Monthly Archives: May 2012

Joint ministry conferences planned in Shreveport

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Shreveport, Louisiana: Powerful Journey Organization will host the 2012 Powerful Journey Women’s Conference and the One Word Away Men’s Conference from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 23 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5971 Financial Plaza in Shreveport, La. Receive an inspiring word from Plano residents Phyllis Byrd Jenkins, founder of Powerful Journey Organization, and Pastor Dave Jenkins, founder of One Word Away. Cassandra Robertson will serve as worship leader. The event costs $30 per person or 2 for $50. Click here to register.

In Port Arthur, Texas: The Port Arthur Christian Women will hold its luncheon “It’s Always Tea Time” on June 15 beginning at 11:45 a.m.at the Pompano Club LeChambre Room, 330 Twin City Highway, Port Neches.  The cost of lunch is $15 per person. Vicki Beard from Airport Travels, who will share some helpful travel tips. Kaylee Dickens from Port Neches will bring our special music. The slated inspirational speaker will be Betty Anderson from Montgomery, Texas. Reservations are essential for the luncheon and for the nursery, if needed, and may be made by calling Donna at 722-0951 or Mary at 962-5571 by Tuesday, June 12.

In Abilene, Texas: Citing personal and family reasons, Hardin-Simmons softball coach Dan Sheppard has resigned his position effective June 15.

“This was not an easy decision,” said Sheppard. “I have thought about this for a while and believe there is a need for me to give more attention to my family. I had to consider if I could continue to give HSU all the job deserves and still fulfill family commitments. I appreciate HSU giving me this opportunity.”

Sheppard spent two seasons as the Cowgirls’ head man and had a record of 47-36. His teams finished second in the American Southwest Conference West Division in both seasons.

A full search for his replacement will begin immediately.

In Euless, Texas: CareerSolutions will sponsor a free seminar by Terry Sullivan, social media maven, LinkedIn coach, and marketing executive, on “Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile” on Wednesday, May 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church Euless, 1000 W. Airport Freeway, in Euless room 115. The event is FREE, but will be first-come, first-served and seating is limited. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a copy of their LinkedIn profile to the event.

Submit calendar items to pewnews@aol.com

A pathologist puts divine healing under the microscope

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NAIROBI, KENYA – Fidel Cholo Fernandez, a pathologist from the city of Zamboanga in the Philippines, and now based in

Penang, Malaysia, spends his days studying diseases under the microscope, but he also is a believer in divine healing.

Dr. Fidel Fernandez, along with his wife Leticia, was one of 500 doctors, scientists and medical professionals from 37 countries who came to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for the ninth International Christian Medical Conference held May 25-26, to explore whether miracles still happen today and, if they do, to provide medical data to prove them.

The doctor made it clear that he also believed in divine healing and then during a previous conference made a presentation with data that was flashed on the two large screens in the conference hall.

He told the story of a Korean Christian called Deacon Han who had been diagnosed with early gastric cancer following an endoscopic study on September 2002.

“Deacon Han received an endoscopy test once again on December, 2002, but a biopsy was not performed at that time because the lesion had not improved,” said Dr. Fernandez. “He was told that he should undergo an operation for gastric cancer, he didn’t because he had a belief in God.”

So the doctor said that Deacon Han had traveled from his home town to the Manmin Central Church in Seoul where he received prayer for his sickness from Dr. Jaerock Lee, the senior pastor.

“From that moment, he gained weight and was sure that he was healed,” said Fernandez. “Finally, he confirmed his healing two months later by another endoscopic test at the local internal medicine clinic, when no vestige of the gastric cancer was found.

“After a year, an endoscopy and biopsy test was done to him by the doctor who diagnosed his original case and finally the doctor gave his report that the patient didn’t have the symptom of gastric cancer.”

It was a miracle, pronounced Dr. Fernandez.

So, in an interview, I asked this charming doctor if he had ever experienced a personal miracle in his own life.

“Well,” he said, “the best example would be my son who was born with a congenital disease. Before he was born, the doctors told me that he could only live possibly for one year. We were pushed against the wall and my wife Leticia, who is a nurse, and myself, just relied on prayer and he’s now in his mid-20s so that’s a great miracle for me.”

I then asked Leticia why she had come to the “Spirituality and Medicine” gathering.

