Thursday, 31 January 2013

International Justice Mission Prayer Update

I received the following prayer update from the (US branch / UK branch), so my post today is a prayer request of IJM’s behalf. Please take the time to pray for/into the situations mentioned below:

Africa: Praise God that several cases of sexual violence against children ended last month, with several perpetrators convicted of sexual assault in Rwanda. Pray for these girls and boys and their families as they heal from the abuse and pray for the IJM social workers who are walking beside them. Though their road to recovery will be long, we thank God that this act of justice is now an important milestone in the lives of our clients.

Latin America: In Bolivia, Brianna’s* mother is suffering from serious health problems. (Brianna was previously raped by her landlord’s brother and gave birth to a daughter as a result. IJM has walked with her family for the past several years). Pray for wisdom and healing for Brianna’s mother, as the appropriate surgery may be quite risky. Please also pray for Brianna, who already carries a heavy load caring for her daughter, working and going to school.
Praise God for the fourteen churches in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, who are ‘doing justice’. Pray that God would continue to work within these churches to build the movement for justice against child sexual violence in Bolivia and that in this coming year new churches would grow a passion for justice.
South Asia: Pray as IJM searches for Chaitra*, a young girl who was trafficked for sex. Last year, the police called IJM for help with a rescue operation, but the place where she was believed to be trapped was empty upon arrival. IJM has been searching for Chaitra ever since. Please ask God to show us where Chaitra is hidden, so we can help bring her out of darkness and into light.
Praise God for a massive rescue operation last week in South Asia: 149 were rescued from a life of slavery in an abusive brick factory! Ask God to grant each person peace and renewal of spirit and body as they begin new lives in freedom. (Read more about this rescue operation).

Southeast Asia: Pray for a breakthrough in Thailand, where IJM is advocating for hundreds of people who qualify for legal status as Thai citizens. Without citizenship, stateless people are extremely vulnerable to violence and exploitation like trafficking. In a single district in Northern Thailand, IJM is advocating for 800 citizenship applications that were filed last year. Ask God to give IJM favour with the government officials who are in charge of processing these applications. And ask God to protect the 800 people who are waiting for their citizenship rights.

HQ and Partner Offices: Pray for IJM Canada as they launch a campaign aimed to petition the Canadian government to include a focus on apprehending and prosecuting Canadian traffickers and child sex tourists living abroad in the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Pray for the IJM staff speaking at the Freedom Summit on 25th – 26th January 2013, as they teach how to take practical action on behalf of those in modern-day slavery. Pray that the participants would be encouraged and equipped to promote justice for the oppressed.
Ronell x
“ ‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.” {Jeremiah 1:8}

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Life Skills: Being Submitted to God

Tonight was another fantastic Life Skills session at re:generation church, led by Hannah.

The session was on submitting to God, not from a place of weakness and lack of other options, but from a place of love and of trust, knowing that the plans that He has for you are for your best (Jeremiah 29:11). Hannah’s challenge was this: how can you get closer to God if you are unwilling to submit fully to Him and to hear and follow the calling He has on your life?

In our groups, we discussed areas in our own lives where we have struggled (and are struggling) to submit. The challenge was raised when thinking of great men and women of God (like Jim Elliott or Gladys Aylward) who dedicated their lives to God’s specific calling. What would the Christian faith and the world around us look like without those men and women who have (and do) submit their lives fully to God.

But these are not myths and legends. Modern day heroes of faith still live among us. People like Christine Caine, fighting against human trafficking (A21 Campaign), or Bill Wilson, fighting for the salvation of inner city children in New York City (Metro Ministries).

Joyce Meyer’s post in her daily online devotional was on the same topic today: Lean and depend on Jesus:

My trust and assured reliance and confident hope shall be fixed in Him. —Hebrews 2:13
Proverbs 17:1 says that a house full of sacrifices with strife is not pleasing to the Lord. In other words, we could make all kinds of sacrifices of time and effort to try to help people, yet God is not pleased unless we stay in peace. Pursuing peace means making an effort. But we cannot maintain peace simply by our own fleshly effort. We need God's help and we need grace, which is His power assisting us and enabling us to do what needs to be done.
The effort we make must be in Christ. So often we just try to do what is right without asking for God's help, and that type of fleshly effort never produces good fruit. The Bible calls this a "work of the flesh." It is man's effort trying to do God's job. What I am saying is, be sure you lean on God and ask for His help. When you succeed, give Him the credit, the honor, and the glory because success is impossible without Him. Jesus said, Apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing (John 15:5).
It takes most of us a long time to believe this scripture enough to stop trying to do things without leaning on God. We try and fail, try and fail. It happens over and over until we finally wear ourselves out and realize that God Himself is our strength, our success, and our victory. He doesn't just give us strength—He is our Strength. He does not just give us the victory—He is our Victory. Yes, we make an effort to keep peace, but we dare not make an effort without depending on God's power to flow through us—failure is certain if we do.
{From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer}

So, whatever it is that you feel God has impressed on your heart to do, lean into Him, trust Him to provide where you are faithful and obedient. God may be calling you to mission work in another country, but He may equally be calling you to visit the sick or elderly in your neighbourhood; to work with children who live on the estate near you, or to serve in your church. God has a different and unique purpose for each of us.

