Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Urgent update: 5 Christians in Ethiopia and Sudan Still Need Your Help

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Advocacy Email Alert
Photo:Christian Solidarity Worldwide


The plight of the three Christians in Ethiopia and two pastors in Sudan continues. They need your help.
Today, 8 July, is the scheduled final appeal for our three brothers, Tibebu Mekuria, Dawit Jemberu and Belete Tilahun in Ethiopia. Please hold them in your prayers as they appear before the court for the final time, seeking to overturn their unjust prison sentences.
On 3 July, a Sudanese Judge upheld the false charges against Pastors Michael Yat and Peter Yen, and their case has been sent to trial. Their trial is due to begin on 14 July.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who told us that they’d written to the Sudanese and Ethiopian embassies in protest. Indeed, the emails completely filled up the Sudanese Embassy’s inbox in one afternoon!

If you’ve yet to do so, there is still time to write on behalf of Pastors Michael and Peter in Sudan. Simply copy and paste the below text into a new email, compose a subject line, fill in your name and country at the end of the letter, and email it to the new address provided. We respectfully ask that you remain polite throughout, do not write anything disrespectful about other religions, and please do not mention Open Doors. 

As a trusted partner in our advocacy work we wanted to let you know that, due to significant security concerns, we will not be publicising this action on our website. We ask that you also do not publicise this action in connection with Open Doors.

Thank you for your understanding and discretion. Instead, we would appreciate it if you could notify us by email if you do write to the Sudanese authorities, as we would love to encourage our contacts with news of the support that you have given to our brothers. Please send your emails to:
Email address:
His Excellency Mr Mohammed Abdalla Ali Eltom
Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan
Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan
3 Cleveland Row
St James’s
Your Excellency,
The Republic of Sudan is a country with a long and rich history and culture. I appreciate the fact that Sudan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that the 2005 Interim National Constitution of Sudan provides for freedom of religion or belief throughout the entire country.
In this context, I am writing to you to request a fair trial and justice for Reverend Michael Yat and Reverend Peter Yen Reith of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, both South Sudanese citizens arrested in Khartoum.
Rev Michael Yat was taken into custody on 21 December 2014, after preaching at the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church Khartoum Bahri congregation. Rev Peter Yen Reith (also known as David Yein Reith) was arrested on 11 January 2015, reportedly after he inquired about the whereabouts of Rev Michael.
It was only on 4 May, more than four months after their arrests, that the pastors were charged with eight offences including disclosure and receipt of official information or documents, arousing feelings of discontent among regular forces, breach of public peace, and offences related to insulting religious beliefs. They will also face charges of undermining the constitutional system, and waging war against the state, which carry the possibility of the death penalty or life imprisonment.
It is my understanding that there is no evidence against the two pastors for any of the charges. Well-informed sources have it that the case against both men is motivated by the religious convctions of the accused.
Your Excellency, I am asking you to do everything in your power to ensure that Reverend Michael Yat and Reverend Peter Yen Reith are given a fair trial.
I appeal to your government to treat these two Christian workers with the justice and mercy that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Yours sincerely,
Your first name, last name
Your country
  • For the Lord’s presence to be strongly felt by Tibebu, Dawit and Belete in court today as they make their appeal
  • That Pastors Michael and Peter will have justice soon and that God will continue to sustain them 
  • That the families of these five brothers will know the Lord’s strength and protection at this time.
Every blessing,
Zoe & Anastasia
Advocacy Team
We welcome your feedback and comments, but please note that we will be unable to respond personally to every reply to this email. Don't lose touch! If you change your email address, simply send a message to this email address, quoting your old and new email addresses. To ensure that you continue to receive our emails please add to your contact or safe senders list.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ethiopians Mourn ISIS Victims

"His older brother heard about it on Facebook"

"Ethiopian families in Addis Ababa are grieving for their loved ones recently killed by ISIL in Libya. A video posted online on Sunday appears to show ISIL fighters in Libya beheading and shooting at least 30 Ethiopian Christians.

Read more here:

Posted by Al Jazeera English on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Letter to ISIS from the People of the Cross


Too Busy To Care?

