Sep 20 2008
In a recent communication with Rhonda Fleming, she put us on to a fascinating Christian whom we immediately knew we wanted to get in touch with. Rhonda’s friend, Samantha Landy, has given us an insight into a ministry neglected by too many churches and society in general. This ministry involves the fastest growing group in America, people over fifty.
Ed.: You have an outstanding resume as a Christian author, speaker, TV host and business woman. Your growing up and education apparently gave you a good foundation.
Samantha: I loved to read when I was very young. My mother allowed me to go to the library and check out books, even in first grade, I already knew how to read. In our little town we didn’t have a kindergarten. So it was from my older sisters and brothers that taught me to read before entering school. I’ve always loved writing and loved reading and my mother fostered that. She loved reading and always had one book in progress. It was early in my childhood years that I began writing and my mom saved a little four-page book that I had made when I was in the second grade of school. She saved it and just before she died she gave it to me. It was very precious to me.
Ed.: Some of your most interesting books are geared for senior citizens though I think you’d agree they fit all ages. I refer to Savvy Senior Singles, Savvy Senior Sabbaticals and Savvy Senior Singles Handbook. Why did you consider this an important age group to witness to? You seem to feel very passionate about this.
Samantha: Well I am passionate about encouraging people over fifty. Statistically there are 11,000 people a day becoming 55. That’s going to continue for the next fifteen years. Unfortunately about 43% of those are single in this age group. It’s my desire to remind this age group they can have an excitement for life and not feel their life is over or on a “down hill slide” as one man said, but rather to help them achieve some of the dreams they had when they were young. I have met so many people who have never fulfilled their dream. Maybe they became an accountant, but wanted to be a musician. Maybe a business person really wanted to be an artist, on and on. It’s in this time of life when we do have the extra time. If we have children they are grown up. We have the ability to make choices, to revisit our dreams, to recycle them and look at our life and decide what we want to be in these coming years rather than just let the days go by and say “Rats, its just another day”. There is so much potential that we have and that’s what drives me, to help people get excited about their life. Particularly for singles I feel that many of them feel that they will be happy if they just have a mate. They think that will make the difference, but it won’t. We can choose to be happy and joyful about our life as a single person. Just getting married is not going to bring that change we desire. Our joy and zest for life has to come from within, it has to come from our relationship with the Lord. With that relationship with God we have the stability and ability to have that joy in our life no matter what our marital status is.
Ed.: One of the things that struck us in your Savvy Senior Singles and your devotional book A Shalom Morning is your emphasis on humor not just for seniors; but for all Christians. Would you care to elaborate?
Samantha: Keeping joy and humor in our life is medically sound, not something made up. Our bodies change on a cellular level when we laugh. A example is the difference between a smile and frowning. Physically a smile requires the use of 36 muscles, but a frown uses 97 muscles. The difference is that what happens when we frown, all of those muscles become tight in our head. When we smile those muscles relax. Relaxing the muscles allows more oxygen to get to the brain. When we have more oxygen in the brain we will feel happier. We’ll have a better feeling. There is a statement I put in my book that laughter will scrub out your insides. When times are tough, when bad things happen, relationships break down we go to a funny movie or watch a comedy on TV and that will bring laughter to our lives which will help break the stress. I have a little box I call my “joy box”. In there I put jokes and funny letters from my grandchildren, funny letters that other people have written, even jokes from Reader’s Digest or the internet. When I feel down I always go to the box and find something amusing. It helps me through difficult times. If we choose to be happy and choose to smile when hard times are coming it will help get us through our difficult circumstances. We have all heard of some lady who was dying of cancer who was radiant and reaching out to people. How much better that is than for us to be mad and angry at the world. When we are constantly angry and negative, no one then wants to help us or be around us. Laughter and joy must be a very important part of our life. It will make a difference, especially in senior years, as we choose to be positive, to have laughter in these later years.
Ed.: You have a great deal of media work on radio and TV. Even today there are Christians who regard the media as an enemy, and admittedly there is a lot of bad stuff out there. Do you believe that more Christians of all ages should get involved in radio, television and film to help counteract the bad and to work for the good?
Samantha: Absolutely. I think that this is an area that if we neglect it, we will find more and more evil taking over. There are some ministries now that are involved in Hollywood. The last four or five years I have been teaching a Bible study at Rhonda Fleming’s home in the Beverly Hills area. TV and film producers, writers, television personalities and other media people come as well as different people from all walks of life who live in the Beverly Hills, Hollywood area. They too are like the rest of us, needing someone to encourage them in their circumstances. They are needing to know that God will help them in that room. I am very excited when I hear of some ministry like Dr. Larry Poland who has a very strong affect in the Hollywood area, as well as the Christian Women in Media to which I belong. These and others are important ministries in the media. As Christians, if we can’t go to Hollywood, we can support the ministries that are there.
