Annie’s Journal by Annie Warner Donnelly, International Correspondent

I’ve always felt that birthdays should be the one day in the year when people remind us how glad they are that we were born, that we add something to their lives, that God loves us and they do too!

The reality is that some think birthdays are just another day, that some people have made too many mistakes to have their lives celebrated on any day. It’s not that way for the people of Mugeta.

The day before my birthday they shared that, as they celebrated with me, they would indeed be welcoming a new child into their midst. In fact, here is an excerpt from one of the speeches from the party they held for me.

“Madam Annie, here in Tanzania, Africa, especially here in our school community, we regard this day as a return to childhood. Seventy-seven years ago today, you were not like you are now: you had a child’s voice; a child’s way of moving; a child’s laugh; a child’s way of eating and a child’s mind. Seventy-seven years ago, you didn’t know as much as you know now. You didn’t know many people either so, what is the significance of your childhood at age seventy-seven?

Surely it is a great thing to thank God for the many good things He has done for you. He has fought for you so much. He has saved you from the evil things you know, and those you don’t know. He has crossed mountains and valleys and rivers and lakes and deserts in your life all these years … He is the God of heaven. May praise and glory be His forever!

Madam Annie, today, you are the child we have given birth to. Allow us for these few hours to be your father and mother and you be our child. Even though we will not hear your voice crying as a child, we hear your laughter so that we know you are as happy as we are today … We thank God for bringing us a child like you. Our prayer is that God will protect you and lead you to live to old age. We are ready to raise and care for our child and our beloved friend.”

I am sharing these words because it was a life-changing experience for me, but more than that, I want to encourage all of us, in our families and in our communities, to speak words of love and appreciation, kindness and commitment to one another. Wouldn’t you be encouraged to hear words like this spoken to you? May we learn how to love others as God, our Father, loves His Son, Jesus, and how They both love us.

The speaker I quoted is the School’s Director, Robert Gambarage. Like a child having a birthday party, they gave me the dress and the hat you see in the picture taken with him. May we, like the people God created to live in Tanzania, be willing to express our feelings of love. It will be life-changing! Amen


Rosie’s Devotions by Rosemary Hagedorn

Following A Leader

I have an entire collection of Walt Disney classic movies on VHS videotape that either I purchased or were given to me as gifts. All my children and grandchildren have enjoyed watching them over the years. But technology changes, and a VHS player has become obsolete. Today, there is a variety of ways to watch old classics, so I am in the process of getting rid of some of these old cassette tapes.

The other day, I decided to watch Peter Pan before putting the tape into the bag with the others. There is a part in the movie where the Lost Boys are singing the following song:

Following the leader, the leader, the leader,

We’re following the leader wherever he may go.

– Oliver Wallace, Ted Sears, and Winston Hibler

This made me question, Whom am I following?

In today’s society, there are hundreds of voices on the television and the Internet that scream out, “Follow me!” These voices promise weight loss if we drink this or take that pill. There are gadgets that stop pain or perform many other so-called miracles, if we only follow the advertiser’s commands. I admit that I’m one of those gullible people who has given in to the demands of some of these advertisements on the television or internet.

Christians profess to be followers of Jesus, their Leader, their Saviour, their Helper, and their Shepherd.

We are sheep.

Matthew 9:36 – And what pity He felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. (TLB)

The Shepherd is Jesus.

John 10:11 – I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (TLB)

The sheep follow the shepherd.

John 10:27 – My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (TLB)

Sometimes, when we give in to false promises or we go astray, Jesus promises to leave the other ninety-nine sheep in order to bring us back into His fold.

Matthew 12:11-12a – This was his answer: “If you had just one sheep, and it fell into a well on the Sabbath, would you work to rescue it that day? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (TLB)

Whom are you following?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Shepherd of our souls and minds, direct our paths, and be with us as we discern the real from the unreal. Forgive our straying and our listening to empty promises. Help us to follow You in mind, body, and spirit. Amen.


Jo Knows Nutrition by Joanne Nijhuis

Spring Cedar Planked Asparagus

It’s Spring which means it’s time to fire up the barbecue after a long and wintery hiatus. There really is no better time of year to throw some locally grown asparagus on the grill.  Traditionally used for salmon, cedar planks are also perfect for asparagus. No barbecue? No problem! Cedar planks work well in the oven if soaked for 2 hours prior to cooking. Pre-soaking the planks is crucial for safety’s sake and to release steam for a rich, smoky flavour whether cooking indoors or out. Use caution with plank cooking and have a spray bottle filled with water on hand to deal with potential flare-ups.


  • 1 bunch asparagus (400-500 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 fresh lemon thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt
  • Parmesan cheese shaved, for topping


  1. Soak cedar plank in water for 2 hours before use.
  2. Bend asparagus stems until they break off. This will remove the tough, fibrous parts.
  3. Toss the asparagus in a bowl with the lemon slices, oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange the asparagus on the cedar plank and transfer to the barbecue or oven.
  5. Barbecue on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or cook in the oven at 400 F (200 C) for 12 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  6. Serve with shaved Parmesan and with more salt and pepper, to taste.


Joanne Nijhuis MSc, RD is a consulting, media and culinary dietitian in Simcoe Grey Bruce on a mission to entertain and educate through her love of food. In addition to recipe development and writing for several publications, Joanne offers nutrition talks and cooking demos/classes in-person and online via Zoom. For more information, email Joanne at jo.knows.nutrition@outlook.com.

Did You Know?

Asparagus is packed with nutrients and is a very good source of insoluble fibre, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. Asparagus also contains the soluble fiber inulin which promotes gut and heart health.

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