"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Sunday, November 30, 2014

South African Aid Worker and His Two Children Killed in Taliban Attack on Kabul Compound

Received this Facebook message just a short time ago:

Dear friends please pray for our Christian friend Hanelie. Her husband and two teenagers were killed by Taliban in Kabul yesterday evening while they were having a church meeting. Hanelie lost everything, her family and home. We are heartbroken.

They lived in Kabul for 11 years. According to one of my friends, 3 suicide bombers and people with guns stormed the house. Hanelie was not at home. There also died 3 Afghan Christians please keep their families in your prayers as well. 

 The Taliban took responsibility for attack said they targeted this specific Christian ministry.

Building burning last night in attack on foreign compound by Taliban
The News Report:

The latest Taliban strike in Kabul has killed a South African father and his two children, Afghan officials say, as the city's police chief resigns after at least nine militant attacks in two weeks.

As the US-led NATO war against the Taliban nears its end, the insurgents have targeted foreign compounds, embassy vehicles, US troops and a female Afghan member of parliament.

General Zahir stepped down shortly after he confirmed that three South Africans and an Afghan citizen were killed in a Taliban attack on a foreign compound on Saturday evening.

Partnership in Academics and Development, a small US-based education aid group, posted a message on its website, saying three of its staff had been killed in the attack.

"The attack ... by multiple gunmen included one who detonated a personal explosive device killing three and injuring other staff members," the website said.

"In the midst of this unprovoked attack, Partnership in Academics and Development remains committed to providing educational resources for Afghan citizens as they become part of the international community."

Mr Zahir said the organisation's local head, his son and his daughter were all killed.

"The attackers first shot dead the director as they entered the building," Mr Zahir said at a press conference, giving no further details about the victims' age.

Maj Gen Mohammad Zahir - Kabul Police Chief, resigned
Fears growing as international troops depart

NATO troop numbers peaked at 130,000 in 2010 but have fallen rapidly since then. Their combat mission ends altogether on December 31.

Fears are growing that the declining international presence is already fueling the Islamist insurgency.

The mission will be replaced by a 12,500-strong force supporting the Afghan army and police, who have taken over responsibility for thwarting the Taliban.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai said General Zahir gave notice of his resignation on Sunday.

"General Zahir Zahir told the interior ministry he no longer wanted to continue his job," Mr Stanakzai said. "The minister has accepted his resignation."

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed on Twitter that the compound hit on Saturday was that of a secret Christian missionary group and that a meeting of Australian visitors had been hit.

In the latest attack, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed the building apparently looking for foreigners.

A neighbouring building was engulfed in flames as security forces took three hours to hunt down the militants.

Saturday's attack came two days after the Taliban struck at another foreign guesthouse, wounding a guard, and a suicide bomber targeted a British embassy vehicle in a blast that killed six people.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
Afghan soldiers and police have endured soaring casualties on the battlefield, with more than 4,600 killed this year as they take on the Taliban with less assistance from the US military. This is not the first time America has left a country to implode upon itself, unfortunately.

President Ashraf Ghani, who came to power in September, has vowed to bring peace to Afghanistan after decades of conflict, saying he is open to talks with the Taliban who ruled Kabul from 1996 to 2001.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Swiss Immigration Vote: Referendum on Quotas - Updated

Update: This resolution was rejected by Swiss voters.

Swiss voters are due to go to the polls to decide on measures aimed at severely restricting immigration.

The ballot marks the second time this year that non-EU country Switzerland has held a referendum on immigration.

Last February voters narrowly backed reintroduction of quotas, effectively opting out of a free movement of people agreement with Brussels.

The new proposal, known as Ecopop, goes much further, limiting net immigration to just 0.2% of the overall population.

Switzerland's population is just 8.2 million - but that is still more than a million more than it was 20 years ago.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says that, while unemployment is low and living standards are high, many Swiss worry about overcrowding and environmental degradation.

Supporters of the Ecopop initiative say restricting immigration will safeguard Switzerland's environment by reducing the need for new transport links and new housing.

Ecopop also aims to limit overpopulation abroad, by devoting 10% of Switzerland's overseas aid to family planning in developing countries.

Opponents, among them all the major political parties, say the proposals will be bad for the economy - 25% of the Swiss workforce is foreign, and business leaders want to be able to recruit skilled labour from across Europe.

Meanwhile, many environmental groups argue that if the Swiss really want to protect their environment, they should start by adjusting their own lifestyles.

Opinion polls show a close vote, with latest indications suggesting that while many Swiss are worried about immigration, the Ecopop measures may be a step too far.

I have to question whether this bill is really about restricting Muslims from entering the country. Having watched what is happening in Denmark and France, restricting Muslim immigration would be a very wise thing to do. At 0.2%, with most immigrants coming from Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia, it leaves little room for Muslims.

Switzerland recruited high numbers of foreign workers in the 1950s and 1960s
Switzerland's population is about 8.18 million - of whom 1.96 million are not Swiss nationals, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO)

EU citizens make up the vast majority of immigrants in Switzerland

The largest group of foreign nationals living in Switzerland is from Italy; immigration from Italy started more than a century ago, but difficulties getting Swiss nationality meant many families remained Italian

The second largest group comes from Germany, and the third largest comes from the former Yugoslavia

Friday, November 28, 2014

Who Discovered America First? It Wasn't Columbus

Turkish President Erdogan recently declared that Muslims discovered America on the basis of a single comment by Columbus which most people assume to have been metaphorical - a reference to a mosque on top of a hill in Cuba.

That there was never any remnant of such a mosque found, nor was there any indication of Muslim influence anywhere in the Caribbean, means little to Erdogan.

Now there is a new contender for the discovery of America - Wales. Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, son of the king of Wales, may have sailed across the Atlantic and landed on the US mainland long before Columbus.

Prince Madog purportedly set out from Rhos-on-Sea in 1170 and discovered America some 300 years before Columbus.

The 'Welsh Indians' - Mandan Archery Contest by George Catlin.
Early European and American explorers told stories of encountering a pale-skinned, Welsh-speaking Native American tribe, called the Mandans.

Although the linguistic connection between the Welsh and the Mandans has subsequently been discounted, the similarities with the Welsh language are quite remarkable.

In the 18th century a man called James Girty drew up a list of comparisons between Mandan and Welsh, which amounted to approximately 350 words and phrases. He noted that the word for an estuary was 'aber' in both Mandan and Welsh. Likewise, 'bara' in both languages meant bread, 'hen' meant old and 'nant' meant stream.

The Welsh explorer, John Evans (1770– 1799), was inspired by tales of Girty’s so-called ‘Welsh Indians’, but found no evidence of Welsh speakers amongst the Mandans.

