Archives for October 2011

Women, War & Peace: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

 

“If you’re hungry, keep walking. If you are thirsty, keep walking. If you want a taste of freedom, keep walking” -Leymah Gbowee

 

As the sun rises in your part of the world, are you faced with the gripping fear of rape, routine bombings and a total disregard for humanity?  That was exactly the case for the women and people of Liberia before the bloody war ended in 2003.

Prior to that time, with more than 200 thousand people dead, the civil war between the corrupt dictator Charles Taylor and ruthless warlords raged, terrorizing women and children who were caught in the middle.

Routine rape, beheadings, child soldiers forced to brutalize their own families, government corruption and demonized warlords… hope was illusive at best.

“Death, at one point, was better than life”

Enter: Leymah Gbowee.  An ordinary woman with no formal training for what lie ahead, no delegated authority or right to represent others, no aspirations to lead a movement, or even the confidence in herself  to make any difference.  And yet, her Destiny was calling…

“I had a dream. And it was like a crazy dream, that someone was actually telling me to get the women of the church together to pray for peace.”

Leymah was a war victim. She felt there was no hope and no future for her.  There were too many stories, too many realities.  But then something changed.  She came across some women who she identified with. They too were victims of war. She knew their stories–they’d been to hell and back. And yet, they had smiles on their faces, they spoke of bright futures and living their dreams. That encounter coupled with her dream changed her perspective about what was possible.

“You need to stop acting like a victim and get up and do something, not just for you but for those women”

Pray the Devil Back to Hell spotlights the power of prayer, strength in sisterhood and a little group of “ordinary” women’s passionate fight for survival. 

As she reflected on the dream she said the women didn’t want to do it alone, so they called the other Christian churches to gather and said, “Let’s put our voices together”.  And that they did!  Out of that humble band of ordinary and courageous women, the Christian Women’s Peace Initiative was born. And out of that, a larger group of interfaith women was initiated.

Leymah Gbowee, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with her sister peace advocates, stood strong in the face of fear and intimidation.  Her tenacious efforts for peace, fueled and sustained by prayer and faith, ultimately catipulted her into a position of favor and landed her at the Presidential Mansion. 

The eventual outcome of that visit?  One woman’s courage changed the course of history, helped end a brutal war and ushered in the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female head of state and President of Liberia.  

“I want to here now gratefully acknowledge the powerful voice of women from all walks of life whose votes brought us the victory. They defended me, they worked with me, they prayed for me. It is the women who labored and advocated for peace throughout our region”  -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Their story is captured in Producer Abigail Disney’s documentary: Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

She listened to that voice. That voice that spoke to her of not only her future, but the future of her children and the other women caught in that living hell. It was a voice that spoke of hope and deliverance. She and her sisters took an unprecedented step of faith–a risk that could have cost them their very lives–they simply took the hand of God and watched as He delivered them into freedom.

Destiny called and she responded.  Leymah Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize which in part states: “for (her) their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

A sign in Liberia reads: “The women of Liberia say peace is our goal. Peace is what matters. Peace is what we need”.  Through the power of the women’s prayers and their tenacity to unite for a future filled with promise and hope for their children, Peace came.

Watch the Trailer

Purchase the DVD: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Women, War & Peace  Documentary Series 

You might also be interested in the Book: “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer & Sex Changed a Nation at War“, by Leymah Gbowee

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Women, War & Peace: The Powerful Role of Women in Conflict

 

When we hear reports about women in war zones who have endured unspeakable pain and despicable atrocities that have made it through to the other side, we wonder in our own feebleness and utter impotence, how? 

How is it possible to cope, much less to survive?  If not crushed by the sheer physical pain, what about breaking under the mental terror and brutal assault on the human psyche?  And even if they do somehow manage to survive, what do they find waiting for them on the other side?

WOMEN, WAR & PEACE

Women, War & Peace is a five-part PBS television series documenting the incredible and insightful stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and Colombia to Liberia. Designed in part, to advance international accountability in regard to women and security.

While devastating, revealing, instructional and inspiring, viewers are challenged to reconsider conventional wisdom as well as traditional perceptions and the role(s) of women as they relate to war and peace.

