December 2017


eastwind journals25 Dec 2017 09:25 am

12 eastwind YOUTUBE DOCUs ON TWO HEALERS * for those who need healing

12 eastwind YOUTUBE DOCUMENTARIES ON TWO HEALERS
Sister Raquel Reodica, RVM and Father Fernando Suarez
 
eastwind journals

For those who need healing, especially from terminal diseases.
Many have been healed in cyberspace. All you need is faith and intense prayers.

 

Copy and save these links for future viewing.
Please pass to friends with serious ailments.
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/12/12-eastwind 

 

Say a healing prayer with Sister Raquel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAZcwNimBSg
 
Say a healing prayer with Father Suarez.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UP3LHBgtIc
1.13 million hits as of Christmas day 2017.

 

Jesus heals a hole in the heart of Lyshel through Sister Raquel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYZ993h_heY

 

Jesus heals incurable liver ailment through Sister Raquel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5u5H1sww78

 

The miracle of the healing oil. Sister Raquel.
Part 1. Typhoon Ondoy’s fury related to the miracle of the healing oil.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owykGkNCpIg
Part 2. Healing testimonials.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlREzytKuSg

 

Healing the crowd at Bacnotan church. Father Suarez.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6CUWrwd5z4

 

Jesus heals terminal diabetes-cervical cancer through Father Suarez.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rmkYtUEfog

 

Jesus heals terminal leukemia through Sister Raquel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqutE4Z-eqU

 

Jesus heals the terminal ulcer of an ex-NPA rebel through Sister Raquel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm7FbgJBvVc

 

Healing homily at Montemaria. Father Suarez.
Part 1.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-nAWFJjfCI
Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DNluTIY67c

 

amdg
eastwind journals24 Dec 2017 07:06 pm

A MARIAN PROPHECY – China’s Invasion of the Philippines * eastwind

A MARIAN PROPHECY – CHINA’S INVASION OF THE PHILIPPINES
If Pope Francis consecrates China to Our Lady, will it avert an invasion?
 
eastwind journals
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/12/a-marian
 
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
“Pray hard, for China’s dream is to invade the whole world. The Philippines is one of its favorites.” Our Lady Mediatrix of Grace, Lipa, October 17, 1949.

 

This prophecy was given by Our Lady to visionary Sister Teresing Castillo of the Carmelite congregation of Lipa, and later announced by Cardinal Vidal, former Archbishop of Lipa. (Inquirer, July 13, 2014). The message was given on the 33rd year anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, October 17, 1949, establishing the link between Fatima and Lipa.

 

The Carmelite Sisters have been praying for China ever since that prophecy, for they believe peace can still be attained through prayers. Marian Devotees are asking Pope Francis to consecration China to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, just as St. John Paul II consecrated Russia in 1984, which led to the first-ever visit of a Russian leader (Gorbachev) to the Vatican, to the restoration of religious freedom in Russia, and to the end of the Cold War after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. China’s ‘Nine-Dash’ initiative, claiming 80% of South China Sea, hugging the entire western flank of the Philippine coastline, affirms the prophecy’s statement, “the Philippines (as) one of (China’s) favorites”.

 

CONTINUED

 

Author’s Note. In spite of the decades-old controversy, the devotion to Our Lady Mediatrix of Grace is permitted by the Church, even before it gives a final declaration of authenticity, which may take a long time. Mediatrix devotion spread like wild fire after the shower of rose petals. It took 20 years for the Fatima Miracle of the Dancing Sun, witnessed by thousands, to be authenticated by the Church. The Lipa Miracle of the Rose Petals (images on the petals) was witnessed by hundreds and hundreds of petals exist today as indisputable evidence of authenticity.

 

History of Marian Intervention

 

The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 by Saint John Paul II, requested by Our Lady of Fatima seven decades before in 1917, ushered in a series of events considered to be a ‘Marian Intervention towards Global Peace’.

 

First, five years after the consecration of Russia in 1989, the 40-year-old Berlin Wall, dividing the capitalist West from the communist East, collapsed, ushering in the end of the Cold War. Second, the reunification of post-war Germany in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin wall was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Empire into 15 separate countries.

 

The ‘last Emperor’, Mikhail Gorbachev, who instituted Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (economic reform) which melted the Iron Curtain, visited the ‘Fatima Pope’ Saint John Paul II, a historic first. As a result, religious freedom was restored in the former Iron Curtain. The Kremlin and the Vatican established diplomatic ties. Churches in the former Soviet Union were reopened. The vibrant Ukrainian Catholic Church, driven by Stalin underground, resurfaced. Saint John Paul II gave his Papal blessing to the massive reformation to ensue in Russia. The Virgin ‘conquered’ the vast Soviet Empire in one sweep.

