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Historic Islamic Art Museum “Completely Destroyed”

Egypt’s treasures destroyed

Egyptian Streets

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities has announced that Cairo’s Islamic Art Museum has been “completely destroyed,” in a moment of anger and frustration.

The Minister’s statements came after a car bomb exploded outside the Museum and the Security Directorate, killing five and injuring more than 80. The explosion was one of three in Cairo today, with one killed at a Metro Station in Dokki.

While the extent of the damage is not yet clear, the Minister was earlier quoted as saying the damage is in the “tens of millions of dollars,” but vowed to restore the Museum and any antiquities that remain.

The Islamic Art Museum in Cairo houses one of the most extensive and important collections of Islamic art in the world. The Museum displays priceless Islamic art work from all periods of Islamic history, including one of the rarest copies of the Quran.

Until 2010, the Museum had been closed for…

View original post 30 more words

Stop Killing Terrorists

Brother Andrew’s Prophetic Plea: Stop Murdering Terrorists | Christianity Today.

Egypt border guards killed in Sinai attack –

Egypt border guards killed in Sinai attack – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

Lopez Lomong’s Story, Continued

English: Former Child soldiers in eastern Demo...Here is the continuation of the story of Olympian, Lopez Lomong, former child soldier like the boys in the picture, kidnapped at six years old out of a church in South Sudan.

Lopez Lomong: Running for My Life: A True Story

This blog is part of a series organized by The Huffington Post and the NGO allianceInterAction around the London 2012 Olympics. This piece was written with Steve Haas

In the first installment of the Lopez Lomong series, Lopez shared his terrifying experience of being ripped away from his parents by rebel soldiers at the age of 6. After his kidnapping, Lopez was taken to a camp where boys were forced to become rebel soldiers, killing other people, or dying themselves.

From there, a series of miracles occurred. Lopez was befriended by three older boys in the camp, who rescued him and fled the camp on foot at night. After running for three days and nights, the boys found themselves at a refugee camp in Kenya.

Part 2 of the series picks up at this refugee camp where Lopez lived there for the next 10 years, dreaming of what else life might hold and growing closer to God each day. He prayed that one day he would be able to leave the refugee camp and find a new life. His prayers were answered when a family in the United States decided to adopt him as their own.

How do you spell “AMERICA”?

I saw the fluid motion of Michael Johnson racing across the TV screen, and over the finish line. He had just won the gold and set the world record for the 400m dash. It was the first time I had ever seen a TV. I didn’t know it at the time, but this experience would change my life. The race was special enough, but it was what happened minutest later that truly affected me. As Michael stepped up on a tiered box and received a gold medal around his neck, he cried.

English: Michael Johnson Victory in Sydney 200...

English: Michael Johnson Victory in Sydney 2000 Français : Victoire de Michael Johnson à Sydney en 2000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Africa men don’t cry. I was shocked- he had just won the race and a gold medal. I could not fathom what could draw such a powerful emotion from this man. I heard the national anthem play and saw the American flag raised high. As a “Lost Boy” in no-mans-land without a family or a country, I began to wonder at the incredible pride he had for America and tried to fathom what kind of place it must be to bring the fastest man in the world to tears. Michael Johnson was running for something so much bigger than himself… what was it? I walked back to the refugee camp I lived in, pondering a newfound dream to achieve a place at the Olympics with the same three letters on my chest: USA.

Imagine. At that time in my life, I aspired to grow up to be strong one day so that I could fight for a little more food, just to bring an end to the incessant hunger. It’s still easy for me to see how the rawness of reality can wear down the beauty of one’s dreams. But in the black and white television image, I had been given a glimpse of what could be, a purpose and place that was so much higher than I knew.

Not long after, a man stood up in camp church to announce that “3500 boys from Kakuma will be allowed to move to the United States permanently.” The catch was that we had to write our life story in the form of an essay.

But there were so many boys… thousands of boys who had stories of far greater suffering than mine. Since the beginning of Sudan’s civil war in 1983, thousands of children had been displaced and on the move, often undergoing unspeakable hardship and atrocities. I committed myself to prepare my story even though my knowledge of English was hardly adequate. I knew that without God’s help this selection process would be impossible. My quiet prayer for God’s intervention was a sincere as it was seemingly far-fetched. What began with a kidnapping in church was now moving forward with an invitation to freedom in a church. Was this a sign from God?
With the help of borrowed paper, writing instruments and a number of my friends, whose English composition skills weren’t much better than my own, we painstakingly finished the essays and deposited them into the church bin. It would be several agonizing months before we heard anything about who made the roster to get a second chance in the United States.

