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Colin Powell is a great American hero who has served his country for more than 50 years as a soldier, as a four-star general in the United States Army, as Secretary of State, and in other ways. I had the privilege of hearing him speak at a grand gala banquet in New York City put on by Aid for the World that was held at The American Museum of Natural History.
Colin Powell wowed the audience with his mix of humor and patriotic fervor. He reminded us what a great country America is and how much we must work together--especially with our new president--to keep it a great country.
I traveled to New York at the invitation of my friend Phil Smethurst, founder and president of Overland Missions, an innovative missions organization that works with Aid for the World. He is also a board member. This event drew movers and shakers from New York. I was told that several billionaires were in the room. Even though the organization is sponsored by Christians, it was a humanitarian event, and the evening reflected that.
We were told by the emcee, Eric Metaxas, that Aid for the World is simple, sustainable and small. Because it's small it is capable of doing the extraordinary--actually getting aid to the people who need it. Some people think that organizations such as the United Nations could learn a lot from the methods employed by Aid for the World.
The organization was founded by Carl Keyes, whom I have known since the early ‘90s. He has an Assemblies of God background and pastors Glad Tidings Tabernacle in Lower Manhattan, one of the oldest Pentecostal churches on the East Coast. From that base he has recruited a top-notch group of people to work with him, including Phil Smethurst and Dr. Mark Rutland, who not only attended the event but also interviewed General Powell, asking him questions about his book and drawing out some very humorous stories after the general spoke.
Aid for the World focuses on working in various parts of Africa, primarily Burundi. Several dignitaries from Burundi attended. The organization also does a lot of work in one of the poorest counties in America, in West Virginia, and they have done a great deal to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, especially in Mississippi.
I was deeply moved by the commitment this organization has and impressed by what one man--Carl Keyes--has been able to accomplish. I'm motivated to do a big story in Charisma later about this ministry. If you'd like to check out Aid for the World, click here. If you'd like to learn more about Phil Smethurst's ministry, Overland Missions, you can click here. You will have an opportunity on their Web sites, if you choose to do so, to donate to these organizations.
Last week we moved the Strang Report from "Blogger" to another system. With Blogger those who wanted to leave a comment did not have to register, and I always received a lot of comments. My blog about Sarah Palin attracted more than 1,400 comments.
Our new system requires you to log in, and then you can make any comments you want and interact on our charismamag.com Web site in many different ways. We were surprised to find that we got no comments last week, so maybe you can give me your feedback on this as we try to figure out how to use this new system we have for charismamag.com, which is 2.0 compliant and allows you to leave feedback.
Interestingly, quite a few people, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, sent e-mails either to me personally or to our webmaster to comment on the blog about Scott Plakon, so we know there was a lot of interest in the column. We just didn't receive any comments on the blog itself.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. Join us for giveaways each weekday, pages from our past, and more. We're including an anniversary special where you can get 40 issues of Charisma for only $40!