Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trying to Get a Grip

For the past several weeks, I have gradually come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons for my lack of creativity lately has been that I have allowed my email to take up the best parts of my day. I decided that I needed to do something about it and so, today I sent out the following to my staff.

In order to enhance creativity and communication, I am voluntarily adopting the following communications practices:

1. a) I will generally only be reading and responding to my emails between 9:30-10:00 am and 2:00-2:30 pm each working day.
b) I will generally not be checking my emails in the evenings, weekends or holidays
c) If you send me an email that requires more urgent attention, please contact me in person or by phone/Skype and inform me.

2. Generally, I prefer to communicate or to be communicated to in the following priority:
a) In person
b) By phone/Skype
c) By email

People who communicate to me in this order will receive my highest priority.

3. Issues of a personal, disciplinary, or emotional nature will not be dealt with by email. Email will only be used in such matters to record or restate the results of the discussion afterwards.

4. Personal email will not be done during office hours.

I would like to hear from some of you how you are dealing with the tyranny of email in your life and business.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Algerian Judge Asks for Prayer

I would like to share with you a story that I recently read in an editorial by Tom White, Executive Director of our sister mission in the United States, in which he recounts a story told to him by a co-worker in Algeria.

"When I was 15 years old, I was looking for God. I tried to ask everyone. I even went to a sheikh. I told him, ‘I love God. I am looking for Him.' He told me, ‘You are a blasphemer. You only need to obey your parents and say the five [Muslim] prayers.' But I was not convinced. Every night before I went to sleep, I said, ‘God, I know You are there. If You are there, why don't You talk to me?'

"One night, I was crying on my bed and I saw heaven open and rays of light writing the words, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.' I knew this was not a dream. I ran outside on the patio to look up at the sky. I was sure God had talked to me. Later, a woman gave me a New Testament. When I found Jesus' words, ‘way, truth, life,' I said, ‘That is what You told me. You are God.' I gave my life to Jesus.

"When I married, I told my husband that I was a Christian. My family reported me to the police. The police in Algiers filed a court case against me for despising Islam - blasphemy."

"One morning they took me to court. The judge was sitting at his desk between two advisors. He leaned over and asked me, ‘Are you a Christian?' I said, ‘Yes.' He asked, ‘What did you find in Islam that you didn't like?' I replied, ‘I was looking for God in Islam and I didn't find Him.' Then I told him about my night vision and the words I found in the New Testament. I don't know if he was curious or wanted to trap me, but the judge asked, ‘How do Christians pray? What do they say?'

"I tried to explain to him what we say. He still didn't understand how we talk to God. He asked, ‘Where do you pray? What do you pray?' I replied, ‘We can pray anytime, anywhere.' He leaned forward and asked, ‘Can you pray now? Here?' I said, ‘Yes.' He sat back and said, ‘Okay. Pray.'

"I stood before him and raised my hands and started to pray. I knew that in my prayer this would be an opportunity to give a message of salvation. I began, ‘Thank you, Jesus, because we are sinners and You died for us....' I took 10 minutes to finish this prayer. I prayed for the president of Algeria that God would bless him. I prayed for those in this court to see the salvation of Christ.

"When I said ‘Amen,' the officials in the court turned to look at each other. The room was quiet. They were speechless. The judge said to me, ‘This case is dismissed. Go home.'

"I turned to walk down the long aisle to the door. I heard someone running behind me. I turned and saw the judge. He caught up with me and said, ‘Woman, when you pray to Jesus, please pray for me.'

Friday, September 21, 2007

In the Shadow of the Cross Available for Free Download in Chinese

Recently, the Chinese translation of my book "In the Shadow of the Cross" was completed and 9,000 copies were published and distributed in China. This is an exciting development for us. However, it is obvious that we will never be able to distribute enough copies given the difficulties, logisitics, and the vast numbers of Christians in mainland China. We have decided, therefore, to make the book available onlne for free distribution in Chinese. While we know that our main website is often blocked by the Communist authorities, we hope that others make the link available known in one way or another, that perhaps believers there might be able to secure copies whether online or by CD. Anyway, here is where "In the Shadow of the Cross" in Chinese can be downloaded for free: It can also obtained on our online catalog in the ebooks section.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Duck! Someone is Speaking in Love Again Withdrawn

Today I received a gentle rebuke from one of the readers of my earlier blog "Duck! Someone is Speaking in Love Again" who rightfully pointed out that its content and spirit was rather contrary to what is normally expected from me and expressed disappointment that I had written it.

This reader was right. I felt chastised by the truth of what was said and decided to withdraw my earlier blog and remove it from this website. I would like to thank this reader for their wise words and timely correction.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Report from London

I just finished meetings here in London with the other members of the Leadership Team of the Religious Liberty Partnership that was founded earlier this year. I truly believe this partnership will contribute significantly to serving persecuted Christians as we create an environment where ministries can learn to trust each other and cooperate together, share information and avoid duplication of work.

Amoung our decisions today, we passed a draft copy of Best Practices for Ministry With and For the Persecuted Church that several of us worked on earlier and which will now be taken to the Membership of the Partnership next March when we meet in Zurich for final acceptance. This is a significant document, in my opinion, in positively addressing many of the missteps that ministries that work in this field often commit but could avoid. I look forward to seeing it become public in the future.

Well, I have a couple of days of meetings with other ministries. Thank you to those who have been praying for me during my time here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Prayer for Trip to England

I would appreciate your prayer as I leave on Monday for the United Kingdom for a week. This is my first international trip in about 16 months and the first since my stem cell transplant in December. My loved ones are, of course, concerned about my health and whether I will get sick while overseas, but I believe that God wants me to go on this trip. The purpose of the trip is to continue working on the Religious Liberty Partnership that was launched earlier this year. I am on the RLP executive and believe that this is a strategic endeavour. I will also be meeting with the staff of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and our sister mission, Release International and hopefully with our friends at Forum 18. So, it should be a valuable trip.

Pray specially for strength. I do struggle with stamina and am concerned about hauling my luggage around Heathrow airport.

I will try to make the occasional entry while in London and fill you in on how things are going.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

VOMC's Annual Online Garage Sale Begins Tomorrow

This is the sale many of you have been waiting for and asking us about. Tomorrow, VOMC's annual online garage sale begin with lowest prices you are likely to ever see on a number of books that the mission is discontinuing. Many books are selling for only $1.00. Others that would ordinarily sell for between $15.00 - $30.00 are on sale for only $5.00! This will be your last chance to get some of these resources from The Voice of the Martyrs. Order right away for best selection because once they're gone, they're gone!

Note: these resources may only be ordered by residents of Canada and are only available for ordering online. Phone or mail orders will not be accepted.