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WINTER 2012 Volume 59 Number 2

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BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING A WOMAN’S JOURNEY TO REACHING HER GOALS

i think i do?

BERNI DYMET ON ARRANGED MARRIAGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY

get the girls HIGH TEA FOR HABITAT

Plus Chocolate addiction

What’s stopping you? Machine Gun Preacher

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CW contents: 12.

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Editor’s Letter

10 What’s stopping you? Our self-beliefs can stop us moving into the Promised Land… Amanda Antcliff 12 In think I do… arranged marriages in the 21st century Berni Dymet examines the ‘positives’ for arranged marriages and how they can work well 15 Blessed to be a blessing A woman’s journey to reaching her goals… Caroline Marsh 18 High Tea for Habitat Host your own High Tea and help build a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live... Vicky Sparey 21 Women’s rights slowly coming to Uganda Transformation to women in Ghana through programs and strategies… Belinda Greenwood 25 Chocolate addition? Children in peril Caroline Kitto gives insight into the plight of child slaves who enable us to eat the chocolate we so enjoy

21.

36 Devastation in Africa Sam Childers, the machine gun preacher is one man making a difference in Africa... Lynn Goldsmith 40 Jack Vidgen – music • faith • soul Winner of last year’s Australia’s Got Talent shares his journey of music and faith

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EDITOR’S LETTER Now, you women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth… Jer. 9:20 The secret is surrender. Commitment to Christ involves surrender of the intellect, the emotions and the will — the total person. ~ Bill Bright Thank you for reading our next great issue of Christian Woman. Let’s celebrate Christ and all He has done for us. The world tells us one thing but God’s Word is the final authority, so there is another dimension for us to live in. There are many barriers that have been put up by governments, politicians, and even by religion. We need to live in Christ alone and there is our freedom. There are some wonderful articles in this issue of Christian Woman. There are many people who are reaching out to those who are disadvantaged, the poor and downcast, the lost, lonely and depressed. God loves them with an insatiable love. I just

watched a DVD on the life of Arthur Blessit, who carried the cross all around the world – what a man! I did an interview with him a few years ago and he is truly a man of God – reaching people for his Lord. Read about the issue of human trafficking – children who are kidnapped and sold into slavery in order to produce the chocolate we so love to eat. It is heartbreaking to think of little ones being forced into forced labour for little or no money at all. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Vidgen the 15 year old who won Australia’s Got Talent. This young man loves the Lord with all his heart – he was articulate in his speech and manners and was gentle and humble. You don’t often find teenagers who convey these qualities but Jack certainly does. He wants to give the younger generation hope and the majority of his songs, particularly in his new album Inspire, portray this. A woman in England, who comes from Zambia, is making an impact in business. She and her husband have invested in property and she is mentoring Christian women, helping them to move into their destiny and to change their lifestyle. Enjoy reading the magazine and may God bless you

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What’s

You?

Our self-beliefs can stop us from moving into the Promised Land. We should believe what God says about us and not what others think…If God believes in us then we can do anything he asks… AMANDA ANTCLIFF

W

e’re all familiar with the red stop signs and traffic lights that when we are driving, compel us to brake...stopping our motion. All around us and in us, we too have these signals that halt our progress in life. Every one of us has potential, dreams and goals that we want to see released and realised. However we also have our own unique stop signs which prevent us from moving forward and achieving our goals. As a personal coach my role is to come alongside people and help bring positive changes into their life. During this process I have observed a common factor that stops people from pushing through to pursue the things which are important to them. Simply, it is the belief they have in themselves. Recently, the television show ‘The Voice’ has hit our screens with fervour. Musician and mentor Seal, when he was working with his contestants handed out to each of them a piece of paper. On it was written the statement, ‘There is nothing else’. He then said to his mentorees that without a doubt they had talent, but what would distinguish them above others was their own self-belief. If you have that he said, then nothing else matters. The presence or absence of strong self-belief is possibly the most releasing or inhibiting factor that influences a woman fulfilling her potential and purpose. Insecurity is characterised by self-doubt and a feeling of vulnerability which will cause a person to shrink back and to hide. On the other hand a person who is secure in themselves and assured of their own value and capability, does not allow others or circumstances to intimidate them or stop them from taking hold of new opportunities. Dr Phil McGraw in his book Love Smart shares this great insight about self-belief; ‘Confident people are calm without being aloof or arrogant. If you know who you are, if you are secure in who you are and, most important, if you accept who you are, then it will take a lot to knock you off your balance.’ Transforming Your Mind Often the place where self-belief is tested is in the

10 Christian Woman Winter 2012


counselling

mind. As Joyce Meyer, so aptly wrote in her book, Battlefield of the Mind, ‘Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life’. A person’s self-esteem can be identified and measured by selftalk which is a reflection of our thoughts and ultimately what we believe about ourselves. It’s important then to identify what we think and say about ourselves and how these beliefs and thoughts affect our behaviour. Every day we will respond, make decisions and act from a combination of positive and negative self-belief patterns. Personal self-beliefs are the perceptions we hold about ourselves and the way others and the ‘world’ treat us. Our self-belief is developed at a young age and our childhood experiences are instrumental in shaping how we perceive things. Sometimes, what we believe about ourselves are the comments or ‘labels’ somebody else has spoken into and over our lives. The problem with negative selfbeliefs is that we don’t experience them just as perceptions but we experience them as absolute hard truths that unfortunately get reinforced and perpetuated throughout life. And so, being the ‘truth’, we then accept them and live our lives within the limitations set by them. To break this pattern and bondage we firstly need to identify the lies, and then fervently take hold and replace them with the real truth from the Word of God. It’s His truth which will set us free and empower us to live in victory. Romans 12:1 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. Being Mindful A powerful technique used by psychologists and counsellors is called ‘mindfulness’. The foundation of this concept is having a heightened awareness of what you are experiencing

and thinking. Often our negative thoughts occur in the subconscious or ‘background’ of our mind. When we are mindful we put into practice this biblical principle; Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 It’s incredibly important to take time to pay attention to what your thoughts and internal belief system are saying. This requires ‘sit, think and write’ time. The best way to do this is to reflect back over past or present times when you have felt vulnerable, insecure or fearful and write down any unhelpful perceptions, thoughts and self-talk you had during this event. In coaching and in my own life, I have discovered the power of becoming aware and bringing into light any negative beliefs and mindsets. In doing this, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:5 Trust God Because He Believes in You In life we are often faced with the decision of what and who are we going to believe. Are we going to see and believe in our own inadequacies, or the intimidating voice of our enemy? Or do we believe in our Father in Heaven who has created us, called us and chosen us, for His pleasure and His purpose. There’s always a choice. In the Old Testament, we read the stories of a number of people who struggled with believing in God and in themselves. When the Israelites were preparing to take the land of Canaan, twelve men were sent in to spy out the land. The land was filled with giants and even though God had promised them this land, ten of these men believed that it was impossible to take the land. Their doubt in turn incited fear in all the people of Israel. They declared, We scouted out

the land from one end to the other— it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants. Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers. (The Message – Numbers 13:33) In stark contrast, the other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, chose to believe God’s promise that they could indeed kill the giants and take the land. It’s fascinating how the same situation viewed from different eyes and a different belief system could invoke such a varying response and result. In two other stories, we read about the calling of Gideon and Saul. The first man was chosen to be a warrior and deliverer, the second called by God to be King of Israel. When God first visited and appointed both men they responded with very similar statements; “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. ” (Judges 6:15) and ‘Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Samuel 9:13) Too often, I hear similar statements spoken from men and women about who they aren’t or what they haven’t got. Interestingly, God rarely chooses a person who feels strong, confident or competent. It’s in our weakness we have to rely on God and be obedient to His call, despite our shaky self-belief. We all need to be reminded – that if God believes in me... and is with me... then I can do anything He asks of me.