 

Our Lady in China Today

 

Enter Our Lady in China. The foothold of Our Lady Mediatrix of Grace in China happened quite by “accident”. Banker-Taipan George Ty was asked by the Chinese Government to develop two villages in Nanjing, scene of the massacre of hundreds of thousands by Japan in World War II. The Government agreed to Ty’s request to build a Catholic church there. It so happened that the architect, Joey Amistoso, assigned to design the church interior, had earlier renovated the Mediatrix apparition site in Lipa. Ty was looking for a statue of the Virgin for the church. Amistoso instinctively suggested the Mediatrix statue. Ty readily agreed. Mrs. Ty and the bank Vice President, Solomon Cua, visited the site in Lipa and talked to the Carmelite sisters. Cua commented, “I feel energy here”.

 

“The first and last line of defense the Philippines (against China’s invasion, if ever) is ‘the mantle of protection’ provided by the Blessed Virgin.” (Source – “Mary Mediatrix of All Grace”, by Rene C. de Jesus, available at the Lipa Carmelite bookstore.) Only prayer and the return to the Lord can avert China’s invasion, as the Carmelite sisters perceive.

 

The Link Between Fatima, Lipa, and Pope Francis

 

 

 

There are two ‘Fatima Popes’. First was Saint John Paul II because he finally revealed Fatima’s Third Secret after seven long decades. Previous Popes before him did not, perhaps out of fear of causing panic because of its dire messages of disasters related to sin. But why give a message to humanity if it would remain a ‘secret’? He made three historic pilgrimages to Fatima. The Third Secret prophesied the attempted assassination of ‘a Bishop in white’, who turned out to be St. John Paul II himself. The bullet of the failed assassination is now lodged in the crown of the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Rome.

 

Pope Francis is the “Second Fatima Pope” because, just like St. John Paul II, he visited Fatima in May 2017 to canonize peasant visionaries Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Lucia de los Santos, the third who outlived them, became the author of the three secret Fatima messages, proclaimed by the Vatican to be authentic. The original manuscript of the controversial Third Secret, handwritten in Portuguese by Lucia, can be accessed from the Vatican website.

 

Perceiving the role of the Virgin in Philippine mega-disasters, Pope Francis dispatched a life-sized replica of the Fatima statue to the Philippines after the deadly 2013 Bohol-Cebu earthquake which completely destroyed 15 ancient churches in Bohol. Like a papal premonition, the day after Yolanda a few months later, the strongest storm ever of human history (so far), the statue was borne on foot by Marian brothers for three days through rubble from Borongan to Tacloban, Samar, where tens of thousands died. Pope Francis made his historic visit to Tacloban and had lunch with children of Yolanda victims. Clearly he saw the role of Fatima in the Philippines.

 

Fátima and Lipa are powerful messages of love and forgiveness at a time of wars, hatred and vendetta. A Paulinian Sister in a trance in the home of visionary Carmelo Cortez, where rose petals also appeared, said, “I can no longer hold back the hand of my Son. Pray, pray, pray.” Clearly, Fatima is a message from both the God of Mercy and the God of Wrath. (Read more on the 100-year anniversary of Fatima – sisterraquel.com/fatima-centennial)

 

By Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 


 

amdg
eastwind journals13 Dec 2017 10:43 pm

Will Nokor trigger WW III? * A Christmas Message to Trump * 2 Christmas Stories * eastwind

1 -  WILL NOKOR TRIGGER WW III?
       A Christmas Message to Trump
 
2 – TWO CHRISTMAS STORIES
      The Lechon Kid * The Holocaust Maiden
 
eastwind journals
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/12/2-christmas
 
By Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
WILL NOKOR TRIGGER WW III?
A Christmas Message to Trump
 
If you leave a deadly snake alone, it won’t bite.
 
Everybody is ganging up on North Korea for creating ICBMs now capable of reaching continental USA, causing panic worldwide. But did anyone, for a moment, ask if we are all wrong in the approach to deal with Nokor brinkmanship? Trump should ask himself if he is causing the problem rather than finding a solution.
 
CONTINUE
 
The million dollar question – would Nokor not have developed ICBMs today if the US pulled out of South Korea a decade ago? You have a gun, I get a gun. You have a bigger gun. I get a bigger gun. It is a never-ending vicious cycle of escalation by the determined bully and the defiant bullied until it explodes on all our faces.
 
