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My Home, Sweet Home
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More than 30 years ago, she welcomed me to New York; a monument that moves anyone to tears just by catching a glimpse of her in the distance; the Statue of Liberty. That stone lady looked striking on that hot and humid summer day. I looked at her for a long time, thanking her for taking me in as yet another immigrant child, arriving in the United States, looking for a better future.

The following day, when my husband took me to see Manhattan, I was touched seeing an African-American woman openly reading her Bible on the subway. She read freely, as if it were natural for her to do so. She would close her eyes, meditating on the words of her Creator. Then, in appreciation, she would hum a most beautiful melody.

Coming from a country where reading the Bible in a public place could almost be considered insulting, I was very impressed. In that moment, sitting next to that Christian woman, I knew I had come to a country that knew the significance of the word liberty very well, and where its citizens took advantage of it with full authority.

Later, I had the privilege of meeting a very friendly and charismatic Puerto Rican man who had served as a nurse during the Vietnam War. When I asked him why he had gone over there to expose himself in that way, he raised his chest with pride and answered, "Because my country needed me. Because I loved her and will defend her, as a Christian, by helping to heal the wounds of my brother. Because the United States is my home, sweet home."  He smiled, with pride, as a tear rolled down his cheek.

A couple of weeks after arriving in New York, I celebrated the Fourth of July with my husband's friends and family. What a beautiful way to celebrate freedom! The tri-colored flags waved throughout the entire country and every one of its citizens was joyfully expressing what it meant to live in North America. A group of musical artists were also honoring this country through music in an outdoor concert we were watching on television. And then, it happened. It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. The lyrics spoke of a place of freedom, with majestic mountains and immense prairies, an ocean with blue waters and white foam. It spoke of a land blessed by God…a land that was truly loved.

God Bless America

God bless America,
land that I love.
Stand beside her,
and guide her,
thru the night
with a light from above.

From the mountains,
to the prairies,
to the oceans,
white with foam
God bless America,
my home, sweet home!

When the artist finished singing, I was the one crying. With profound feelings, I thought of that home, sweet home that our Creator is preparing for us. I pictured that beautiful nation, where the New Jerusalem will be and where we will happily live forever. I thanked God for bringing me to North America, to be able to start a family in a land of freedom and to taste the goodness of His limitless love.

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:2,3).

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By Chari Torres. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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