Thursday, September 17, 2009

John Schlitt - The grafting - Lyrics

She’s too young to be a mother
But sometimes life is cruel and makes a life decide another
Scared but sees beyond the moment
She gives her boy away and prays someday he’ll know her
Love goes on and on
When he finds that life comes in the grafting

They built their hope upon the future
Married young, they bought a house, a car, a crib to suit her
But years would pass without a baby
Until a miracle, a desperate girl reached out
And love went on and on
And they found that life came in the grafting

This life is a golden opportunity
To give and to love through all uncertainty
Just like the Father reaches down to us
And through His Son He grafts us to Himself
This is love

The parents did their best to raise him
They trusted God to build the roots the boy so greatly needed
But time had come for him to face her
The things he longed to say and dreamed for years could wait no longer

He slowly walked up to her door and rang the bell
The door came open wide
She stood there and cried

He said “mother, don’t be cryin’
I know you’ve wondered now if you were wrong for never trying
For everything you did, I thank you
I have the life you always dreamed for me because
Your love went on and on
I found my life was in the grafting.”

(repeat chorus)

In the grafting
Love comes in the grafting
Love comes in the grafting


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Swine Influenza - Influenza A - Virus H1N1

Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Country activities | Outbreak news | Resources | Media centre

WHO > Programmes and projects > Global Alert and Response (GAR) > Diseases covered by EPR > Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 > Influenza A(H1N1): frequently asked questions > What can I do?

What can I do?

Updated 11 June 2009

What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?

The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:

  • avoid touching your mouth and nose;
  • clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
  • avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
  • reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?

If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.

If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards.

When and how to use a mask?

If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.

Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infection.

How do I know if I have influenza A(H1N1)?

You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).

What should I do if I think I have the illness?

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
  • If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.

Should I take an antiviral now just in case I catch the new virus?

No. You should only take an antiviral, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir, if your health care provider advises you to do so. Individuals should not buy medicines to prevent or fight this new influenza without a prescription, and they should exercise caution in buying antivirals over the Internet.

Warning on purchase of antivirals without a prescription [pdf 35kb]

What about breastfeeding? Should I stop if I am ill?

No, not unless your health care provider advises it. Studies on other influenza infections show that breastfeeding is most likely protective for babies - it passes on helpful maternal immunities and lowers the risk of respiratory disease. Breastfeeding provides the best overall nutrition for babies and increases their defense factors to fight illness.

When should someone seek medical care?

A person should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days. For parents with a young child who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures).

Supportive care at home - resting, drinking plenty of fluids and using a pain reliever for aches - is adequate for recovery in most cases. (A non-aspirin pain reliever should be used by children and young adults because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.)

Should I go to work if I have the flu but am feeling OK?

No. Whether you have influenza A(H1N1) or a seasonal influenza, you should stay home and away from work through the duration of your symptoms. This is a precaution that can protect your work colleagues and others.

Can I travel?

If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of influenza, you should not travel. If you have any doubts about your health, you should check with your health care provider.

More on WHO travel recommendations

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Mission voice from Latin America for World Mission

A Mission Voice from Latin America: Partnering for World Mission

By Valdir Steuernagel

Lausane World Pulse

This is an historical time in the Evangelical Church in Latin America. Never before have so many churches awakened to the universal nature of the missionary task, with such willingness to make their contribution.

Let us rejoice because of this new trend, but let us rejoice with caution. Never before have there been so many people willing to be sent out, so many missionary training schools available, and so many resources raised to sustain those sent. Still, we must proceed with caution and invest in a missions posture capable of balancing: quality, urgent sending with effective training; a sound financial base with the resources actually necessary; and a biblical and contextual understanding of the meaning of the task and of frontiers in mission.

Indeed, we have already learned from former and current missiological reflection that the concepts of nearby and far away, in biblical terms, are more of a salvation nature than of a geographic nature. In other words, the universality of the mission is verified in the keen perception of the need for saving our household and the next door neighbor, as well as those whose language and culture are radically different than our own. We must seek a balance between missionary action “there and here.”

Clearly, the missionary awakening of the Church in Latin America comes at a time of significant church growth.