“To borrow a phrase from Hague prosecutor Peggy Kuo, it’s our hope with this series to ‘shine a spotlight on women’s experience in war’ so the full picture can be seen” -from the Executive Producers of Women, War & Peace

You will consider the complex issues and unique position and influence of women in war as this documentary series challenges the issues of women’s and human rights violations, conflict resolution and  international social justice issues.

EVIL CAMPED AT THE DOORSTEP

The news reports that many of these women have lost their families, homes and reputations. Even the word “lost” seems wrong. Of course we understand what it means. But in reality, they didn’t lose them. Their sons and daughters were torn from them screaming. They were raped, many of them, multiple times by multiple people—some using objects. Their mothers, sisters and friends were stripped of all dignity, violated by evil men who sexually used and abused them and then mutilated their female parts and left them to die. Their husbands, brothers and fathers were demasculated, tortured and then murdered.

More than simply losing their families, homes, livelihoods and reputations, they were taken from them–forcibly, brutally and without remorse.

THE OTHER SIDE OF HELL

So, when we talk about the women who have made it to the other side of hell, so to speak, What even awaits them there? 

In many cases, their families no longer exist because they have been obliterated from the planet. No longer will they laugh together, eat together, love together, dream dreams or live life together.  Their homes and villages have been destroyed. Their livelihoods have been stolen. Their bodies and spirits have been weighted down with sorrow and grief beyond our imagination.  And yet…

Death is powerful, but as it has proven time and again, LIFE is even more powerful than death.

Hope reigns supreme, even in the midst of the darkest night any soul should ever have to endure. Like a tiny flower beginning to unfurl beneath the crushing heft of the snow. As if to say, “I am alive!” “I will not go out this way!” “I am a survivor, a contender for life!”  Their God-given destinies cry out.  And with hope, there always awaits a future.

FUTURE & HOPE

The human spirit is designed to fight, live and to realize it’s unique destiny.  The resilience of the women who have walked through the fires and lived to tell the story, testifies to the power of life within all of us.

For those brave, courageous, beautiful women who have made it across that chilling chasm where they themselves once dangled between life and death—for the ones who are able to smile, laugh, sing, and even embrace hope again, in the face of it all—you are not the weak ones, you are the strong ones.  You are not the defeated, you are the victorious.  You are not the conquered, you are the conquerors!

Watch the Video Trailer

Purchase the DVD

Connect on Facebook

Visit the Women, War & Peace Website

© By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias

 

 

DELIVER ME FROM EVIL is the inaugural book in the Freedom Series by award-winning author Kathi Macias.  This powerful novel serves as a catalytic spark raising awareness for the millions trapped in sexual slavery and calls for nothing less than the abolition of human trafficking.

Deliver Me from Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue.

Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego.

How did you come up with the idea for Deliver Me From Evil and the Freedom series?

It actually came out of a phone conversation with Andrea Mullins, the publisher at New Hope. We were discussing the Extreme Devotion series (about the persecuted Church), which I was still working on at the time, and we began to consider topics for a second series. Andrea was the one who suggested human trafficking, and it really struck a chord with me. The more I researched it and worked on the proposal, the more excited I became about joining forces with others working to abolish modern-day slavery, which is exactly what human trafficking is.

What was your favorite scene to write in Deliver Me From Evil?
This book/series has been the most difficult I’ve ever written, simply because the subject matter is so dark and heavy. More than once I had to walk away and clear my thoughts before moving on from one scene to another. But interspersed between the heartache and tragedy are several lighter scenes (written and incorporated into the book out of necessity), dealing with a pastor’s family and their Bible college-bound son who inadvertently discovers the human trafficking ring and becomes involved in the heroic and dramatic rescue attempt. Any scenes revolving around the absolutely functional and loving life of the Flannery family are my favorites.