If the US pulls out its South Korean bases with its ‘defense’ missiles, which it will never do, Nokor would think twice to make ICBMs, which are not meant for South Korea or Japan. They are meant for the USA. The US policy since Hiroshima and Nagasaki has always been from a position of superiority because they were successful in ending World War II. Let the small fries cower, OR ELSE. But this time their OR ELSE falls on deaf ears. This time, the US may ironically trigger World War III. That is the Nokor dilemma. The US will never pull out of South Korea. Nokor will never stop the ICBM program, which is in reply to US presence. So let’s all get ready for World War III. Nokor may never concede even if the sanctions are quadrupled, even if it is obliterated, but it will take down with it the entire planet. It is suicidal for both the USA and Nokor.
 
God can permit World War III to happen the way he permitted World Wars I and II. He sent floods in Noah’s time, fires in Sodom and Gomorrha, the destruction of the twin towers of Babel and 9/11. The Nokor impasse has the imprint of a Biblical cataclysm. All this is related to our becoming arrogant and ignoring Him. The love principle, which speaks of bread as a response to a stone, is somehow the approach to a solution to the Nokor impasse, not threats, intimidations, sanctions. But will it ever happen, or are we doomed? This is the Christmas message to the world and to the USA. Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

TWO CHRISTMAS STORIES
 
THE LECHON KID
Inspired by a true character in Blumentritt
An excerpt from the book Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer

By Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
Lechon (roast pig) is a traditional Filipino Christmas delicacy. Blumentritt is the lechon capital of Metro-Manila. The 50-odd stalls in an eight-block area sell an average of 300 to 400 lechons on a none-Christmas day. That’s about 1.5 million pesos gross a day, not bad for a strange place where affluence and poverty see each other eyeball-to-eyeball. One Christmas season, a spiritual event descends on Blumentritt. Richard is the Lord’s courier to send His Christmas tidings to all, rich and poor, as to the shepherds and kings in Bethlehem.
 
Richard has no family, no home. He lives alone underneath a small bridge.Wherever you are, Richard, God bless you.
 
CONTINUE
 
When there is a storm, he quickly gathers his things into a plastic bag before the flood would come. He would run to the priest in a nearby church to take him in. After the storm, he is back to restore his cozy home. The priest offered a tiny space in a storage room. He refused. He treasured his privacy more. The police would come regularly to shoo him away, as living under a bridge is dangerous. But he would be back after a few days with the priest. The police finally got tired of shooing him away.

The priest gives him a plate of hot steaming rice for breakfast daily. At break of day, Richard roams the lechon stalls, clutching his plastic plate of steaming rice. By that time, the pigs which are being roasted since 3 to 4 a.m. are hot and ready for the first buyers. At Mang Kiko’s stall, five lechons are standing vertically on bamboo poles, leaning against the wall, deep red-brown, glistening like sports cars.
 
Richard places his plate of rice underneath the biggest and lets the oil from the lechon drip to his plate. Mang Kiko knows Richard and ignores him. After 15 minutes and 20 drips, he takes his plate, puts some patis (liquid fish salt) from the table, goes out, and starts to eat with bare dirty hands on the sidewalk, standing. When he finishes, he goes to Mang Kiko, wipes his hand clean, places it on his forehead, saying, “God bless you, Mang Kiko”. Mang Kiko would shoo him away. It is Richard’s way of thanking people.
 
At mid-day, he has a plan on how to get lunch. He spots a new egg vendor. So he pretends to limp exaggeratedly towards the woman vendor and just stands there in front of her, hoping to get some sympathy. The woman vendor stares at him. He does not even put his palm out. He just stands there and smiles, irresistible to any decent soul, and he knows it. Finally, the woman gives her two salted eggs. He jumps with joy and hugs her, who quickly pries herself loose from his dirty grasp.
 
Richard – My name’s Richard. What’s yours?
Aling Fely – Fely. Okay, just go.
Richard – God bless you, Aling Fely.
Aling Fely – I know you’re not lame. Stop pretending.
Richard – I know you know. I was trying to be funny.
Aling Fely – Get out of here.
 
He puts his hand on her forehead, giving her a God-bless-you, and she yanks it away. Next, he goes over to a sidewalk mini-eatery. A mother and son are just standing up after eating. Richard quickly grabs the left over rice from their two plates and puts it in a plastic bag from his pocket. Nobody notices. He goes over to the eatery owner and gives her a God-bless-you before she shoos him away. Outside a dirty barbershop, he sits on a bench. He peels the two salted eggs, puts them in the plastic bag together with the rice, and pounds the bag against the wall – a feast with bare unwashed hands.
 