Clearly, the missionary awakening of the Church in Latin America comes at a time of significant church growth. The church that grows is very often the same church that is awakening to its missionary responsibility and sending workers to the mission field. But these churches should never forget that their own families and children are also missionary fields. That is, the task of evangelism has to be faced anew by every generation. Indeed, we face the challenges of continuity and consistency in many of our churches.

So we ask our brothers and sisters who have preceded us in the missionary awakening to help us sort out this dimension of evangelism. From the vantage point of the Third World, we face with great dismay the process of secularization, and to a certain extent, the faith and church crises in countries that once experienced deep revivals and were actively engaged in cross-cultural missions. Is it possible to avert or diminish this kind of “historic determinism” that seems always to go from “hot” to “lukewarm” and/or “cold”?

Further, it is important to point out that reflection on frontiers has merited two distinct observations. One has to do with today’s concept of communication and distance. The world has become smaller and what is done and/or produced in one place can be transmitted or makes its way to other places. Opportunities for evangelism (and missionary responsibility!) are multiplied.

The other observation has to do with the fact that mission frontiers are not only geographical, but social and economic as well. The gospel we preach and the church we try to establish should change toward justice and toward a collective lifestyle which embraces human dignity and environmental stewardship.

Healthy Participation with Mutual Enrichment

Today, as never before, we can put into practice the slogan that mission is a task of six continents for six continents. But this practice is not yet obvious. Our mission history in Latin America is one of dependence and we need to recognize that getting rid of such dependency might be easier than repeating the model.

The gospel we preach and the church we try to establish should change toward justice and toward a collective lifestyle which embraces human dignity and environmental stewardship.

Dependency does harm. To some, it gives a dangerous sense of control; however, to many more it generates a false sense of immobilizing invalidity. The challenge before us is to build a reciprocal partnership; this will be best seen when Latino missionaries work not only with Latino immigrants in Europe and North America, but with mainstream mission efforts and churches as well. The practice of partnership could help us to become a Church that will make a difference indeed.

Some Things Need to Be Learned

The missionary movement that has emerged in Latin America calls for a growing humility that is willing to learn from history. Youthful euphoria will only hinder this learning process. Such an attitude will cause us to think that our fathers and mothers “missed the point”—that we know better and are eager to send, go, and do better.

Yesterday’s experiences must be studied more, and the learning of our predecessors must be assimilated by today’s generation. There is no need (and we cannot afford) to repeat the same errors in each generation. Of the many areas in which we have accumulated experience that can enrich and challenge today’s Latin American missionary practice, I point to just four.

1. The cultural issue. We cannot think that just because we belong to a kind of Third World culture, our identification with other cultures in the missionary field will be automatic. The Brazilian culture, for example, is just as imperialistic toward other cultures as the United States is toward the Brazilian culture. Moreover, culture is so much a part of the people that we automatically tend to consider other peoples´ cultures as distant. There are many lessons learned and much accumulated reflection having to do with the relationship between gospel and culture which the young missionary movement of Latin America needs to review.

2. Missionary training. There is a latent risk of considering intense, longer training processes as the concern of mission theorists. After all, isn’t it more important to roll up our sleeves and go to work? Maybe not. We are not advocating training programs that simply copy the respective models designed abroad. What we are advocating is that in order to participate in such a serious, intense, emotionally-involved missionary mandate, a formation process is fundamental. The price paid for haste is too high to justify running the risk of not designing and implementing adequate training programs.

3. Perseverance on the field. Perseverance and persistence cannot be learned in a day; however, they are indispensable in missionary work. There are strong traits in many of our cultures which point to a personal and collective behavior toward rapid response, emotionally-determined decisions and support, and easy promise of engagement. One of the key issues is how one can learn to function in and internalize other patterns, such as persistence and the ability to cope with solitude and failure. These have proven to be fundamental in medium and long-term missionary work.

4. Faithfulness in support. As mentioned above, in missionary terms, our history is one of dependence, and hence, reception. The fact that mission also implies giving is a concept which most of our churches are still learning. They must go through a complete learning process that will lead them to understand that missions is serious business, involving financial faithfulness to those we send out in Jesus’ name. Learning to give in a systematic and disciplined manner over a long period of time is a challenge we cannot escape if we want to face up to God’s missionary moment.