Evans played his own part in American history by mapping the course of the Missouri river, which served the Lewis and Clarke Expedition. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson - allegedly of Welsh descent himself - it was the first American venture to traverse and chart the western half of the country and enabled America to lay claim to the area.

Some years later, an American painter, George Catlin (1796-1872), also lived among Native American tribes observing their customs.

Unlike Evans, he noted similar findings to Girty. He concluded that the Mandan tribe were descendants of Madog’s pioneering expedition who had intermarried with the Mandan people, passing on their language and culture in doing so.

The Mandans themselves readily claimed Welsh ancestry, alleging they hailed from a distant land across great waters.

They looked for spiritual guidance from the Great Spirit of the Race - ‘Madoc Maha Paneta am byd’. The similarity to the Welsh ‘Madog Mawr Penarthur am byth’ - Madog the Great Spirit forever - convinced Catlin and other supporters that his theory was correct.

Catlin noted that different words were used for different situations and wrote, “Quite often I found that where there were two or more words with one meaning, one of those words would be the equivalent of Welsh.”

Reconstructed sod house at L'anse aux Meadows
Pretty convincing stuff. I'm amazed that I have never heard it before. But, of course, it is now known that a Viking, Leif Erikson, was the first European to set foot in the New World after landing on the eastern shores of Canada in the 11th century.

The evidence for that began to be uncovered in 1960 when a couple of archaeologists happened upon some mounds of grass of specific size and shape on the very northern tip of the island of Newfoundland at a place called L'anse aux Meadows. They excavated the site over the next several years and found 9 sod houses similar to those the Vikings left in Iceland and Greenland. They also found other artifacts which were obviously Norse and dated back to about 1000 AD. 

Artist's conception of what the site may have looked like 1000 years ago
Viking legends as far back as 1300 AD told of Leif Erikson building a settlement in a land he called Vinland. Recent archaeology suggests that L'anse aux Meadows may have been a gateway to further explorations south along the eastern seaboard, or perhaps up the St Lawrence River.

Evidence of other settlements have also been found in the Canadian arctic. 


Thursday, November 27, 2014

"The Heroine of The Hijack"

People You Should Know About
Dr. Subramanian Swamy
Neerja Bhanot (1963 – 1986) was working as a senior flight attendant with Pan Am airlines.

Neerja Bhanot was just 23 years old
On 5 September 1986, Bhanot was the senior crew of Flight-73 which was going from Mumbai to New York. The flight was hijacked at Karachi airport. The hijackers wanted to attack the Israeli defense ministry, using the aircraft as a missile.

Soon after the aircraft was hijacked, Bhanot alerted the cockpit crew and, as the plane was on the tarmac, the three-member American cockpit crew of pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer fled from the aircraft.

Within a short time after seizing control of the aircraft, hijackers realized that the pilots had escaped off the plane so was therefore forced to negotiate with the officials asking them to arrange the pilots.

The hijackers then ordered the flight attendants to collect the passports of all passengers. Neerja Bhanot realized that the passengers with American passports would be singled out by the hijackers so she hid the passports of the 41 Americans on board - some under a seat and the rest down a rubbish chute.

After 17 hours when the pilots were not arranged, the hijackers 
opened fire and set off explosives. Bhanot opened the emergency door and helped a number of passengers escape. She could have been the first to jump out when she opened the door but she decided not and was shot while shielding three children from a hail of bullets fired by the terrorists..

359 people were saved while 20 lost their lives.

Bhanot was recognised internationally as "The Heroine of The Hijack" and is the youngest recipient of the Ashok Chakra Award, India's most prestigious gallantry award for bravery during peace time.

And well deserved; she was so young and beautiful, she had everything to live for but sacrificed herself for 3 children. That's a hero. God bless her.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Emotionally Fragile Muslims Cannot Tolerate Criticism

Mr Siddique was arrested soon after handing himself into police
His comments in the US elicited a furious response from Muslim groups in Bangladesh
A senior Bangladeshi politician who criticised the annual Hajj pilgrimage made by Muslims to Mecca has been arrested in Dhaka.

Abdul Latif Siddique was denied bail and sent to jail on charges of insulting Islam.

Mr Siddique returned from India on Sunday after a long trip abroad.

Calls for his arrest came after he told a gathering in New York in September that he was "dead against the Hajj". He was subsequently sacked as a minister.

His comments triggered an angry reaction among hard line Islamist parties, who staged protests.

They and other opposition political parties demanded the former telecommunication minister's immediate arrest.

'An apostate'
Television footage from the US showed Mr Siddique telling a Bangladeshi expatriate audience in New York that he opposed the Hajj, and that the Prophet Mohammed had established it partly for commercial reasons.

Members of an Islamic political group pray in front of the Bangladesh national
mosque in Dhaka during a protest against comments made by Abdul Latif Siddique
I wonder what they are praying about? I doubt that it's for Allah to reveal the truth
"Two million people have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. [It] is a waste of manpower. Those who perform Hajj do not have any productivity," he said.

"They [Hajj pilgrims] deduct from the economy [and] spend a lot of money abroad."

After Mr Siddique's remarks were broadcast, hard line Islamist group Hefajat-e-Islam declared him "an apostate".

More than 20 cases were filed against him on charges of hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. A court also issued several warrants for his arrest, prompting Mr Siddique to prolong his stay in the US and India.

Islamist groups issued a 24-hour deadline for the government to arrest him soon after his return to Bangladesh. Some have even called for him to be executed.

I'm so grateful that I'm a Christian and that I can question different doctrines of the faith. I believe that it's not possible to really know God without working through difficult questions to the truth of Who God is. 

That's not possible in Islam, for to question Islamic doctrine will result in prison or death. Consequently, the difficult questions are never answered and so the doctrine can never be refined. This is necessary in Islam because if the truth were ever revealed, Islam would crumble and fall.

He has yet to be charged since handing himself in to police.

Annual Hajj at Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Thank God I'm not a Muslim!
In an interview with the BBC in India in October, Mr Siddique said that his comments were made in an informal briefing and not in front of a large audience. He expressed regret that he had "embarrassed" his leader.

Mr Siddique, 77, fought for Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971. He was a trusted aide to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has voiced her displeasure over his comments.

Feminist writer Taslima Nasreen was also accused of "hurting the emotions of Muslims" in her writings of the early 1990s. She had to flee the country following a public outcry and now lives in India.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Canada, US & Ukraine Vote Against Anti-Nazi UN Bill, Why?

In politics, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Canada, US & Ukraine are being criticized for being the only 3 countries to vote against this bill. Why did they?

UNITED NATIONS, November 22. /TASS/. The third committee of the UN General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution urging countries to adopt more efficient measures to struggle against the heroization of Nazism and other forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.  

A total of 115 out of 193 UN member-states voted in favor of the document, initiated by Russia. Three countries opposed the document - Canada, the United States and Ukraine. Another 55 delegations, including from the European Union countries, abstained.