Ed.: You have quite a ministry yourself in this area. In 1986 you founded Christian Celebrity Luncheons.
Samantha: Twenty three years ago I started Christian Celebrity Luncheons at our country club. Living as I do in the Palm Springs area, it was very difficult for Christians to get to know each other. The “snow birds” would come in for a few months and not really have an opportunity to make Christian contacts. I also wanted it to be an outreach to non Christians. I realized in order to do that I had to bring in high profile people because these people in the secular world needed to see the Christian world functioning. I brought in people like Charles Duke, the astronaut, actors like Gavin MacLeod, the Love Boat captain; Cal Thomas from Fox News; actresses like Rhonda Fleming, authors and other outstanding speakers such as Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, retired Chaplan of the Senate. I brought these people to our country club because I saw this example in what Jesus did. He went to the house of Zacchaeus and Zacchaeus invited his friends for a dinner with Jesus.. Those friends were different from the fishermen where Jesus also went. (Luke 19:1-10) I felt that was what God was asking me to do, go where the “snow birds” were used to going, a country club. What I found was the importance of going where those people we needed to reach were used to going. I found that people who had power and had money have already found out that all their power and money won’t fix their families and won’t fix their health or other problems. They are very open when they find out Jesus Christ is the answer to their difficult circumstances. They are very open to receive the Good News. They really don’t have the power to fix their problems by themselves. The amazing thing is that people have said, “Why would you go to them?” They are people who are hurting just like every other group.
Ed.: Your participants in that program are outstanding from what we have seen on your web page. Outside of our Lord Jesus Christ are there any people you would especially cite as very inspirational to you today?
Samantha: It is hard to cite any one person, as what is amazing is that a speaker may touch on the one thing that I need to hear that day. I remember when Barbara Fairchild (she and her husband have a show) came she said something that day that meant a great deal. She said Jesus was our “forever friend”. In fact she sang a song Forever Friend, and the last line says “Even when I’m not his friend, he’s mine.” That meant so much to encourage people to make Jesus their friend. Because he does want to be their’s. During all these years different speakers will say something so precious, that so resonates in reality that it changes my life. We’ve had people like Stephanie Edwards, she Emceed the Rose Bowl Parade for many years. There is an amazing lady, Baroness Caroline Cox, who is the Speaker of the House of Lords in London. I have been privileged to be over there a couple times with her in the House of Lords. In addition to her work in the House of Lords, the most amazing thing she does is take her own money and travels into dangerous parts of the world and carries medicine and Bibles and will, if necessary, walk twenty five miles to a village. She is in her sixties and is such an incredible woman. There was another lady named Aileen Coleman who just had her 50th ministry anniversary last year who is an administrator of a hospital in Jordan. Even though she is from Memphis, TN, she has spent her whole adult life in Jordan. She started with a little tent and would help the Bedouins who had TB, give them shots and minister to them. She has like an eighty-room hospital. There is no denomination behind her, just people giving to her ministry. We have been blessed with such amazing people as speakers.
Ed. : Are there any special projects you are working on now or planning in the future that we can tell our readers about?
Samantha: For the past three years I’ve had a weekly radio program Psalms of Hope, which, in addition to being heard in California, beams out of a radio station in downtown Jerusalem and is heard all over the Arab world as well as the rest of the world on satellite. It blesses me that our soldiers as well as Israeli and Arab soldiers can hear our message of hope. I am also just finishing up a book for relationships for singles over 50. I am calling it Technicolor Relationships for Savvy Singles. I will talk about the difference between having a black and white non-interesting relationship and a warm, vibrant exciting relationship, with practical ways to implement the kind of relationship we will want in these years of our lives. We will also be talking about things to look out for as senior singles when we are dating. There are some issues the Christian world doesn’t deal with. There are things that happen in our single world, we would like to think don’t happen. I deal with some hard issues, like abuse and venereal disease, as I did in the Savvy Senior Singles book. I am really excited about this book and it will be out in a few months. My books and tapes are available on my web page www.samanthalandy.com. People who go to my web page will also have access to download articles I have written in the past as well as listen to the Psalms of Hope programs.
Ed.: We will definitely direct our readers there.
In our own program we have tried to do something similar to what your goal has been with your special luncheons. I refer to this publication as well as Christian media events with guests from film, TV, sports and the publishing world who are willing to witness their faith. If there is any way we could work together we would like to do so.
Samantha: I would love that, just let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. I’m open and would be happy to help you with any of your projects.