There Are Things We Must Overcome

We come back to partnership, stressing that overcoming dependence does not naturally and clearly lead to mature autonomy. The phase subsequent to dependence often appears to be a copy of some other model. That is, the Latin American missionary experience tends to copy the emphases and models of the missionary enterprise they have seen and have been familiar with as recipients.

Learning to give in a systematic and disciplined manner over a long period of time is a challenge we cannot escape if we want to face up to God’s missionary moment.

After all, it is precisely those experiences which have been successful that seem the best and most appropriate to emulate. Here, however, I would point out three areas where a copy should not be the approach.

1. Seeking unity and overcoming division. The Latin American experience with North American missions was sharply marked first by the conflict between fundamentalism and modernism, which characterized Christianity in the US during most of the twentieth century, and later by a Cold War mentality. The theological and ideological conflict of the North caused much unnecessary division in the South, since our churches have very little to do with the European and North American theological conflicts.

Further, exported to our southern hemisphere was an ecclesiastical practice largely determined by a free-market mentality—also a typical North American experience. The seed of this ecclesiastical practice fell on a soil which cultivates a culture that has deep marks of emotional, charismatic, and authoritarian flavor. Merging these two worlds produced an extremely lacerated ecclesiastical picture. The ethical and communal principle of partnership and of community was usually overrun, and the geography of church founding, in many instances, corresponded to the history of personality conflicts and the establishment of personal or family feuds duly placed under the guise of revelation.

This lacerated ecclesiastical experience in Latin America is usually exported as the most natural way to operate. Hence, we must move from divisionism to an ecclesiastical experience that will respect the church that is already in place, seek to work in concert, and sometimes become integrated, with a posture of submission, into works already underway. And we must not forget that, biblically speaking, the testimony constituted by unity is itself a positive factor of evangelism.

2. The expensive missionary model of the North does not serve us, and the philosophy of pragmatism has deep, worldly roots. The introduction of belief and practice of the free market in the ecclesiastical realm brought with it still another issue—the establishment of a strategy aimed at growth and success. This strategy was established on the basis of pragmatism: you choose an area and/or challenge, you establish a goal and an achievement timetable, and you seek to fulfill both.

The problem is that not only does our culture not operate that way, but this philosophy runs counter to the biblical pattern and mandate which says that the person is more important than the goal. In the biblical pattern strategy is constantly interrupted and held in check by the blind man who cries out alongside the road to Jericho. Moreover, these strategies, their design, implementation, follow-up, and evaluation are very costly. The North American missionary enterprise has become very expensive, and for the paradigms and possibilities of the Third World, impossible. Following this reasoning, if we simply copy the typical model of the missionary agency developed in the US, we will fall into a bottomless pit. This approach will not work since that model presupposes and requires heavy financial resources, both to be sent to the field and to pay for the administration of the missionary machinery.

The North American missionary enterprise has become very expensive, and for the paradigms and possibilities of the Third World, impossible.

Latin America must develop other models of missionary obedience that consistently reflect its reality of the poor and, hence, hopefully emulate the missionary model of the hiker from Galilee with the authority of a servant.

3. Caution with respect to bureaucracy and sophistication. We know from recent missions history that time after time the “mission” has been vested with the most advanced Western technology in the whole area, and often, in the whole country. This has caused problems concerning image and resources. Missions arising from the South do not have this technology and traditionally do not depend on it nearly as much. This fact can be of enormous help in many of the areas where the people and their respective communities live in extreme poverty. It could also help us to put into practice incarnation as one of the basic pillars of evangelical missions.

The Evangelical Church in Latin America, and the Third World in general, is experiencing a unique missionary awakening in Protestant history. The poor are engaged in missionary activity and are investing their potential, talents, and resources in fulfilling the universal missionary call of the Church.

With the growing involvement of Third World missionaries of different races and cultures, the geography and color of missions has been changing for quite some time. This trend causes us to rejoice. And yet together we must continue cautiously into the future as we explore the growing needs for effective training, sound financial support, and a biblical and contextual understanding of mission.

(This article was originally published by MARC Publications as "From Latin America: An Open Letter to the North American Mission Community" in the Mission Handbook, 15th edition, 1993. Used with permission.)

