Middle East Monday: A Muslim meeting for peace

Hey folks, it’s not all bad news out there! Believe for change. Believe for better. There is power in hope and belief. 

Ahmadiyya Muslims: British convention of a religious minority persecuted abroad spreads a message of love and peace

 

7-Mosque

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World WReligion Wednesday: Religious Refugees in Burma

Confined to squalid camps, supposedly for their own “protection,” Burma’s persecuted Rohingya are slowly succumbing to starvation, despair and disease.

Some are calling it a crime against humanity

Rosheda Bagoung holds her malnourished child inside the tent at the Dar Paing refugee camp in Sittwe, Burma, on May 10, 2014 Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

 

Let’s dream toward healing and remedying the refugee situation globally. There are ways to create and sustain true refuge for those who need it. Meanwhile, here is the story of what is happening in Burma.

 

Middle East Mondays: One Woman Plants Flowers In Tear Gas Grenades

I lived in Israel and Palestine for three years. My heart still beats and laughs and rolls and tumbles in a cohesive scramble of love and vision for that place. I long to see peace reside there fully. The story of one woman’s prophetic planting is sweetly inspiring. May it prompt the question: “What can I do toward peace?”

 

In A World Torn By War, One Woman Plants Flowers In Tear Gas Grenades As A Symbol Of Peace.

Middle East Monday: An Amazing Way for Your Kids to Learn ARABIC!!!!

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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!

http://littlepim.refr.cc/37GP8CT

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!

 

 

The start of MIDDLE EAST MONDAYS!

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 hopeiraq@gmail.com

Let’s hug the Middle East together… especially on Mondays! 🙂

 

 

 

Arabic at the Airport – one woman’s story (This is gorgeous!)

This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read! (Holy Spirit, you are welcome to give me these Arabic-opportunities! Let the world be unified!) Please send this story along to friends! It is sure to bring delight and smiles to hearts and homes. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
Questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” 
Naomi Shihab Nye
 
 
 
From here

 

 

Get out of your comfort zone and into HIS.

“As long as this deliberate refusal

to understand things from above,

even where such understanding is possible,

continues,

it is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

(By materialism, I would assert this refers simply to placing earthly things over heavenly things in worth.)

Someone else once said, “Things are not what they seem.”

We MUST go UP. We MUST ask the Lord to help us get HIS perspective. We must believe that much of the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world. We must let our cells, our minds, our emotions, our worldview DRINK love.


Let your worldview DRINK love. Let it be intoxicated with LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.


Even right now, take ten minutes and lay on your floor or be still at your desk and say, “Father, I want to be intoxicated on your love. I want to commune with you spirit to spirit. I want to know you past my comfort zone and INTO yours.”

haha. Get into God’s comfort zone. Now THAT is a fun place.

Once upon a time there were some believers who heard of a man named Paul – a man who used to kill believers, their own friends and family members. They could and would keep their distance. And then God did what no one seemed to expect: He introduced Himself to Paul on a road one day. Pressing past their comfort, many welcomed him in. Pressing past their own experiences, they believed that God could do the “impossible.” Maybe some thought they had the right to despise him… but after that Damascus-going-plodding-moving day, they did not have a right to despise this man.


And you know the craziest part?

Before that Damascus day,

that fated, history-changing, metaphor-ridden, brilliant, fantastic, incredible, unthinkable,

Damascus Day

they did not have a right to despise him either.