This Wednesday (April 30), Iraq will have national elections. These are the first elections post-war. Yet, Iraq is experiencing sectarian violence, lawlessness, and bombings at the highest levels in years. This week is a key opportunity for Iraq to move past fear, history, statistics, power-plays, and bad habits into HOPE.
It is an important time to pray for Iraq.
HERE is a great infographic to help you better understand the elections.
Our One Year Old Godson Learning Arabic
It’s a possibility-charged Middle East Monday here at upsidedownbethelehem.com!
I’ve been cogitating about how to help people be equipped for understanding and loving the Middle East in increasingly direct and effective ways. Well, one way is to do what our really fantastic, smart, kind godson Jonah is doing: learn Arabic! OR help your kids or important kids in your life learn Arabic! Jonah is one. His parents lived in the Middle East for a couple years. His grandparents still live there. Before age six, is the statistically optimal time to learn a language. Granted, Holy Spirit can trump that and help one learn language at any age, but still, it’s extremely useful to facilitate language learning in young children.
So, I highly recommend the Little Pim language learning program! They offer all of the following languages!
Right now, you can get 15% off all products using the following link!
Plus, they offer free shipping on all U.S. orders over $50!
It’s really amazing to get the complete set, which includes the teaching DVDs, a chart, AND a stuffed animal version of Lil Pim, the animated panda who narrates the program. I love the fact that Jonah can sit with Lil Pim to learn Arabic while watching Lil Pim teaching Arabic on a screen! It’s very connected!
Check it out today! Order the program! Start the learning journey!
And if your child, or a child you know, is learning Arabic as a second language, please do share about that in the comments below! I’m sure we can encourage each other by sharing our stories about language learning!
I saw an article recently about a Palestinian professor who took a group of Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz. The critical uproar against his actions was very saddening. I thought back to about five years ago when I took a Palestinian friend to see a musical about the history of the Jews. When it came to the bit about the Holocaust, she was horrified! “HOW many people died?!” she asked me. When I answered, “Around eleven million,” she was completely and utterly stunned. “I thought it was like six hundred!” she said. She instantly saw that she had been presented a false reality, a biased report, a lie. She clearly felt uneasy and, likely, a bit gross. Her eyes widened as she further thought about how inhumane it was for people to minimize such an event – moreover, for the purpose of fueling a continued resentment, an “us vs them” mentality, and an international dispute. She was also wondering what else had been presented wrongly to her for the point of keeping Palestinians hostile against their Jewish neighbors.
Granted, a big and beautiful difference in this story, is that my friend is a Christian. She was once a Muslim, but met Jesus and chose to follow Him. In fact, she already loved the Jews. She was still working through some of her past perspectives, but she genuinely loved them. This helped her respond to these newfound facts with sincerity, compassion, and a desire to help heal the wounds between Palestinians and Jews.
Her heart toward healing is a key toward healing in the Middle East. Likewise, the compassion the professor in the article displayed, is also key. Compassion and hearing one another will do more than a peace treaty, a summit, or thousands of books on that matter. Certainly, those tools can be powerful if they involve the spread of compassion, but on their own, they fall short. Love will heal nations. I applaud this professor for leading such healing.
Marhaba! (That’s “hello” in arabic.)
This past weekend I went to the 7th annual Arab Women’s Conference in San Francisco, California.
It was incredible.
While there, I met one of the speakers. In our introductions, I said, “I’ve been passionate about the Middle East for almost twenty years.” She stopped in her pin-striped blazer, well-hanging trousers, and politely savvy heels. She smiled, poignantly. “Thank you for loving the Middle East. We need more of that.”
I smiled a reflective accord. “You’re welcome,” came the happy hope from my living words.
I love loving the Middle East. It’s one of my most significant passions and callings. Well, I’ve been thinking about commencing the habit of posting on this blog about the Middle East every Monday. The fire found in the conference was my tipping point.
So, WELCOME TO MIDDLE EAST MONDAYS. This is merely the beginning. See you next week!
Do share this blog with friends who have an affinity for the Middle East! I want it to be a place for people to come together and strengthen each other in hope and vision for the region. Plus, I truly want to enjoy the great things about that region together. So, if you have a poem, painting, video, etc about the Middle East that you’d like to share here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s hug the Middle East together… especially on Mondays! 🙂
Today I read the last paragraph of my book again. It re-inspired me. Let’s apprehend our dreams with courage, shall we? YOUR dreams are important. I release to you the power, clarity, and vision needed to move forward TODAY. May today be the best day of your life thus far! You are loved!