After resting a bit, he goes over to the coconut juice vendor, and drinks left over juice from two plastic cups before they are thrown into the garbage. He puts the empty cups on like slippers, and hangs on the rear railing of a passenger jeepney, and as it moves away, he slides on the pavement, using the cups as his ‘skis’ – ingenious but noisy. He ignores people shouting at him to get off. The burly coconut juice vendor picks him up with one hand. Before he leaves, he gives the coconut vendor his God-bless-you.
 
In the evening, Richard stalks another lechon stall, the biggest in the area, which displays as many as a dozen lechons at any given time. Hiding within the forest of lechons, he takes a pair of mini-scissors from his pocket and cuts off two 6-inch pig tails of lechon. Aling Donna, the owner, sees him at the corner of her eye but pretends she does not. Richard goes over to her and gives her a God-bless-you hug, for which he is rewarded a plate of rice. That is one sumptuous dinner, two 6-inch pig tails on rice. The next day, after his breakfast of lechon fat on rice, Mang Kiko confronts him.
 
Mang Kiko – Hey Richard. Do you know I sold ten lechons yesterday? That’s a record. As soon as you left, a lady bought all five lechons. So, I ordered five more which were all sold before noon.
Richard – That’s because I told God to bless you. You give to me, He gives to you. Haha.
Mang Kiko -I give you twenty drips of lechon fat and He gives me P12,000 income in one day? That’s a bit lopsided.
Richard – You don’t know Him. He didn’t take up Accounting. He’s poor in Math. As long as you give, He gives back more than you give. You better believe it, (proudly) God gave to you because I asked him.
Mang Kiko – Maybe so. (Richard begins to leave.) Hey, hey, bless me first.
 
Richard puts a hand on Mang Kiko’s forehead and blesses him. Onlookers begin to laugh. Next day, Mang Kiko sells 14 lechons. Richard’s God-bless-you image yielding big income spreads like wildfire. He is giving God-bless-you’s to vendors left and right. The mini-eatery quadruples its income. The juice vendor sells a record 44 coconuts instead of the usual 15. Aling Fely quintuples her egg sales and is now diversifying into balut (fertilized duck’s egg). Aling Donna, the lechon tycoon, sells a staggering 46 in one day. Mysteriously, buyers are coming from nowhere. Richard is getting fat, eating all the lechon he can, no longer drips or tails, but the real McCoy.
 
The Lord moves in strange ways to inspire, to sanctify, to bless. Especially during Christmas, you may bump into Him in the nooks and crevices of everyday life, among poor street kids and rich street vendors. He blesses the poor to sanctify the rich. Such was the role of Richard, the gentle-hearted, the God-bless-you kid, The Lechon Kid of Blumentritt. Bernie V. Lopez eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
An excerpt from the book Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer
Send this book as a Christmas give to friends anywhare in the Philippines at the click of a mouse.
A collection of 50 mostly true-to-life stories. For only 400 pesos, includes shipping cost. No muss, no fuss, no shopping. For the US/EU, US$30. To order, simply send an email to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. Another book by the same author, Wings and Wanderlust, his adventure hitchhiking in Europe for 3 years, also 400 pesos. Both books 750 pesos, or $55.

 

THE HOLOCAUST MAIDEN
A True Story
 
At a tender age, Ruth and her parents, together with thousands of other Jews, were rounded up into the Warsaw Ghetto, living like pigs in a giant sty with very little food. The SS planned them to be ransomed by the world Jewry to raise $2 million dollars to finance the invasion of Russia. A Christian family smuggled Ruth out of the Ghetto by simply putting her in a coffin, which was thrown into a cart full of corpses headed for the cemetery. There, she was smuggled out in the dead of night.
 
Ruth was an attractive blonde who eventually became a Broadway actress in New York. But the memory of Warsaw lingered and haunted her time and again, until one day, it took its toll. She withdrew totally from the world, not speaking, staring at the wall. Silent tears would suddenly flow. No one could draw her out of her darkness.
 
This was her dire emotional state when she was brought to the Bet Tzedek (Hall of Justice in Hebrew) Legal Services in a Jewish community in Fairfax, Los Angeles, USA, which offered free legal services for low-income residents. Bet Tzedek was a prestigious international Robin Hood of a law firm known as far as Tel Aviv and Washington DC. The firm wanted the German government to pay Ruth war reparations as a holocaust survivor. For days, the lawyers tried hard to pry her open, but she was like an ice-berg, cold, unmoved, opaque, unreachable. When the lawyers gave up, they passed her on to Lisa, the only Filipino woman in the group, hoping she could thaw the ice-berg.
 