Amanda Antcliff is a personal coach, mentor, pastor, workshop trainer and conference speaker. She is also the author of the book Women Rising. www. amandaantcliff.com

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i think i do … ARRANGED MARRIAGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Berni Dymet examines the positives for ‘arranged marriages’. In the West we cannot comprehend this union but there are some interesting statistics to show it can work well

Y

ou mention arranged marriage to an Australian, indeed to just about any westerner – and we’re pretty much horrified. We can’t imagine mum and dad stitching us up with our soul mate for life. So, we Australians view the notion of arranged marriage with horror and disdain – almost as something uncivilised. We’d expect it perhaps in an Islamic or Hindu context – perhaps, but we perceive it as an incredibly negative thing. Imagine a young woman being forced to marry some brut against her will. Of course that’s just one scenario and it does happen. And nobody is going to argue anything but the fact that being forced to take a husband (or a wife) totally against your will is one of the most horrid, terrible, abhorrent things imaginable. In fact, when you think about it, if a young woman is being forced to marry a man against her will, then her parents are accomplices in serial rape. So – as we embark on this journey, this discussion about arranged marriage, I need you to understand that the very last thing I’m saying is that forced marriage is acceptable. It clearly is not. But now let’s take a look at arranged marriage… from a different perspective. And the way I’d like to do that is to introduce you to two dear friends of mine in India, Elia and Esther. They are both Christians. Their marriage was arranged. And they, like many millions of other Indian couples are: a. not at all resentful of having had their

12 Christian Woman Winter 2012


a different perspective.

marriage arranged through parents and family, b. very happily married indeed, and c. not in the least concerned that still today, arranged marriages are by far the most common way in which marriages occur across the largest democracy in the world – India. In fact, here’s a statistic that is going to blow you away. India has one of the very lowest divorce rates in the world. The divorce rate in Australia, the US, the UK and most other so–called developed countries, hovers around the 40% mark. But that’s only first marriages. It goes rapidly downhill from there. Around 60% of second marriages and a staggering 73% of third marriages end in divorce! So, what’s the divorce rate in India – this country that still persists with this ‘inconceivably barbaric’ practice of arranging marriages? Oh – about 11 in every 1,000 marriages end in divorce. That’s a staggeringly low 1.1%. Now does that figure mask the fact that a marriage can be desperately unhappy, and that – because of cultural expectations – the couple has remained married? Of course it does. But the gap between our western 40% divorce rate and India’s 1.1% is so vast, that it has to make you and me at least think again, about our position on arranged marriage. In an interesting opinion piece in the India Times recently called ‘The logic of arranged marriage in India’, Santos Deshai had this to say: The need for some arrangement when it comes to marriage is a very real one, both here as well as in those cultures where arranged marriages are anathema. The blind date, being set up by friends, online dating, the speed date, reality … TV … shows are all attempts to arrange ways that one can meet a potential spouse. Here the idea of love is being not-sogently manufactured by contriving a spark that could turn into the cozy fire of domesticity. The arranged marriage of today

is more clearly manufactured but it also offers a more certain outcome. Okay. It’s one thing for a journo to argue in favour of arranged marriage. But let’s turn our attention back to Elia and Esther. I’ve known Elia really well for a good many years. He and I work together these days serving the Lord – he’s the head of the Indian arm of our ministry, Christianityworks. So what does Elia have to say about his arranged marriage? Well, here’s his perspective. “In Indian culture, family is very, very important. Much more so than in the west. For us, the individual is the most important. Individual rights are important. Individual satisfaction and career and pleasures are important. But in India, people’s frame of reference is collective, not individual. They think of themselves in the context of their family, not as an isolated individual. And so in that context, it is the most logical thing in the world for their family to be involved in selecting a marriage partner.” And not just their parents. In Esther’s case she had been orphaned, and so her older sisters were involved. In Elia’s

“In Indian culture, family is very, very important. Much more so than in the west… case he was working in a Christian ministry, so his boss became involved in the process, as did his older brother and his parents. To Elia it is patently obvious that because his family loves him, because his parents brought him into the world and nurtured him and love him more than anyone else on the planet, that they would obviously have his best interests at heart. Applying their wisdom and years of experience, together with their knowledge of him and their family as a whole, is without a doubt the most appropriate, the most logical and the most beneficial thing that he could

possibly do. Can I tell you something? Setting our individualistic mindset aside, that’s pretty difficult to argue against, don’t you think? Their marriage commitment was then made in the context of family – almost as a family commitment. And let’s just stop and think about that for a minute. Marriage is after all, first and foremost a commitment. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health … until death us do part … Our marriage vows reflect the fact that marriage is an unconditional, life–long commitment. A commitment that 99% of Indian marriages end up fulfilling. A commitment that only 60% of Australian marriages end up fulfilling. The Bible speaks of three different kinds of love. The first and the most important is agape love. That’s the unconditional love that God shows us through the death and resurrection of Jesus His Son. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son …. The word there for love is agape. The second form is phileo. This is the love of friendship. This is also a deep and important form of love. It speaks of commitment. And the third type of love is eros. This is romantic love and also implies sexual love (it is the Greek word from which we derive our English word erotic). We, with our western, individualistic mindset take it as an absolute, fundamental given that eros is the most important form of love in marriage. Our main objection to arranged marriages is But what if they don’t love one another? And by ‘love’ we mean romantic love. Eros. The Indian mindset is different. Family is about commitment. Family is first and foremost about agape love. And when we stop and for just a moment lay aside our individualistic mindset (it’s not easy is it?) we realise that that’s absolutely true. Absolutely! Anyone who has ever nurtured a child from infancy through those

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a different perspective.

difficult teenage years will tell you that the only thing, some days, that stops you throwing them out of a third floor window, is agape. Our unconditional, parental commitment. Anyone who’s been married long enough for the initial romantic flurry to wear off and those irritating weaknesses to float to the surface (I still can’t believe my wife Jacqui squeezes the toothpaste from the top and not the bottom!!!) will tell you that the most important type of love in a marriage is agape. Elia will tell you that agape is more important than eros. In fact, if you get the agape right in your marriage, eros will follow on as surely as night follows day. But … but … but what about the chemistry? Surely there has to be some attraction. Some people click and some people don’t. Sure. That was my question too. And Elia’s response?

“Well, my parents love me. They understand that, and of course that’s something we all took into consideration in making the decision. Now … that makes sense, doesn’t it?” Esther is taller than Elia. That bothered Elia’s older brother. So it’s something they discussed. Is that okay? Is that going to bother Elia a year or two down the track? Elia’s take was that it was far more important to him that Esther was a godly woman, than to worry about her height. Can I tell you something, the more I poked around inside this ‘arranged marriage’ thingy, the more I became convinced that this deliberate, family– oriented, collective, agape–first approach to selecting a marriage partner has a lot going for it. The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that they have it right and we have it wrong. The selection of a life–long marriage partner happens

in the context and collective wisdom of an agape–based family unit that has the best interests of their young folk at heart. And that right there is probably why Indians have a 1% divorce rate, and we have a 40% divorce rate. Are you challenged by all this? Yep, me too. It makes you think …

Berni Dymet is the CEO and Bible teacher of the Australian based, global media ministry Christianityworks. Each week over 40 million people in 160 countries listen to the radio programs that he produces. You can chat with him on his blog at adifferentperspective. org of follow him on Twitter @ bernidymet.

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BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING A WOMAN’S JOURNEY TO REACHING HER GOALS CAROLINE MARSH is one motivated and inspiring woman who grew up in Zambia and then moved to England. She has become a businesswoman, investing in property and being a mentor to many women who want to change their lifestyle

I

asked Caroline a number of questions about her life, where she came from, and where she is now. Her life is one of always moving forwards towards her vision. What was life like – growing up in Zambia? My life growing up in Zambia was a roller coaster journey. I was born in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, and my early childhood growing up there was both privileged and happy until I was 13 when my father died. When I was ten years old, growing up in Zambia, like many young girls I dreamed of living the glamorous life of the airline cabin crew. My world fell apart when I was 13 and my father died and I lost not only a parent but a mentor and an inspiration. My family struggled for a number of years, but at the age of 19 my childhood dream came true, when I was one of ten selected from five thousand applicants to become a flight attendant with Zambian Express, and that was the point at which I realized that

if I set myself a goal, I could achieve it. Do women have any equality or opportunities in Zambia? To a certain degree, having said that now women have more opportunity than 10 years when I lived there. I also believe that women need support in helping them realize they have the remarkable ability to do greater things as well as being the homemaker just as the Proverbs 31 woman. How did you find Christ? I found God at one of the lowest points in my life. My husband and I were planning to have a baby, when I fell pregnant, I was so excited I flew back home to Zambia to share the good news with my family, and soon after I did, the very night I had a miscarriage and was so devastated I had to travel back to the UK to be with my husband. It was at that time I really began to ask so many questions such as how can God take away my baby? My best friend was visiting and she took me to an evangelical church where I heard a minister preach the word and

made the alter call and I gave my life to Jesus because the questions I was asking were answered in his word including the meaning of my life. This happened in March 2003 at COC Church in Swindon now called Citifaith International Church. Tell me about your business activities now – Property investing and how your mentor helped you. Firstly, Let me give you a snapshot of how I started to where I am today. Like many women, I wished for a great lifestyle, financial freedom and the ability to make a difference in other peoples’ lives especially the family commitments back home in Zambia, all that remained a dream until I met Steve Bolton a Serial Property Millionaire The day that turned my life around was in 2006 November when I went to the Business Conference Organised by COC Europe in Spain, while seeking God for his direction. I heard Steve Bolton speak about cash-positive property investing in the UK, I heard clearly the need to take a step of faith and seek his mentorship. 

