TOUCHED BY FRIENDSHIP Samaritana 25th Anniversary

The 25th anniversary event of Samaritana at Wheaton was not one that was flashy and extravagant.  It was simple but elegant.  It was one where from beginning to end one feels connected to each other by virtue of friendship and by virtue of a shared pilgrimage each one has in Samaritana’s life and journey.

Our faithful friends from MEANS were there to set the space with beautiful flowers on each round table, delicious Filipino food and to clean up the room after the event. Like seasoned volunteers who would meet regularly every third Saturday of each month to process the love gifts for missionaries in Asia who began their ministries without any international backing in the US, every member of MEANS who came for the event came with the same spirit of servanthood we have experienced from them all these years. As Executive Director Carmena Cruz, said, “Our friendship with Jonathan goes beyond the 25 years of Samaritana’s existence and of his marriage with Thelma. So we have actually been there from the start of Samaritana.”

Our long time friendships. Friends, Betty and Gee Meneses, also came early for the event.  Betty, who served as over-all coordinator for the event, has been communicating with Jonathan two months before the event. Betty also played the flute while Nathan Strand played the violin for a duet special number, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”.

Tim and Ann Schwaar, who led the worship time during our wedding, were also there to lead the singing.  Jonathan Crail, sometimes called First John to distinguish himself from Jonathan who was called Second John in the early days of their friendship, gave a timely message on Prayer.

Celebration with friends. Friends have been our richest blessings since day one of Samaritana as an organization.  How blessed we were to have so many of them at Samaritana’s 25th anniversary celebration!  As someone once said, “How beautiful a day can be when friendship touches it.”

Jonathan and Thelma Nambu, Samaritana – Founders and Executive Directors



Inspired by Jesus’ example, we reach out to the modern-day Samaritan woman, offering each one community and friendship. We seek deep transformation both within ourselves and within those we’ve been called to serve. And we have the true privilege to watch as these women are freed to be who they truly are, as they begin to trust in themselves and in others, and as they renew and pursue their dreams.

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