What is your purpose? Are you sold out to it?


Ronell x

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted.” {C.S. Lewis}

"Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you." {Job 22:21}

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Locks of Love

My best friend is getting married in less than six weeks and I am incredibly excited! I am obviously a bridesmaid, which obviously adds to the excitement.

In preparation, I have (amongst other things) been growing my hair. A couple of weeks ago, I went to my (amazing) hair dresser to have my hair done and he happened to cut off a little more than I would have liked (obviously needed to be done though). I wasn’t angry, but I was worried about how I would possibly look good at my friend’s wedding! Silly, I know, but bear with me! (I’m sure many ladies can empathise here).

Anyway, so there I am, fussing over a couple of inches of hair, when I saw this picture of my cousin’s cousin, Adri, who had cut off most of her hair to give to Locks of Love. Obviously, this made me feel even more silly for fussing about a couple of inches of hair, but more than anything I felt great admiration for what Adri had done and wanted to find out more about Locks of Love.

So Locks of Love is a public non-profit organisation that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. They meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses they provide help to restore the children’s self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.
Their mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

How is THAT for perspective?? On further reading about Locks of Love, I discovered this story about a teenager who was growing his hair to donate it to Locks of Love. Click here to sign a petition to support his cause!

You can also help by:
·      Donating hair (please check the guidelines before cutting your hair!)
·      Making a financial contribution
·      Volunteer
·      Read about even more ways of helping


Ronell x

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.” {Audrey Hepburn}

Monday, 28 January 2013

Eric Delve at re:gen

Tonight Eric Delve came and spoke at re:generation church. It was really encouraging, as he really focused on the fact that Christianity should not be viewed as a ‘religion’; and we shouldn’t describe ourselves as ‘religious’.

I know that might sound strange, but he was talking about the fact that Christianity should not be seen as a tick list of dos and don’ts, but that the focus should be on relationship. Saying you are a Christian should be a reference to the relationship that you have with God, rather than being some sort of balance sheet of doing ‘good’ things vs doing ‘bad’ things.

Eric spoke about the many men and women of God who have died for their faith and died while fulfilling the calling that God placed on their lives. He also discussed the fact that we are members of the same church as the apostle Paul, or John Wesly, or missionaries such as Amy Carmichael. It was a serious challenge to me about how I am living out God’s call on my life. Am I doing it justice? Am I making a difference?

Even if you don’t know what God’s specific call or purpose is for your life, He has given us clear guidelines of what living a sold-out Christian life should look like in Isaiah 61v1-3:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
 and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
 They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

And also in Isaiah 58v 6-7, 10-11:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
 To loose the bonds of wickedness,
 To undo the heavy burdens,
 To let the oppressed go free, 
And that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, 
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
 And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

10 If you extend your soul to the hungry 
And satisfy the afflicted soul, 
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, 
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you continually,
 And satisfy your soul in drought, 
And strengthen your bones; 
You shall be like a watered garden, 
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

So if you would describe yourself as a Christian, I hope that these passages are as challenging to you as they have been to me. There are all kinds of ministries and calls that are encompassed by these verses (e.g. prison ministry, fighting against human trafficking, or visiting the elderly), so find the charity or calling that weighs heavily on your heart and support that in whatever way that you are able to!


Ronell x

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Magnifeco: where ethics meet aesthetics

Today’s post is about Magnifeco, a digital source for eco-fashion and sustainable living. Magnifeco is dedicated to bringing together ethical designers and conscious consumers from all corners of the globe. publishes stories about small artisans and corporate retailers who are focused on producing garments or products in ways that won’t harm the earth, yet still offer stunning visual appeal and longevity.

Every aspect of the business is focused on visual appeal, longevity and ethics. It defines what Magnifeco stands for, ensuring consistency with their readers, advertisers and stakeholders.

Check out Magnifeco for more about eco-friendly and sustainable:
·      beauty
·      women’s fashion
·      men’s fashion
·      kids’ fashion
·      lifestyle
·      travel
·      news and events


Ronell x

“We need to defend the interests of those whom we've never met and never will.” {Jeffrey D. Sachs}

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Urban Saints : Investing in Young People

Friday nights at 7pm, we do a youth night (Pulse) at my church (re:generation church) in Gidea Park. It is still a relatively new venture, but all the leaders and volunteers are enthusiastic and hopeful for a big impact in our local community!

Tonight was a fantastic night at Pulse in particular. The atmosphere/ vibe was just the exact right blend of energetic and chilled out and the children and helpers were interacting and relating far more genuinely and naturally than I have seen before. On top of that, we have several new children who came to Pulse for the first time tonight, some of which were invited from prayer rooms that were held in local schools! What a blessing it is to witness/be involved with what happens at Pulse!

Today’s post is about another organization that aims to reach young people with God’s message: Urban Saints.

Since 1906 Urban Saints (formerly known as Crusaders) has been reaching out to children and young people with the good news of Jesus Christ. They are passionate about working with children and young people who have no church connection, helping them to realise their full God-given potential as they journey from childhood to adulthood.