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women in business.

ping l e h n i t r suppo d e e n n e e the v wom a h y e h t ize eater r them real g o d o t ability e l b a k r a rem ing the e b s a l l e w verbs o things as r p e h t s just a r e k a m e hom 31 woman THE SECRET MILLIONAIRE

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THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE A highly successful buy-to-let property investor and Business Mentor. Caroline Marsh made her name for herself in the media after featuring on prime Television Channel 4 ‘The Secret Millionaire’ as a philanthropic entrepreneur. From a rollercoaster childhood in her native Zambia to celebrity in the UK, Caroline has consistently demonstrated determination, resilience, generosity, capability and integrity, and it is these skills and values she is now sharing with others. To date Caroline has continued to build her property portfolio in and around Swindon, working with investment Partners. In early 2008 Caroline was screen tested & selected for C4’s ‘The Secret Millionaire’, and spent 10 days being filmed in Toxteth, Liverpool. The programme aired in September 2008 and as a direct result of her experience, not only has Caroline given money and ongoing business support to two community projects in Toxteth, but also she was inspired to get to know her own local community and make a difference. Caroline has since been speaking sharing her success Secrets alongside many Successful Entrepreneurs such as Peter Jones (Dragons Den) The Inventor of the WWW Tim Berners Lee, Inspiring others to embark on the journey of wealth creation. Her engagements have ranged from Large Business Conferences such as the Franchise Show and Business Start up, Business Conventions and Corporations to Schools, Charities and community events. Caroline has featured in both national and international publications sharing her success story and business skills.

BY TIM KELLER WITH KATHY KELLER

Early 2007, Steve mentored me using his tested, tried and proven business model to establish a successful property business. In our business we supply high quality low cost accommodation to working professionals. Following the success of our property business my family and I had an opportunity to feature on Prime Time Television C4’s ‘The Secret Millionaire’, a program which takes a millionaire undercover into a world of voluntary and community projects, I went to Toxteth, Liverpool. It’s being able to be a blessing, being the hands and feet of Jesus. He taught me business fundamentals using property and how I could grow my portfolio. I then realized that all business skills are learnable and so I began to help others do the same, which I now describe as ‘living life with a purpose’. Today my main focus is helping aspiring entrepreneurs take their idea from Concept to Cash in 90 Days. We also run a Mastermind Group, where we mastermind businesses in structuring them on how to ‘Run and Manage a Successful Business’ by creating a lifestyle business model ‘work on the business rather than working in the business’. I would like to offer every reader a free copy of my blueprint ‘The 7 Secrets of Success’ visit my website www.carolinemarsh.com

Goldsmith I NLynn -S TORE & ONLINE Editor-in-Chief

16 Christian Woman Winter 2012


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Host your own High Tea this September and help HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Australia build a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live... Vicky Sparey

18 Christian Woman Winter 2012


charity.

High Tea for Habitat for Humanity Australia is the world’s number one not for profit provider of housing for low income families in need. Habitat for Humanity has changed the lives of people around the world, building more than 500,000 homes and sheltering more than 2 million people world wide. We believe it all starts at home. A stable, secure home creates the foundation for change, giving people the chance to be healthier, happier and for children to be better nourished and educated. We give a hand up, not a hand out. We build homes in partnership with families in Australia and overseas. They give ‘sweat equity’ by helping build their own home and as they re-pay their no profit loan, we can then build even more homes for more families in need. We do more than just houses. We don’t just provide a roof – we build communities. We provide clean water and sanitation as-well as health education and livelihood training to build long term sustainable communities for families like Njor. Njor lived with her children and elderly father in the only place she could afford: a small, poorly built shack in a Phnom Penh slum. Njor’s slum was built over the city’s open drainage system, right next to a rubbish dump. As you’d expect, the stench of human waste and rotting garbage was overwhelming, like standing inside a big open sewer. Yet Njor and her family had to endure these sickening conditions every single day. In the days before we visited Njor, two young children had died after falling through loose floorboards into the filth below. It was clear from the gaping holes that covered the roof and floor of her shack that her family’s lives were also at huge risk. When it rained, raw sewerage and garbage would rise through the floor and into her home. It was a desperate struggle to keep her children safe by placing them in hammocks as she stood guard in the toxic water all night. It was so sad to see how these awful conditions were affecting Njor’s youngest daughter. Unlike most young

“But thanks to our amazing supporters, we were able to help Njor build a safe, clean and decent new home in a tranquil village, far from the horrific slum...”

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 19


charity.

children, she had nowhere to play, and few reasons to feel playful. But thanks to our amazing supporters, we were able to help Njor build a safe, clean and decent new home in a tranquil village, far from the horrific slum. When my colleague saw Njor’s daughter running excitedly around her new home, grinning with joy, she could see real happiness and hope in this beautiful little girl’s eyes. A few months on, after taking part in livelihood training, Njor is now running her own business from her home, sewing sequins onto t-shirts and she is also sharing her skills by training other women in her community – and it was all thanks to our supporters. That’s why the money raised from High Tea for Habitat is so important. It’s a practical way to help. Vicky Sparey Habitat Australia

20 Christian Woman Winter 2012

Just $25 can buy a tool kit for a family to repair their home, $100 can buy a well to supply clean water to an entire community and it only costs on average $2100 to build an entire home in the AsiaPacific. Help us with our mission of demonstrating Christian faith through action – register to host a High Tea for Habitat today. Enjoy a cup of tea and some special treats with your friends and family all whilst raising money for families and communities in need across the Asia Pacific region. To register call us on 1800 88 55 99 or visit www.habitat.org.au/ hightea


justice.

Women’s RIGHTS slowly coming to GHANA Women are being transformed through programs and strategies to bring a form of equality to their lives in Ghana according to Belinda Greenwood who has provided information to a series of questions she proposed. Life has not been easy for many of the women in the tribes in the country

What is life like in Ghana for women? In south-eastern Ghana in the districts of Akatsi, Keta, North Tongu, South Tongu, Ketu North, Ketu South, Dangme East and Dangme West are very poor rural communities where women and children suffer all forms of deprivation, gender-based violence, discrimination and extreme poverty. Most of the communities lack access to basic infrastructure which includes health facilities, accessible roads, water, decent shelter, food, sanitation and educational facilities. Girl-child education up to secondary and tertiary levels is very low. This results in problems including high drop-out rates of girls from formal education, lack of employable skills, teen-age pregnancy and single motherhood. Girls and women in these areas come from a history of obnoxious socio-cultural practices that impinge on their fundamental human rights. One of such practices which came to the attention of International Needs is the ‘trokosi’ practice. Also known as fiashidi or woryokwe found among Ewes and Dangme ethnic groups in south–eastern Ghana. The trokosi practice involves the incarceration of young virgin girls sent to fetish shrines as atonement for crimes alleged to have been committed by members of the extended families. A curse is pronounced by the offended family and it is believed that until a young virgin girl is sent to the shrine for atonement repercussions that manifest in degrees of tragedies and deaths of the culprit’s family members will persist. The girls, sometimes as young as five or six, are virtually abandoned in abject deprivation and fear in the shrines for anywhere from several years to life to render mundane and religious services. They are

industry in Ghan a

subjected to all forms of physical, emotional and psychological and economic abuses. At the onset of their first or second menstrual cycle, the young girls are sexually abused. The children born to them through this by the priests become the sole responsibility of the mothers. When a trokosis dies, she is replaced by a new virgin girl to continue the cycle. How do you empower and encourage women? In 1991 International Needs initiated an intervention project in Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 21


justice.

