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why the world must hear the cries from Kenya – the fight against stripping women naked

11.18.14

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Isaiah 30: 18-19

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i am originally from a country the world knows as Kenya. Kenya can be found in the Eastern part of Africa, tucked and surrounded by all kinds of beauties. sadly, today i am not hear to discuss the beauty that is Kenya, or how vast and magnificent it’s oceans are, but rather I am here to voice and share the cries of the women who live in this vast and magnificent country.

these beautiful Kenyan women, many who are simply hard working women, who like any woman in the world loves to look and dress good, so often pay a big big price for stepping out of their homes in their clothing of choice. you see in Kenya  like many developing countries, there are these groups of unjust men who make it their life’s mission to dictate a woman choice and rights. meaning, what a woman must or must not do, this includes what a woman must or must not wear in public. as such, these groups of hungry, disrespectful, abusive and unjust men can find it in them to be dissatisfied with a woman’s choice of clothing, and in broad daylight, and might i add in the middle of a busy public street or not, decide to strip a woman completely naked.

most recently in a youtube video i watched, these men can be heard yelling “remove, remove.” to a woman as other men in their group man handle, and strip this woman completely naked. 

now you might ask where the judicial system is when women are faced with such inhuman, degrading crimes. or where the just on lookers who i would want to refer to as potential helpers are, when a woman is stripped naked in a busy public street. the honest truth is that, the justice system in Kenya is miles away from help, and many a times will not respond to such acts of crime that are mostly committed against the poor and marginalized. when it comes to the just helpers on the streets, well it is safe to say that many of them are themselves afraid of being attacked, and many a times either walk away screaming for help, witness these crimes in utter hopelessness and disbelief or sadly walk away.

over the past few days these crimes have received some local and international attention amongst women, and even men who see the need for immediate change in Kenya. most recently i was proud to see facebook, twitter and news posts of women and men in Kenya standing up against these crimes, the most memorable one being the peaceful protest they called #mydressmychoice. kudos to all who put this protest together. however, in my opinion and based on the continued escalation of these violence, the end is not here and there is an immediate need for a unified approach amongst all women and nations of the world, to stand firm and demand an immediate investigation of these crimes, an end to such crimes and a zero tolerance policy in Kenya against such crimes.

in recent interviews and even in the past, it has been well documented that some women justify such acts by what they refer to as indecent dressing on our part. hence joining the hundreds and thousands of men who unjustly commit these crimes in argument of the same. my response to these women would be the same response i would give a man who justifies these acts with the same argument - it doesn’t matter whether or not we approve of ones choice of clothes, what matters is that we are mindful of every persons human rights, and that in every situation every human being is presented with an opportunity to live in freedom, and is then able to exercise their full rights as a human being. 

there is absolutely no room for justification of such crimes, absolutely no room.

in Nairobi and other cities in Kenya, the perpetrators of such inhuman crimes walk free, as the victims suffer in absolute trauma, left with a life time of scares and shame over these crimes committed against them. on the other hand, the other women who are thus far safe continue in a life of uncertainty, as their human rights are never fully theirs to live, but rather still in the hands of inhuman, babaric groups of men who continue to get away with such crimes.

additionally, the number of rape cases that occur due to such crimes are unaccounted for, unreported in many cases, and if reported are never truly investigated. the victims are then left in utter hopelessness as they struggle to move on with their lives, and heal all at the same time. many a times, dying slowly in complete darkness, shame and degradation.

may i challenge the President, leaders and judicial representatives of Kenya to dare enough to do something. to imagine that these victims could easily be their wife, their daughter, their sister, their friend. to dare enough to end this violence against women. some may say that the world has what many might call “more important justice matters to attend to,” but may i also dare the nations of the world to say that this matter is as important as all other justice matters, and as such should be given the immediate attention it deserves. may i also dare the lawyers/attorneys out in Kenya and around the world, to dare enough to take a case for free in the name of fighting for justice. many of these victims are poor, uneducated and therefore unable to afford private legal representation. may i dare you wonderful lawyers/attorneys of the world to take on these cases pro bono, and bring justice to these women.