The resolution expresses concerns over the spread across the world of various extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis as well as racist extremist movements and ideologies.

The text also warns against glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen-SS organization and erecting monuments and memorials to them.

Book and documentary on rise of neo-Nazism in
Ukraine presented at European Parliament
Therefore the document calls on states to take more efficient measures in line with international standards in the human rights sphere to fight these developments and extremist movements posing a real threat to democratic values.

The resolution unequivocally condemns any denial of the Holocaust and calls for ensuring the ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

So, do you now understand? Probably not. Canada, US and Ukraine, and quite probably the EU, sees this resolution as an excuse for Russian President Putin to invade eastern Ukraine to save the ethnic Russians there from racial discrimination. It's that simple. 

He wants to be able to say that he's just acting in response to the UN resolution and is therefore justified in lopping off another piece of Ukraine. I'm surprised he tried something so obvious; I thought he was more clever than that, unless I've missed something.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wellesley College Students Fear Rise in Anti-Semitism After Jewish Staffers’ Firings

Jewish students at Wellesley College, a Boston-area school for women, fear that anti-Semitism is growing on campus following what they call the school administration’s lax response to the anti-Israel activities of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as well as its decision fire the school’s Hillel director and Jewish chaplain.

“I firmly believe this college is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic,” Jordan Hannink, a junior at Wellesley, told Haaretz.

Wellesley College for Girls -  Massachusetts
Several posters have been plastered on walls around the campus “with images of Palestinian children who were killed or wounded during the Gaza war.” Another poster in the student center asks, “What does Zionism mean to you?” Responses to that question that were subsequently written on the poster include “genocide,” “apartheid,” and “murder,” according to Haaretz.

Jewish students said they had turned to the school’s Hillel branch for support in their fight against campus anti-Zionism, but that those efforts were undermined by the school’s decision to fire Hillel director Patti Scheinman and Jewish chaplain David Bernat. School officials cited “restructuring” as the reason for the firings.

Wellesley Jewish students said the abrupt firings made them feel “like we just lost our support system and are on our own,” one student told Haaretz. Additionally, efforts by Jewish students to have dialogue with SJP were scuttled by SJP’s refusal to engage Jewish students, due to the anti-Israel’s groups policy of “anti-normalization” of Jewish and pro-Israel groups.

It must be disturbing and frightening for Jewish girls at Wellesley. Unfortunately, this is the direction the world is moving in. Anti-semitism goes hand-in-hand with anti-Christianity; it's spiritual, and it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Dostoyevsky - The Writer Who Foresaw the Rise of the Totalitarian State

A brilliant column by John Gray about a brilliant writer still so very relevant today.

The 19th Century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote about characters who justified murder in the name of their ideological beliefs. For this reason, John Gray argues, he's remained relevant ever since, through the rise of the totalitarian states of the 20th Century, to the "war against terror".

When Fyodor Dostoyevsky described in his novels how ideas have the power to change human lives, he knew something of what he was writing about.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Born in 1821, the Russian writer was in his 20s when he joined a circle of radical intellectuals in St Petersburg who were entranced by French utopian socialist theories. A police agent who had infiltrated the group reported its discussions to the authorities. On 22 April 1849, Dostoyevsky was arrested and imprisoned along with the other members, and after some months of investigation they were found guilty of planning to distribute subversive propaganda and condemned to death by firing squad.

The punishment was commuted to a sentence of exile and hard labour, but the tsar's authority to decree life or death was confirmed by forcing the prisoners to undergo the ordeal of a mock execution.

In a carefully stage-managed charade Dostoyevsky and the rest of the group were taken on the morning of 22 December 1849 to a regimental parade ground, where scaffolding had been erected and decorated with black crepe. Their crimes and sentence were read out and an Orthodox priest asked them to repent.

Three of the group were tied to stakes in readiness for execution. At the last moment there was a roll of drums, and the firing squad lowered its rifles. Reprieved, the prisoners were put in shackles and sent into Siberian exile - in Dostoyevsky's case for four years of hard labour, followed by compulsory service in the Russian army. In 1859 a new tsar allowed Dostoyevsky to end his Siberian exile. A year later he was back in the literary world of St Petersburg.

The execution of two nihilists in St Petersburg, 1880
Dostoyevsky's experience had altered him profoundly. He did not abandon his view that Russian society needed to be radically changed. He continued to believe that the institution of serfdom was profoundly immoral, and to the end of his life he detested the landed aristocracy. But his experience of being on what he'd believed was the brink of death had given him a new perspective on time and history. Many years later he remarked: "I cannot recall when I was ever as happy as on that day."

From then onwards he realised that human life was not a movement from a backward past to a better future, as he had believed or half-believed when he shared the ideas of the radical intelligentsia. Instead, every human being stood at each moment on the edge of eternity. As a result of this revelation, Dostoyevsky became increasingly mistrustful of the progressive ideology to which he had been drawn as a young man.

He was particularly scornful of the ideas he found in St Petersburg when he returned from his decade of Siberian exile. The new generation of Russian intellectuals was gripped by European theories and philosophies. French materialism, German humanism and English utilitarianism were melded together into a peculiarly Russian combination that came to be called "nihilism".

We tend to think of a nihilist as someone who believes in nothing, but the Russian nihilists of the 1860s were very different. They were fervent believers in science, who wanted to destroy the religious and moral traditions that had guided humankind in the past in order that a new and better world could come into being. There are plenty of people who believe something similar today.

Dostoyevsky's indictment of nihilism is presented in his great novel Demons. Published in 1872, the book has been criticised for being didactic in tone, and there can be no doubt that he wanted to show that the dominant ideas of his generation were harmful. But the story Dostoyevsky tells is also a dark comedy, cruelly funny in its depiction of high-minded intellectuals toying with revolutionary notions without understanding anything of what revolution means in practice.

Eve Belton as Marya in a 1969 BBC adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel Demons
The plot is a version of actual events that unfolded as Dostoyevsky was writing the book. A former teacher of divinity turned terrorist, Sergei Nechaev, was arrested and convicted of complicity in the killing of a student. Nechaev had authored a pamphlet, The Catechism of a Revolutionary, which argued that any means (including blackmail and murder) could be used to advance the cause of revolution. The student had questioned Nechaev's policies, and so had to be eliminated.

Dostoyevsky suggests that the result of abandoning morality for the sake of an idea of freedom will be a type of tyranny more extreme than any in the past. As one of the characters in Demons confesses: "I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea from which I start. From unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism."

As a description of what would occur in Russia as a result of the Bolshevik revolution nearly 50 years later, this can hardly be improved upon. Though he criticised him for relying too much on individual acts of terror, Lenin admired Nechaev for his readiness to commit any crime if it served the revolution. But as Dostoyevsky foresaw, the use of inhuman methods to achieve a new kind of freedom produced a type of repression that was much more far-reaching than the theatrical cruelties of tsarism.

