Archive | April 2012

when we don’t let God use others to answer our prayers

Recently our delightful young associate pastor was sharing an illustration in his sermon about a friend of his who suffered dreadfully from most probably bi-polar disorder and a personality disorder.  When she crashed into the pits of depression and was suicidal, he and others lovingly tended to her, encouraged her to get help and finally, when she slowly but surely burned them all out with her “misery is me” mentality and claimed that only God could heal her, they sadly in turn did what they had to do and walked away to care for their own emotional tanks, which had been drained dry by her sense of entitlement and victimhood.

My young pastor was obviously distressed that, no matter how hard she – and her friends – had prayed, they believed that God had chosen not to heal this young woman.  I hope  that it was of comfort to him when I shared with him that God HAD given this young woman MANY opportunities to be healed – referrals to good physicians and competent counselors – and SHE had chosen not to accept healing in the form it was offered.  This young woman had decided that healing could only come through a divine lightning bolt.

This makes as much sense to me as those who refuse to take a mood stabilizer medication, or seek counseling for a life issue, when they are quite content to wear eyeglasses because their vision is blurry or get a pacemaker implanted if their heart is out of whack.   Your brain is an organ, just like your heart, your liver, your kidney, your eyes …. get the picture?   If we stop looking at getting help for our brain as meaning something is “wrong” with us, as in “I don’t want people to think I am crazy” and just treat your brain as you would any other organ, people might actually allow God to heal them.

God uses people, medication, physical intervention ….. to heal.   WE are the hands, feet and heart of Jesus.

A fellow counselor found another link which says much the same.   You might find it of interest if you know someone who is struggling with overspiritualizing emotional and mental illness.

“he who is without sin should cast the first stone”


I didn’t know what to think when I had heard the news of Tom White’s suicide.   This was a man who had given his life to helping persecuted Christians all over the world.   A lifetime of helping others and now his memory will be forever tainted by “allegations” that he’d molested a 10 year old girl.   If anyone knows me at all, you will know I am a mother bear when it comes to protecting children against child abuse, so I know that anyone is capable of anything.   However, there are only two people that knew the truth and one of those is now dead.   What a burden for a little girl to carry, knowing that she alone knows what really happened.

I pray that, if this is true, that this child can one day find it in her heart to forgive him.   If it is true, then I pray that there are not more little girls who have been molested over the years and their stories have never been brought to light.   If it is true, then I pray that God can forgive his soul.   My heart breaks for the victim, her family and for Tom White’s friends and families, who have suffered incredible betrayal by a man they trusted.

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma authorities are investigating whether the executive director of an international Christian ministry killed himself amid allegations he’d molested a 10-year-old girl, police said Monday.

Tom White had been reported missing last Tuesday, the same day police in Bartlesville received a report about the alleged molestation, said Bartlesville Police Capt. Jay Hastings. White was the executive director for The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit headquartered in in the city 50 miles north of Tulsa that says it provides medical supplies, food and clothing to persecuted Christians worldwide.

Police found the 64-year-old’s body at the organization’s Bartlesville headquarters Wednesday. Employees discovered a letter in White’s vehicle indicating he was “suicidal or possibly fleeing to avoid investigation” and turned it over to police, Hastings said.

“You can take it either way,” Hastings said. “It was kind of a goodbye letter. You don’t know if he was talking about himself.”

Hastings said police are awaiting an autopsy report by the state Medical Examiner’s Office. A message seeking comment was left with the office Monday.

In a document filed last week in Washington County District Court, police had asked a judge to order White’s cellphone carrier to provide them with “real time GPS pinging” of the phone to determine where he was. To support the request, officers stated in the document that White “had been reported to have molested a 10-year-old juvenile female” and that he disappeared when police began to investigate.

Hastings could not say Monday if the child was believed to be involved in the ministry or how White is believed to have come in contact with her.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry where White had served as executive director for more than 20 years said its board of directors did not know about the accusations at the time of White’s death. It went on to say that “rather than face those allegations, and all of the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry and himself, Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life.”

“There is no doubt that Tom cared about his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there’s no doubt that he cared about VOM,” the statement said. “We are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken.”