by no means am i saying or implying that we can solve this issue overnight, what i am simply saying is that one voice, one step each day can go along way in eradicating such violence, and as a result eventually bring complete freedom to these women. this freedom is long overdue, and i am hopeful that with the right attention and effort, this too can become a thing of the past, as healing slowly makes its way to the victims of these crimes.

a special thank you to all who continue to fight for this worthy cause. may the Lord continue to strengthen and equip you for this cause. a very special blessing and prayer to the victims of these crimes, may the Lord alone bring revenge on your behalf, for He knows best how to handle and resolve all issues we face.

stay strong and know that you are deeply loved.

i love what Isaiah 1:17 says, “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

highly recommend that you not watch this around children.

<pause the blog music to the top right to before you watch this video>

love: christine

Posted in Life With Christ

living beyond what aches in the inside of self

11.09.14

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guilty of yesterday you might ask?

yes,

because we have all at one time or another, found a moment of solace or maybe not. may be it was during a very chaotic, frantic moment when you realized how selfish you have been. a moment when it finally dawned on you that all this while, life has been all about you. about your desires. about your dreams, hopes and wants. and if ever your life was made into a movie, well let’s just say that you would be the star, and He (God) would just be an added prop that decorates your life into the beauty that it is – only useful in getting you further and further in life.

whether or not this decision is reached unconsciously or not, we as human beings have a natural tendency of growing into self centered beings, and sometimes even living in the center of our life. those who have been around little children know this all too well. we know that the first few words a child ever utters is the word – mine. this is well demonstrated when you reach for a child’s favorite toy, and it will not be long before you know who owns that toy you dare to grab. that fierce, possessive and yet innocent voice will let you know very loud that the toy you grabbed is his/her toy. so it is safe to say that as a human being, it is natural to gravitate towards the center of self, that being the case it is then very important that we dare to live outside of self. dare to open our eyes, ears and live beyond what aches in the inside of us. if not, then sadly enough, the center of our life is where we will always be found. and if that is the case, what life will you have lived? I ask.

yesterday in the mail, we received a card from our  Compassion International sponsor child-James (lives in Kenya). We have been sponsoring James for over 2 years, and much like our own children, nothing brings more joy to our hearts than seeing James grow into a handsome, Godly man. Seeing hope back in his eyes, when at one point his eyes looked empty of hope, is so rewarding. about a two weeks ago, we also heard from our other precious sponsor child Atul (lives in India), it is slightly over a year since we started sponsoring Atul, and like James planting and giving into Atul’s life adds more meaning to our life, more than we ever knew existed.

seeing a smile on their faces, brings meaning to our sponsorship. months when I have contemplated whether or not we can continue sponsoring both boys, and then deciding to continue anyway, and trusting instead in God’s provision has elevated our trust in God. for he never fails us. the good news for those who don’t know our God all too well, He is always looking for faithful followers. those who will be His hands and feet. and when He finds His followers, and starts a work through them, then can I also tell you that what He starts He is also faithful to provide for. we only struggle when we make it our mission to self provide, and forget that God who started it all, is very capable of finishing it all. He really doesnt need our help, all He needs is a willing heart. a faithful heart, and the rest of His work He will truly truly provide for.

the Lord out of this journey called life, teaches us that life is meant to be shared.

shared in every sense of the word.

meaning in pain, we are to gather in community, embrace the moment of pain, hug and share in that season of life together. in laughter and joy, we are also to gather together in community, celebrate with laughter and enjoy the season of joy that life brings.