“I have worked with the World Christian Doctors Network (WCDN) since 2005 and I’ve become active in the organization and have even invited doctors and other medical workers to attend the conference,” she said. “I am finding that there are a lot of doctors who believe in miracles, but some others are still skeptics.”

At the end of the conference, it was announced that the 10th World Christian Doctors Network International Conference will take place in Mexico City, Mexico, next year at a date yet to be announced.

Eclipse of 2012: Should it remind us of Jesus’ crucifixion?

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By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – I, like millions of other people-particularly here in New Mexico, had an amazing opportunity to

see the Eclipse of 2012.

As it turned out, Albuquerque, New Mexico was in the direct path for observation of a total eclipse. We weren’t disappointed. Literally thousands flocked the mountains, museums, and mesas to see the amazing natural event.

Throughout history an eclipse has been an event of astronomical fascination-and even fear. At times the Ancients interpreted eclipses as omens and signs.

Even the Bible gives record of events that describe eclipse-type occurrences, connecting it to looming danger or judgment (Amos 8:9).

Many scholars even connect the crucifixion of Jesus to an eclipse-type event.

According to one online site, scientists, Colin Humphreys and W.G Waddington of Oxford University, “reconstructed the Jewish calendar in the first century AD and arrived at the conclusion that Friday April 3 33AD was the date of the Crucifixion. Humphreys and Waddington went further and also reconstructed the scenario for a lunar eclipse on that day.”

In their article, “Dating the Crucifixion,” (Nature 306, December 22/29, 1983, pp. 743-46), they conclude, “This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise. …. The start of the eclipse was invisible from Jerusalem, being below the horizon. The eclipse began at 3:40pm and reached a maximum at 5:15pm, with 60% of the moon eclipsed. This was also below the horizon from Jerusalem. The moon rose above the horizon, and was first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth’s shadow and the remainder in the penumbra. The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm.”

Fascinating. True, a very “naturalistic” perspective of the event, but still intriguing in that it does correspond to the traditional timeframe attributed to Christ’s death and resurrection.

For my part, I used the Eclipse of 2012 as an opportunity to reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection and thank God for His marvelous creation.

After trying to get in to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum Park with my family (where the line was over ½ mile long-and a two hour entrance wait), we decided to separate: my kids heading to the Bear Canyon in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and my wife, Melanie, and I heading towards Petropglyps National Monument (ancient art carved on volcanic rock) on Albuquerque’s West Mesa.

For fun, I brought along a Native American flute made by Marvin Toya; Melanie brought her camera. Together, we walked up the hill toward Boca Negra Canyon.

As the eclipse began around 6:28, I started to play the flute, using it as means of prayer. I created notes mimicking the syllable nuances of the Lord’s Prayer.

Folks next to us were using the opportunity as a photographic session, taking pictures in differing clothes. They were kind enough to give us protective sheets of tint so we could view the whole eclipse without burning a hole in our retina.

All around the Mesa cars stopped to view the marvelous experience. People made observation apparatus out of cardboard and tubes; other folks had telescopes and fancy pinhole cameras.

Overall, the encounter was grand affair, bringing people together for a God-given light show. So cool, I thought.

Earlier in the day, I attended a lecture by prominent New Mexico art historian, Dr. Joseph Traugott. Traugott spoke on New Mexico Art Through Time, the title of his newest book and exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art and History.

As Traugott made connections between art and nature, I couldn’t help but reflect-later in the day during the Eclipse of 2012-that this incident was a masterwork of divine origin: God’s artwork displayed through nature for the world to sit in awe.

And sat in awe, I did.

Former Pew intern honored for influence in social media

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Three years ago, Alejandra Suarez was a recent graduate of the University of North Texas waiting for her break as a public relations and marketing professional.

Now, Suarez, who served as Inside The Pew’s first summer intern in 2009, is being recognized as one of the most influential Latinas in the blogging and social media arenas.

From May 20 to May 22, Suarez will take part in the Top Latina Blog Retreat at Hotel Helix in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). She is one of 70 Latina bloggers who received an invitation to attend the event.

“We knew Alejandra would go on to bigger and better things,” Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, said. “She always worked hard to generate stories for us in a short period of time, and was instrumental in helping to develop The Pew En Español. She was committed to helping spread the gospel in English and her native language of Spanish.”