Dostoyevsky's novel contains a lesson that        What Dostoyevsky diagnosed
reaches far beyond Russia. Early English          was the tendency to think of
translations bore the title The Possessed            ideas as being somehow more 
- a misreading of a Russian word more              real than actual human beings
accurately rendered as Demons. But the
earlier title may have been closer to Dostoyevsky's intentions. Though at times he is merciless in his portrayal of them, it isn't the revolutionaries who are demons. It's the ideas to which the revolutionaries are enslaved.

Dostoyevsky thought the flaw at the heart of Russian nihilism was atheism, but you needn't share his view on this point to see that when he writes of the demonic power of ideas he has fastened on a genuine human disorder. Nor do you need to approve of Dostoyevsky's political outlook, which was a mystical version of nationalism deeply stained with xenophobia.

What Dostoyevsky diagnosed - and at times suffered from himself - was the tendency to think of ideas as being somehow more real than actual human beings. It would be a mistake to imagine that we haven't also fallen into this sort of delusional thinking. The wars the West has fought in the Middle East over the past decade and more are often attacked as being little more than attempts to seize natural resources, but I'm sure this isn't the whole story. A type of moral fantasy has been just as important in explaining the West's repeated interventions and their recurring failure.

Dostoyevsky's other major novels

John Simm as Raskolnikov in BBC version of Crime And Punishment
Crime and Punishment (1866): The story of Raskolnikov, a young student in 19th Century St Petersburg, who is consumed with guilt after he kills a moneylender

The Idiot (1868): The tale of Prince Myshkin - the "idiot" of the title - whose naive and trusting nature precipitates disaster for the people around him

The Brothers Karamazov (1880) - Philosophical novel about four brothers and their dissolute landowner father, whose murder raises questions about God, free will and morality

We've come to imagine that ideas like "democracy", "human rights and "freedom" have a power of their own, which can transform the lives of anyone who is exposed to them. We've launched projects of regime change, which aim to realise these ideas by toppling tyrants. But exporting revolution in this fashion can have the effect of fracturing the state, as has happened in Libya, Syria and Iraq, leading to civil war, anarchy and new types of tyranny.

The result is the position we find ourselves in at the present time. Western policy is now driven by fear of forces and ideas that have sprung from the chaos that earlier Western intervention created. Sadly, this fear isn't groundless. The risk of these conflicts rebounding on us as Western citizens who have fought in them return home is all too real.

We like to think that liberal societies are immune to the dangerous power of ideas. But it's an illusion to think we don't have demons of our own. Possessed by grandiose conceptions of freedom, we've tried to change the systems of government of countries we don't begin to understand. Like the deluded revolutionaries of Dostoyevsky's novel, we've turned abstract notions into idols and sacrificed others and ourselves in the attempt to serve them.

Friday, November 21, 2014

New Scandal Envelops UNRWA as Employees Praise Jerusalem Synagogue Atrocity

UNRWA school director Naief al-Hattab, who openly praised this week's terrorist
attack in Jerusalem, pictured with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in Gaza
Among the many Palestinians who openly celebrated Tuesday’s terrorist atrocity at a synagogue in Jerusalem, during which four worshippers and a police officer were brutally murdered, were several employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA.)

UNRWA is a body devoted solely to Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war as well as their descendants who, unlike the children of refugees in other conflict situations, legally inherit refugee status. Among its responsibilities is the education of Palestinian children, often taught by local teachers who have no incentive to keep their political beliefs – however extreme – outside of the classroom.

Popular Jewish blogger Elder of Ziyon has amassed evidence of UNRWA employees lauding the Jerusalem attack, among them Maha al Mosa, an UNRWA teacher in Syria who prayed for the two terrorists to be accepted in “paradise” as “martyrs.

I'm sure Satan will hear his prayer and welcome the terrorists into his 'paradise', which will most likely have a lot in common with living in Islam.

Ibrahim Hajjar, another teacher based in Hebron, who published a poem praising the terrorists, and another Syrian-based teacher who, using a pseudonym, posted a celebratory picture of Adolf Hitler on his Facebook page.

The latest outrage centers on Naief al-Hattab, school director of UNRWA’s Zaitoun Elementary School Boys “B” and former school headmaster of Shijia Elementary School Boys “A” for Refugees. Writing on his Facebook page, al-Hattab congratulated the terrorists on their “wonderful revenge.”

Al-Hattab, who shook hands with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on his visit to Gaza in October, has previously posted inflammatory statements and images, among them one of a young child brandishing a sub-machine gun. It is not clear whether this child is related to al-Hattab, or whether he attends the Zaitoun Elementary School which al-Hattab runs.

The Zaitoun school complex caters for boys and girls separately. As this report from UNRWA reveals, the girls school was completed in 2012 with “funding from the United States of America.”

The UN Security Council yesterday condemned the Jerusalem atrocity as a “despicable terrorist attack.” On the ground, however, it is clear that many of the international organization’s employees have a very different interpretation of Tuesday’s slaughter, and are not afraid to say so.

It seems the United Nations are not so 'united' after all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Protests in Mexico City, Acapulco, & La Paz, Bolivia Over 43 Missing Students

Relatives of 43 missing Mexican students, who the authorities say were murdered by a drugs gang, have led mass protests in the capital.

Convoys carrying the families arrived in Mexico City on Thursday after touring the country to rally support.

Masked protesters clashed with police near the airport hours before the three
marches started. Some 200 hooded protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails
 at police officers burning a motorcycle.
Many remain unconvinced by the official explanation and still hope the students will be found alive.

Francisco Lagro, father of 19-year-old Magdaleno, one of those missing, was travelling on one of the caravans.

"It's been almost two months without knowing where they are. We don't know anything and we're desperate," he said.

"What are they doing? In what conditions? Do they get any water or food? Are they tied up? We have so many questions."

The government's handling of the case of the missing students
has provoked widespread anger in Mexico
Many thousands have converged on Mexico City's main square, or Zocalo.

A small protest turned violent near Mexico City's international airport, when some 200 hooded protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers who had been trying to disperse them. Police say no-one was injured.

Despite that incident, the protests were less violent and destructive than those just over a week ago.

Many shops and businesses were reportedly closed on Thursday because of the marches.
Bolivian students marched in solidarity with their Mexican counterparts in La Paz
Demonstrators have also called for a nationwide strike. Protests are also under way in other parts of Mexico and abroad.

The abduction has galvanised opposition to rampant political corruption and violence, says the BBC's Wyre Davies in Mexico City.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has accused some of the protesters of trying to "destabilise" the state.

