Andrei Duta

Andrei was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. After the fall of communism, while still a teenager, Andrei came to America with fifty dollars in his pocket and a big dream in his heart. An entrepreneurial spirit, Andrei is involved in for-profit and nonprofit ventures covering areas such as technology, energy, real estate, and social enterprise.

Andrei is the founder and chairman of His Little Ones, a nonprofit organization that supports abandoned and orphaned children in Bucharest, Romania.

Andrei Duta got his Ph.D. from Texas A&M. His research focus was governance dynamics, dialectics, and leadership succession.

Andrei has taught organizational behavior, leadership, and mediation at Pepperdine University for four years. He also served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law. Andrei’s responsibility with the Palmer Center was to head-up the microfinance program in partnership with the Union Rescue Mission in downtown LA.

Currently, Andrei lives in Austin, Texas. After two years as VP of strategy for Classic Soft Trim, an aftermarket-solutions automotive company, Andrei is launching a microfinance program in partnership with Freedom Church. He continues to lead the work with His Little Ones with bold aspirations that purposeful social change initiatives will lead to significant improvements in the lives of abandoned and orphaned children in Romani

Andrei Duta

The power of vision

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Having a clear and compelling vision is key to being successful as a person and as a business. On a personal level, having a vision is like having a long-term, overarching goal. It is something to look forward to.

For instance, Steve Jobs had a vision for the personal computer. Before anyone knew the capabilities that a computer could hold, Steve Jobs was already thinking a step ahead. According to Rob Campbell, CEO of Voalte, a wireless software provider, Steve Job’s vision is what separated him from other high tech pioneers.

He realized that the computer was going to revolutionize the world. Steve painted a unique picture that it would change the way people worked, educated, and entertained themselves.

But he didn’t just think about it, he acted on it. It was his mission in life to provide new technology that would help people live their daily lives in new creative and enriched ways. Steve wanted to make a difference, and his vision drove him to impact the world in meaningful ways.

For companies, a vision functions like a long-term, all-encompassing mission statement. A vision articulates the purpose of why companies exist, and it guides, constrains, regulates, and enables their actions. An organizational vision is the corporate overarching goal that everyone can rally behind.

A well articulated and inspired vision, micro-level personal or macro-level organizational, is a powerful engine that drives one forward and upward through thick and thin.

It is important to remind yourself often, if not daily, of your vision for the future. Write it down in a notebook or, even better, post it on a wall in your room. Having a roadmap in life is important to how you function each day. Your inspired vision, when nurtured and entertained daily, will shape your very destiny!

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What is Fasting?

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Fasting is the willingness to abstain from food and/or drinking for a duration of time. People choose to do this for a number of reasons, including spiritual and health.

Fasting is generally done for a single day or can be done over the course of several days (or even weeks). An absolute fast (or black fast) is done by abstaining from all food and drinking.

There are a number of complications that can arise from fasting when not done carefully and wisely. Extreme and unplanned fasting can lead to electrolyte imbalances, thinning hair, fatal cardiac arrhythmias, and renal failure.

On the other hand, there are many strong accompanying benefits when fasting is done properly. These include detoxing your body, reduction in calories, loss of fat, giving your digestive track a break, and increased intellectual keenness.

Moreover, according to the US National Academy of Sciences, fasting can help with stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. Scientists have also found that fasting helps reduce cholesterol in the blood.

Finally, I believe that the strongest benefit of fasting is spiritual sharpening. When fasting, one draws closer to God, the ultimate source of life, energy, and sustenance.

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Some of America’s Biggest Philanthropists

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The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has donated nearly $40 billion to various world organizations over the years. The foundation seeks to “support initiatives in education, world health and population and community giving in the Pacific Northwest.” The foundation was started back in 1997.

Mark Zuckerberg was recently dubbed America’s biggest philanthropist for 2013 after he and his wife gave $990 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The year before, Mark and his wife were the second biggest charitable donors after giving half a billion dollars to the same foundation.