What do you see when you look at the photo above? I hope you see a contrast between Western Christians and Eastern Christians.

On Sunday April 19, 2015, ISIS released a video showing the mass execution of 30 Ethiopian Christians. 

Half were beheaded 

the others were shot execution style 

It was on Sunday morning at 6am, as my alarm woke me up so that I could get ready for church since I was singing with the worship team, that my insomniac husband told me the news. I quickly jumped onto Facebook to see if there was news about this. I jumped on Twitter. Yes indeed, it was true.

Perhaps it was too early in the morning for Pastors and churches in the U.S. (at least in California), to be aware of this tragedy. As first service began, I could not be as energetic and smiley on stage like usual. I just wanted to tell everyone what happened and join together as one body, mourning with family we have never met, who have lost their loved ones. 

I just kept thinking...."In the OT, people would tear their clothes, put on a sackcloth, and cry out to God."

While we sing praises and sermons  are preached suggesting a false hope that everything will be OK because God will not "allow more than we are able to bear," the truth is that suffering IS part of God's will in our lives. God does allow tragedies. His ways are not our ways. Yes, things will work out for our good according to Romans 8:28, but WHAT IS GOOD? What does GOD see as the definition of "good?" His "good" is not the same as what we would consider "good." To us, "GOOD" is equivalent to good health, wealth, happiness; basically for things to go our way.

I am curious as to how many congregations in the U.S. discussed the martydom of these Ethiopians. Or how about the 14 year old boy who was set on fire in Pakistan for his faith this past week? 

If the Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn, why aren't we mourning as a whole? Why aren't churches setting a side a service specifically to discuss the harsh realities of persecution, with time of prayer and learning about what we as a body can do to help our brothers and sisters?

We are all so consumed with our own agendas and "visions." I'm not saying those things can't be done or that they should be sacrificed, but sticking to our plans sometimes forces us to sacrifice what God instructs us to do. Like Mary & Martha. 

 "Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40 But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.”41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. 42 Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her” (Luke 10:39-42)

Sometimes we just have to pause for a moment and seek His face and intercede for others.  Yes, we have our own problems. But we are ONE BODY. When will the West wake up? When will the West finally realize the foolishness of division and unite for the common cause of Christ? 

We cannot stop persecution from happening, Jesus said IT WOULD HAPPEN. But we can help those in the midst of war. We have ministries there. People need resources. If you and I can't physically go and care for refugees or smuggle Bibles and food, then we must financially support those who do go. 
If you can't afford it, I'm sure you could do fundraisers at church or on your own. I mean, have a garage/yard sale! As much as I hate to admit that money is needed, it is the truth. 

But just as important is the awareness that is needed. What mighty things can be done when the body of Christ decides to do in unity. But it seems like many don't take it seriously, don't care, or are too busy with other ministries.

Can we at the very least, remember them in prayer, on a weekly basis, Pastors??? 

For those who are interested in learning more about how you can help, the following organizations are legit. They advocate, provide aid, and provide education:

Voice of the Martyrs

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

France Magazine Attack: They Finally Got Charlie

Was ANYONE surprised that this was the work of Muslims???? Terrorists want to silence people and take away their freedom of speech, thought, and expression. This is horribly sad but I would encourage the magazine to KEEP PUBLISHING THEIR CARTOONS.

Magazine Attacked in Paris Has History of Bold Satire

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine where shootings today killed at least 12 people, has a long history of pushing the limits of expression -- and sometimes good taste.
In 2011 it published a special edition called “Charia Hebdo” featuring Muhammad as a “guest editor.” The cover depicted the prophet threatening readers with “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” Shortly thereafter, Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices were firebombed in an overnight attack that caused no injuries.
Just before today’s attack, the magazine’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts published a cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi offering wishes of good health for the New Year. And the current cover is on “Submission,” a book released today about a future in which an Islamic France is led by a Muslim president who bans women from the workplace.
In recent weeks, the magazine has had two police officers stationed outside its doors because of terrorist threats, Rocco Contento of the SGP police union told BFM Television.
Founded in its current incarnation in 1992, Charlie Hebdo has skewered politicians, pop stars, and religious fundamentalists of all stripes in its weekly installments of caricatures, interviews, and opinionated essays. Its cartoon covers have included former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn dancing in a red tutu and the late singer Michael Jacksonshown as a skeleton shortly after his death from a drug overdose.

