A Tribute to Friends 
By Marla Solorzano 

      Throughout this past year, I have heard over and over that you cannot make lasting friendships over the Internet, yet that is exactly what I have and continue to do. I would not be here today, on the brink of going forth in the call that God has for me, if it weren't for four very special women.

      For the most part they would say that they did nothing. But I know better, and what follows is just a part of the "nothing" they did this past year.

      In December of 1999, I was diagnosed with a large acoustic neuroma tumor in the brain and had major surgery on March 31,2000. After 12 hours of surgery, I woke up to a new reality. I was now a freelance writer who could not think, spell, see correctly, walk, or do any of the things that the day before had been automatic. I had little ability left to do anything, yet knowing I had spent five years in college and still had two teens homeschooling at home.

      In early summer, a friend of mine gave me a computer, and I found a group of friends that patiently spent hours letting me type messages to them as the message box moved. When I was discouraged, they would give me a hand and pull me from the pit. As I re-taught my eyes to track, we graduated to more people and then I started teaching the word on the web. Eventually, as my confidence came back I began writing simple lessons to Pastora (a woman with a very full plate of her own work) and she would always patiently edit and correct. Until the day came when my proof reading skills started to return, she faithfully read and edited. I then began to cluter her box with fewer manuscripts and began to rely on spell check.

      For months, the doctors refused to give me rehabilitation, as I could not yet do one thing that said it was possible. But this small group of friends knew the meaning of the scripture that says:" He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.-Psalms 107:20" They kept giving me the word, which never comes back void, until I was once again thinking clear enough to know that I had been healed and needed to exercise my faith to that end.

      Now, slightly more than a year later, I know that I know that Jesus touched me and made me whole. God has shown that nothing is impossible for him. I am once again writing, walking, and preparing to join one of these special friends in serving the Lord. For I know that the Lord, indeed, has made me whole.

      The word of God says to give thanks in all things, and to this end I say thank you to each of you for being there. Betty, as the Lord has used you so much in my life, he desires to use you even more in the future. And to Pen, who is faithful to bring forth the word, in all situations-know that God has a plan for your life, way beyond what you know or see at this moment. Belva, God will use this past year, in your own life, as a testimony for him, as you continue to trust in the Lord in all things. And finally, Pastora, you have been a light when all seemed dark and I thank you for being there.

      There is a wonderful gift that the Lord has given each of us, and it is called friendship. It is a wonderful thing to be a friend.

Marla Solorzano is a mother of six natural children and raising one granddaughter freelance writer and public speaker.