I subscribed to receiving prayer alerts from The Voice of the Martyrs, a wonderful organization which is reaching out to persecuted Christians who need encouragement. Here is a prayer alert for a mother and daughter who are under fire for their faith. Please read their story and visit the prayer wall and offer your prayers for their safety. I am so thankful that I live in a country where there is religious liberty and have a husband who shares my faith. Let us lift up our voices in prayer for those who face opposition from their communities and family members who do not share their faith.
SYRIA: Mother and Daughter Persecuted for Christian Faith
Sources: VOM USA, Release International
Pray for safety of family members standing strong for the Lord.
A Syrian mother and her daughter are under fire for their new Christian faith. Three years ago, “Karima” learned about the love of Jesus and became a devoted follower. As the married mother of three, she hoped her husband “Ismaeil,” a Muslim, might also believe. Instead, he became even more devoted to his Muslim faith and trained as an imam (an Islamic spiritual leader).
Ismaeil forbade Karima and their daughter, who had also converted to Christianity, from reading the Bible or sharing their faith with others. About two months ago, he also began beating Karima. Fortunately, recent health challenges have prevented him from abusing her further.
Elsewhere in the country, other Christians are facing opposition from Islamic radical groups. Much of the north, for example, has come under the control of militant groups attempting to impose a strict Islamic ideology on the area.
Pray that God will shield and protect Karima and her daughter, surrounding them with His favour (Psalm 5:12). Also lift up her son who has recently started attending church. May his faith grow and be deeply rooted. Pray that Ismaeil will repent of his abuse toward his wife and recognize his need for a Saviour, joining his family in worshipping the one true God. Please also intercede on behalf of all believers throughout Syria, that they will continue to follow Jesus at any cost.
To share your own prayers for Karima and her family, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.
I got this in an email from Vital Voices and thought I should share it with you. The mission of Vital Voices is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Help them by supporting the Malala Fund so that they could fulfill this brave teenager’s dream of access to education for all. Think of the little girls you will be helping. Think about your daughters and granddaughters and how fortunate they are to be able to graduate from high-school and college and enter into the workforce.
Last month, teenage activist and blogger Malala Yousafzai was targeted for her outspoken advocacy and support for girls’ education. She was shot by the Taliban near her school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, and the world took notice. Hundreds of thousands have voiced their support and sent messages to Malala, who continues to receive critical care on her long road to recovery.
In commemoration of Malala Day — November 10 — championed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown, Vital Voices is launching the Malala Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, working together with supporting advisors and friends of the cause, including the United Nations Foundation and Girl Up, and several other organizations and individuals.
I spoke with Malala’s father this week from her bedside at the hospital in Birmingham. He said Malala is doing well on her long road to recovery, and they feel blessed with the outpouring of support. She’s received cards and messages from girls all over the world thanking her for her courage and for giving them a voice. The Fund will support the education and empowerment of girls in Pakistan and around the world by providing grants to civil society organizations and individuals focused on education. It will be advised by a committee comprising education experts and entrepreneurs, as well as Malala — when she is well enough — and her family.
This is such an important cause and we are proud to do our part to contribute. Today, the right to education is denied to 61 million children of primary school age, including 32 million girls. This is a statistic we have the power to change.
Please raise your voice on behalf of Malala and the millions of girls who struggle to get their voices heard. Support the Malala Fund and together, we will help a teenage girl from Pakistan fulfill her dream of access to education for all.
I wanted to share this email from Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Pakistani woman to win an Oscar for her film Saving Face in 2012 and one of TIME Magazine’s most influencial people of the world.
A lot has happened since the Academy Awards in February in LA…I have begun work on a new series of documentary films which are being aired for the first time on TV Channels across Pakistan-
In a unique partnership with Coca-Cola, my production company SOC Films has launched a 6 part documentary series titled “Ho Yaqeen” featuring Pakistanis doing extraordinary things and transforming their communities.
The first episode of the series launched 2 weeks ago: Please do tune in to watch it, links are below:
Please do share these links with friends and family….
In other news, i was very fortunate to have been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most Influential people in the world- (http://goo.gl/OFVhZ)
This positive reinforcement helps us get the message of our Academy Award winning film Saving Face out.
As more episodes of Ho Yaqeen become available i shall send them out on this mailing list. I am also involved in two more exciting documentary ventures outside of Pakistan which i shall share with you later in the summer….