“A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder”

Karly Sheehan</p><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p> - MacAdam/Cage Publishing

Today on the Diane Rehm show on NPR, investigative journalist Karen Spears Zacharias tells the story of a precious little three year old girl named Karly Sheehan, who was brutally tortured and murdered at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend, Shawn Field.  Karly’s mother, Sarah Brill, had been warned by the courts and Child Protective Services to keep her daughter away from Shawn, as for months Karly’s biological father had begged for protection for his only child.  Sarah lied every time, saying that Shawn had no access to the child.
The truth was horrific.  Not only did Shawn brutalize this baby – who died with over 60 separate injuries from the top of her head to to the bottom of her feet – he photographed her murder.  The picture of her taken five minutes before her death showed this wee soul ‘smiling’ as best as she could because a brute was forcing her to do so for the camera.   Shawn Field is now serving 45 years in prison.
Karly’s mother, Sarah Brill, was not charged with any crime, even though she neglected to get her child medical care over the eight months of every form of abuse, and knowingly left her in the ‘care’ of a brutal sadist.   In fact, after Karly’s death, Sarah formed a pseudo non-profit organization named “Karly’s Angels,” was flown to New York by Glamour Magazine and was wined and dined by movie stars who contributed tens of thousands of dollars to this charity, every penny of which went into Sarah’s pocket.   Not a dime went to help a child.
Sarah is still as free as a bird.   She has never seen the inside of a jail cell.    Karen Spears Zacharias claims that one child dies in the United States every five hours, 78% by neglect.   She reports that precious little Karly is just one of over 20,000 children under the age of 4 who have died since the war in Afghanistan began, every one of them in the United States.
Read the whole story in Karen Spears Zacaharias’s new book, “A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder.”

don’t just let this one pass you by: we have 7 days left: your tweet or phone call can save a child

 Ruse spent three years in a Cambodian brothel before being rescued.

Commentary: Urge U.S. Congress to action via your tweets

Editor’s note: Richard Stearns is the author of “The Hole in Our Gospel” and president of the U.S. office of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Follow Stearns on Twitter @RichStearns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard Stearns.

By Richard Stearns, special to CNN

This February, I visited Cambodia, where my heart was broken by the evils of the sex trade in that country. Too often there is an acceptance of prostitution that leads to a male culture that believes sex with virgins improves health has created an epidemic of young girls and boys trafficked into the cities. Roughly 30,000 young women and men in that country (some estimates are as high as 100,000) are trapped in slavery. When imprisoned in the brothels, these young women and men serve roughly 700 people every year.

I interviewed a young woman named Ruse (not her real name) who had spent three years in a Cambodian brothel before being rescued and sent to World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Center in Phnom Penh.

Ruse’s story was heartbreaking. Her family was extremely poor, and when she was just 13, her mother became very ill and needed medical attention. Her father had left, and she had two smaller siblings as well. The family desperately needed money. Ruse told me, “My virginity was the most valuable possession my family had.”

The life Ruse led for the next three years defies all sense of human dignity. She was originally sold for $400 and then found herself captive in a brothel. Ultimately, a police raid set her free, and World Vision was able to help her with psychological recovery and job training. Today Ruse has a small apartment and a job as a nanny.

The suffering of Ruse and tens of thousands like her needs to end. However, the U.S. Congress is stalling on a bill that would go a long way toward locking up those who buy and sell human beings as well as preventing trafficking and providing treatment to its victims.

The centerpiece of American action opposing modern day slavery is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The bill helps and encourages governments like Cambodia’s to toughen laws against traffickers — including prosecuting here in the United States any American citizen who sexually exploits a child overseas. An innovative feature of the Senate version of the bill is that it allows the U.S. to partner with NGOs and foreign governments to achieve the greatest possible impact. World Vision works in Cambodian villages were trafficking is a huge problem, and we educate parents, teachers and children on the dangers of this trade in human beings and how they can prevent it.

This important bill must be renewed every few years to respond to the changing ways of traffickers. It has always been bipartisan and has always passed Congress unanimously. However, the law has been allowed to expire in Congress, and efforts to pass it have been bogged down by partisan games. With the failure of Congress to prioritize the fight against modern-day slavery, millions of children around the world, just like Ruse, and even children here in the U.S., are without the protection that has traditionally been offered by our government.

The bickering began last fall when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pulled funding from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been contracted to provide services to victims of trafficking here in the United States. The resulting argument about access of faith-based organizations to government funding is an important one. But Congress’s inability to solve that debate should not mean that we look the other way while human beings, like Ruse, are bought and sold as commodities.

In conjunction with the International Justice Mission (IJM), the Polaris Project and Safe Horizons, World Vision is asking supporters in the U.S. to join a social media campaign against human trafficking and help move this legislation forward.

