving her first new dress I fall to my knees and thank God for using me.

Don’t let your dreams be something you do someday. If you don’t act –then you are just dreaming—start today to act upon what God has put in you!"

With that I handed my microphone to Robert and jumped up onto the runway--"strutting" back and forth to claps, whistles and laughter. When the crowd stopped laughing I "modeled" while Robert read:

"Rachel Eggum Cinader--NOT from New York is modeling this ruffled dress--chosen by our granddaughter Jordan--From JC Penny.

Rachel is wearing a black shrug and black leggings to cover her 57-year-old arms and legs.

Candies heeled shoes--black of course--complete the outfit!

Rachel knows that in God's eyes every women and girl is beautiful--just the way you are!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sponsor a Woman--Change Her Life

What does it mean to sponsor a woman in Uganda?

It means a life has been changed! Not only the life of one woman but her whole family.

There is a saying in Uganda. “Educate a girl and you will educate a nation.” The same is true of the women we support. As we train them in business; Christian principles; budgeting; English and give them business start-up capital—we are giving them the opportunity to elevate themselves. They in turn want improved lives for their children.

We heard many testimonies from women who graduated from our program on how their lives will never be the same. They are no long in extreme poverty but have hope and know they are successful and will continue to be successful business women.

For the small sum of $36 a month you can sponsor a woman with a commitment of one year.

She receives training in business; Christian principles of running a business; English, math and reading classes; Start-up capital and mentoring as she begins her business.

Pastor Ruth says of our April graduation of fourteen women from the program:

The graduation of the women in Smile Africa brought tears of Joy. These women have come a long way with your prayers and support. A woman who used to live in a fallen shelter now owns land and has built a two roomed house for her and her grand children--that is the testimony of Zuena. Rukia's success story is another one,when she came to Smile, she was at the verge of dying,along with her three sons.Today,through your prayers and support,she is a manager and sales woman in the charcoal business.She started her oldest son on a business and her other two sons go to good schools. She is able to rent a decent place for her and her children and they are well fed.

May the Glory be to God almighty who has worked through each one of us to reach out and restore hope and dignity to them.

The sponsorship program is exploding with testimonies and more and more widows getting sponsored. The whole town is talking about what God is doing for the widows. This includes the Muslim widows who are now praising Jesus for loving them, what a great testimony. This could not have happened if you had not responded by praying and supporting this program. It is common to hear someone stopping me in town and trying to let me know of a widow or children who need help, my answer to them is to pray that God brings in more help,because it is only Him who can solve all problems.

To learn more about sponsoring a woman and offering her a life of dignity please contact

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My 3D Movie Experience

Robert and I went to the latest Narnia movie in 3D. As I always wear glasses when I want to see I had to wear my 3D glasses over my glasses. It was dark in the theatre and I found myself very frustrated when I pulled the 3D glasses out of my purse and they were curved so they didn’t really fit over my glasses. All through the movie I tried to get them to work. I’d take them off and the movie looked the same as when I had them on except the picture was a little lighter. I thought these waves, the dragon, the creatures-- should be flying at me but it’s like a normal film—except a little fuzzy sometimes.

I did enjoy the movie but felt cheated not to see it in 3D. On the way home I complained to Robert and he said, “You should have traded with me. My glasses were flat and some of those scenes were pretty wild.”

“Let me see those.” I looked at his glasses—tried them on and they fit perfectly over my glasses.

“That is so weird. Look at mine.” I reached into my purse and pulled out Robert’s sunglasses!! LOL

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tom's Christmas Sweater

Our mom had an unusual sense of style and wore REALLY colorful clothing—green checked polyester pants with red flowered tops—you get the idea.

She was a writer. . . a bit quirky—she had cats and there was cat hair on everything! She never quite got the hang of housecleaning so when we would stop by for a visit we had to move books and brush cat hair off of the chairs in order to sit. It was charming as well as amusing. We were watching a home movie once and peered closely and then burst out laughing as we realized the floaters across the screen was cat hair floating through the air. I wonder if that is why I had trouble breathing at times:)

Every year we would get together at my sister Ramona’s house (Ramona had no cats and kept an immaculate house) for a Christmas gathering and even after by brother Tom and I moved to Arizona we’d go back to Iowa to play in the snow and to celebrate Christmas.

Mom loved Christmas and passed that love on to all of us. She bought us interesting and unusual gifts which we always opened with a bit of trepidation:)

One year she could hardly wait for Tom to open a gift she had for him. She let him open it early so he could wear it to our Christmas party.

Tom was shocked to be blessed with a used, woman’s sweater—covered in cat hair! Mom sat smiling proudly as Tom petted the sweater and thanked her. He graciously pulled the sweater over his head and tried to pull the too short sleeves to his wrists.

He actually wore the sweater throughout the entire evening much to our amazement and to Mom’s delight. I had a new admiration for Tom after that:)

Oh. How I miss her and those wonderful days filled with laughter.