Mark’s first big donation in the philanthropy space came back in 2010 when he put forth $100 million to public schools in Newark, New Jersey. Even though Mark is currently worth around $12 billion dollars, it is still remarkable to see his generosity in action. At a young age, he is setting a precedent for future philanthropists to follow.

In the final analysis, it isn’t all about making the money. Often, it is about the giving that’s even more important. Both, Mark and Bill seem to have mastered both sides of the coin. Greatly creative and professionally successful, the two tech titans are also quite generous.

Whether their stocks are up or down, they continue to give back abundantly for the betterment of society. Bill and Mark are true visionaries and champions, not only in a technological sense, but also, and especially, in the philanthropic way.

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Sleep is Essential!

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It is a well known fact that sleep is highly beneficial to your health. According to a recent article by the Harvard Medical School, not getting an adequate amount of sleep can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the power of your body’s immune system. If you happen to have an occasional spell of insomnia, this isn’t a reason for worry. However, people who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation have major causes for concern. A recent survey discovered that 75% of people only get 6 hours of sleep a night. 7-9 hours is much better.

The Harvard Medical School provides six reasons why people should get more sleep:

1. Sleep helps with learning and memory. “Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In various studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.”

2. Metabolism and weight. How our bodies process and store carbohydrates can be altered by sleep or lack of. Sleep deprivation can also alter hormones that affect your appetite.

3. Safety. Not having enough sleep can hurt your performance at work or in life. Medical errors, road accidents, etc. can often be avoided through an extra hour of sleep.

4. Mood. Your mood can be greatly affected by a loss of sleep. Irritability, impatience, lack of concentration, etc. are characteristics of those who lack on their sleep.

5. Cardiovascular Health. More serious sleep disorders can lead to hypertension, increased stress, irregular heartbeat, and more. Sleep, sleep, sleep. It will keep your heart healthy.

6. Disease. Immune function can be altered when there is sleep deficit.

These are just a few reasons why getting enough sleep is essential to one’s health. We all lead busy lives and can forget to take time to relax and have fun.

It is a good habit to take an hour or two to decompress before going bed to calm your mind from racing with work or from being over-stimulated by the computer. Rest and relax before going to bed. Or read a book. Have a pleasant couple of hours before you hit the pillow. You’ll be in a better and calmer state of mind and that should translate into a better and deeper night’s rest.

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Top Nonprofit Organizations in the United States

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Here is information regarding some of the top nonprofit organizations in the USA.

World Vision

According to World Visions website, “We are a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, we serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.”

In addition, “World Vision provides emergency assistance to people and children affected by natural disasters and civil conflict.” They work with communities in an effort to establish lasting solutions to relieve poverty and “advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.”

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization committed to battling cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Started by six cardiologists in 1924, the organization now has more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working endlessly to defeat these diseases. The associations supplies money for innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies and provides lifesaving tools and information to save and enhance peoples’ lives.

Salvation Army

According to The Salvation Army website, the organization, “operates 7,546 centers in communities across the United States. These include food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking efforts, and a wealth of children’s programs. Our work is funded through kettle donations, corporate contributions, and the sale of goods donated to our Salvation Army Family Stores. Eighty-two cents of every dollar we spend supports our various missions across the country. We are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and contributions are deductible for Federal Income Tax Purposes to the extent permitted under Section 170(b)(2) for corporations.”

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A Framework for Early Stages Business Planning

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Business ideas, when coupled with a strategic plan of attack, have an increased chance to become profitable. Here are five key points to be considered and incorporated strategically in the early stages of business planning.

1. Due Diligence.

Research, research, research. Try and compile as much information as possible. Is there a need for this product or service? Do I have a defined demographic that I am trying to serve? Is there something else offered currently out there? Do I have any direct competitors? These questions among many others should be asked and answered.