Clockwise from top: Cromwell with nursing staff; Skills training; Women in Ghana

Ghana to liberate and rehabilitate women and young girls enslaved by the trokosi practice to enforce their human and equal rights and provide them with opportunities to fulfil their life’s potential. We are now providing a similar comprehensive holistic aid and development program, which not only provides opportunities for education, training and tools to any remaining trokosi slaves (if/when we discover them) but many other poor and vulnerable women (which assists the individual and their family) but also targets their immediate community and the community at large in order to establish equality for these women and sustainable lasting economic growth for the region. We extend a ‘hand up’ not just a hand out to women, their families and to their communities. What does your program consist of? Firstly, we conduct advocacy and awareness raising campaigns with collaborators including Commission on Human Rights, women’s groups, traditional leaders, Chiefs and Queen-mothers, to sensitise entire communities on the laws that protect and promote the rights of women and children in Ghana. These

The trokosi practice involves the incarceration of young virgin girls sent to fetish shrines as atonement for crimes alleged to have been committed by members of the extended families 22 Christian Woman Winter 2012


justice.

laws include; the children’s Act of 1998, the Human Trafficking Act of 2007 and the Domestic Violence Act of 2007. We also address all forms of gender-based violence. We provide emotional, psycho-social and trauma counselling and vocational training programs at our Adidome centre in the Volta Region. Each woman can select training of her choice from pottery and weaving to bakery, fabric design or even manicure/pedicure and soap making. The centre holds supplementary courses in the areas of functional literacy, counselling and health /social issues, small enterprise management and development, improved agricultural production and food processing and preservation. The women are provided with basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, personal items and medical care to facilitate their stay at the vocational training centre and early childhood care is provided for pre-school children accompanying their mothers to the centre to enable the mothers to focus and concentrate on their vocational skill training. All these women and their children undergo medical screening and receive medical care during the course of training at the centre. At the end of each training session, the women are provided with tools and materials to start their micro-enterprises (income generating activities). This is followed by linking successfully trained women to microfinance facilities. All graduates are then placed into support groups that provide peer advice and assistance together with accountability in their micro-enterprise. The women’s groups are encouraged to operate the ‘susu’ (an informal method of saving) system to boost their capital and cushion them against shocks, and seasonality and are monitored regularly by mentors to assist them in their business growth.

What are you seeing from the implementation of the program? Since July 1997 International Needs has liberated and rehabilitated 3,500 women and their children from the trokosi practice and have been instrumental in pressuring the parliament in Ghana to pass a law criminalising the practice. In addition, thousands of these and other vulnerable women have gone through our vocational training centre and gone on to working their own microenterprises which provides them with economic empowerment for themselves, their families and for their communities. How is your program changing women? The program not only changes women’s lives by providing the skills and the tools to generate income to support them and their families, but also we find that by the end of the program all trainees have considerably gained self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness, before returning home due to their education, the reinforcement of their rights, and the other life skills they learn while they are here. They are more effective, positive - and now have more of a voice in their communities. For example: Ex-trokosi slave Sarah (she changed her name after her liberation) now looks a more confident woman. At credit meetings she speaks out her mind boldly, challenging the men on their views. She is now one of the micro credit group leaders. Unlike those times when she was in the shrine, she can now move about freely without any restriction from any priest and is in full control over her own life. She also now feels confident about the future of her children who are learning a vocation with International Needs Vocational Training Centre (INVTC). She is now engaged in farming. She

Unlike those times when she was in the shrine, she can now move about freely without any restriction from any priest and is in full control over her own life has acquired land and is doing her own farming activities. She is also engaged in petty trading. These have made her economically independent. She has accessed the micro credit facility twice. She was able to pay up the first loan and has been given another loan for which she has also completed payment. Are the women rising up to equality in Ghana? Deeply ingrained cultural practises take time and support from all facets of the community to change. We are making important in-roads in this area by sensitising government and district heads, traditional and religious leaders, as well as empowering women and getting the men on board too to create a sustainable foundation for lasting transformation. We are sure to see marked improvements in the next generation and beyond – but there is still much work to do.

Belinda Greenwood is the Promotions Officer here at International needs Australia – but I put it together on behalf of Cromwell Awadey Head Of Programs, International Needs Ghana

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 23


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life.

CHOCOLATE

ADDICTION? CHILDREN IN PERIL CAROLYN KITTO gives us an insight into the plight of child slaves who enable us to eat the chocolate we so enjoy. This will give readers a different view on the delicacies that we love and how children are exploited to produce these

id you enjoy eating chocolate at Easter? Some sweet treats on Mothers’ Day? Well STOP THE TRAFFIK would like the chocolate experience to be enjoyable for everyone, from beginning to end. Regrettably it has been known since 2001 that the harvesting of cocoa beans is being done by children, some as young as five or six, in West African countries. Worse still, some of these children are actually being kidnapped, or their parent(s) are being tricked into effectively selling them into slavery. 75-80% of the world’s harvest comes from these regions, so chances are your Easter and Mothers’ Day chocolate contained some of these beans. A 2002 report by the U.S Department of State estimated that there were 109,000 children working in conditions considered to be hazardous on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire. Around 10,000 children were victims of human trafficking or enslavement1. The work that is required of these children includes being exposed to dangerous pesticides and chemicals, using machetes,

D

travelling great distances and working in the blistering heat for long hours for little or no pay. The work is often hazardous in nature and more often than not interferes with their education. Along with this, there have been reports of children being subjected to beatings and abuse by their employers. According to International labour standards set out by the International Labour Organisation, in most cases this work is considered to be some of the ‘Worst Forms of Child Labour’. From 1980-2000 the price of cocoa began to decrease dramatically due to over-supply and market liberalisation in these countries that did not yet have safeguards in place to protect the income of producers. The use of child and forced labour began to increase, as some farmers could only make a living by paying little or no money for the labour needed to produce the cocoa.2 Big chocolate companies around the world promised they would address this problem by 2004. Now in 2012, the problem still exists and the progress is

1 Elliot J. Schrage and Anthony P. Ewing, The Cocoa Industry and Child Labour, JCC, 2005.

2 Paul Robson, Ending Child Trafficking in west Africa-Lessons from the Ivorian cocoa sector, December 2010, Anti Slavery International.

painfully slow. In fact as an industry, the buying and selling of humans, is on the increase. It is now the second largest illegal industry in the world, between the drug and arms trade. Mostly women and children are the victims in everything from labour, to child soldiers, to organ trafficking to the sex industry. We can no longer say it is nothing to do with us as we all own and consume products which have had trafficking and enslaving of other human beings as a part of their production. It is something which should be shocking to us all and we should do something about it. William Wilberforce, the Christian social reformer to whom the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade is attributed, also found the progress incredibly slow. It wasn’t until he pointed out to people, that the sugar they were putting in their tea was provided for them through the pain and suffering of slaves, that he got action. He invited people to give up sugar and the impact on industry made them sit up and listen. We are inviting people all over the world to exercise their consumer choice and decide to purchase and eat chocolate, which the manufacturer assures us does not have child and human trafficking in

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 25


life.

its production. The easiest way to know this is to look for one of three certification logos on your chocolate. A logo from Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified, means the supply chain has been checked and your chocolate is Traffik-free. Chocolate companies will often use words like ‘Sustainable’, ‘Ethical’ and ‘Responsible’ to describe their practices. Unless these words are clearly defined, they are in fact meaningless. Companies must include labour conditions in their definition of what these terms mean. Campaigners are also asking that the companies have third party, independently verified auditing of their cocoa supply. This kind of third party certification is provided by Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified and Fairtrade. All these certifications ensure labour conditions do not include worst forms of child labour or human trafficking. Many chocolate companies are engaging in poverty alleviation programs which are laudable. However, they do not provide the auditing we are seeking to ensure there is no slavery in the supply chain of chocolate production. Many such programs are involved in increasing crop yield and improving farming methods. This is actually beneficial for the chocolate companies as they seek to meet the ever increasing sales of their products world-wide. Increasing a farm’s productivity does not address the issue of the labour conditions of the workers on those farms. Most poverty programs are on a small scale and do not have the impact required to end trafficking. Since campaigning started on this issue in 2001 the world’s chocolate industry has earned $1.2 trillion and they have invested only 0.0075% in improving conditions in West Africa. The Bible talks to us about being accountable – not just for the things that we do wrong – but also for the situations where we failed to do what is right. We can do right. We can change the chocolate industry. We can change industry. We can STOP THE TRAFFIK. What can you do? 1. Join STOP THE TRAFFIK www.stopthetraffik.org and be part of their campaigns to end trafficking and slavery globally 2. Exercise your power as a consumer to only purchase certified chocolate. STOP THE TRAFFIK has a Good Chocolate Guide to help you with your purchases on their website 3. Tell your friends about this issue, we must spread the story and be the change the world needs Carolyn Kitto is the Australian Co-ordinator for STOP THE TRAFFIK

26 Christian Woman Winter 2012

Diabate and Traor had left their village in Mali to go to Ivory Coast looking for enough money to afford a bicycle, but they were sold to a man who had paid 50,000 West African Francs (about $100) for the two boys and he wanted the money back-in labour. The boys from Sirkasso met about twenty others in the same predicament and learned that no-one was ever paid. They slept in a rectangle-shaped mud hut that initially had windows but when some boys found they could escape during the night, the windows were sealed shut. Diabate and Traor remember eating mostly bananas, though they would gobble up the cocoa beans, as others did, whenever they got the chance. Many months passed, and the boys forgot what the purpose had once been for this adventure. Life became a struggle to exist, then hardened to despair. They gave up thinking of escape. They were under constant threat of beatings if they were caught trying to flee and they had seen several boys treated savagely they were actually spooked by a belief that they were under a spell.1 How much is a life worth? Throughout history the average price to buy a slave was the equivalent of US$40,000. This meant that in the past, slaves were a capital purchase. Their ‘owners’ took care of them in order to get return on their money. Due to the population boom over the last forty years, the price of a life is now very cheap. Today the average cost to buy a person is US$100. This drop in price makes slaves more disposable than previously, this increases the disregard for the value of human life. You can also find a range of statistics on our website which you can use http://www. stopthetraffik.org/humantrafficking/problem. aspx 1 Just Act, Chocolate to die for campaign, Do you know where your chocolate comes from?, 2012, http://www.justact.org.au/action-33-chocolate-to-die-for/


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Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 27


Later Life special.