From now until the end of April, we urge people to call their senators or use Twitter with the hashtag #endslavery to get more senators to sponsor the bill.  For my younger friends, try tweeting Congress to voice support for a bipartisan TVPA bill, everyone can play a part in fighting modern slavery.

For those of us who don’t tweet but CAN still use a cell phone, here’s a helpful list:

Call and Tweet these Senators.
Ask them to Co-Sponsor the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA, S. 1301)

50 Senators to Stop Slavery.  If we can get 50 co-sponsors by the end of April, we can tip the balance from inaction and indifference to action and momentum. Our leaders need to know that this is too important for them not to act. Your leaders are listening but we need to be clear with them: Enough Already. It’s time to rise above slavery.

Help by tweeting the following message to these Senators:

Co-sponsor the bi-partisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, S.1301 via @worldvisionacts

Or call with the following message:

Hi, my name is ________ and I’m from __________.  I want to ask the Senator to co-sponsor S.1301, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, S. 1301. This is a bipartisan bill and we need to put politics aside to fight slavery. Thank you.

State Senator Phone Twitter
AK Mark Begich (D) (202) 224-3004
AK Lisa Murkowski (R) (202) 224-6665
AL Jeff Sessions (R) (202)224-4124
AL Richard C Shelby (R) (202)224-5744
AR John Boozman (R) (202) 224-4843
AZ Jon Kyl (R) (202) 224-4521
AZ John McCain (R) (202) 224-2235
DE Thomas Carper (D) (202) 224-2441
HI Daniel K Inouye (D) (202) 224-3934
IA Chuck Grassley (R) (202) 224-3744
IA Tom Harkin (D) (202) 224-3254
ID Mike Crapo (R) (202) 224-6142 none
ID James E Risch (R) (202) 224-2752 none
IL Mark Kirk (R) (202) 224-2854
IN Daniel Coats (R) (202) 224-5623
IN Richard G Lugar (R) (202) 224-4814
KS Jerry Moran (R) (202) 224-6521
KS Pat Roberts (R) (202) 224-4774
KY Mitch McConnell (R) (202) 224-2541
KY Rand Paul (R) (202) 224-4343
LA David Vitter (R) (202) 224-4623
ME Olympia J Snowe (R) (202) 224-5344
ME Susan M Collins (R) (202) 224-2523
MI Carl Levin (D) (202) 224-6221
MO Roy Blunt (R) (202) 224-5721
MO Claire McCaskill (D) (202) 224-6154
MS Roger F Wicker (R) (202) 224-6253
MT Max Baucus (D) (202) 224-2651
ND Kent Conrad (D) (202) 224-2043 none
ND John Hoeven (R) (202) 224-2551
NE Mike Johanns (R) (202) 224-4224
NE Ben Nelson (D) (202) 224-6551
NH Kelly Ayotte (R) (202) 224-3324
NH Jeanne Shaheen (D) (202) 224-2841
NJ Frank R Lautenberg (D) (202) 224-3224
NM Jeff Bingaman (D) (202) 224-5521 none
NM Tom Udall (D) (202) 224-6621
NV Harry Reid (D) (202) 224-3542
OK Tom Coburn (R) (202) 224-5754
OK James M Inhofe (R) (202) 224-4721
PA Patrick J Toomey (R) (202) 224-4254
RI Jack Reed (D) (202) 224-4642 none
RI Sheldon Whitehouse (D) (202) 224-2921
SC Jim DeMint (R) (202) 224-6121
SC Lindsey Graham (R) (202) 224-5972
SD Tim Johnson (D) (202) 224-5842
SD John Thune (R) (202) 224-2321
TN Lamar Alexander (R) (202) 224-4944
TN Bob Corker (R) (202) 224-3344
TX John Cornyn (R) (202) 224-2934
TX Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) (202) 224-5922
UT Orrin G Hatch (R) (202) 224-5251
UT Mike Lee (R) (202) 224-5444
VA Mark R Warner (D) (202) 224-2023
VA Jim Webb (D) (202) 224-4024 none
WI Ron Johnson (R) (202) 224-5323
WI Herb Kohl (D) (202) 224-5653 none
WV Joe Manchin III (D) (202) 224-3954
WV John D Rockefeller, IV (D) (202) 224-6472
WY John Barrasso (R) (202) 224-6441
WY Michael B Enzi (R) (202) 224-3424 none


ubuntu – a lesson from the children

“An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket. at the foot of a tree.  Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves.  The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008 :

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

— with Photo Rights: Susan Fassburg of