Lisa, trained in the art of listening, even as a young child, by her father back in the Philippines, did not think twice about how to break-in Ruth. She knew what to do from the onset. She sat beside Ruth and held her hand without saying a word. She caressed her hair and touched her face. Ruth stared at her, and for the first time, gave a faint smile. Lisa knew the magic of touch. Touch was better than a thousand words. Later on, after Lisa left, Ruth spoke her very first four words in three-odd years, asking “What is her name?”
 
Lisa came back prepared. She had a dreidel (a Jewish toy), and Lisa, in her late twenties, and Ruth, in her late thirties, played together like little children. In English, Lisa said she lived in Germany before. Ruth said, “Spreken sie Deutch?” (Do you speak German?) Lisa answered, “Nein” (no). Gradually, the ice-berg melted under the intense heat of a dialogue of children. Ruth said she was originally from Poland. Slowly, from a trickle of words, there was a flood of unspoken darkness deep inside her soul.
 
She recalled her harrowing experience. The lawyers got the information they needed to file a case against the German government. Finally, she won her case. She was awarded about US$3,000 a month for the rest of her life, a small fortune which insured her future. Today, she lives in the Los Angeles area.
 
The Jewish community lauded the team of litigators. Lisa was head-lined in a local Jewish paper. The story of her expertise in the art of listening was featured in the front page. She became known far and wide, and her good karma, the story of the maiden of Warsaw, would spread like wildfire and catapult Lisa to high places, until she had her own modest business in cultural exchange, that would bring her to every nook of Western Europe, from Casablanca to Paris, Munich to Madrid, Rome to Copenhagen, Istanbul to Cairo, and to Asia and Latin Countries. Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
A Christmas Message from Pope Francis

Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.

Christmas is you, when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.

The Christmas pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.

The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colors that adorn your life.

The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.

You are also a Christmas light, when you illuminate with your life the pat of others with kindness, patience, joy, and generosity.

The Christmas angels are you, when you sing to the world a message of peace, justice and love.

The Christmas star is you, when you lead someone to meet the Lord.

You are also the wise men, when you give the best you have no matter who will receive.

Christmas music is you when you conquer the harmony within you.

The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly friend and brother of every human being.

The Christmas card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.

The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and reestablish peace, even when you suffer.

The Christmas dinner is you, when you sated bread and hope to the poor man who is by your side.

You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and curious, you receive in the silence of the night the Savior of the world without noise or great celebrations.

You are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas that establishes the Kingdom within you.

A very Merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas. Pope Francis.

 
 

amdg
eastwind journals01 Dec 2017 10:14 pm

CHRISTMAS WITH ARABS AND JEWS * excerpt from the book Wings and Wanderlust

CHRISTMAS WITH ARABS AND JEWS
Athens, Greece. What was my loneliest Christmas became an awesome experience.

 

eastwind memoirs
By Bernie Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

Excerpt 14
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/12/christmas-with
 
This is an excerpt from the book Wings and Wanderlust, the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self, a true story of the daring adventure of a Filipino Programmer in New York turned drifter, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 years across Western Europe and North Africa. More than a travelogue, it is a guide to discovering one’s inner self.

 

CHRISTMAS OFFER. Send this book to friends anywhere in the Philippines as a Christmas Gift at a click of a mouse, no muss, no fuss. Only Php 400, including shipping, sent directly to their homes by JRS courier in 2 to 4 days. (US/EU longer, $30). Email the author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com on how to order the book.
 
But first read the excerpt below, and decide if the book is worth it as a Christmas gift.
 
EXCERPT

 

when your sojourn
reaches a sudden dead end
ask a passing gentle flower
to stay awhile
 
it is the genesis of the life force
carrying seeds that would
explode into towering trees
before it wilts and decays
 
the flower tells us that eternity
is really contained in the present
just as your darkness is contained in the light
one step, that is all you need, to cross the chasm
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
serendipity is bumping into
water when your throat is dry
or into kind people
when your spirit is dry
 
it is ironic that at the time
you want something so badly it is elusive
at another time you don’t care
it falls on your lap out of nowhere
 
My first winter was spent in the Canaries where I had a brief romance with Maria, the Spanish drifter, and where I lived a monastic life for a month in a cave in Lanzarote. From the Spanish Riviera, I suddenly decided to stop my journey and go to New York to attend my sister’s wedding. That was just an excuse. Actually, I had this gnawing fear of loneliness during Christmas.