The TURNING POINT in my life With God age is no barrier. He wants to use us in every way, and life can always be exciting when we follow Him. TERRI BILTON became a missionary in her senior years and has had a very fulfilling life… as she explains.

A

fter a full career as a nurse/ midwife, raising four sons and a broken 30 year marriage, I had no idea what the future held. As a Christian I really believed that God had a plan and a purpose for my life even though I was entering the autumn end of my life. In 1996 a young couple from my church asked me to join them in Papua New Guinea to help them restart a bush hospital which had been run down. For a few days I kept telling myself, ‘No! This is not for me’. The thought however would not go away, and finally I told them I would help them, but only for six months. These six months were to be the start of the change in my life. The journey from Auckland New Zealand to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea was long but relatively uneventful, apart from having to lighten my baggage at Auckland airport. However when I reached Port Moresby, one of my bags did not turn up until the next day. The beginning of my need to trust God. Looking back on the events which got me to Papua New Guinea, and the six month stay there, I see what God started to do right from the beginning. He was making me learn to trust Him no matter what I was going through. The next day I flew out of Port Moresby on a 10 seater plane filled with all kinds of people and live chickens. I was the only white person! We landed 28 Christian Woman Winter 2012

on a grass air strip in Baimuni. The next leg of the journey to Kapuna hospital, where I was to learn a little about medical problems which were prominent in Papua New Guinea, was a one hour ride in a canoe. No water to drink but my first taste of coconut milk. Gorgeous! The welcome at the hospital was lovely, garlands of flowers around my neck and beautiful hibiscus flowers and a note of welcome on my bed. A great start! The month I spent at Kapuna Hospital was a big learning curve which helped me so much when I finally arrived at Kikori Hospital. Fortunately for me I had family and friends praying for me as I became involved in the biggest challenge I have ever had. God always provides support when you walk the road He has asked you to. The hospital in Kikori was dirty, muddy, and hopelessly disorganized. You would not believe the conditions. Lack of equipment, filth and a general hopeless atmosphere! We had no doctors - laboratory, xray equipment and medication was very low too. Lots of potential for improvement! Ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and tiny little flies were all a problem because they got into almost everything.

Rats figure largely in that world also. Cleaning up the maternity labour departments was a task with no cloths or mops, so we used coconut shells. Worked well! The clean-up took about three days. The two National nurses who helped me were lovely and the atmosphere was very good. They worked hard but were a bit anxious that I was scrubbing, cleaning and fetching buckets of water with them. Apparently Papua New Guinea leaders only give orders. They eventually realized I was not going to give up. People in the area heard that there was help available in the hospital after more than a couple of years, so they started to come and check us out, especially the women having babies. My job was to run the obstetric department and oversee the general wards when needed. The number of nurses was low so I sometimes had to work alone, which was difficult - not being able to speak the language. Expressing and talking with your hands and face works quickly when nothing else works. Antenatal sessions, deliveries and postnatal mothers and babies check-ups


Read the full issue of Later Life online at www.mychristiandaily.com

began quickly! When we decided to start an immunisation project for the babies and infants, we did not expect much to happen for a while because most of the people had to come to us by canoe, and we had only put out a local notice. What a thrill it was to see 30 women and their children waiting for the clinic to open. How they knew we never found out. God does do some amazing things! The general part of the hospital was very busy too, and God started to teach me that if I listened and trusted Him, He would see me through. A woman who was having a fit was brought to the outpatient department. None of her relatives spoke English, Pidgeon or any of the languages most of the nurses spoke. Eventually a boy about 10 years old told us that his sister had not taken her medicine. It turned out that she was an epileptic. A few weeks into my time in Kikori I was checking some antenatal women, when suddenly there was a great commotion outside the wards. There had been a domestic dispute between two brothers fighting about their father’s gun! The daughter of one

of them went to her father’s aid and got soundly thrashed in the process. She had been beaten with a canoe paddle, and needed stitches to two wounds on her head. One of her arms was very swollen and bruised but not broken. Her father also needed stitches to his head wound. After searching around we finally came up with equipment which would do the work, even though it was not quite what I knew I would be used to back home. It was a challenge to fix up the wounds because the only suturing I had done before was in the obstetric field! That afternoon I did a round on the TB ward. A four year old boy with TB was all skin and bones, and losing weight fast. His arms and legs were like match sticks, and he could not stand by himself. He had the loveliest eyes, and was so patient and untroubled. Seeing him lying on his floor mattress so quietly touched my heart. I asked his parents if I could pray for him; they consented and bowed their heads while I prayed. As soon as I started I was overwhelmed by the need to cry. I could hardly get the words out of my mouth. The strength of the presence of God was amazing. After the time of prayer we came

up with an idea, which I am sure God gave us. Little Thomas needed some strong food to build him up. Peanut butter came to mind and we knew we could get it as much as we needed. Peanut butter is high in protein and it worked. In a few weeks Thomas had grown significantly and was standing by himself. Eventually his health improved enough for his family to take him home. Lots of rejoicing! Another day of learning! A small boy with a cut hand needed help. He had chopped the top of his thumb and nearly severed the index finger on the same hand. He was so good for such a young child. The only time he complained was when I put the local anaesthetic in his hand. That was very painful for him. The finger was not quite so bad but needed aligning and suturing. There was so much need for doctors. With so much lack of experience in those difficult cases I was learning fast that prayer was vital in those situations. God was teaching me to trust Him, especially listening to and obeying that still small voice. I would ask Him for wisdom and direction, and nearly always it was there for me. So many sad things happened which were cultural, and for me unexpected.

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Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 29


Later Life special. The time in Papua New Guinea was the beginning of a 10 year journey doing things I never thought I could or would ever do. It totally changed my life, and showed me that old age is no problem for God. A middle aged man was admitted with an asthma attack. He was stabilized quickly and kept overnight just to see how he was coping. Early the next morning a group of about 20 men arrived and told everyone that the man was going to die because he had been cursed. They had come to mourn with him.Three hours later he went totally berserk smashed windows and furniture. It took four men to hold him down. They laid him on his bed, and he died. It is quite amazing how people in Papua New Guinea believe in what they call ‘the pay-back system’. You or your father/mother could have upset or hurt someone. If they cannot get you at once, they will do it later. Sometimes it is a generation later. There is great conflict between Christian and old ways.You read about these things but you never expect to

actually see it happen. So many things God put me through but He was there to help me when I put my trust in Him. I was up three times one night to suture a child’s foot, incise a breast abscess and deal with an incomplete abortion. The abortion was a 20 week pregnancy, bleeding lightly and when I examined her the baby was almost out of the uterus, in the bag and complete. So no on-going problems! God kept things going so well in everything that was taking place. My time in Papua New Guinea was the turning point in my walk with God. He filled my heart with a need to do whatever He wanted me to do. It showed me that when God puts you on the path He has for you, He gives you the skills you need at that time to bring glory to Him, and accomplish all that He requires of you.

Miracles happen when God wants them, and you know it is Him and not you who brings healing, both physically and spiritually into your life or another person’s life. When I returned to New Zealand He gave me time to heal old wounds, restoring me in so many ways. Looking back on that time of refreshing I realized that I needed it before taking on the challenges God gave me when I joined Mercy Ships International in 2000. The time in Papua New Guinea was the beginning of a 10 year journey doing things I never thought I could or would ever do. It totally changed my life, and showed me that old age is no problem for God. Ps. 92 v 12-15 Terri Bilton

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www.christianfellowshiptours.com Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 31


Later Life special.