A student takes part in a protest by students of the Ayotzinapa school
and parents of the 43 missing students in Acapulco
The protests for the missing students reflect wider anger at political corruption
Analysts say the issue is the biggest challenge he has faced in his two years of office.

The students, all trainee teachers, went missing after attending a protest in Iguala, Guerrero State.

Forensic tests are being carried out on bodies found in mass graves in the state.

More than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 have disappeared in Mexico in the last decade.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pope Said WHAT? A Few Questions for the Pontiff

VATICAN CITY Christians are not made in a laboratory, but in a community called the church, Pope Francis said.

At his weekly general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about the church, telling an estimated 33,000 people that there is no such thing as "do-it-yourself" Christians or "free agents" when it comes to faith.

Every Christian, he said, can trace his or her faith back to parents, grandparents, teachers or friends. "I always remember the nun who taught me catechism. I know she's in heaven because she was a holy woman," he said. And what was it that made her holy? A personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot be holy otherwise.

In the Old Testament, the pope said, God called Abraham and began to form a people that would become a blessing for the world. "With great patience -- and God has a lot of it -- he prepared the people of the ancient covenant and in Jesus Christ constituted them as a sign and instrument of the union of humanity with God and unity with one another."

Pope Francis described as "dangerous" the temptation to believe that one can have "a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church."

Obviously, he said, it is not always easy to walk the path of faith with other people. "Sometimes it's tiring. It can happen that a brother or sister creates problems for us or scandalizes us, but the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to us, to witnesses," he said.

"It is through our brothers and sisters with their gifts and their limits," the pope said, "that he comes to us and makes himself known. This is what belonging to the church means. Remember: Being Christian means belonging to the church. If your first name is Christian, your last name is Member of the Church."

At the end of his talk, the pope asked people to join him in praying that they would never "give into the temptation of thinking you can do without others, without the church, that you can save yourself, of thinking you can be a laboratory Christian."

Christians, he said, are not manufactured in isolation, but belong to a long line of believers who handed on the faith and challenged one another to live it fully.

Oh, my Lord! Is he saying that if you don't have a heritage of believers, that you cannot be one? 

Is he merely trying to state that those who are or would be Christians 'must' belong to a church?  

Is he saying that you must belong to the Catholic church? 

Is he confusing the Catholic church with the universal church of God - the communion of believers around the world who are united with and in Christ?

No one in the Gospels had a heritage of believers. Does that mean that they could not be saved?

Do I want to be in communion with the thousands of pedophile priests in the Catholic church or the many bishops who enabled them? I don't think so! I'm pretty sure that you cannot call those people Christians. They are flat-out evil!

Are we going to see a new persecution of Protestants? A re-emergence of the Inquisition?

Is he setting us up for the Great Tribulation where the real church of Jesus Christ is virtually annihilated?

As you can see, there are a lot more questions here than answers, but I find his statements to be shocking and frightening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is It Possible to Save North Korea from Itself?

North Korea's rights situation "exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror", the UN report said.

A UN committee has called for the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.

Soldier standing guard for secretive, hermit country
The human rights committee passed a motion seeking a probe into alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Pyongyang regime.

The motion still needs to be voted on by the General Assembly itself.

A groundbreaking UN report released in February revealed ordinary North Koreans faced "unspeakable atrocities".

The UN Commission of Inquiry detailed wide-ranging abuses in North Korea after hearing evidence of torture, political repression and other crimes.

It led to Tuesday's non-binding vote, which was passed with 111 countries in favour and 19 against, with 55 abstentions.

China and Russia, which hold veto power on the Security Council, voted against the motion.

The resolution also condemned North Korea for its poor human rights record, and urged the Security Council to consider targeted sanctions against those responsible for the crimes.

Michael Kirby, who chaired the report, described the move as "an important step in the defence of human rights".

"One of the only ways in which the International Criminal Court can secure jurisdiction is by referral by the Security Council. That is the step that has been put in train by the big vote in New York," he said.

UN Committee meeting
The General Assembly is to vote on the motion in coming weeks.

Diplomats say, however, that long-time ally China would probably use its veto to block the Security Council from referring the case to the ICC.

The UN report said North Korea's human rights situation "exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror".

It said those accused of political crimes were "disappeared" to prison camps, where they were subject to "deliberate starvation, forced labour, executions, torture, rape and the denial of reproductive rights enforced through punishment, forced abortion and infanticide".

The report, based on interviews with North Korean defectors, estimated that "hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have perished in these camps over the past five decades".

Choe Myong-nam, a North Korean official in charge of UN affairs and
human rights, speaks during a meeting of the UN General Assembly
  human rights committee on 18 November 2014
From the report:

Former inmate Jeong Kwang-il told the UN panel he was given so little food during 10 months in a detention centre that he dropped in weight from 75kg to 36kg (5st 9lb) [165 lbs to 79 lbs]. He also described a technique referred to as 'pigeon torture' to force confessions where the hands are handcuffed behind the back.

"Then they hang you so you would not be able to stand or sit," he said.

"If you are hung like that for three days, four days, you urinate, you defecate, you are totally dehydrated… [it] was so painful that I felt it was better to die."

UN North Korea report main findings

It included an account of a woman forced to drown her own baby, children imprisoned from birth and starved, and families tortured for watching a foreign soap opera.

North Korea refused to co-operate with the UN report and rejected its conclusions.

Speaking ahead of the vote, a North Korean foreign ministry official warned the committee of the possibility of further nuclear tests.

Penalising North Korea over human rights "is compelling us not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests", Choe Myong-nam said.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests in the past. International talks aimed at ending its nuclear ambitions have been stalled for years.

While this is very ambitious, and a little frightening - like heading toward a one-world government, it is not likely to get anywhere as China will certainly veto it if Russia doesn't. Neither country wants to set the precedent of having to be answerable to the World Court for internal matters.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Putin Gets Mauled at G20 Summit

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a showdown with Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian leader to "get out of Ukraine" in a dustup at the Group of 20 summit in Australia.
G20 Summit Leaders Brisbane, Australia
Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald, said the prime minister was speaking to a group of G20 leaders at a private leaders' retreat on Saturday morning when Putin approached and extended his hand.

MacDonald said Harper told Putin: "I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine."

According to MacDonald, Putin did not respond positively. He didn't provide further details.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
But a spokesman for the Russian delegation said Putin's response was: "That's impossible because we are not there."

Putin's stone-faced lying is for his home audience. He knows that everyone else in the world knows he's lying, but he doesn't care. The Russian people still believe him and that's all that is important to him as he carries on his expansion of the Russian Federation for his own glory.
Canadian PM Stephen Harper

But it was clear that Putin's actions over the past few days were top of mind for the leaders.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lashed out at the Russian leader for apparently flexing his military muscles by sending four Russian navy ships to stalk Australia's northern coast in the days leading up to the G20 summit.