Young people (aged 5 to 18+) connect with the movement in a variety of ways, including weekly youth groups, special events, holidays, community projects and training programmes. These activities are led by thousands of volunteers who are comprehensively trained and supported in order to help them work effectively and achieve the highest possible standards of youth work practice. Whilst much of Urban Saints’ work is in the UK and Ireland, increasingly they are helping indigenous churches within countries in the developing world to set up and run outreach work among un-churched children and young people.

Underpinning all of their work is the strong belief that the Christian faith works today and that Jesus Christ was speaking the truth when He said that He offers the very best, most fulfilling life. To this end, our passion is to see young people…
• Come to faith, and then share that faith with others
• Experience the greatest hope, and then become bringers of that hope to their peers
• Respond to the love of God, and then become activists in their world through the practical demonstration of that love

Young people can become Urban Saints – God’s agents of change in the world – living like Jesus lived, with lives full of: Compassion, Endurance, Humility, Integrity, Wisdom and Commitment.

Whilst not every young person might become a Christian, Urban Saints do believe that Jesus Christ’s life and message, as revealed in the Bible, is challenging and inspiring to young people today as they seek to understand their value and purpose within 21st century society.

If you would like to celebrate the tremendous work that Urban Saints do, then please stand in the gap and pray! Three other ways of giving include:

1.   Giving – they cannot realise their dreams and goals without financial investment
2.   Acting – young lives will not be transformed without men and women volunteering
3.   Praying – spiritual transformation and change will not happen without prayer

If you would prefer to invest locally, find a church or organization that supports young people and exposes them to the true message of Christ and the effect that that has on our day-to-day lives. Donate to their cause or volunteer to be part of the youth work that they do.


Ronell x

But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’” {Matthew 19v14}

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Coppafeel: knowing your boobs could save your life!

Recently, my aunt Marina was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fighting bravely and has lost (and is regaining) her hair through chemo. She has been an absolute inspiration and a source of strength and joy in a time of pain. The thing that stands out about her..? Her sense of humor and the humorous way in which she has looked at the trials that breast cancer has thrown at her!

This mindset really reminds me of the charity that I am posting about today: Coppafeel. Coppafeel is on a mission to stamp out late detection and misdiagnosis of breast cancer by ensuring that you know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. They do this with catchy slogans and taking a comical approach towards something that could help to save your life. They promote knowing what your boobs look and feel like normally, checking your boobs regularly throughout your lifetime and having the confidence to seek medical referral if you detect any changes.

47,700 women and 300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and what your boobs look and feel like normally could save your life. Start the habit of a lifetime today! You can even set a reminder for yourself to coppafeel!

To support Coppafeel, you can:
·      donate online
·      participate in a charity run
·      fundraise on behalf of Coppafeel
·      volunteer
·      spread the word
·      shop online
·      promote and attend upcoming events


Ronell x

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” {Nehemiah 8:10}

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

DEBRA: working for people whose skin doesn’t work

Just today I was looking at my skin in dismay and wishing that it would be clearer, less irritated and more, well… perfect basically! It is so easy to do that: get fixated on something in the mirror that is not perfect and to lose sight of all the amazing blessings that we do have. To be honest, I didn’t even give this train of thought a second chance until this evening when I read about an organization called DEBRA and started to realise how selfish my grumblings really were!
DEBRA is the national charity working on behalf of people in the UK with the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB, or Epidermolysis Bullosa, is a very rare genetic condition in which the skin and internal body linings blister at the slightest knock or rub, causing painful, open wounds.
EB is likely to affect 1 in 17,000 live births and it is estimated that there are currently 5,000 people with the condition in the UK. Because EB is an inherited condition (it cannot be caught), which is passed on genetically from parents to children, first time parents often do not know that they are carriers and will have no prior warning that the child will be affected, until birth.
The condition has a number of distinct forms. In its least severe forms, the blistering is confined to the hands and feet making holding things and walking extremely painful. In more severe forms all the body is affected and the wounds heal very slowly, giving rise to scarring, physical deformity and significant disability.
For many affected by the condition, the blistering is not limited to the skin but also affects the inner body linings such as the mouth and oesophagus. The eating of solids is, in these cases, almost impossible, and the disposal of the body waste incredibly painful. When this condition applies, malnutrition is often a consequence, further reducing the body's resistance to infection.
People with the more severe types of EB also have an exceptionally high risk of developing skin cancers, shortening their lives by approximately 30-40 years. In its most severe form, the condition is fatal in infancy.
Whilst considerable progress has been made in recent years in understanding EB and identifying the genes that cause the condition, there is as yet no effective treatment or a cure.

This is where we come in! We can help to support the work of DEBRA by getting involved in the following ways:
·      Organise your own event
·      Get sporty
·      Support DEBRA Shops (including the online shop)
·      Give what you can (donate online, company fundraising, regular donations, legacy donations, etc)

Read some true stories of people suffering from EB.

Get involved in any way that you can!


Ronell x

For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” {Ephesians 5:30}