 in everything life, it is important that we seek the will of God over our life, and not make a journey driven by our own will. this step alone will save us plenty of heart aches, and wasted seasons. in so doing, we are guaranteed a purposeful life, and because God is not found in self, we are also guaranteed a transformation of heart that we are then able to live outside of self. it is true that God is always out in the mission field. always found outside in the ditches, the dark places that self naturally never dares to go. He never did own a home, a car or the comfort that we so humbly enjoy. He lived outside of self, and mingled with those who were known to be sinners, helping the poor, healing and doing all sorts of signs and wonders. and through the help of the Holy Spirit, we too can find the courage to walk in the ditches, and the dark spots that self on its own can not dare walk. see the Holy Spirit, God our Father can do so much through us, if only we dare to align our will with His will, and believe without a shadow of doubt that He has nothing but good plans for us (Jeremiah 29).

never discredit the direction that God is leading you. some may also say, never discredit your humble beginnings. the difference between those who live a fulfilled life, and those whose life is empty and never fulfilled, is the ability of one to receive the full blessings and lessons of each season in life, and the ability to then trust in God to walk one through each season, no matter how lonely, challenging it is. with God we are over comers. and He will never lead you, where He has not already been. those who go on to fulfill their callings in life, have been those that have allowed God to do a work in them, in so doing God has then been able to prepare and equip them for every season, and they have gone on to receive the fullness of life.

there is nothing as miserable as living an empty, unfulfilled life.

we all have an opportunity to place our aches, pains and desires in the hands of God, and then trust Him enough to walk in the direction He leads, and know that He is not man that He should lie. what He says, He will do. that has been our journey, my daughters and I. we are not perfect, but we have tried our best to live a life in His will for us, many a times never truly understanding where He was leading us, however in all instances and retrospectively, we have come to witness such mighty mighty works. He continues to surprise us, and in every season He has never failed us. we too have our hopes and desires, however as we journey through life, we have come to realize that at the perfect time, He makes all things beautiful.

<to listen, pause the blog music to the top right of the blog>

lots of love: Christine

Posted in Life With Christ

why prayer is asking for rain; faith is carrying the umbrella

11.03.14

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 it’s a sure thing that summer is no more, and winter is just a few weeks away from making it’s presence felt. the trees are losing shape, as leaves shed and their skeletons then appear before our very eyes. yesterday we moved our clocks an hour behind, that means darkness makes it’s entrance much sooner than before, and the rise of the sun makes it’s presence known much earlier than days before.

a few evenings ago, McKenzie and Mya pulled out an old fashioned princess gown, and their not so vampire coat and dressed up to look like pictures from a story book in Nania, and dragged me along to knock on doors, smile and ask for pieces of candy. out here, they call the knocking on doors, and asking for candy  – trick or treat which is on a day called  – halloween. although i would venture to say that this night they call – halloween has a much deeper meaning, which for many reason one being my lack of knowledge, i dare not venture into. i would much rather see it for the pureness of smiling for candy, and the laughters that crowd our streets, on the last night of October, when most everyone dares to open up their homes, and light a few smiles on many children’s faces. there was this particularly tall gentleman, dressed like a character in the wizard of oz who managed to grab all the attention of all the kids, and might i add parents as well. with a signal to his home, all the kids followed to receive a glow stick with the words  – boo Jesus Loves You.

that put a smile on all our faces.

after this trick a treat night, we ushered in a new season, which is to us a season of thanksgiving. more a season of giving, to receive in return a gift much bigger than what we ever imagined to exist. like every season, a new season has a way of reminding us of what is yet to come, what has come and what we hoped to come. there are moments when doubt steps in, moments when we wonder if may be our desires and dreams, are far too far for our reach, and just maybe we should stop hoping. at least for many of us, that is what the enemy of our minds, tries to settle in our minds. that He has forgotten us, our dreams and hopes and that we should be more realistic in our expectations.

faith can rewrite your future. “the only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try and the faith to believe that it is possible.” (richard de vos). faith is like a flashlight – no matter how dark things seem to get, it will help you find your way.

every tomorrow has two handles; we can take hold by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith.  – southern baptist brotherhood journal.

