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Happy New Year!  My family New Year’s greeting is often, “May the New Year be filled with health and prosperity.” The ozone soup that we eat first thing on New Year’s Day is filled with ingredients cut in a round shape to symbolize coins.  Eating plenty of symbolic coins assures us that the New Year will bring wealth!

This year I would like to greet you with wishes for deep and active faith! The richness of a faith-filled life can be more valuable than money and can produce health, peace, confidence, compassion, understanding, joy, and motivation to work and to share. You can’t buy faith with money.

Recently our dear Big Ocean Women leader, Tanna Antonucci, experienced the unexpected passing of her husband. Dealing with this great loss she said, “I am so grateful for the gift of faith that I have been blessed with that whispers sweet assurances to me that we are going to be all right and fills my soul with calm and peace. We have been the beneficiaries of some of the most incredible Christ-like charity from our sweet neighbors and friends. We feel very loved and cared for.”

It is faith that gives Tanna and her family an assurance that they can make it without Tom. Faith calms their sad and troubled hearts, gives them a feeling of peace, helps them to see the generosity and caring of others, and ties them to the strength of their God. Ultimately it is faith that will give them the strength to do what it takes to achieve their full individual and collective potential.

Another woman of faith is Nazarene Khan. She received her name from Mother Teresa while living in the renowned nun’s mission in Calcutta, India. Nazarene tells her story in the video attached to this newsletter. She survived unbelievable atrocities and is now an unusually unselfish and positive woman. She is filled with faith.

Of her experiences she said, “You know, that’s what faith does. You are forgiving, you don’t take things personally, and you don’t hold grudges against anyone. You are grateful that you are alive, you are grateful that you are breathing and you are spared. … Every time I talk about this I learn so much, and I become stronger. …  All those people that are out there, all the women that are out there and that are struggling for some reason – anywhere in the world – if they exercise a little faith. Faith is knowing that something is going to happen, you feel like somebody is out there watching you. In my culture there is the third eye, and that is the third eye that I am talking about – that somebody is watching out for you and to never give up hope.”

These two examples of women of faith show us that the power of faith can not only help us get through the hard circumstances of our lives, but it is the crucible that shapes us into strong, resilient, and powerful individuals who seek to bless others.  

Big Ocean’s mission  is to train women to lead using their innate and inherent gifts and talents.  I believe that one of these innate maternal gifts is faith, and I hope you will see that your faith makes you strong, compassionate, and selfless.  

So in 2019, let’s treasure FAITH.  Let’s build a richness of faith in our lives. In Nazarene’s words, “faith makes you smile – it makes you blossom.” Happy New Year! May you have a rich and prosperous faith-filled year!