Photographer: Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images
The latest issue of the French satirical newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris on Jan. 7,... Read More

Before Christmas last year, the cover depicted Charlie’s take on a traditional nativity scene -- a spread-eagled Mary giving birth to the baby Jesus. That image currently decorates the magazine’s Twitter profile.

Communion Condom

Though little-known outside France, Charlie Hebdo -- the name means simply Charlie Weekly -- is one of the country’s better-selling political magazines, with an average circulation of about 100,000.
In 2006, it reprinted cartoons of Muhammad originally published by a Danish newspaper, which had prompted sometimes-violent protests because Muslim tradition deems depictions of the prophet to be blasphemous. Islamic organizations sued the magazine for the drawings, a case dismissed by a French court in 2008, according to the Charlie Hebdo website.
Politicians in France, which has Europe’s largest Muslim population, have long understood that the magazine might inflame cultural tensions. During the 2006 controversy, then-presidentJacques Chirac asked media organizations to avoid “provocation” of Muslims. And in 2012 former prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called for restraint when Charlie Hebdo published more cartoons representing Muhammad.
The same year, Agence France-Presse reported that police had interrogated a man who called for the beheading of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb. He was killed in today’s assault, the Paris prosecutor’s office said, along with three other well-known cartoonists: Cabu, or Jean Cabut; Tignous, or Bernard Verlhac; and Georges Wolinski.
“We are crushed,” said Jean-Pierre Schamber, 77, a regular reader who has lived for 25 years in the Paris neighborhood where the magazine has its offices. “Even if I haven’t always agreed with Charlie, this is very deep.”
The magazine’s writers and owners have long defended their content as free speech and argued that they satirize all major religions. In 2010, a cover showed Pope Benedict XVI giving holy communion with a condom. A 2012 story on gay marriage depicted a ménage-a-trois featuring the Holy Spirit, Jesus and God.
Charlie Hebdo is owned by a holding company, Les Editions Rotatives, controlled by senior staffers. They helped re-found the magazine 11 years after a previous version, which ran from 1969 to 1981, ran out of money and shut down.
(A previous version of this story was corrected to remove reference to the magazine’s editor.)
To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Campbell in London; Marie Mawad in Paris at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong David Rocks

Review: Carl's Jr. All Natural Burger

When I found out Carl's Jr. began offering GRASS-FED beef burgers....I was skeptical. Many meats that are claimed to be grass-fed are also grain-finished.

Meaning, throughout the life of the cattle they MAY have been feeding on grass but towards the end of their life were given grain.

I tried an All Natural Burger on Monday 1/5/2014. I was asked if I wanted to make it a double (2 meat patties). I declined. I just asked for Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Onions.

When I received it came with their Fresh Baked Buns. The patty itself was very thin and they bulked up the burger with lettuce. The Fresh Baked Buns had almost a thick potato-bread consistency. I could hardly taste the meat because it was so thin and it got lost with so much bread and so much lettuce. I would probably make it a double and make it a lettuce wrap next time.

But I contacted Carl's Jr. to find out if the meat was TRULY grass-fed AND grass-finished. They responded very quickly with the following:

Dear Ms. V,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.  Our goal is to make every guest happy every time!-

The beef for the All-Natural Burger comes from Australian ranches which raise grass-fed, free-range cattle that are steroid-free and antibiotic-free with no added hormones. The All-Natural Burger patty is sourced from cattle raised in a manner that meets USDA requirements for natural beef. It also meets Australia's stringent Department of Agriculture standards.

The beef is grass fed; grain is not permitted in the diet at any time.

Your comments have been forwarded to our management team for their review and consideration.

Please feel free to contact us again at any time.