Australian PM Tony Abbott
"Russia would be so much more attractive if it was aspiring to be a superpower for peace and freedom and prosperity, if it was trying to be a superpower for ideas and for values, instead of trying to recreate the lost glories of czarism or the old Soviet Union," he said.

Britain's David Cameron threatened Russia with further sanctions if it doesn't resolve the Ukrainian conflict amid reports that Russian troops and tanks are flooding into the eastern reaches of Ukraine.

Harper has been a vehement Putin critic for months, with Canada and Russia trading a number of retaliatory sanctions.

British PM David Cameron
He recently condemned the "continued penetration of Russian presence in eastern Ukraine and obvious actions to extend and provoke additional violence. That's of great concern to us."

Putin is packing up to leave the summit early today.

The past six weeks - from Wikipedia:

On 5 September, representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic signed the Minsk Protocol, a twelve-point agreement that implemented a ceasefire. On 10 September, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said most of the Russian forces had withdrawn from Ukrainian territory, and that this heightened the chances for a lasting cease-fire in the southeast. 

On 13 September, it was reported Russia had sent a convoy of aid into eastern Ukraine without inspection by Ukraine, claiming this convoy was part of the ceasefire agreement. NATO said Russian forces were still operating in Ukraine in unknown numbers, and the ceasefire was not working. NATO said Russian forces were re-positioning to bring great pressure on Mariupol (2nd largest city in Donetsk).

In November 2014 the Ukrainian military reported "intensive" movement of troops and equipment from Russia into the separatist controlled parts of eastern Ukraine. Associated Press reported 80 unmarked military vehicles on the move in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine. Three separate columns were seen, one near the main separatist stronghold of Donetsk and two outside the town of Snizhne. Several of the trucks were seen to be carrying troops. "Separatists have always insisted they are armed with equipment captured from Ukrainian forces, but the sheer scale and quality of their armaments have strained the credibility of that claim." 

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks without insignia. According to an independent assessment provided to The Daily Beast there were as many as 7,000 Russian troops inside Ukraine in early November 2014 with between 40,000 and 50,000 at the country’s eastern border. Ukraine's currency lost value amid signs that Moscow had dispatched troops and tanks to reinforce separatists. OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) monitors further observed vehicles apparently used to transport soldiers' bodies crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border - in one case a vehicle marked "Cargo 200" - Russia's military code for soldiers killed in action - crossed from Russia into Ukraine on November 11 2014 and later returned.

Several members of the international community and organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized Russia for its actions in post-revolutionary Ukraine, and condemned Russia, accusing it of breaking international law and violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Many countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia or Russian individuals or companies, to which Russia responded in kind. The Kremlin has tried to systematically intimidate and silence human rights workers who have raised questions about Russian soldiers' deaths in the conflict.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Playing Russian Roulette with Your Sanity

Millions of people, especially teenagers and pre-teens (tweens) are playing Russian Roulette with their sanity and it is very dangerous.

Russian Roulette, for some of you  young people who may not know, is a 'game' played with a gun, with potentially deadly consequences. How it works is like this: you take an old fashioned revolver, one with a cylinder that spins and holds 6 bullets, like they used in old western movies where the hero is the only one who can count to 6 so he knows when the bad guy is out of bullets before the bad guy does.

Next, you empty the cylinder of all the bullets, then put one bullet back into the cylinder and spin the cylinder. Without looking at the gun, you lift it to the side of your head and pull the trigger. If you are lucky the active chamber will be empty; if the rest of the world is lucky, you'll be dead, thereby qualifying for a Darwin award. Darwin awards are given to those who improve the gene pool of the planet by eliminating one idiot - them.

Teens and even some tweens are 'playing the game' and don't even know it. They think the chambers are all empty so they can put the gun to their heads and shoot without fear. But the guns are not empty, and young people are putting their sanity at great risk.

How? By smoking pot! Kids under 16 have a 1 in 6 chance of developing full-blown, irreversible Schizophrenia, or Paranoia, or both, from smoking pot. 1 in 6 - just like Russian Roulette. The odds improve somewhat as you get older but never approach zero. 

Numerous studies by some of the top psychologists in the world have confirmed this, and yet Countries and States all over the world are either decriminalizing marijuana, legalizing it, or are thinking about it. Once it is legalized or decriminalized, kids will be convinced that it must not be harmful, that the gun is empty.

You might assume that about even harder drugs if you  live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the city council just issued a booklet to at least one school with 13 year old kids, explaining how to use street-drugs safely; drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. I think they were probably on something when they approved the booklet - there is no such thing as taking street-drugs safely.

More and more research is finding more and more problems with cannabis. It is now associated with lower IQs, poorer memories, and lesser degrees of accomplishment. Aside from a 1 in 6 risk of insanity, there is a 1 in 6 probability that kids will become addicted to pot. Modern pot is several times more powerful than the older stuff.

Research on the Dangerous Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Marijuana Linked to Death of Colorado Exchange Student

Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities

20 Year Study Confirms Significant Dangers from Regular Marijuana Use

More Scary Research into the Effects of Marijuana on Teenagers

Effects of Marijuana Sales in Colorado Serious Cause for Concern

Colorado pot shop
There is so much more information in the links above, please check them out. There is one more effect that science is just beginning to discover about marijuana. It's something I have observed for almost 40 years. It is that regular pot smokers stop maturing! They literally get stuck in the year that they start regular use of the drug.

A neighbour I knew in 1978 was stuck in 1965. He and his wife loved kids but had none - didn't want the responsibility; the drove a 1965 Mustang, they listened to 1964-65 Beatles music on Walkmans all weekend, they dressed like hippies all weekend, and they smoked pot all weekend.

That is one of many examples; the most extreme example, I believe, is Michael Jackson, whom, I have heard began smoking pot with his brothers at about 8 or 9. Most of Jackson's friends described him as a boy in a man's body. I  have no doubt that he was mentally, emotionally and socially, an 8 or 9 year old boy all his life; and I have little doubt that pot was entirely to blame.

You can function in this world while being stuck in an undeveloped state of maturity, but it will eventually catch up to you and make your life miserable. It will also prevent you from ever finding and accomplishing the very reason for your existence.

Please, if you are a parent, tell your kids that there are real bullets in that gun, and there is no coming back from it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guerrero State Under Attack as Students Still Missing in Mexico

Attack against Guerrero state congress in Chilpancingo
Protesters accuse local politicians of failing to investigate the students' disappearance
Demonstrators in Mexico have attacked the Guerrero state congress in new protests against the government's handling of the disappearance of 43 students in September.

Five vehicles were set alight outside the building in the state capital, Chilpancingo.