During the Christmas service, the mzungu (white man) who had announced the essay contest, returned and told us that if our name was called we should step forward. With every ear trained to hear of their ticket to a new life, my name was called and I was given a larger envelope. In the presence of others, I couldn’t stand the thought of opening the contents given the devastating possibility that the information inside might be a rejection notice. I knew I would not be able to control my emotions if that were the case. Ironically, when I did finally race to a private spot to reveal the news, the entire paper was written in English and I had to route myself back to the church for translation. You cannot imagine my heart’s cry when I was told, “Congratulations, Lopez. You are going to America!”

Many boys went with me months later as we boarded a life-changing trip on an airplane for the first time, but many were left behind. Like me, the ones who didn’t make it had dreams and visions of a future far different from the reality they were consigned to. When I race, I not only bask in the goodness of God and run for a country that accepted me with open arms, I also tell the story of young boys and girls who continue to struggle in my birth country of South Sudan. I choose to believe that if I can engage enough of those who hear my voice and read my story, by God’s grace and your continued goodness, we can spell America to many others: H.O.P.E.

For more on my story, check out my new book, Running For My Life.

Join me in my quest to bring true hope and joy to the people of South Sudan. I’m partnering with World Vision to bring the powerful interventions of clean water, improved nutrition, education, and healthcare. Go to 4southsudan.org for more information. Together we can make a great difference.

Related articles

Lopez Lomong: From Sudanese ‘Lost Boy’ to U.S. Olympian

English: Lopez Lomong runs in the first round ...

English: Lopez Lomong runs in the first round of the men’s 1500 meter run at the US Olympic Team Trials-Track & Field, held at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an honorable side to America that gets lost in “politicking”, and demonstrations of all kinds over chicken sandwiches. If you are watching the Olympics, you will hear the name of Lopez Lomong, a runner for Team USA. He was once a terrorist, a child soldier of Sudan, and then one of the hundreds of thousands of “Lost Boy’s”, refugees who held hope in their young hearts as they dreamed of living in the USA. Here is his story

Lopez Lomong: From Sudanese ‘Lost Boy’ to U.S. Olympian | WORLD VISION BLOG.

The Prayer Behind Leymah Gbowee’s Nobel Peace Prize

Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee (Photo credit: aktivioslo)

I love hearing women’s stories, especially when I can relate to them. Leymah Gbowee‘s story about bringing a peaceful revolution to Liberia is one I really connect with.  She recognized her weaknesses, her need for God, and she spoke truth to power.  Leymah Gbowee, mother and activist, is my kind of woman, and  she changed the course of an entire nation!

Leymah Gbowee is the narrator and central character in the 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Hell. This Nobel Peace Prize winner helped to bring down former Liberian President Charles Taylor, by among other things, organizing the women of Liberia to stop having sex with their husbands until they laid down their arms to stop killing for Charles Taylor’s terrible regime.  The women even threatened to strip naked in the public square (a terrible shame and a curse in their country), if the men refused to do this.

These tactics worked, and the women kept their clothes on!

Gbowee’s story is not a lovely one, and her doctrine seems hardly evangelical…but…I’m proud to say we share a special bond. She received her Masters from my first university, Eastern Mennonite, in Harrisonbug, VA…and I know the atmosphere there was filled with the peace of Christ.

This is where I began to understand what it meant to love God with my whole heart, mind and soul…and to love my neighbor as myself, and to follow Christ regardless of where He led me.

I like to think Gbowee and I may have shared some of the same sacred places at EMU; maybe a shade tree on the hill-top overlooking the dorms, where we prayed for our Lord to give us a loving “makeover”.

She is presently advocating for women in her campaign against female genital mutilation, FGM, a practice that is very common in Africa and many Arab nations.

The Ceasefire Prayer Behind Leymah Gbowee’s Nobel Peace Prize | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

Qur’an burnings indicate need for mission overhaul

Here is a thoughtful article giving some perspective on the Afghan reaction to American Military. The rampage this week of a lone American soldier who went house to house slaughtering innocent people only puts a point to a systemic problem.

I feel sorrow for the families who lost their loved ones, and sorrow for all who are killing out of fear, mental illness, revenge or hatred. It isn’t normal or healthy.

Qur’an burnings indicate need for mission overhaul by Lisa Schirch and Karim Merchant – Common Ground News Service.