The joys of being a grandparent are reflected on by JANE JEFFERY

T

he sky is blue the air is warm and the sun is shining a perfect autumn day in Sydney. We are heading off on an adventure. It is the Thursday before Easter and the last day of the school term we are going to grandparent’s day. This is the day when grandparents, grand friends and great grandparents are invited to visit their grandchildren’s class rooms at school. We will be entertained and served morning tea. There will be hugs and kisses excited smiles and gifts made by the children to mark the occasion. There are only three classrooms to visit this year. Our eldest grandson turned thirteen this year and started high school; grandparents are not invited to the high school. It would not be practical to have visitors wandering through the school. As well as being embarrassing to many of the students! Relationships have to be built up in the early years and it is important to know where, when and how to interact with them as teenagers. . The entertainment prepared for us is a reflection on what grandparents mean to grandchildren. It also shows us the variety of activities, interests and talents that the grandparents have. Grandparents are just as varied as any other part of God’s creation. It just happens that in addition to all the other things they do they are the parents of parents. As part of the baby boomer generation the most frequent response to our children announcing that they are to become parents is, “I don’t feel old enough.” We cope when our children are leaving school and getting married. These are in many ways a time of liberation. Responsibilities are complete and to a large extent, we are free from the financial burden of raising children. As our children reach their adult years they no longer need the supervision and protection they did when they were young. We are free to travel try new experiences and even change career direction. The current generation of grandparents are fitter, healthier, better educated and for the mast part, more financially secure than previous generations. Thus they have more interests to pursue and there are more opportunities. The realisation that they are to become grandparent comes as a shock. Thoughts invariably go to one’s own grandparents. Oh dear! They seemed so old. Am I really that old? We ask ourselves. This was not the evidence I saw at grandparent’s day. It was not the reflections of the poems, stories songs and the artwork that had been prepared to entertain us. The evidence was that grandparents participate as fully in life as they did before that fateful announcement was made! They still go out each day and do important work, enjoy sports and hobbies. They are funny, serious, encouraging and supportive. They have practiced on their grandchildren’s parents so they know what they are talking about. At least they think they do. 32 Christian Woman Winter 2012

on being a


Later Life special.

The current generation of grandparents are fitter, healthier, better educated and for the mast part, more financially secure than previous generations. Thus they have more interests to pursue and there are more opportunities It is grandparents who can create many of the lasting and meaningful memories of the childhood. This doesn’t mean that they have to spend vast amounts of money. Memories and relationships cannot be bought. It is the quality of the time that builds which lasts. The hugs and words of assurance and encouragement are a lasting influence. We never know what influence we will have on those young lives. Skills and interests stored enrich their lives and widen experience. We started attending a new church after moving to a new state. After the service we spoke to the pastor. As part of that conversation we discovered that we had known his grandparents many years ago. They had taken him to Sunday School as a child. We don’t always have such a profound influence on our grand children. But we can and must support their parents to help ensure that our grandchildren grow to be all God created them to be. As my thoughts return to grandparents’ day it is clear from what the children say, that grandparents have a special role to play. Our stories give these young people a sense of belonging and an understanding of their heritage. Tales of our childhood and their parent’s younger years amuse and engage their imagination. Telling them about what their parents did when they were growing up can ease the sadness when that parent is away from home for a time. The last class we visit is that of the six year olds, our youngest grandson. The smile of welcome is bright and warm; he is excited to show us his books, his works and the class fish. This morning he sat on my bed while I helped him put his shoes and socks on but he is still excited to see me in his class room. As I walked through the car park on our way home a familiar voice calls out, “Bye Janie.” I go over to say good bye and he kisses his fingers and puts then thought the fence to touch my lips. We solve the problem of not feeling old enough to be grandparents by being called by our names. We don’t need a title to feel special about our relationship or to let them know that they are special. I tell people that we don’t use the G word. “I will see you later you love.” There will be fresh baked muffins for afternoon tea. Jane Jeffery M Ed Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 33


Later Life special.

: e c a p s s i h t h c t a w

A NEW CAREER AT 80 You are never too old to work for God - BERNI DYMET encourages us to never think of giving up. We need to think what to do with our golden years

I

don’t know if you realise this … in fact, I don’t know if you even want me to tell you this, but retirement is not a biblical concept. By that I mean that you won’t find it in the Bible. There’s nothing in there about amassing a tidy little superannuation fund. There’s nothing in there about doing the grey nomad thing around Australia. And there’s certainly nothing in there about having a nice, comfortable little retirement of pottering around in the garden, playing bridge and drinking lattes. Now some might find all that a little unsettling. A little confronting perhaps. Please don’t misunderstand me though. I’m not saying that any of those things are, in and of themselves, bad things. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have any of those things in our work–life mix as time goes on. But I think that it would be safe to conclude that since they’re not in the Bible, and many other things about what we should be doing with our time are, then having a nice relaxing retirement, just maybe, isn’t the main thing that God has on His mind and in His heart for us. Would that be a safe bet, do you think? Then he said to them all, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their

34 Christian Woman Winter 2012

cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23) Or try this one on for size (Paul is talking about having a missional focus for our lives): I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short … (1 Cor 7:29) It’s an interesting question isn’t it? What to do with our golden years? After all, most of us have worked hard. Isn’t it time to put our feet up and enjoy those years we have left? My father was in his mid-sixties when he retired. He spent a year or so doing the odd jobs around the house that he’d always been too busy to do. After that, he became intensely bored. So, as a former BHP engineer, he picked up some contracting work with his old employer. First in India! Then in a remote part of northern West Australia. That kept him going for another six or seven years. But when that work finally dried up … so did he. He had nothing to get up for in the mornings. Nothing to live for. He died at age 74. Wherever did we get this idea that retirement is all about us? That retirement is about doing nothing for

anyone else and everything for us. Perhaps that’s why there are so many lonely people around in this world. Let me introduce you to a man who started a brand new career when he was eighty. That’s right. Brand new. Something he’d never done before. A role as a significant national leader, in one of the most difficult times ever for his nation. God called him to take on an intractable problem. To confront a foreign leader. And to lead his fellow countrymen and women to a new land. Of course, I’m talking about Moses. As a child and young man, he’d grown up in Pharaoh’s household in Egypt, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then one day, he saw an Egyptian mistreating a fellow Hebrew and killed him. Killing an Egyptian was mildly problematic, so he became a fugitive and found himself in a place called Midian, where he was tending his father–in–law’s sheep. How old was Moses when God came knocking on his door? About eighty. Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of


Later Life special. Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Exodus 3:1) So here was Moses, this burnt out old wreck. He’d fallen from being the golden child in Pharaoh’s house, to fugitive tending some sheep. Not even out in the wilderness, but – notice what it says here – beyond the wilderness. He couldn’t have been further away from his glory days. What a failure he must have felt like, out there in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of stupid, stinking sheep. Plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to mull over past regrets. A nobody in the middle of nowhere, when once he’d been a somebody who lived in great privilege and comfort at the centre of the seat of power of the known world. “Poor old me,” he must have thought to himself, tending those lousy sheep. And God comes to him with a plan. Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey …The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7–10) There it is. The call of God to Moses, from a life of obscurity and insignificance, to a life of fame as the new, national leader of God’s chosen people. Now you’d think at this point that Moses would be jumping at this call up, wouldn’t you? I mean what a job! What an opportunity! Where do I sign up – right? But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) Moses was reluctant. Moses was enjoying a quiet, safe little retirement. Moses didn’t want to be bothered with something difficult and challenging and dangerous. In fact if you read on over the next chapter or two in the book of Exodus, you’ll find that Moses had plenty more excuses for God.