Dr. Valdir Steuernagel is international vice-president of Christian Commitments for World Vision. He is an internationally-recognized theologian and serves as a global minister-at-large and author. He is Brazilian.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Leeland - Lyrics tears of the saints



There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People's hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We're crying for them come back home
We're crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

There are schools full of hatred
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy
May we see this generation
In it's state of desperation
For Your glory

This is an emergency!

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!

And all Your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Now listen to the tmusic: Leeland-Myspace


Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Barack Obama first speech

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

President Barack Obama's inaugural remarks
on Jan. 20, 2009,
At the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

India Orissa Christmas 2008

Written by AICC
- All India Christian Council

State of Orissa

NEW DELHI – December 23, 2008: Despite the cancelation of a state-wide bandh (strike) by ultra-nationalist Hindu groups, Christians in Orissa state are worried about possible anti-Christian violence over Christmas.

Indian media reports on Dec. 20, 2008 said Orissa's Chief Minister met with the rightwing Hindu group, the Swami Laxmananand Saraswati Shraddhanjali Samiti, and the group agreed to call off a state-wide shut-down planned for Dec. 25. However, aicc Orissa state leaders said the group was planning prayers from 5:10-5:40pm on Dec. 25th in temples across the state.

There are fears the people gathered at each temple could be incited to attack Christians. The Samiti, which has been involved with a temples campaign, was set up by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, the two groups responsible for the December 2007 and August-October 2008 violence in the state.

The 12 hour bandh was announced in mid-November if authorities failed to arrest the killers of VHP leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati by December 15, 2008. The murder of the religio-political leader on Aug. 23, 2008 triggered widespread anti-Christian violence despite claims of responsibility from Maoist militants.

John Dayal, aicc Secretary General, said, "We appreciate Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for doing the right thing and successfully urging Hindutva groups to call off their planned bandh. However, the government in Orissa – for that matter, in all states across India – must now ensure mischief makers do not sabotage the peace of the Christmas holidays."

Aicc is making plans to have teams of observers in Orissa to alert authorities should any violence begin. Plans called for teams to include both Christians and non-Christians – especially non-sectarian minded Hindus.
Dayal said, "We encourage Indian Christians to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth in a peaceful and harmonious manner. Christians across our great land must pray for the approximately 50,000 Dalit and Tribal Christians who will spend Christmas away from their damaged and destroyed homes. For many, this will be their second Christmas as refugees inside their own country."

The All India Christian Council birthed in 1998, exists to protect and serve the Christian community, minorities, and the oppressed castes. The aicc is a coalition of thousands of Indian denominations, organizations, and lay leaders.

The Council is financed by the freewill gifts and offerings of its members, Christians throughout India, and concerned citizens everywhere. Contact Aicc


News from India Orissa persecution 2008

"Christmas celebration for the persecuted families"

All India Christian Council Correspondent

State Andhra Pradesh

"The Passion for the Persecuted”, along with The All India Christian Council, organized a Christmas celebration for the persecuted families at the Centenary Baptist Church, Secunderabad on 25th November 2008. Nearly 400 people attended these celebrations.

The unique thing about this celebration was that there were families from Kandhamal who were the victims of the 2008 August Anti-Christian violence in Orissa. A similar program was held last year in the Warangal Baptist Church. For this year’s program more than 50 persecuted families have come from all the corners of our state to be part of this celebration. The victims’ families were given a set of new clothes as a Christmas gift to all those victims who had come to partake these celebrations. It was interesting to see “ the wives’ of the martyrs”,who were present to cut the Christmas cake. The program included different speeches and some encouraging words given to the persecuted families by different Christian leaders who were present at the meeting. Mr. Anil Kumar prominent speaker gave a message and encouraged the victims to live for God. “He emphasized that we should ask God to bring in justice to the all the affected Christians”.

Brother Franklin Sudhakar, thanked Mr Anil Kumar and Stanly Babu for accepting the invitation and spending the evening with the “Persecuted families”. Over all it was a nice evening with many testimonies, exhortations from the guests and some video presentations on the Orissa atrocities.

Bishop Daniel Kalyanapu, Brother Chiranjeevi, and Sis. Kamala Cheranjeevi, Mr. Dasanna, and few other prominent leaders were present on this occasion. The program concluded with a special meal.