The students disappeared in the nearby town of Iguala more than six weeks ago.

Mexican officials say local gang members have confessed to killing the students and burning their bodies.

But remains found nearby have not yet been identified as the missing students.

The students' disappearance has led to weeks of violent protests across the country.
There were violent clashes in several areas of Chilpancingo during the day
Today's attack caused extensive damage to the Guerrero state congress building.

It came after protesters torched the education department's audit office in Chilpancingo during a demonstration called by the teachers' union.

On Tuesday demonstrators in Iguala attacked the regional headquarters of the ruling party (PRI).

Guerrero's Education Department building was also targeted during teachers' union march
The disappearance of the 43 trainee teachers and the links it has revealed between the local authorities and a gang calling itself Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) have triggered mass protests.

Investigators said that municipal police officers confessed to seizing the students, who had been protesting in Iguala on 26 September, and later handing them over to the gang.

Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca is under arrest on suspicion of ordering police to intercept the students. Iguala's police chief is still on the run.

But residents say they suspect links between the gang and officials reach higher levels than that of the local town council.

Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, 7 Nov 14
The couple were arrested last week in Mexico City hiding in a slum area
Relatives of the missing are also angry about the way the search for the students has been conducted.

Tests carried out by the Guerrero state authorities suggested the bodies they contained were not those of the students.

But Mexico's Attorney-General Jesus Murillo Karam later said the initial tests may have been flawed.

Attorney-General Jesus Murillo Karam
On 28 October, experts searching the landfill site near the town of Cocula where gang members allegedly killed and burned the students find rubbish bags with human remains.

The charred remains have now been sent to a specialised laboratory in Innsbruck, Austria, for testing. Results are not expected for several weeks.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gus, Apostle to the Andes

Update: For up-to-date information and the latest of Gus' great exploits in Bolivia, please visit his ministry website.

This is a brief, but remarkable story of a friend of mine whom God used and is using in a most amazing way. Gus does not call himself an apostle, it is a title of respect bestowed upon him by South Americans.

La Paz, Bolivia
Gus Schlamp, was born in Swift Current Saskatchewan in November of 1941, but was raised in the small logging town of Vanderhoof, in central British Columbia, Canada. He remained in Vanderhoof and worked in the forest industry for twenty five years, and another two years in Edson, Alberta. From that humble beginning, Gus could never have imagined that he would one day be responsible, in partnership with God, for delivering the Gospel to 7,000,000 people.

Life was good for Gus. He met and married a beautiful woman named Martha, and they soon began having children.

One Saturday Gus was in town where he bumped into an acquaintance who was a night watchman at a sawmill. They weren't that acquainted with each other, but they knew each other somewhat and had a casual chat.

Monday morning, while Gus was working in the bush, word came from town that the mill where this man was a watchman burned down. And the night watchman died of a heart attack. He was somewhere in his 50s, but he dropped dead.

Gus Schlamp and some schoolchildren
This really shook Gus up as he began to question the meaning of life and the meaning of death. His questions soon led him to the Bible where he found the answers and committed his life to Jesus Christ. Gus was 31 when received the assurance of salvation; he had been married about ten years.

Meanwhile, God had already brought Gus's neighbour into his wife's life. She was an on-fire Christian and soon led Mrs Schlamp to Jesus, and then to church. Gus had attended church as a youth but it was not an evangelical church and Gus found little real relevance in what he learned there. So with both Gus and his wife becoming new Christians, they decided to find a church, but not the one Gus attended as a child. They went to the church their on-fire neighbour attended and they got lit-up.

They started a Sunday evening sing along with the young people from his former church, which eventually developed into an Evangelical church. Gus's good life got even better than he could have imagined. It wasn’t long before he decided to go to Bible College. He graduated from Prairie Bible Institute in beautiful, downtown Three Hills, Alberta, in 1980. He then returned to his first occupation – logging. Soon, child number six was born.

Alas, life is never one filled with long periods of great joy and happiness. Times of testing come upon us bringing great difficulties into our lives, sometimes they come from the most unlikely source.

Gus's wife bought a really nice skirt, one day; it fit her beautiful figure very flatteringly. Gus loved it. It had a slit up one side that revealed a little leg. She looked fantastic in it. Unfortunately, her neighbour's husband thought so too and complained to his wife that he was being tempted by her appearance in that skirt with the slit.

The neighbour, the very one who led her to the Lord, rebuked Martha for tempting her husband. Where I come from, this is often called mis-placed anger - she probably should have rebuked her husband for not looking away. Or, perhaps she was jealous that her husband admired her neighbour so much. Or, perhaps she was jealous that she didn't look as good as the woman who had 6 kids.

Vanderhoof, British Columbia
A gentle word, I'm sure, and Martha might have made sure to not where the skirt around the neighbour's husband. Nevertheless, Martha disposed of the skirt, never wearing it again. That unfortunate incident began to erode her enthusiasm toward church.

One day, Gus and Martha found a bottle raspberry juice that had fermented, and they drank it. That was so much fun that they began buying wine and drinking it. Over time the drinking increased. As the drinking increased, the fun decreased, and Gus would often find his wife staying up late rather than praying together and going to bed with him. If he had only gone out to her and encouraged her to come to bed, things might have worked out very differently; but he didn't, and since they no longer prayed together the two grew farther and farther apart.

Okanagan Lake at Summerland
Gus’ marital relationship deteriorated over the years to the point of an official divorce in the year 2000, after which he retired. But divorce and retirement left Gus experiencing a very lonely and empty life. He moved to Summerland, in southern British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, but just continued to spiral downhill. He began to contemplate suicide. Then he began to plan his suicide.

There was a large sign on the side of the highway not far from where Gus lived. He decided that if he hit that sign on his motorcycle at about 100 mph, it would decapitate him instantly and he would hardly feel a thing.

Before Gus could exercise his plan, the Lord opened his eyes and heart through Job 2:9. Then he understood what Job’s wife meant when she said to Job: “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” What he understood her to say was, “Why don’t you do yourself in”? At that point Gus understood that if he was to take his life into his own hands he would be cursing God. Gus had enough fear of the Lord that he did not want to curse God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." Prov 9:10.

(In the Bible, the word translated “fear” can mean several things. It can refer to the terror one feels in a frightening situation (Deuteronomy 2:25). It can mean “respect” in the way a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully (Joshua 24:14). Fear can also denote the reverence or awe a person feels in the presence of greatness (Isaiah 6:5). The fear of the Lord is a combination of all of these.)

Gus abandoned his suicide plan and decided to start over and build a new life. He didn’t feel that he had a right to start another relationship, so he looked at other options. He thought about moving away, but as his relationship with the Lord was improving, Gus struggled with his motives for wanting to leave, but then God pointed him to Isaiah 49:13 and on:

"Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted."

Isa 49:14  But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me." 