 

My second winter was spent in Athens. I stayed at the cheapest hostel in town where African Arabs of all kinds stayed, Sudanese, Egyptians, Algerians. There was also a New Zealand couple and, strangely mixed among the Arabs, was a Jewish girl. There was a war going on in the Middle East, but, in Athens, Arab and Jewish drifters mixed freely. They did not care about the war.

 

In Athens, it would be my first Christmas away from home. I did not like the prospect. Weeks before Christmas, I knew I would get homesick. I was preparing myself mentally for it. I was thinking I would get drunk with the Arabs at the hostel so I could forget my loneliness. Or I was thinking I would look for some Filipino seamen in Piraeus where they all were. I didn’t mind spending Christmas on a ship. At least Filipinos around would probably help me get over this feeling. It was Christmas eve and my depression loomed.

 

I collected money from the Arabs at the hostel, announc­ing a midnight drinking party. Everyone agreed, includ­ing the Jewish girl. It was retsina all over again, the Greek wine, aviation gas to me. But being Christmas, we also bought some vodka and gin and mixed them all up for a terrible bash. Arabs and Jews normally did not cel­ebrate Christ­mas but the holiday feeling was in the air in Athens, so we had this grand party at the hostel. Arabs also normally did not drink. Not this bunch.

 

At eleven o’clock in the evening, we were all pretty drunk. I was depressed and homesick and the Arabs and the lone Jewish girl could see it. They were trying to comfort me. After all, I was the only Christian in the group. At half past eleven, I stood up, wobbled a bit, and quietly sneaked out.

 

I did not tell them I wanted to go to a church for the midnight Mass, something I had done my entire life on Christ­mas. I walked along in the streets towards the church. I felt guilty that I was going to church drunk but I thought it was better than not going at all. It was my refuge from my loneli­ness, the warmth of church with many people singing carols. The momentary silence of the late evening in the streets after leaving the noise of the party stabilized me. All of a sudden, there was solemnity.

 

The church was crowded and to hide my being drunk, I simply stayed outside the church beyond the huge front doors. I stayed behind the crowd which was spilling over outside the church. I wanted to receive communion but decide against it. Not in my state of inebriation. It would be irrever­ent. I just prayed and sang ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ with the crowd. Bethlehem was just a stone’s throw away. I felt better.

 

Almost at the end of the mass, someone elbowed me. It was the whole gang. They followed me to church and wanted to commiserate with me. They wrapped the vodka and gin in paper bags to hide it. They giggled when I saw them. I felt embar­rassed as the others might see this bunch of drunken Arabs in a Christian church. But then again, I was touched. Friends who did not believe in Christmas believed in friendship. They came to Mass to share themselves with me on this precious day. I was almost in tears.

 

I was late for Mass anyway, so it ended soon. We left and were rowdy in the streets, shouting and singing, as we went back to the hostel. They sang strange Arab songs. My loneli­ness disappeared.

 

“Hey, guys, thanks. I really appreciate it,” I said.
“We’re all in the same boat, Bernie, remember,” the Jewish girl answered. “We’re all away from home. We have to stick together. Especially in our moments of pain.”
“Thanks,” I embraced her and the guys hooted, pushing us to each other.

 

We slept at about three in the morning only because there were no more to drink and the stores were closed. Everybody filed back to their rooms. My first Christmas away from home was not bad, only because of friends who were not even Chris­tians. I would never forget that Christmas, this melting pot of religion and culture. eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

Email the author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com to get the book.
 
Book Cover
 
 
MORE EXCERPTS
 
Excerpt 02 – BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR, Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal
Tired from hitching, I peek into a noisy village bar. The bartender beckons. I enter and there is dead silence. I play the guitar and hell breaks loose.
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-02
 
Excerpt 03 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA, The 7-day 80-km hike, Portugal.
In search of myself, I drifted through Europe and ended up making a pilgrimage. No tent, no umbrella, just a sleeping bag, beach sandals, and a 1.5-kilo backpack.
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-03
 
Excerpt 07 – A SWEDISH DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, Canary Islands.
Evading security, I sneaked into a tourist beach at night. From atop a tall 5-star hotel, a maiden saw me fixing my sleeping bag, and, like an angel, descends into my realm.
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-07
 
Email the author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com to get the book.
 
amdg