regret looks back; worry looks around; faith looks up. great leaders are almost always people of great faith. God has something for the man who keeps his faith in Him. Your life will shrink or expand in proportion to your faith.

think like a man of action, and act like a man of faith. prayer is asking for rain; faith is carrying the umbrella. you must first be a believer if you want to be an achiever.

faith, in its very nature, demands action

faith is action – never a passive attitude. – paul little

faith is not a pill you take but a muscle you use. faith is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head and others say it can’t be done. faith is necessary to victory.

by faith you can be decisive in the absence of certainty or in the presence of indecision. it is not daydreaming; it is decision making. real faith is not the stuff dreams are made of; rather it is tough, practical and altogether realistic. faith see the invisible but it does not see the nonexistent - a.w tozer. the world says,”seeing is believing.” faith says, “believing is seeing.”

faith is like a toothbrush. everyone should have one and use it daily, but you should not try to use someone else’s.

all i have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all i have not seen.ralph waldo emerson

doubt is the great modern plague. even so faith can cure it. real faith will refuse to see anything that is contrary to the bible. it won’t look at the circumstances or conditions but the promise.

the impossible is possible, john mason (page 159 – 160)

like the changing of seasons, and the pureness of smiling for some candy, there is much to be received in faith and in waiting. there is also much to be learned in wait and in every season. like the light that God shines on us daily, may our life be a representation of His light. may we walk in the presence of His light, and realize that even when our journey leads us to places that seem oh so dark, that this light will never fail to light a way for us, and bring us out into victory.

above all, may our prayers be accompanied with an umbrella in hopes of  what is yet to come. 

love: christine

Posted in Life With Christ

how time freezes, for a walk with God

10.26.14

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there are moments when the sky freezes. moments, when the birds cease to fly, and the winds that blew not to long ago, suddenly stop blowing. moments when a friend appears, and that time as if ordained by God then freezes, as you both digest the amazingly beautiful presence of self, and wonder at the perfectness of time that brought both together.

moments such as these, are so often coupled with pain or laughter. she says. like the moment when the family friend stopped over to bring comforting words to Chris, after the murder of her father. or the moment when the girls had seven of their friends over to spend the night, and wish them a happy birthday. it was also the same moment when Chris realized how simple life precious moments are, as she in the pitch of dark walked to the kitchen for a glass of water, and stopped instead to stare at the seven friends and her daughters, as they gently slept.

when they stopped by a few weeks back, they stopped by to bring back the fullness of life, as they cut open the bushy trees and freed them of all the loose hanging leaves, and the branches that seemed tired of carrying them along to another season seemed particularly happy that day. now the sky seems much more clearer, and the fullness of life seems to have found it’s way back to the hearts of those who call this place in Echo Run home. Chris particularly loved how time is visible in the eye that is the space between the branches and the tree. how the birds can be seen from afar, landing gently on the branches, and spending what seems like hours scavenging for something to eat.

it was after the fullness of life had returned, that a frozen moment appeared yet again when Chris bumped into her Hindu friend K, who was back from visiting her husband after he had taken a turn for the worse a few days back. the pain and suffering was evident on K’s face that evening, as she struggled to stay calm and strong. yet her seemingly fragile face told it all, as she battled to hold back tears, and smile all at the same time.

she says God gives strength, as He walks you through a season of pain. she says this, because it’s been over two years that she has walked through this pain, and it’s been two years that He has never failed her. How God can transform into One much bigger than religion is so evident now, as K begins then to pray this prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

 she says she learned this prayer back in high school, and has never forgotten it’s powerful words. and it was after this prayer, that the wind began again to blow, and the sky moved the clouds along, as the birds returned then to sing a few songs before dark.

they say, it is not how big our problems are, but how big our God is. for in every situation, there is an opportunity to see the grandness of our God, and to experience the grandness of His blessings, His mercies and His powers.

K, this devout Hindu friend, managed to tell God’s story that evening, and confirm that religion has no power over God.

God has power over all.

love: Christine

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Posted in Life With Christ