The Council is financed by the freewill gifts and offerings of its members, Christians throughout India, and concerned citizens everywhere. Contact Aicc


President Barack Obama - The Day Before


Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy and Serving America

Inauguration Day at Capitol

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Yesterday, with Washington and the country eagerly awaiting the Inauguration, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and their families spent the day honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by serving others. After spending the morning with wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Center, President Obama traveled to the Sasha Bruce Youthwork shelter for homeless teens in Northeast Washington where he helped renovate "safe space" housing.

After leaving the shelter, the President and Mrs. Obama attended a reception with volunteers at Coolidge Senior High School, where President Obama spoke about the challenges ahead and how every one person can contribute to fighting them.

"Dr. King taught us that we could no longer view our own day-to-day cares and responsibilities as somehow separate from what was happening in the wider world that we read about in the newspaper and saw on TV," the President said at the reception. "Because ultimately, for each of us, our own story and the American story are not separate, they are shared. And they are both strengthened and enriched each time we stand up and answer the call to help meet the challenges of our new century."

Earlier in the day, Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden and Ashley Biden participated in a service project for American soldiers stationed overseas. All told, the volunteers at RFK Memorial Stadium, where the First and Second Families were working, created more than 85,000 care packages. Vice President Biden worked with Habitat for Humanity -- with about 50 AmeriCorps volunteers, firefighters, police officers, and others -- creating homes for families in need in Northeast Washington, D.C.

In all, more than 11,000 service events were held across the nation yesterday. Traditionally, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has often been referred to as a National Day of Service, but the President emphasized that the commitment must extend beyond a single day. "Government will do its part to open up more opportunities for citizens to participate," he said. "And in return, I ask you to play your part – to not just pitch in today, but to make an ongoing commitment that lasts far beyond one day, or even one presidency."

Read President Obama's full remarks below:

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Day of Service Luncheon at Coolidge High School
January 19, 2009 - Washington, DC 20009

I want to start by thanking all of you for coming together from across this community – people who are young and old, of every race and background and faith – and taking part in the great American tradition of giving of yourselves to lift up your community.

We meet at a moment when this work could not be more urgent. Today, we face challenges like never before in our lifetime. A lot of folks here in DC and across America are hurting and filled with uncertainty about what the future holds. And as I prepare to take that oath tomorrow, I know my Administration has our work cut out for us.

But I also know this: that however well government does its job; however hard we work to make good plans and policies and restore a sense of responsibility to Washington, our problems cannot be solved by government alone – or even mostly by government. It’s going to take all of us, putting our shoulder to the wheel, doing our part to remake this nation.

That’s why we’ve called on the American people to come together and devote their time and effort to work in their communities today. And that’s why we chose this particular day, when we honor a man who lived his life as a servant to his fellow citizens – and whose greatness can be measured not just in his own extraordinary contributions, but in how he inspired others to contribute.

Dr. King taught us that we could no longer view our own day-to-day cares and responsibilities as somehow separate from what was happening in the wider world that we read about in the newspaper and saw on TV. Because ultimately, for each of us, our own story and the American story are not separate, they are shared. And they are both strengthened and enriched each time we stand up and answer the call to help meet the challenges of our new century.

So today, I am asking you to roll up your sleeves and join in the work of remaking this nation. I pledge to you that government will do its part to open up more opportunities for citizens to participate. And in return, I ask you to play your part – to not just pitch in today, but to make an ongoing commitment that lasts far beyond one day, or even one presidency.

And to those who are skeptical about whether this will happen – to anyone who thinks that the American people are selfish or apathetic – I invite them to come here to Coolidge High School and to the more than 11,000 other places across this country where people have spent today fixing up schools and renovating homes and organizing food drives and blood drives and so much more. I see what the American people are doing today and every day. So don’t tell me that we can’t usher in a new spirit of service in this country.

I know we can do this. America is a great nation precisely because Americans have been willing to stand up when it was hard; to give when they had little left to give; to rise above moments of great challenge and terrible trial.

And I know that I am here today – as are so many of you – because somebody, at some point, decided that loving their community and their country meant doing something to change it.

That’s what we are called to do once again, in this moment – our moment – in history. So today, in the words of Dr. King, "Let us rise up…with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be."

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

White House Blog