I decided then and there as we were singing one of his

favourite hymns, that so long as I had breath in me, I would,

in word and in deed, be telling people about my Jesus And as God addressed each objection, Moses came up with another one, until he kind of ran out and he just went with his catch–all, bottom line, pathetic … O my Lord, please send someone else. (Exodus 4:13) What was God’s response? Oh Moses, I understand. You just want to live out your quiet, safe little retirement through to the end. Not a problem. Sorry to have disturbed you. I’ll just go find someone else. Is that how God responded? Not on your nelly! Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses … (Exodus 4:14) And the rest, as they say, is history. Moses spent the next forty years, leading a grumbling, complaining, ungrateful people through the wilderness, to the threshold of the Promised Land. Moses spent his retirement becoming one of the greatest leaders that the nation of Israel has ever had. My point dear friend is this. You and I are never too old to lead a life of significance. Age is never an excuse for taking down our shingle, and letting the people of this lost and hurting world go to hell. You have abilities and experience and wisdom that are unique in this world. And you have a God who has planned a whole new life of significance for you to live out for His glory. For you are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that he prepared beforehand for you to walk into. (Ephesians 2:10) There are people around you who desperately need what you have. There are people who are in oppression, in misery … and your God has heard their cry. He has a plan, and if we’ll only listen to Him, He won’t be long about sharing that plan with us. The one who would live a vibrant, exciting faith, a life where the power of God is manifest before their very eyes, is the one who goes to Him and pleads: Oh Lord – show me where you want me to go, what you want me to do, what

sacrifices you want me to make, what risks you want me to take so that the name of Jesus would be lifted up in this world! Oh Lord, wherever you call me and whatever it will cost me, I want to go. Give me the courage; fill me with your Spirit. Show me where and how and when I can lose my life for you dear Jesus, in order that I might find it. Start praying prayers like that my friend and I guarantee God won’t take long to answer you. Let me introduce you to Eric Sheehan. He was a long time, faithful supporter of our ministry. In his early nineties, he moved into a nursing home. Within weeks he’d organised a young man from his church to go out and buy a laptop for him and set up an internet connection so that he could receive our ministry updates. He was constantly ringing tour office, ordering books and CDs and other material for that man in the other bed who needs to know Jesus … for that woman in the room next door who desperately needs Jesus. It’s something he was doing right up until the week before he went to be with the Lord. Eric was a great inspiration to me. He still is. And sitting there at his funeral, I came do a decision. I knew that one day my body wouldn’t work quite as well as it used to. Of course that happens eventually. But I decided that I wanted to be like Eric. I decided then and there as we were singing one of his favourite hymns, that so long as I had breath in me, I would, in word and in deed, be telling people about my Jesus. That’s my plan. So … what’s yours?

Berni Dymet is the CEO and Bible teacher of the Australian based, global media ministry Christianityworks. Each week over 40 million people in 160 countries listen to the radio programs that he produces. You can chat with him on his blog at adifferentperspective.org of follow him on Twitter @bernidymet.

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 35


Devastation

Africa

in

The story has to be told of what is happening in the continent of Africa. SAM CHILDERS is one man who is making a difference…. Lynn Goldsmith

S

am Childers is one ‘cool man’, as the saying goes. He is God’s man and is serving Him in one of the deepest and darkest parts of the world. I had interviewed him a few years ago, but in this time now that we spent together he explained that things have changed since our previous talk. Sam was rescuing children from Joseph Kony’s LRA, but now he is rescuing them from war zones. Right now in the Nubian mountains there are hundreds of people dying, all from the hand of President Bashir in Sudan. I asked Sam why he hasn’t been brought to justice. He says, “That’s what I ask the world. Just a few weeks ago his people bombed a UN peacekeeping camp. Why didn’t we hear about it? Why isn’t this stuff making international news? My question for the world is – why is he still in office when he’s the only President in all of history to have war crime charges placed on him and warrants for his arrest and still be in office as a President? This man needs to be taken out of office.” Consequently there are hundreds of people dying, including children and Sam and his team are in the process of rescuing the children out of this horrific situation. There is now a movie that has been released called ‘The Machine-gun Preacher’ (which is what he is called) and a book Another Man’s War. Sam explains that these were all pre 2008, but the fighting going on now in Sudan is from bombers, they are from planes bombing South Sudan. “I am not here on this earth to make man happy – I’m trying to keep God happy,” Sam says. “When it comes down to rescuing children I believe we should all have the attitude to do whatever it takes.” Previously Sam had some difficulty with the churches in his actions that he took in rescuing children from the LRA. “I believe it is now okay,” Sam maintains. “You are always going to have religious people and we have to look at them.

36 Christian Woman Winter 2012


Rescue.

Don’t be satisfied with what you have done

today – think about what you are going to do

tomorrow and try to do more than you have formerly done in the previous day…”

What are they all about? They are the same ones who hung Christ on the Christ. So if they were persecuting Jesus Christ 2000 years ago why wouldn’t they persecute us? So you will always have people complaining.” As far as the women in Sudan and the surrounding countries are concerned Sam believes the women of Sudan and other parts of Africa are the most hardworking people in the world. They live a very hard life. Are they persecuted? “In South Sudan I don’t believe anybody is persecuted for the gospel anymore. The only time they are persecuted is when President Bashir is coming after them – then they are persecuted for their faith. South Sudan is a Christian nation – not like years ago. There is more equality now for women.” Sam has set up an orphanage. He now has an AIDS hospice in Ethiopia, a school they have just built in Ethiopia; they have a feeding program there as well. They have two based in Uganda where they keep war children. They have one school of about 700 children they feed a day in Uganda and they have an orphanage as well in South Sudan. Last year they built two schools and they are working on a school right now in South Sudan. “We are going ahead – there’s always going to be building going on,” Sam says. “Anytime your goal is to rescue children, educate children and feed children, there’s always needed projects going on.” I asked Sam how the children are when he rescues them. “The children we are rescuing are not from the LRA – they are war victims from the turmoil and heartache that Bashir is doing,” he states. “Joseph Kony has not been brought to justice. Kony is like the tail of a mad dog – you cut the tail off, the dog gets madder. The head of that organization is really Bashir.” Sam is still bringing children out of the war zones. He recently had children come to the orphanage who were living without parents in the bush and had walked for many miles just to get to the orphanage. So there are still children who are victims of war who are going hungry, who are malnourished and are dying under the decisions of what President Bashir is making for Sudan. So how traumatised are the children when Sam and his team bring them out? “I believe the biggest thing that needs to be done with the children is once you can nurse them back to Images from top clockwise: Children’s orphanage South Sudan; Child soldier South Sudan; Machine Gun Preacher Sam and soldiers scout at bush fire; Child with toy car Sam’s at orphanage Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 37


Rescue.

Images from top clockwise: Rev Sam with is SPLA soldiers Juba South Sudan; Rev Sam prays with his SPLA soldiers; Michelle Monaghan plays Lynn Childers in Machine Gun Preachers; Sam preaching; Sam at the orphanage in Sudan with Samuel; Machine Gun Preacher UK poster

good health; then you have to show them the love of Jesus Christ. Then the biggest thing is let them be children again and educate them. Everybody around the world can help to change their country by education, including America. The Lord told me to get a playground. Our playground is unbelievable. As a matter of fact, the merry-go-round is worn out now, we have to repair it.” The rescues aren’t like they used to be. So Sam is not going in the same way he did years ago. No matter where he is in Africa there are children who need to be rescued. “In Ethiopia there are a lot of children who need to be rescued 38 Christian Woman Winter 2012

from starvation and malnutrition and AIDS,” he points out. “No matter where it is around the world, whether it’s under gunfire, or under starvation, rescuing children is still the same. Anywhere you can save a life is going to make you feel good. You just go out and try to do the very best you can.” Sam’s wife does not go to Sudan very often he shares. She runs the church they have in Pennsylvania. She is also a pastor, so she takes care of the everyday running of the church. “I don’t say she doesn’t support the missions she supports them in backing me,” Sam says. “But my daughter is the one who runs

our non-profit on the USA side. She does all the administration in the office. We have an Angels of East Africa building – she’s the one who runs that office. She does all the book work and incoming and outgoing money. She and her husband run this – they go to Africa quite often taking teams in and out of there.” What a great work Sam is doing in Africa – he is constantly in danger. He does have some wise words to say. “I tell people all the time – don’t be satisfied with what you have done today – think about what you are going to do tomorrow and try to do more than you have formerly done in the previous day.


Sudan – “Right now as we speak there are children dying – some say there is a child dying every four minutes. Right now in the Nubia Mountains there are hundreds of people dying, all from the hand of President Bashir.” In 1994, the world failed to stop the massacre of more than 800,000 innocent people in Rwanda. Today the world’s response to the current bloodshed in Africa is shockingly similar. Civilians continue to be the victims of widespread crimes against humanity in Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Uganda, and the Horn of Africa. This rampant, man-made suffering warrants an immediate and robust response, yet inadequate attention from our world leaders allows these horrors to persist. The Enough Project focuses It’s all about helping people. If the whole world can get it into its head that we’re going to help people today and if you add that all up, we could help to change this world. It’s all about helping other people. We are called to be an influence to this world. “The biggest thing is – I don’t know how we have to do it - but the world has to wake up right now. We had Kony 2012 go viral 157,000,000 looked at the documentary that was done but it was six to seven years too late. We need to realize what we can do today. It’s not too late today. We need to bring President Bashir out of office and the people of

Northern Sudan need to have freedom and the people of South Sudan, Uganda and surrounding countries need to live in peace. Everyone has to realize that what went on with Kony 2012 it showed the country of Uganda was in war and turmoil and an unsafe country. It is totally not true. Uganda is a very safe country to visit. If you had plans to visit the game parks and all the other places in Uganda, it is safe - go visit it, it’s a very safe country.” Lynn Goldsmith Editor-in-Chief

on Africa, not only because of the grave challenges on the continent, but because of the opportunities as well. Enough is committed to bringing lasting change to these countries, where action and accountability are most urgent. George Clooney is one of the celebrities who support this project.