All my very best
You can check out Sharmeen’s website at: http://sharmeenobaidfilms.com/bio/ I will keep you posted on Sharmeen’s exciting ventures.
Mother’s Day is very special for me. I love getting cards from my four year old. I enjoy going to the annual Mother’s Day tea party held at his daycare because I get to see him interact with other kids and I get to chat with his teachers but most of all, I get to spend time with him in his environment.
For me the best gift was the miracle I was given from God four years ago. I will never forget the day my son looked up at me with his big beautiful eyes as he lay on the hospital bed. His face was the only visible thing because he was wrapped in the blanket.
I became a mother late in life but for me it was the right time. I had met the man of my dreams and I was ready to have a family. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, girls and women are forced to become mothers before they are ready. In the Cameroon, early and forced marriage is a practice that is harmful to a girl’s health and well-being.
Association for the Promotion of Girls’ and Women’s Rights (APAD) empowers survivors of early and forced marriage in the Extreme North region of Cameroon, Africa, and educates communities about the intrinsic human rights of girls, including the right to choose when and whom to marry. Led by young women who escaped or avoided forced marriage, APAD is the only organization of its kind in the region (source: globalgiving).
This year help to support the global movement to ensure every girl’s and woman’s right to a just and healthy life and the fundamental right to choose when to marry and have children. Give the gift of hope today by sending a card to a loved one. Not only will you brighten their day but you will be making a difference in someone else’s life.
| Give a gift this Mother’s Day that will last much longer than flowers.
Honor a special woman in your life by supporting IWHC’s partner APAD, a local organization that empowers survivors of early and forced marriage in the Extreme North region of Cameroon. Your loved one will receive a personalized card electronically or through the mail.APAD educates communities about the intrinsic human rights of girls, including the right to choose when to marry and when to become mothers.With each card you send, you support a global movement of women who are working to ensure the right of every girl and woman to a just and healthy life.
I got this email today and wanted to share it with you.
“WOMAN of ACTION: Key to Equity, Justice and Peace “
From Dr. Chen’s work with the Body Shop’s Stop Sex Trafficking campaign, Dr. Sharif’s account of “An Afghan Woman’s Journey”, Dr. Shabnam Nazli, founder of Hope Development Organization now A Celebration House™, Mama Zuma with Rosetta Standard’s organization ZIMELE, talking about sustainable micro business development, Diane Longboat, A Mohawk from Six Nations, Grand River Territory and after all of this, we will be surprising you with a Celebration of our premiere MAN of ACTION – a treat that you will not want to miss ( this gent is a real Gem, and A Celebration of Women will find those Gems inside the matrix of our society) …..
TICKETS $80.00 per person before March 23; $90.00 at the door; Groups of 10 for $500.00Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 9:30am – 5:00pm
Networking 5:00pm -7:00pm
@ The Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE) in the OISE building at UofT
252 Bloor Street West
Dr. Loretta Chen, PhD
Ambassador to The Body Shop’s Stop Sex Trafficking
Hermes’ PS I Silk You outreach program for underprivileged girls
Evian’s Live Young Campaign
Dr. Sharifa Sharif, PhD
Author – On the Edge of Being: An Afghan Women’s Journey
Cultural Advisor for Afghanistan in Canada
Rosetta Standard and Mama Zuma
Zimele, A program which seeks to develop self-sustainable communities through creating self-help savings groups, microbusinesses, mentorships, and non-profit projects
Kahontakawas is from the Turtle Clan
A Mohawk from Six Nations, Grand River Territory
Traditional Teacher, Ceremonial Leader
Dr. Shabnam Nazli, PhD
Founder, Hope Development Organization now A Celebration House focuses on Women’s Rights in Pakistan
Monika and Graham Burwise
Founder, Global Awakening Institute
and much more…
ORDER Online at www.acelebrationofwomen.org
Tickets $80.00 before March 23rd – Get your tickets now!
A Celebration of Women™ is the FIRST global forum where Women Leaders are being ‘celebrated’ for spearheading positive action. A transformation of the Women’s Movement has begun through our WORLD HUB ~ Wheel of Women Leaders that Care. Through the creation of our alumni WOMEN of ACTION the butterfly effect has begun through local changes resulting in global differences.
Our WOMEN of ACTION are trailblazers in this millennium pioneering the new woman’s movement, “Equality of Women among Women”, working to create a sustainable socio-economic independence for all Women. True to its advocacy mandate, A Celebration of Women™ is the world hub for all NGOs to celebrate their founders, collaborate in their missions and TAKE ACTION.