Destiny is not a merely a rambling road thrown like ribbon over a hillside to some distant location; it is fury and passion and grace and power. It is each and every person fully fulfilling their strengths, their dreams, and their unique place in the global glory flood of love. It is knowing who you are and what makes you come alive. It is doing what makes you come alive in such a Jesus-confetti way that everything around you comes alive in response. It is not being led by confines and well-paved roads; it is driving in the direction of your dreams, no matter how many times the word “impossible” shows up. Being you, truly you, will inevitably lead to driving through walls. Beckon your heart to life today; then floor it straight through those walls. It’s going to feel really good, but more than that, it’s going to be really good. Destiny is apprehended through courage. Drive through the walls.
– Dawn Bulchandani, Driving Through Walls, 272
BUY THE BOOK
Invest belief in the Middle East today.
I am the faculty mentor for Simpson University’s Middle East WorldServe team. Today, the team (Christine and Hillary) will board a plane with 7 months of planning and praying in their pockets. They will live out their beliefs in a radical way. They believe a nation can be changed by hope and love. They believe the Middle East can truly flourish.
They’ve walked through their own dreams, doubts, relationships, and the regular commitments of their lives to a wide open field of possibility. They’ve followed the voice of God with great passion.
I am very, very proud of them.
They raised $5,906! That is incredible. Moreover, they have seen the hearts of those around them open up to new love for the Middle East!
However, they still need a measly $894.
Would you give toward their hope-adventure today? Even a dollar is a statement of agreement and support for their love-commission to the Middle East. The very ground in that region will feel your belief in its success. And you’ll get to be part of something powerful that WILL change a nation.
If you choose to give, THANK YOU, from the boiling pot of passionate love for the Middle East that ever-gurgles inside me: THANK YOU.
Invest belief in the Middle East today.
“We call forth the ministry of Jesus!” – song
This clip is POWerful. Let your hope and faith toward the salvation of nations expand today.
Let passion for the King arise! And may everyone in the universe fall madly in love with Jesus!
Freedom Fighter Trailers.
This is really compelling. Please take the time to watch it. I must say, there is a revolution happening among men in this era that is bringing me new healing and wholeness. Growing up I often felt “less than” because I was female. I felt scrutinized and I often felt like my dreams were not important because I was female.
Recently a friend jokingly asked, partly in reference to the Middle East, “When do women learn how to trick men?” Ouch. The words stung. “Um, I don’t know what exactly you are referring to. If women resort to manipulation it is because they are not empowered. People who are not empowered, whether male or female, resort to manipulation to be heard. That is often what happens in the Middle East, especially.”
That is why I want to raise up courageous and free women IN the Middle East. However, the men must value them and listen to their voices for this to happen. Of course, this needs to increase in America too, which is why this video makes me so happy. It is liberating to be valued for who you are.
Get liberated. Men and women. Value others for who they are and value yourself for who you are. Let’s stop objectifying and start edifying. And let’s transform the world together.
My book will be published soon. When I was a child I woke up really early on Christmas morning because of excitement and anticipation. Since it is still two months before publication, I should probably not stay awake from now until then – despite my joyful enthusiasm. I need my sleep to finish the journey.
I am in the midst of the editing ocean now. It is a great, tedious, and maturing journey.
To whet your appetite for the book, I’m going to drip-drop endorsements for my book onto you in the weeks ahead.
Praise for Driving through Walls
Thousands upon thousands each year go on pilgrimage to the land of the Holy One. There they see the divine majesty of the one who once trod that land. There are very few people who will take residence in that land called Holy, but rent apart by trauma, turmoil, and conflict. I, like Dawn, have lived there and loved that land. In this book you are given the opportunity to see it like it really is. You also see what, I believe, is the only way to cope here, the supernatural miraculous nature of G-d.
As you read Dawn’s inspiring words you will see how from a very young age the Lord was preparing Dawn to be in this place and do this work. Somehow I think this is just the beginning for Dawn, but spiritually this book will give you a chance to come here too.
The Rev’d Canon Andrew P B White, Vicar of Baghdad
President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation on the Middle East
In a fast-paced world of opinions and sound bites it is always refreshing to read a book that matters. Dawn’s story is a story of courage, compassion, wide-eyed wonder and, most of all, faith. She has experienced horrors that none of us ever want to ever see, and wonders that we all hope could happen to us. Her’s is a story that will encourage you and prompt you to seize God’s call on your life. I encourage you to read it with joy!
Dr. Paul Wright
President of Jerusalem University College
Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, Israel
You can help my book get published by pre-purchasing a copy and/or making a contribution. Anonymous giving is available. I need $1,335 by March 31, 2012 to get the book published. It will be released in MAY!!!! HOORAY!