I See You

I See You.

You are loved.

You are precious.

You are thought of.

 

I See You

A campaign done by Open Doors, the international ministry that reaches out to persecuted Christians, particularly women who face sexual violence as well as the persecution for their faith, is the ‘I See You’ campaign. After a number of emails and some phone calls to the Open Doors Head Office in Oxford, I recieved multiple packs from them containing fabric, a booklet about the campaign, and a card with a painting of Esther, a Nigerian, Christian woman who has been rescued from Boko Haram by Open Doors.

After getting some cheap fabric, and all the fabric from the packs sent to me, I encouraged people to write ‘I See You’, and decorate them.  They were all sent across to Open Doors, where they will be stitched together to create one huge banner, and will be presented to UK Government in November 2019 during the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) Conference (1)20190701_18270620190701_211806

After meeting with the Parish Priest, Father Jonathan, at my church, who discussed the project with me in more detail and asked me questions, he advised that I attend different church groups to help me reach my target. He also encouraged me to do more work in church the helping Persecuted Christians. I showed him some examples of beautifully designed fabric, of which he loved. He gave me the go-ahead with the project, and kept a pack for himself and Father Tomas to do one too.

On 6th and 7th July, I had my own table at the back of church, and encouraged as many people as possible to sign and decorate some fabric. In an effort to reach my target and get 200 people involved, I also left some fabric and felt pens with one of the Parish Sisters who got several pieces of fabric designed from the local community after her meditation sessions. After getting approval from the Pastor of the local Christian Centre, he let me bring some sessions to the Food Bank where staff signed some fabric too. Following Father Jonathan’s advice, I attended the meeting of the Union of Catholic Mothers where I was warmly welcomed, and the ladies participated in the campaign, and even took some fabric home and encouraged their grandchildren to decorate some fabric too!

Over the weekend of 6th and 7th July, I was swept off my feet! On 6th, I ran the stall for the Acocks Green Food Bank at the local community carnival. After being placed next to Birmingham Churches Together, I got more fabric signed and designed there when I had a quiet moment. I attended my regular 5pm Mass, where I got my table for the weekend ready, and got more people signing fabric.

On Sunday 7th, I attended all 3 of the masses, where the campaign was enthusiastically announced at the end of each service. People rushed to the table to sign, and add some patterns to the pieces of fabric that were laid out on the table. Little children eagerly came over, ready to make some beautiful pictures on the fabric whilst carefully writing down their names. People queued at the table, eager to have their name on some fabric and to ask questions about the campaign.

It was a mad rush at times, and the love, support and enthusiasm shown by my parish was a truly heartwarming experience.  Many gave their love and thanks for the work that was being done by Open Doors, and were grateful for the opportunity to participate in this campaign. People took the miniature booklet and card with  extra information that was displayed in the table, and said their prayers for support.

At the end of it all, after the last 3 pieces of fabric had been signed, and all the counting of fabric had been sorted, it totaled an incredible 255!!! So much love and support demonstrated by the Christian Community of Acocks Green!

(Link to short instagram video of all the packs with the fabric ready to go: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzoRPnYHbI9/?igshid=x6y8mgnzo5bd)

All the fabric was neatly folded and put back into the reusable packs that they arrived in. Some packs had more fabric than others, to ensure that all the fabric that I had was sent over, and the quantity of the fabric in each pack was highlighted.

Let’s make change.

Let’s See Change.

I See You. My beloved sisters ❤

 

 

References

(1) Open Doors, ‘The Handmade Petition’ (2019) Available on-line at: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/act/see-change/handmade-petition/

 

Other

(1) Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW) (1979) Available online at: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/  Accessed on 07/07/2019

(2) Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) Article 18 (1976)                                     Available online at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx   Accessed on 07/07/2019ISEEYOU

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The Power of Prayer

Prayer is incredibly powerful.

Since January 2018, I have endeavored to be more prayerful and spiritual. When I pray, I have started doing meditative prayers. When I do meditative prayer, I play meditation music whilst praying Rosaries, and pray about everything in my life, which can last for up to an hour at a time. It is an exceptionally relaxing and liberating experience, that creates a strong sense of inner peace and contentment.

When I pray, I give all of my concerns and worries to God, and He takes care of them. I pray for His intercession in whatever I am doing, and for others who need prayer. I pray for others, and about everything; my friends, family, projects, people I meet, and give everything troubling my heart to God to take care of. Everything will be fine. God is in control.