Ishmael Tumpe
Carl's Jr. & Hardees Guest Relations
On the Web at

There you have it. While I am not quick to believe any claims that such a product is "all natural," I am pleasantly surprised that a FAST FOOD CHAIN of all places, is actually offering something GOOD and that there was no hesitation to address my concerns. Not only that, but the last few times I have visited a Carl's Jr., the service completely changed. The staff was very friendly, they served us as opposed to being called to pick up our food, and cleaned up after us. It was as if I went to a nice restaurant as opposed to a fast food joint.

Thank you Carl's Jr.

Facts About Grass-Fed & Corn-Fed Beef

Corn-fed (conventional): Corn-fed, also known as conventional or grain-fed, is the most widely
produced kind of beef in the U.S. This is the product most consumers see in the meat case at the
supermarket. Conventional beef assures a consistent, year-round supply of high quality beef with the
tenderness and flavor most consumers prefer. Corn-fed beef cattle spend most of their lives in range
or pasture conditions eating grass. At 12 to 18 months of age, conventional cattle are moved to a
feedlot and are usually separated into groups of 100 animals and live in pens that allow about 125 to
250 square feet of room per animal. Cattle usually spend four to six months in a feedlot, during which
they are fed a scientifically formulated ration of corn and/or silage, hay and distillers grains.

Grass-fed: Consumers typically don't know that all cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass in pastures. Calves start grazing at a young age and are kept on pasture after they are weaned until 12-18 months of age. Then, they are taken to a feedlot or are kept on grass to become “grassfinished”. In North America it’s difficult to produce grass-fed beef in large due to limited growing seasons. That’s why most grass-finished beef is imported from Australia and New Zealand where grass grows all year.

Grass-finished: Also called free-range, grass-finished cattle eat only a grass and forage-based diet
throughout their whole lifespan. Grass-finished beef is often described as having a distinct taste and
may require different preparation methods, including marinades and shorter cooking times.

Natural: The definition of “natural” beef can confuse some consumers. According to the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), natural means that a product is minimally processed and
contains no additives. By this definition, most beef in the meat case is natural. Many companies are
raising beef under “natural” production practices. Common “natural” production claims include, “raised without hormones,” “raised without antibiotics,” “free range” and “vegetarian fed.” Since the definition of “natural” production practices can vary, it is important for consumers to read labels carefully to understand what a particular company means when it says “natural.”

Certified Organic: Certified organic beef must meet USDA’s National Organic Program standards.
Organically-raised cattle must be fed 100 percent organic feed, and they may not be given hormones
to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Certified organic beef can be corn-fed or grassfinished.

USDA states organically produced food is no safer or more nutritious than conventionally
produced foods. Organic food differs only in the way it is grown, not how it's handled and processed.
Like many organic products, organic beef is more expensive to produce, which results in higher
prices than other beef choices in the meat case. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Prayer Over Muslims

"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

This past Wednesday night, it hit me. As we read about Saul's experience on the road to Damascus; read about how he used to hunt down and kill Christians, and how Christians who heard about Saul's "so-called" conversion refused to believe he TRULY converted.....

That's when I realized how I should pray for Muslims.

 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being....I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.... I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me (Galatians 1:11-16,20, 23-24).

Many Muslims are zealous. But zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins (Proverbs 19:2).

Furthermore, Paul described his own experience which is where I had an epiphany:

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Romans 10:1-4).

Therefore, my prayer for all Muslims, especially those who terrorize "infidels" is as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father,

my heart’s desire and prayer to YOU for the Muslims is that they may be saved.  For I can testify about them that they are zealous for You God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know Your righteousness  and sought to establish their own and failed to submit to your righteousness. For some Lord, their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood. Lord the time has come when you said, "the time is coming when anyone who kills you (Followers of Jesus) will think they are offering a service to God.They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them (John 16:2-4). So I ask in the name of Jesus, that you would divinely give each Muslim a "Damascus Road" experience, so they may say the following:

"I want you to know that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Islam, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.  I was advancing in Islam  beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my beloved prophet Muhammad. But God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased  to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among my own. The Christians heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”  And they praised God because of me."

In Jesus' name, bring salvation to the Muslims and reveal yourself to them. In Jesus' name bind every demonic spirit and power that exalts itself against the will of God and cast it into the abyss. 

In Jesus' name.