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Cec with Benny Gati
While serving as a missionary in Kenya, Cec met a young orphan boy named Benny Gati in 1961. They had a delightful time reconnecting in November after last seeing each other 40 years ago. Benny said he always remembered Cec and that Cec was like a father to him. 
Cec with Wilma Caraway at ETBU CWC
Cec with Wilma Caraway (above) and Tony Evans of India Ministries (below) at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference. 
Cec with Tony Evans (India Ministries) ETBU CWC
90 Minutes in Heaven DVD
Just in time for Christmas gift giving, the DVD and blu-ray versions of the 90 Minutes in Heaven movie are now available.
Because We Care
As caring people and doers of good deeds, we tend to feel the burden of making huge gestures or speaking eloquently to lift our friends out of their doldrums, pain, or heartaches. We focus on the result—that is, making the other person feel encouraged, helping them make the right decision, or offering insight into their problems.
What's wrong with such desires?
Our attitude speaks of our desire to stretch our arms toward a hurting person. However, desire and wisdom aren't always compatible. I may want to pull her out of depression or get him to start an exercise program. That's an excellent intention.
But that's not enough until we apply wisdom. We're zealous to fix others—which is both kind and noble. We may struggle intensely to do exactly the right thing or trouble ourselves over precisely the right way to say something.
I suggest something less complicated. If we're convinced we care about the person (and not only the result), here it is: Follow your heart.
I hesitated to write those three words because too many people feel that gives them permission to throw clichéd statements, quote the Bible, or overwhelm others with exhortation.
Before we take any action or say anything, let's ask ourselves: If the situation were reversed, how would I respond? Would I want someone to say, "I'm telling you this for your own good"? Would I rejoice if a friend tried to pull me out of my depression by saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always"?
Probably not.
I've shed the need to be the great rescuer of souls. I simply want to do what little I can for others. I've learned that when I express my compassion, even with no answers (or perhaps especially with no answers), I generally connect. 
Here's a straightforward response: "I don't know, but I care about you." (Of course we have to mean those words.)
Something happens. When we speak from the heart—from compassionate caring—most of the time we connect. Our friends know when we speak lovingly.
It takes so little....
Personal News
  • December 2, I’ll fly to Miami where my longtime friend Michael R. Smith will meet me and take me for interviews.

  • December 3, I leave for a trip to Cuba—my first vacation since before Shirley died in 2013.

  • December 20 and 27, I’ll teach an adult SS class in my home church.

  • It’s not too late to join us on the Eastern Caribbean Book Writing Boot Camp at Sea Cruise, January 3-10.      

Twila and Cec
The Twila Zone—Words from My Assistant, Twila Belk
Cec is a monthly contributor to Book Fun Magazine, and in the November issue he shared a heartwarming story--about his wife and a little orphan girl--that happened while Cec and Shirley were missionaries in Kenya. To access the story, click on Cec's picture on the front cover of Book Fun Magazine.
When Cec writes, he wants to reach out and hug readers with his words. As a speaker, he brings that same warmth to his listening audiences. His innate way of connecting with people regardless of their gender, skin color, or history has made him a sought-after communicator for several decades. Cec's many topics can be customized to fit your keynote, workshop, retreat, or guest-speaker needs. Contact me if you'd like more information or would like to schedule Cec for your 2016 event.
Speaking of speaking, and on a personal note, I'm also scheduling events for 2016. To learn more about what I offer, visit the speaking page of my website. To read a few good words and comments from people who have invited me for their events, click on the link provided. You're welcome to contact me with any questions.
Would you like to give your friends and loved ones some gentle reminders of God's power, presence, and purpose this Christmas season? If so, consider my book Raindrops from Heaven. It's a beautiful 366-day devotional and just the right size for a Christmas stocking. 
I look forward to teaching at the Writer to Writer conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania, February 5-7. If you're an aspiring writer or a writer who wants to sharpen your skills, think about adding the conference to your Christmas list. Not only will you learn from a great team of professionals if you attend, but rumor has it that there will be lots and lots of chocolate, too. 
Books make nice Christmas gifts. Here are a few suggestions.
Writer to Writer Unleash the Writer Within Knowing God, Knowing Myself 90 Minutes in Heaven
Gifted Hands I Believe in Heaven I Believe in Healing Raindrops from Heaven
Gotta Tell Somebody, Inc. | 5672 Appleton Road | Bettendorf, IA 52722

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