In return, God has answered countless prayers, I’ve experienced so many miracles, and, through prayer, God has given me work to do (such as produce Everyday Miracles. After being inspired at a prayer meeting, I began collecting miracles from people globally sharing what God has done in their lives; https://www.apostolos-publishing.com/product/everday-miracles/.  Another example is the work I’ve been doing supporting the Persecuted Church, which is still an ongoing project with another event soon to come. Please see my previous blog Serving our persecuted brothers and sisters globally.  )

When we pray, we tap into the spiritual power that we innately have. As Jesus performed miracles and healed people, we can tap into the power of prayer and unlock our own spiritual power. We can, and are so much more capable of doing more than we realize when we let God take control. By letting His love and power flow through us, we can

Power of Prayer

As humans, we each have  a soul, which is a speck of God’s love which fills us completely, and comes directly from Heaven. When we pray, we connect with God on a deeper, more personal level.  Prayer enables us to unlock our spiritual gifts and help not only ourselves, but those around us.

Much love to you all ❤

This entry was posted on June 23, 2019. 1 Comment

Serving our persecuted brothers and sisters globally.

The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) section 18 protects the rights of individuals who have faith/follow a belief system. Section 18:1 states:

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching (1).

However, despite this, on a global scale, Christians face persecution, harassment, torture and abuse, simply for their faith. 215 million Christians faced persecution for their faith, which is set to rise to 245 million in 2019, and there is currently a genocide against Christians in Nigeria (2).

The International Ministry and Charity, Open Doors, operates in over 60 countries reaching out to the persecuted church. They provide Bibles to people who face persecution, train church leaders, support Christians, provide advocacy and missionary work.
The World Watch List has referenced 50 countries where Christians face persecution, including North Korea, Afghanistan and Somalia.   See the info from the World Watch List, and interactive map in reference list(3).

On May 4th and 5th, myself and the Sisters, Sister Angela and Sister Eleanor, from my Catholic church, Holy Souls, based in Acocks Green, Birmingham, have teamed up with support of the priests, to reach those who face persecution. At the end of each Mass on both dates, we met with the parish at the back of church and encouraged them to write a card which was delivered to Open Doors, and sent to Christians. Open Doors had information on different Christians in various countries, and their stories and testimonies were printed and displayed on the table, so people could have a read, and decide who to write to.

We had 100 cards, designed with Bible quotes (5 quotes and 20 cards for each) and encouraged the parish to write a prayerful comment and sign it (card designs pictured below).  We delivered each of the signed cards to Open Doors, where they will be sent abroad and distributed to the Christians on their list (4).

The names of the Christians the Christians that the Parishioners  could choose to write to were:

Esther, Nigeria

Aisha, Nigeria

Gyang, Nigeria,

Marta; Ethiopia

Eldos and Nurhzan, Kyrgyzstan   (5)

Information for the church newsletter and bulletin was produced, and the event was announced at the end of each service over the weekend. Fr Tomas and Fr Jonathan encouraged the parish to write and sign a card, and show their support for Christians who face persecution for  their faith.

These are the cards that were designed and printed (slide show)

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At the end of each Mass, (and for 10 minutes prior to each of them starting) people came to the table where myself, Sister Angela, and a few others spoke with parishioners about writing and signing a card. People demonstrated great interest and enthusiasm (one lady even wrote multiple cards to every Christian on the list of names!)

The event was so well recieved, that we even ran out of cards, so people made prayerful and encouraging messages on some paper (which covered 2 sides of A4!) People were very keen to talk to me and Sister Angela, and write their supportive messages down ❤

The support shown by my church, priests and parish has been simply incredible! I am eternally grateful for the help and support I have been given. The work that Open Doors does to help those who face persecution for their faith is simple amazing, and the support that Holy Souls Catholic Church has provided in allowing me and Sr Angela to run this project, will make an enormous difference in the lives of those we are writing to.

 

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References:

(1) International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights; Article 18:1 Available online at: http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/edumat/stu’Wdyguides/religion.html Accessed on 16/03/19

(2) Stoyan Zaimof ‘The Christian Post’: ‘Pure Genocide’: Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children. Available online at: https://www.christianpost.com/news/pure-genocide-over-6000-nigerian-christians-slaughtered-mostly-women-children.html?fbclid=IwAR0Ys-MMnloeIPTKHXsqUBKyOwqJ1x-NrQ1kz7qI0mwqz5huZDwzQ7KGkIQ Accessed on 19/03/19

(3)World Watch List (Interactive Map): https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/countries/ Accessed on 15/03/19

(4) Open Doors ‘Writing a Letter of Encouragement’ Available online at: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/act/letter/  Accessed on 19/03/2019

(5) Ibid

 

Other Sources
https://www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Christian-persecution-set-to-rise-in-2019

This entry was posted on May 5, 2019. 2 Comments

Reliving Traumatic Life Experiences; my top tips on self-love and care.

