Prayers Please

In your charity I beg your prayers for dear little SG, who has been diagnosed with a very serious illness.

Heavenly Father, watch with us over your child N., and grant that she may be restored to that perfect health which it is yours alone to give; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hamas Child Labor and Tunnel Fatalities

Unreported, and well researched.

From the Institute for Palestinian Studies:

Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege


A similarly cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities damaged the movement’s standing with human-rights groups, despite government assurances dating back to 2008 that it was considering curbs. During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials. Safety controls on imports appear similarly lax, although the TAC insists that a sixteen-man contingent carries out sporadic spot-checks.


HT goes to Fr Z.



Read Bible Favourites to Children, Parents Urged

A new campaign, an initiative of the Bible Society, urges parents to read tales from the Old and New Testaments to their children.

The Telegraph has the details:

Organisers are hoping to introduce a new generation of British children to stories from the Bible with which their grandparents would have been instantly familiar

It might not feature boy wizards, magic wardrobes or Hobbits, but its epic cast list does include a giant, a talking snake and a man who lived for 969 years.

Now parents reading stories with their children are being urged to mix favourites such as Harry Potter or the Narnia books with tales from the Bible as part of a new campaign aimed at a million young people.

The initiative is timed to coincide with the release of a string of blockbuster Hollywood adaptations of stories from both the Old and New Testaments.

Organisers are hoping to introduce a new generation of British children to stories from the Bible with which their grandparents would have been instantly familiar.

They fear that ignorance or open hostility towards religion by some parents could lead to a generation of children growing up unaware of many of the stories which have formed a foundation of western art, literature and music.

The campaign also follows a series of studies suggesting that fewer and fewer parents are regularly reading stories to their children at all.

The campaign, an initiative of the Bible Society, aims not to promote religious teaching but simply to introduce a new generation of children to the drama and adventure contained in the Bible.

Research commissioned by the charity found that British adults who recognise themes and stories from the scriptures in modern films and music are in the minority.

The study, which will be published this month, also found that only just over a third of adults think that having an understanding of the Bible is an important part of young people’s education.

However, it found that where they are introduced, Biblical stories still carry a strong resonance with parents and children alike. Separate polling conducted for the campaign identified the nativity as the nation’s favourite Bible story for both children and adults, followed by Noah’s Ark and the life of Joseph.

But there was then a divide along gender lines. The story of David and the giant Goliath ranked fourth among boys, while for girls it was Adam and Eve, which featured the talking snake. The story of Methuselah – who lived to the age of 969 – did not feature.

The organisers of the “Pass It On” campaign are understood to be working on a new app for iPads and other tablet computers containing a selection of Bible stories designed to be read to or by young children.

They are also in talks with popular children’s authors to come up with their own exciting retellings of once familiar Biblical stories.

“Despite being the world’s all-time bestseller, the Bible today faces its greatest challenges in the UK for centuries,” said James Catford from the Bible Society.

“Its stories open the door to understanding much of our history, as well as our cultural and literary heritage. But many of us have never opened its pages and only a tiny minority read it regularly.”

The campaign hopes to capitalise on a string of Biblical blockbusters, including Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, and Russell Crowe’s forthcoming appearance as Noah.



16 Children Repatriated to South Africa from Foreign Jails

Sad this.

The social services department has repatriated 16 children born to women held in foreign jails, it said on Sunday.

Nine of the 16 babies, were born in Brazil, said social development minister Bathabile Dlamini.

She recently repatriated two children whose mothers were serving sentences in Rio and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

“The babies, aged 10 months and one year respectively, are currently in temporary care while awaiting foster care placement,” she told reporters in Pretoria.

Four more babies, in Bolivia, Hong Kong, Mozambique and Tanzania, were awaiting repatriation.

Dlamini said women imprisoned at advanced stages of pregnancy, gave birth to their children while in prison.

Three women serving sentences were pregnant.

They were among 337 South African women, aged 29 to 62, imprisoned in foreign countries for illicit drug trafficking.

“A large number of these women, 92, are incarcerated in some of the nine female prisons in Brazil…, 71 South African females are serving their sentences in Sao Paolo alone,” she said.

Dlamini said some drug cartels used routes that included countries which were part of the Southern African Development Community, and she appealed for stricter drug regulations in the region.

The department expressed concern about an “unprecedented increase” in the number of South African drug mules arrested in Brazil.

“Twenty eight South Africans were arrested in Brazil alone since the beginning of this year [2013]…. This can be attributed to the recent Confederations Cup hosted in Brazil,” Dlamini said.

She predicted that the number would rise during the build-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup if the necessary measures were not implemented.

Hawks organised crime investigator Brigadier Ebrahim Kadwa said drug mules at the country’s border posts were a growing problem.

“Since the beginning of January 2012, there have 281 arrests at OR Tambo [International Airport] of couriers, South African and other nationalities.”

Kadwa described drug traffickers as unscrupulous people who preyed on the poor. He urged people who had been approached to go to the authorities.

“They’ve even gone to shelters where they’ve recruited persons to act as human couriers. We have intensified efforts to prevent drug trafficking,” he said.



When Your Kids Reject the Faith

I don’t believe in God anymore

I’ve been hearing from a lot of parents whose teens are rejecting their faith.  The stories are all terrifically painful…

When teens fight you about Church, it usually has little to do with their actual beliefs about God or church.  Usually, a teen’s apparent rejection of his or her faith has to do with one of two things; a personal encounter with suffering he or she can’t make sense of or the breakdown of their relationship with you…

Well worth a read. Rest here.