What was the most difficult scene, and why?
There were many difficult scenes in this book due to the subject matter, but the hardest had to be when the main character, 18-year-old Mara, realizes that one of the younger girls is being tortured and killed in an effort to extract information and punish her. Though the actual violence is done offstage, Mara experiences each blow and muffled scream, as does the reader.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how did you catch the writing bug?
Oh yes, I never wanted to be anything else. From the time I discovered the power and allure of words, I was hooked! I was an avid reader before I started kindergarten. A short story I wrote in the third grade was turned into a play for the entire PTA, and I won all sorts of awards for poetry in high school. I even told my then boyfriend (now husband) Al when we were in our early teens that I was going to be a writer one day.

How do you go about writing your fiction books? Which comes first for you, plot, characters, and/or theme?
I usually get what I call “a niggling in my soul,” which eventually emerges into the very basic theme of the book. I hate outlining and writing proposals because I do NOT develop plots or even characters ahead of time. I start with a couple of main characters, a starting and ending point for my story, and just let the rest unfold as I go. I know. We’re not supposed to do it that way, but it works for me, and I so enjoy the surprises as the story develops and my characters take over. So much fun! So long as they don’t try to lead me away from my pre-determined ending. Then I have to reign them back in a bit.

How do you get your ideas for your books?
I have ideas coming out of my ears! I am a seriously addictive idea person. You want ideas? You can have my overflow! My challenge is to figure out which ones are worth pursuing. Not every cute or fun or even meaningful idea that pops into our head is meant to be a book. I pray, think, study, bounce them off people, etc., before committing to moving ahead with one of them. For the most part, however, nearly all my book ideas are, to one degree or another, born out of some moral or social issue that I care about.

How can we find out more about you, The Freedom Series, and other books you are writing?
Please visit my website at KathiMacias.com.

                             

Watch the Video Trailer for Deliver Me From Evil

Author, Kathi Macias

Would you like to receive a FREE copy of Kathi’s book, Deliver Me From Evil?  Simply post a comment below on Destiny’s Women including your email address (or post and send me your email address at april(at)destinyswomen.com) for a chance to win in our random drawing, and be sure to Tell a Friend! 

Evil is the enemy of life, love and freedom.  It chokes the breath out of dreams and destinies. It cannot be flirted with, negotiated with or haphazardly allowed to exist, because it always seeks to rob, steal and destroy.

An estimated 27 million people are slaves to human trafficking today!

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” Edmund Burke

Evil is relentless and it is real.  That is why the only way to escape it, is to be delivered from it. Buy the book, Deliver Me From Evil and join in the abolition of modern-day slavery. 

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Note: I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services

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Deliver Me From Evil: A Freedom Series Novel on Sexual Slavery & Human Trafficking

 

WHO CARES ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

The family and friends of the estimated 27 million modern-day slaves entrapped in sexual slavery, debt bondage and human trafficking today.

But they are not alone.

There are also a number of what I call “creative advocates” who join me in using creative means to raise our collective voice to bring attention to and call for the abolition of human trafficking.  Kathi Macias, award-winning author and former journalist stands out among those voices.

As creative advocates, we strive to create awareness, stir a desire to get involved, deliver a challenge and leave a lasting imprint on hearts and minds.

Kathi passionately uses her experience and talent to do just that.  Partnering with New Hope Publishers, she has created the three-part Freedom Series devoted to spread the fire of truth about sexual exploitation and human trafficking.  In Deliver Me From Evil, the first book in the series, she issues a call for the abolition of human trafficking, aka modern-day slavery.

DELIVER ME FROM EVIL — FREEDOM SERIES #1 

Deliver Me From Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue.

Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego.

“A startling encounter with the real-world horrors of sexual trafficking that could have come from the pages of any major newspaper” –Lisa L. Thompson, MA, liaison for the abolition of sexual trafficking, Salvation Army National Headquarters

RAISING AWARENESS AND BEYOND

Raising awareness is critical and necessary to peel back the reality of this massive global modern-day crime, but we can’t stop there.  We need to connect with others to create an even stronger net, commit to persistently employ our voices and then pair our resources with those voices.

While some have the ability to fuel the fight against sexual slavery and human trafficking with finances, others can make a difference through strategic networking in their community, initiating or assisting in creative projects that draw attention to the subject, partnering in key legislation and/or through targeted education.

Watch the Video Trailer 

Download the first two chapters for FREE

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