We haven’t forgot you MEN, our MEN of ACTION aren’t that far behind, we’re actively looking for YOU! Come and join us and meet our FIRST MAN of ACTION. Through our celebration of positive action that is taking place in our world, we attract more women and men to become leaders and TAKE ACTION in their communities.
Are you ready to join us, and become a WOMAN or MAN of ACTION?
Mental illness is something that not many people feel comfortable talking about–at least from where I came from. I didn’t know that people suffered from depression or bi-polar disorder. In Guyana we used to see people walking around, dishevelled, shaking their fists and shouting and we stayed clear of them. They were simply called mad people. Now I realize that these people could have been suffering from mental illness and were not getting the care they needed.
I came from a society where people kept things to themselves. No one liked to talk about private matters. So I was stunned when I came to North America and watched talk shows where people talked freely about very personal things. They spoke about their relationships, sometimes giving very intimate details. They spoke openly mental illness, addictions, abuse, etc. It was therapeutic for them. They could finally face up to what they had and deal with it. I never knew that a few members of my family suffered from mental illness until years later. I didn’t see any signs. People were good at hiding things.
Mental illness is not to be feared or dismissed or swept under the rug. It is something that we need to talk and educate ourselves about. We need to understand what it’s all about so that we can offer better support to our loved ones and friends who have had to live with the stigma all their lives. Bi-polar disorder is something I have become very familiar with. People close to me have it and I have seen what happens when they come off of their medication. It is very upsetting and unsettling. They are not the same people. They do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. They dress differently. They are either manic or depressed. They spend money on things they can’t afford. They become paranoid. They believe that someone is out to hurt them. They seem to have a beef with certain people. They might get themselves in trouble with the law. They end up in hospital where they stay for a while. Sometimes they are discharged before they should be. The more often they come off of their medication, the longer it takes for them to get back on track.
It’s a vicious cycle. Their families get tired of it. They wonder why their loved ones don’t stay on their medication so that they don’t wind up in the psychiatric ward. That part of the hospital is depressing. I can’t imagine that it’s conducive for the patients.
February 8, 2012 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Canadians are invited to join Bell in the conversation about mental health by talking, calling, texting or retweeting. For every text message and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers on this day, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health programs. Bell also launched this year’s Let’s Talk Community Fund. This community fund is part of the Bell Mental Health Initiative, a $50 million multi-year national program in support of mental health. Through the Community Fund, Bell will provide grants of $5,000 to $50,000 to organizations, hospitals and agencies focused on improving access to mental health care and making a positive impact in their communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
The Let’s Talk campaign is a testimony to Bell’s commitment to fight the stigma of around mental illness. The spokesperson is Clara Hughes, the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in Winter and Summer Olympics.
Every time I saw Clara Hughes, she had a huge smile on her face. I never imagined that behind that smile was a dark and lonely place for the six-time Olympic medallist. For two years she battled depression. She is proud to be the spokesperson for Let’s Talk. She speaks openly about her own struggles with depression which began after she won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Olympics. Read about her story. The struggle is still there for her as it is for others with mental illness. The good thing is that it’s out in the open. It is not a battle that they are facing alone. Hughes’ goal is “open up the dialogue” for Canadians struggling with mental illness. On February 8 she will be joined by singer-songwriter Stefie Shock and actor-comedian Michel Mpambara who share their own stories of struggle and recovery.
Hughes is making a huge difference in this campaign. Last year Canadians responded to her call with a total of over 66 million messages and long distance calls. This year marks the second annual Let’s Talk Day. The goal is to beat last year’s total.
On Wednesday, February 8, take action–talk, call, text messages. Watch the new documentary Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me hosted by TSN personality and ‘Off The Record’ host Michael Landsberg airing on CTV at 7 p.m. ET and CTV Mobile. Help to support this campaign that will make mental illness visible and remove its stigma.
If you are interested in being a part of Let’s Talk Day or need more information, visit Bell’s website.
A lot of people don’t realize that depression is an illness. I don’t wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it.
Sources: http://www.clara-hughes.com/; http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/story/2011/02/06/sp-hughes-q-a.html; http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2011/02/06/sp-hughes-q-a.html; Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20100921/bell-mental-health-00921/#ixzz1lNRfQCMF