Proverbs 14:15 reads: “A wise man looks well into a matter.”

2. Solve Masterfully a Specific Problem.

Trying to be good at a lot of things can be hurtful to your business. Being very good at one certain thing can be beneficial. Find a way to disrupt the current market or look for a void that you can exploit. What is one problem in the marketplace that only you can solve best among your competitors?

Proverbs 22:29 reads: “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”

3. Test Your Market.

You never know if your offering will have a great impact on your target market unless you test it out. Before going all in, it is necessary to know if your product or service will sell. Try a small population sample first. Test the waters first.

I Thessalonians 5:21 (Amplified): “But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast.”

4. Put Together the Right Team.

This is simple to understand. You can rarely do it all alone. There are people out there who can help design or program your product, and they can do it faster and better than you. Enlist them on your team. Working together is vital for all the members. This is called synergy: the sum if the whole is greater than the sun if the parts.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 reads: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”

5. Find a Great Mentor.

Depending on the business you are hoping to start, a person with experience in a similar field could be an excellent resource. Go to networking events and meet people with similar passions. Surround yourself with several people wiser and more experienced. Find somebody or several people who are willing and able to teach and coach you. Glean from their wisdom.

Proverbs 24:6 reads: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.”  Proverbs 15:22 reads: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

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“Streams in the Desert” Devotional

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Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will … make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky … because you have obeyed me. (Genesis 22:16–18)

From the time of Abraham, people have been learning that when they obey God’s voice and surrender to Him whatever they hold most precious, He multiplies it thousands of times. Abraham gave up his one and only son at the Lord’s command, and in doing so, all his desires and dreams for Isaac’s life, as well as his own hope for a notable heritage, disappeared. Yet God restored Isaac to his father, and Abraham’s family became “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (v. 17). And through his descendants,”when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal 4:4).

This is exactly how God deals with every child of His when we truly sacrifice. We surrender everything we own and accept poverty—then He sends wealth. We leave a growing area of ministry at His command—then He provides one better than we had ever dreamed. We surrender all our cherished hopes and die to self — then He sends overflowing joy and His “life … that [we] might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 quoted from KJV).

The greatest gift of all was Jesus Christ Himself, and we can never fully comprehend the enormity of His sacrifice. Abraham, as the earthly father of the family of Christ, had to begin by surrendering himself and his only son, just as our heavenly Father sacrificed His only Son, Jesus. We could never have come to enjoy the privileges and joys as members of God’s family through any other way.

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes from us, He takes with fire, and that the only road to a life of resurrection and ascension power leads us first to Gethsemane, the cross, and the tomb.

Dear soul, do you believe that Abraham’s experience was unique and isolated? It is only an example and a pattern of how God deals with those who are prepared to obey Him whatever the cost.”After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Heb 6:15), and so will you. The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the precise moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing. God’s river, which never runs dry, will overflow its banks, bringing you a flood of wealth and grace.

Indeed, there is nothing God will not do for those who will dare to step out in faith onto what appears to be only a mist. As they take their first step, they will find a rock beneath their feet. F. B. Meyer

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Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Victory Assured

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Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.—Genesis 32:24-25

The enemy never quite knows how to deal with a humble man; he is so used to dealing with proud, stubborn people that a meek man upsets his timetable. And furthermore, the man of true humility has God fighting on his side—who can win against God?

Strange as it may seem we often win over our enemies only after we have first been soundly defeated by the Lord Himself. God often conquers our enemies by conquering us…. When God foresees that we must meet a deadly opponent, he assures our victory by bringing us down in humbleness at His own feet. After that, everything is easy. We have put ourselves in a position where God can fight for us, and in a situation like that, the outcome is decided from eternity. We Travel an Appointed Way, 14.

“Lord, help me to submit willingly to You, in complete humility, without struggle or wrestling. Then You fight for me against my strong enemy. I’ll rest-and revel-today in Your victory. Amen.”

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