TW: this blog post contains themes of sexual assault                                                                    The content of this blog post is of a sensitive nature.

Around June/July last year (2018) my anxiety spiked. During the anxiety attacks, I began having flashbacks to the sexual assault that happened when I was 13. One moment, I was getting on with my life, the next moment, I could hardly breath, began having palpitations, and my body felt as sick and weak as it did when the assault happened.

It went on for several weeks, causing much concern for members of my family. I hated constantly feeling weak, and had no idea as to why, 11 years after the assault, it was coming back.

After breaking down to my doctor, he explained to me the bio-psychological processes that were happening. He talked about the amygdala which is the non-analytical part of the brain, which deals with the fight/flight response. My body was reacting with the fight/flight response whilst having an anxiety attack due to the flashbacks.  He said that there may never be a reason as to why I’m having these flashbacks, and that there may never even be a reason. He further explained that this may occur again later in my life.

Now that I have had this experience, these are my top tips on self-love when reliving traumatic life experiences.

These are my top tips on self-love and care when reliving traumatic experiences:

  • Take deep breaths
  • Make yourself a cup of tea/beverage
  • If out and about, find somewhere to sit down and breathe deeply.
  • Recollect your thoughts and think of happy memories
  • When you’re at home, spend time with your family, friends/loved ones.
  • Engage in an artistic/therapeutic activity to distract your mind
  • Take some time out; have some ‘me-time’, recoup your energy
  • Have a long soak in a hot bath
  • Remember that you are loved

 

Green Habits

Recently, I have actively sought out ways to be more environmental friendly and do my part to help. For the past 4 months, after seeing a simple campaign idea promoted by Lush, I have been involved and participating in Lush’s bottle top recycling campaign.

Lush are collecting bottle tops (milk, bottled drinks, etc), where they can be sent in an envelope at your post office to the address ‘free post LUSH HUB’ where they will be recycled and reused, and made into everyday items.

bottle-tops-770x529

Info about the Lush Bottletop campaign can be found here: https://disposalknowhow.com/lush-plastic-bottle-tops/

Additionally, myself, and a few others have got together and arranged to do a litter pick in Yardley Wood in May, in an effort to keep the streets clean, and encourage people to come together, and to make their neighborhood more presentable.

Over to you guys now!
Are there any companies you love who run an environmental campaign(s) that you could support? Adopting green habits to show your love for the environment (and companies that run them)could make a massive difference to the environment around us.

Let’s show our love for the environment and try and and do our bit, in whatever small way that is. One small step in the right direction, can make a huge different to our environment.

Go green!

This entry was posted on March 7, 2019. 4 Comments

“The Needy Shall not be forgotten”

Since April 2017, I have actively volunteered at my local Food Bank in Acocks Green. The Food Bank has grown and helped hundreds of people in the last 2 years. Links with shops and schools have been established to help maintain a flow of donations (food and financial) to accommodate this growth and community need. At times, volunteers undertake ad-hoc fund-raising activities to ensure that there is enough money to buy food when stocks are low.

In the past 2 years here, I have processed clients, ensured that they have enough food to ensure that they have their next set of meals. The staff at the Food Bank have and reached people from all walks of life, battling all kinds of hardships; financial, mental, physical, emotional, and so much more.

I have processed and dealt with everything, from supporting young families with little money. Helping individuals whose benefits have been stopped, domestic violence survivors, recovering addicts, ex-prisoners who are trying to turn their lives around, and those who are formerly homeless and have finally gotten themselves accommodation.

On some occasions, I have witnessed grown adults break down due to the hardships that they have faced, and are now having to rely on food banks to meet a basic human necessity, whilst battling other personal issues. Others have shied away from the food bank due to shame, fear and embarrassment. At the Acocks Green Food Bank,we endeavor to reach as many people as possible, and have an open door policy; everyone is welcome! Tea, coffee and toast is always offered, so clients and staff can have a bite to eat whilst having a conversation at the table.

Everyone at the food bank is welcoming, friendly, and are always willing to go above and beyond to help the clients.

We’re open twice a week; Tuesday and Friday, 10am-12pm at the Acocks Green Christian Centre, the rear of 100 Westley Road.
For more information about the Acocks Green Food Bank can be found here:
https://www.elim-acocksgreen.org/foodbank