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 39


music • faith • soul 40 Christian Woman Winter 2012


music profile.

JACK VIDGEN, winner of last year’s Australia’s Got Talent, shares his journey of music and faith. He wants to encourage young people and give them hope… Lynn Goldsmith

I

had the privilege of interviewing a 15 year old boy who recently won Australia’s Got Talent. Why do I refer to this interview as a privilege? Because Jack Vidgen is one extraordinary teenager. As soon as I met him I was impressed by his articulate speech and manners, his gentleness and humility. It was apparent that his recent huge success has not diminished his character in any form. In fact, he has a maturity beyond his years. Life has not always been easy for him but he has risen to great heights with the help of his God, and yes, he does love Him and serves Him through his music and his relationships. Auditioning the very first time for Australia’s Got Talent at age 12, he came away older and wiser and blew the judges’ socks off the next year, still only age 13. By the time the cameras rolled Jack was only 14, and when he belted out his showstopping rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, the audience – and judges – were all mouths agape, and promptly rose to their feet. Brian McFadden even planted a kiss on Jack’s cheek, so moved he was by what he – and eventually a global audience – had just witnessed. One wonders: with many of his songs focusing on love, just how does this young soul know how to deliver such powerful ballads? “I think I’ve experienced love – because I know there are different kinds of love. I relate to my experiences in life, or just what I’m feeling when I sing those songs. I don’t sing a song without it meaning something to me, or adding my own interpretation to them.” Initially working with opera singer turned vocal coach Margi Coen, Jack says, “She taught me how to develop the power in my voice, and the technique” – Jack enlisted renowned vocal coach Erana Clark, pre-AGT. “That really helped me, because the soul/R ‘n’ B style is what I love now; Erana has helped me develop those techniques.” One would expect a possibly impressionable young man to be swept up by the hype and media attention. But not Jack. Indeed, for him, the initial whirlwind in 2011 made him feel “very much a part

of the industry – I felt very professional. Like, okay cool, I am doing this; this is my career now and this is what happens now. “The process of the show was so exciting, yes. But once I actually got to the studio and all the media went away for a bit, and I was doing what I love - which was singing - it was just about my voice and the recording studio. That was the time I loved the most. When I’m singing a song I forget about everything, and I just focus on the lyrics and what I’m singing about. And that’s the time when I can just zone out – the song is all that matters.” Jack wants to be a role model to other young people. “Most of my fans are young and I want to bring hope to them,” he says. “Through music I find my relationship with God and that’s with a lot of other people as well. It’s just a lovely way of connecting.” It was through a gig that Jack was involved in that he met Christ. He was encouraged by his vocal coach and the pastor of the church where he performed was also a musician. He asked Jack to sing a few songs for Christmas Day and that’s how it all started for Jack on his spiritual journey. Two years ago Jack started going to church and he was baptised last year at Easter time. “Growing up God wasn’t in my life during my childhood. I grew up like other kids, but not in a Christian home. My family are not Christians, except for my mother.” I asked Jack how his life has changed since his career has taken off. “It’s changed heaps,” he explains enthusiastically. “I get to do a tour now. I wouldn’t have dreamt doing this a couple of years ago. It’s amazing. I am looking forward to getting on the road and doing live performances and getting to meet and see my fans. I didn’t have the facilities to do any recording before now I can now do this at Sony studios, it’s amazing.” Jack previously went to a public high school but is now doing home schooling as he is extremely busy with his tours. How does Jack find as an artist, travelling a lot and keeping his faith – which would not always be easy for a teenager. “I think it is really important

Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 41


music profile.

t about everything, and I ge for I ng so a g gin sin I’m When what I’m singing about. And just focus on the lyrics and t zone out – the song is all that’s the time when I can jus that matters lot of stuff that goes on in the industry,” he says. “Luckily I haven’t come across much of this. I think if I always keep my faith then it will be fine. God has a plan.” Regarding his faith, Jack is very happy that he met Christ when he did. He stated, “I see a lot of my friends at church growing up in a Christian family it’s a happier environment – it’s just different. I see how much love there is in these families and I see this through God. Growing up with that is just different than anything else and it’s very special.” Jack would encourage young people to want to find God, particularly

42 Christian Woman Winter 2012

in the teenage years as he knows there are so many bad things that can happen. Family support is very important to Jack. “Even though a lot of my family are not Christians they still support my faith completely 100%. I really do have a loving family. My mother is a Christian and we found Christ at the same time this really helps. It’s great seeing the things He does every day.” Jack has a new album out called Inspire. He wants to give young people hope – that was one of the ideas behind the album. “I really love this album because there are songs that aren’t

originally gospel and the songs have so much feeling and I have made it into that genre of gospel. I want people to listen to this album and feel warm and happy. People have said that if they listen to the songs they are very uplifted. Lynn Goldsmith Editor-in-Chief

For tour dates and more on Jack Vidgen visit www.jackvidgen.com


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youth.

Let the children lead Children are our next generation and JANE MACKIE is making sure they are included and recognized as part of the Body of Christ. They are being trained to pray and worship their God

J

ane is passionate about children and their role in the Body of Christ. She is ministering to them and teaching them about prayer and worship and taking their rightful place in the church. She leads a ministry called the Children’s Prayer Network. The vision of the Children’s Prayer Network is to mobilise and network praying Christian children; to support and encourage the nurturing, discipling, training and equipping of these children, to enable them to take their place in God’s family as part of the family He is raising up to reach this generation. I asked Jane how she started. “I started an after school club with children, training them in puppets, drama and dance,” she explains. “After a couple of years doing that I felt God was really wanting to do a new thing. I remember undertaking my first fast to hear what He wanted and it was clear He wanted to convert that after school group into a children’s prayer group – so we began this prayer group in 1995.” Meantime Jane had heard about a world conference happening in Seoul Korea – 5,000 world church leaders were coming together and they were looking for 50 children from 44 Christian Woman Winter 2012

the world to attend the conference as praying delegates. “I happened to receive the fax about that and I had one child who, whenever he prayed, he prayed for the world so I nominated him. He was going with his father and then another boy with his father and my son was going with me.” They ended up going to this conference – Jane was asked to lead the team working with the children and that was where she saw children encounter God in prayer for the first time – this changed her life. On the way back she was asked by Mal Garvin, who was heading up the Australian delegation, if she would start a children’s prayer network. So, that’s how it all started. “We began to visit churches with groups of children, sharing about allowing children to pray,” she says. “We then started travelling overseas. We had invitations to take children and for many years we took children on mission trips overseas, to many nations where the children would actually be doing the ministry. We ran our first camp, then our first conference, then prayer and worship events, then training events, whilst at the same time taking teams overseas.

We have now been to 36 different nations in those 17 years. Our prayer groups grew to three or four a week and so over the years we have trained, equipped and released many children – we have trained many thousands overseas as well. Other countries have picked up the children’s prayer movement more so than in Australia. God has used our Australian model to impact the nations. So we have made strong connections in around 50 nations.” It’s time for another conference for the ministry – which is called ‘Like No Other’ where they will have continuous prayer and worship led by the next generation. That could look like a child with a guitar, leading for an hour or two, with a prayer focus. Or it could be a young team of musicians leading the people. So what is Jane hoping to achieve in this ministry? “We are training and equipping the next generation to be able to hear God’s voice, to have a relationship with Him, to be released in their gifts and anointing, to be an active part in the Body of Christ today. My thought is we are one body and children are part of that and if they’re not playing their part we’re going to lose them. There is a sense


“We are training and equipping the next generation to be able to hear God’s voice, to have a relationship with Him, to be released in their gifts and anointing, to be an active part in the Body of Christ today..

we are losing the next generation from the church. If we can engage them, train and equip them and get them excited about serving God, and all He has put within them, then the church will grow. They are laying a foundation for a very healthy next generation church.

The conference ‘Like No Other’ will be held from 24th to 28th September 2012, led by different teams of young people, but at the same time workshops and ‘breakout’ sessions will be offered to provide training with various guest speakers from all over the world. This is an intergenerational conference, for ALL of God’s family – www.kidspray.org.au

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Christian Woman Winter 2012  

Welcome to this issue of Christian Woman! Habitat for Humanity, Relationships, Faith, Real Stories PLUS bonus Later Life insert...

Christian Woman Winter 2012  

Welcome to this issue of Christian Woman! Habitat for Humanity, Relationships, Faith, Real Stories PLUS bonus Later Life insert...

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