When I landed in America on the cold morning of February 22, 2001 eight years ago, I immediately knew that life here was going to be so different. I now had the challenge to quickly get used to drive–thru, fast food places, ATM machines, sprawling malls, fast cars, bigger houses. There was also this burning dream within me to make something out of my life in this land of opportunity but the greatest emotion within me was the sense of freedom to live in America, a nation founded on Christian principles.
 
As a new immigrant, here is what impressed me in 2001:
 
1. America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles
 
2. The number of cathedrals and churches that we would drive by even in New York and New Jersey. This was new for me, coming from a country where Christians are a minority and where you see temples and mosques instead of churches.
 
3. Faith in America spanned across generations.
 
4. America had a President who drew strength from his faith in Jesus Christ.
 
5. The Church had strong leaders in Dr. Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Pastor Adrian Rogers, Dr. Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. James Kennedy and others who did not pander to the dictates of the culture but boldly addressed issues. America had defenders of the faith who spoke the truth.
 
6. America was the biggest mission-sending nation in the world – in giving and in personnel.
 
7. Our leaders would stand by Israel with unwavering support for the Jewish nation.
 
8. On 9/11 while I was lying in the rubble of the Twin Towers I wondered if coming to America was a mistake but I was overwhelmed to see how this nation turn to God, albeit for a brief period. It was okay to pray in the name of Jesus. God bless America bumper stickers were everywhere. This was a nation of faith.
 
9. America would go after terrorists and terrorism so that what happened on 9/11 would not happen again.
 
Eight years later, here is what does not impress me in 2009:
 
  1. History is now discussed, taught and interpreted differently in America.
 
  2. Churches closing across America.
 
  3. This generation is now the most unchurched. Recent study shows 10% drop in those who   call hemselves Christians.
 
  4 . We now have a President who says, “America is not a Christian country”
 
  5. Moral failures of some church leaders and the lack of boldness the leaders of this generation have  and their message of compromise.

We are now living in a time where we are seeing the radical left trying hard to push gay  marriage in this country. I was shocked this week to hear Pastor Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church say that he is not “Anti-Gay Marriage” and that speaking against gay marriage is not high on his list of priorities anymore. This reversal in views has left us shocked and in hurt. Homosexuality is an abomination before the Lord. Our society has become so sexualized. Why are we scared to speak out about what the Bible has to say on this issue?
 
6. We are no longer the top mission sending and giving nation.
 
7. We are moving away from our unwavering support for the nation of Israel and we tolerate European governments, Russia and Iran’s hate for Israel.
 
8. We are now in another crisis. Where is the call to prayer?
 
9. We do not use the term War on Terrorism anymore but have replaced it with      “Overseas Contingency Operation”. We do not say terrorist attacks but ”Man-caused disasters”. We have become too soft on an enemy that is real and hates us.
 
How quickly things have changed and are changing before us in this nation.
 
Our answer is not in a President of our political persuasion, the power and will of the government. Our answer is in the message of the Cross. 
 
Can we dream of and pray for a third Great Awakening in America?
 
I remember the words of Pope Pius XII quoted by President Ronald Reagan “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind”. This idea called “America” has thrived because we have heeded these words.
 
The world still needs a strong America. Let’s go to work!

Sujo John