Isa 49:15  "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 

Isa 49:16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 

Isa 49:17  Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you. 

Isa 49:18  Lift up your eyes around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, declares the LORD, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does. 

Isa 49:19  "Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land-- surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 

Isa 49:20  The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears: 'The place is too narrow for me; make room for me to dwell in.' 

Isa 49:21  Then you will say in your heart: 'Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away, but who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; from where have these come?'" 

Isa 49:22  Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.

This seemed to be loaded with purpose and promises to Gus.

With the Lord now directing his path, Gus didn’t move down the road, or to another part of B.C., He decided that he was going to start over in another country, Gus investigated Costa Rica but found no opportunities. So, he ended up moving to Bolivia where he bought ‘farm’ land consisting of 247 acres of heavy jungle, with a river bordering the north end, and a lake on the south end. He then bought a bulldozer and built seven kms of road to the property.

The first year he lived in a tent under a straw roof in the yard of the people from whom he bought the land. After the road was built and some clearing done, Gus built his house, shop and garage all under one large metal roof. He then started clearing the jungle and planting rice. He also had some pasture with cattle.

Mud is a problem on the mostly dirt
roads, especially in rainy season
During his time on the farm, Gus attended a Spanish church in a village called Santa Maria, 20 kms away. But to get there he had to reach the main highway, which meant crossing the river by ferry for the first 2 1⁄2 years before a nice bridge was built.

For about six years, Gus developed his farm quite successfully, but during this time he became rather concerned about the salvation of the many children throughout Bolivia. When he would see children the question that would always come to mind was this: “What opportunity will these children ever have to come to know God and His eternal salvation?”

The Lord developed that question to a very specific call and led Gus into His ministry to bring the Word of God to all the public schools throughout Bolivia.

During those six years, Gus found that he had some of the Lord’s funds on hand, tithe money that he hadn't yet disbursed, and he did not know where to designate it. Then it came to mind that he should purchase some children’s Bible story books and give one to each family in his church. He did.

After that, he felt like the Lord was saying, (that’s fine but there are more children). So he thought maybe he should do this to other churches as well. But then the question came to mind saying, “Gus, why do you only think of the children in church?”

That question hit fairly hard because Gus felt that the Lord wanted him to do this over all of Bolivia, and that was a much bigger project than he could even imagine. There were so many questions like; where would the material come from, where would the funds come from to purchase the material, how would it get distributed, what material should be distributed?

Gus went around this tree while road-making
While thinking on all this the Lord gave him the Bible verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is He who calls you who also will do it”. By now you have probably figured out that Gus doesn’t do anything half-way; perhaps that’s why God chose him for this great challenge. So, Gus sold his farm and all that he had and bought a vehicle to transport the material. He also purchased two apartments for rental purposes to generate some income, and he rented a room together with a secure car garage in the city of Santa Cruz.

Then he ordered 500 children’s Bible Story Books from Ohio, USA for $700.  Gus distributed these to schoolchildren and teachers in a town north of Santa Cruz called Rurenabaque where he had done a survey to get an idea of the number of students in schools. Gus was very excited to have received such a holy calling, and determined to not give God a divided heart which meant sell everything and go into this full time.

After some time, a friend came from Paraguay with some Scripture material and asked Gus if he could store it in his garage for a while. Two weeks later, the friend asked if Gus had looked at the material yet which he had not, but as he looked at it he knew immediately this was exactly what he needed, and it just happened to be in his garage.

This was enough to give him a really good start. Montero was a smaller town North of Santa Cruz where he knew a pastor who was very excited about this mission. He would provide him with a bed for the night and also arrange for either himself or another pastor to go with him for the day as he distributed the booklets. During this process he met up with many pastors, and this is where he met with Rene Estevez Ordonez who worked on the project until 2011.

Following up on where the material came from, Gus found that David Klassen from Canada was instrumental in directing the material to Paraguay from World Missionary Press and was more than willing to arrange for them to receive this material as well.

Gus soon realized that his funds would run out and that funds would have to come in from outside sources. Therefore, he felt the need to make himself accountable somehow and, so, developed a board of directors consisting of some Canadians and some Bolivianos.

He also realized that support would likely come from Canada and, so, he also formed a board in Canada consisting of persons who have been in Bolivia and have seen the work first hand. Since then they have become a charitable organization known as Next Generation Ministries Inc. (NGM).

NGM is committed to the following ministries in Bolivia:

Bolivian Board
1. Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every school, student and teacher.

2. Work together with evangelical pastors to bring this about.

3. Supply each student with the Word of God.

4. Supply each teacher with Bible study booklets.

5. Encourage these helping pastors to follow up on all these students and teachers.

The country's schools only go to grade six. This means that every six years they will all be new students. So it would be good to cover Bolivia every three to six years.

What do the materials consist of and how are they produced?

The material is in booklet form and it is mostly Scripture. Actually it is the Bible in condensed form with all the major doctrines of the Gospel. They are printed and shipped for free from WMP (World Missions Press).
This is the cover and second page of the booklet.

NGM’s access to Bibles has been very limited, but when they have Bibles or New Testaments they try to leave at least one with each school and, if possible, one with each teacher. Their next shipment is going to have 1,250,000 Scripture Booklets.

What has happened as a result of this mission in Bolivia?

Since this mission started in 2005 the gospel has been presented to more than 7,000,000 teachers and students, and may soon exceed 10,000,000. Every schoolchild in Bolivia and every teacher has received the booklet. Today NGM has workers in the cities of Cobija, Trinidad, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, La Paz and Sucre.

Recently the door has opened to Peru, but with the existing mission, they are not able to use funds that are given to NGM for the work in Peru.

NGM has contacted WMP who are prepared to ship a small container to Lima, Peru, if Gus can coordinate the work there to unload and distribute the material. As of this writing, WMP is contemplating the shipment of a container to Lima.

This container of Scripture booklets is to be placed into the hands of the Assemblies of God, which is a very large organization in Peru. Gus spoke to a leading pastor in Lima who told him that he has the oversight of 6,000 pastors in Peru. So, it appears that they have all their workers in place and will make good use of the material, with God’s blessing.

It is just amazing how God can use one humble but determined man to begin and run a work whereby the Gospel reaches 10,000,000 people – perhaps an entire generation of an entire country have the opportunity to receive the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Is it any wonder that they call him the Apostle to the Andes.

But Gus would want to make sure you know that this is not a story about him; it’s a story of what God can do, and he would give Him all the glory which is right. But I would like to point out that for God to glorify Himself He needs servants who listen, are willing, have faith, and are courageous. Gus is such a man. God bless him.

If you would like to be a part of this incredible ministry, please visit NGM’s website: http://nexgenerationbolivia.org

 You also have the opportunity to support NGM’s Supplier: www.wmpress.org