The Dallas resident and native of Mexico City, Mexico, earned a B.A. in public relations and a minor in marketing from the UNT.

After completing her internship with Inside The Pew, Suarez continued to work as a freelance writer until she landed a position with iNSPIRE!, a Dallas advertising agency which markets to the Hispanic consumer. As part of her duties with iNSPIRE!, Suarez oversees Brand LaTeen (www.brandlateen.com), a blog which addresses marketing trends among Latino teenagers.

Suarez said she envisioned delivering Christian news through social media and the Internet.

“In personal account, I learned to focus more in details while interviewing, writing and reporting. I was able to polish my writing skills while interning at The Pew,” Suarez said after completing her internship. “These small accomplishments are steps that get me closer to my long-term career goals.

“I really value the site and its motives as well as the very passionate people who I’ve had the opportunity to interview that are making a difference in their communities and around the world.”

A selection committee included the leaders of the top Latina blogger communities, including Latina Bloggers Connect, Las Blogueras, Blogs de Mamas, and New Latina. The committee was in charge of reviewing the bloggers’ applications based on influence, traffic, and quality of content.

The bloggers will take part in sessions ranging from blog and business best practices, leadership skills, and social good. They will also be paired up with mentors including top executives from industries, companies and causes that match their core interests.

According to the LATISM website, the 501(c) 4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. The organization also helps to raise awareness among corporate brands, NGOs and government entities about using social media to reach Latinos. To learn more about the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) organization, visit http://latism.org

Rickie Rush to keynote Methodist Charlton luncheon

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Special to Inside The Pew

In appreciation to church leadership and recognizing the impact it has on the community, Methodist Charlton Medical Center will host an appreciation luncheon for local pastors and ministry leaders May 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Methodist Charlton auditorium.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Rickie G. Rush, pastor and organizer of The Inspiring Body of Christ Worldwide Ministries (IBOC), one of the most progressive, flourishing ministries in America. Originally organizing with nine members, the church has grown to 14,000-plus members. Rush’s gift as a public speaker has earned him numerous local and national awards and international recognition

Elite News publisher and founder William Blair will also share a patient testimonial on the excellent care he says he received at Methodist Charlton during a recent hospital stay. The luncheon will also feature entertainment and prize drawings.

Methodist Charlton is hosting this fourth annual event to honor pastors and ministry leaders for their dedicated service and commitment to the community.

“We want to express our sincere gratitude to pastors and ministry leaders who serve patients and their families during all hours of the day to provide spiritual support,” said Methodist Charlton President Jonathan S. Davis, FACHE.

The event is an opportunity for attendees to:

  • Learn about the growth and changes taking place at Methodist Charlton
  • Become educated on policies and procedures that will help pastors and ministry leaders better serve patients and their families during pastoral visits
  • Learn more about upcoming community health education seminars at Methodist Charlton
  • Open up a dialogue with hospital leadership to enhance communication and partnerships

For more information or to RSVP for the event, contact Cynthia Mickens, community relations liaison, at 214-947-5204 or cynthiamickens@mhd.com.

Pew devotional: It is what it is OR is it?

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this devotional are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Inside The Pew staff.

By Phyllis Byrd Jenkins
Special to Inside The Pew

The cliché, “It is what it is” has been spoken millions of times by millions of people. It was even voted by USA Today as the

Phyllis Jenkins

No. 1 cliché of 2004. Yes, this cliché has been around for a while. Although, we hear it almost daily, I personally cringe when I hear those five words. Why? Because to me, it symbolizes hopelessness, a state of giving up or simply tossing the white flag in the air and surrendering to the situation. But as a follow of Christ, I choose to believe that “All things are possible to those who believe” (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23).  As a follower of Christ, I choose to believe that, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). What if Moses had said, “It is what it is”? Could he have led the Israelites through the plagues, across the Red Sea and through the wilderness? What if Hannah had said, “It is what it is”? Would she have persevered in prayer and given birth to Samuel? What if David had looked at Goliath and accepted defeat by saying, “It is what it is”? Would the Israelites have defeated the Philistines? What if you keep the faith and proclaim the promises of God instead of saying, “It is what it is”? Remember, God is still in control! It is What He Says It Is!

Over-comer, Believer, Dreamer, & Encourager are just a few words that describe Phyllis Jenkins. She is the founder and president of the Powerful Journey Organization, where she empowers women to live a balanced life by helping them: Find their Passion- Focus on What Matters Most and Flourish in their Calling. Phyllis is also the publisher of the Powerful Journey, an online magazine.  She inspires, equips and enlightens audiences of all ages through her practical and powerful presentations. With her captivating energy, she offers strategies which will fuel your Journey with Purpose, Preparation and Perseverance.  She is a featured author in the Allen Public Library 2009  and 2010 ‘Write-On’ Literary books.  Her first children’s book (co-authored by her 6-year-old grandson) will be in bookstores soon.

Phyllis is confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (NIV). Contact her phyllis@phyllisjenkins.com.


Forgiving your mother in the fashion God commands

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not of the staff of Inside The Pew.

By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Now that Mother’s Day has come and gone, many are able to breathe again. Mother’s Day is filled with mixed emotions for many people who have

La Vonne Earl

endured relationships that would be considered anything but perfect. In Hector Tobar’s article depicting the play “Cafe Vida,” he conveys the story of three moms that have endured homelessness, prison, and drug abuse. He gives a glimpse of what life was like for them. The guilt and torment that they have suffered knowing that they were not the best of mothers due largely to the life they lived. They are working on changing not only their future, but that of their children. One of the mothers, Alfaro mentions “for all the pain I was in, I knew there had to be something beautiful for me. By the grace of God, I found it.”

These are only but three of many moms that have suffered the painful things in their life that most of their children know nothing about.

Some, like these mothers, have found God’s grace and have changed their lives and continue to break the patterns to improve their children’s lives. Others continue to repeat the patterns by holding onto resentment and pain. In a study I have participated in for sexually abused women, author and counselor John Eldredge reminds us that every woman who is callused and cold on the outside is a woman who has suffered some form of abuse. We must remember that hurt people, hurt other people.

It is not always easy to tap into the pain and seek to console the woman who has the tough outer shell. For this reason most of these women live lonely and desolate lives as many tire of trying to form a relationship. For those of us children that long for that deep relationship with our mothers this is not an easy situation. But God’s grace is sufficient. If you will allow Him to fill you with His love, He will give to your mother what you alone cannot, forgiveness and love. Only He can offer the unconditional love that is life transforming. “Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We must follow Christ example and offer our Mothers the unconditional love and forgiveness that even we ourselves do not deserve.

In the end, we form our families and create the life that we desire. God tells us in scripture to proclaim that which we desire. “Call those things which be not as though they were” (Roman 4:17). We all create our own reality with our thoughts and feelings, so beware. Using your imagination for God’s glory by creating and seeing in your mind the beauty that is the true identity of your mother will increase the love that she feels coming from you! This is what brings healing and transformation.

Continue to pray, create and transform your relationships and your life! This will bring God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

California resident La Vonne Earl is a certified Christian life coach and counselor. A former Mormon, she has studied neuro linguistics programming, Sozo healing, and other avenues to bring healing into the lives of many. You may contact her at lavonne@yourkingdominheritance.com.

Kathy Burrell to host women’s conference in Port Arthur

Published by:

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

For years, Inside The Pew has collected church and nonprofit event announcements to run on the website. At the request of frequent visitors, we have decided to return the listing to it rightful place. If you have announcements that pertain to church or nonprofit events, workshops, or concerts and plays, send them to us at pewnews@aol.com. The list will also run on our Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.

In Port Arthur, Texas: The Woman Be Thou Empowered Conference is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on May 17 and May 18 at Solid Rock Baptist Church, 1337 E. Fifth St. in Port Arthur. Gospel singer and songwriter Kathy Burrell, sister of gospel sensation Kim Burrell, is the host of the event. Burrell will feature some of her own music and wonderful messages from various speakers each night. The cost for the conference is $20 for both nights. The vision of the conference is to awaken the soul of every woman in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas. Both men and women are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Email iwasbornblessed@yahoo.com or call 409-454-6779. Time is running out so register ASAP to ensure a spot.

In Frisco, Texas: The International Network for the Professional Development of Women (INPDW), a group which supports female Christian entrepreneurs, will hold a yearlong program called Impact Mastermind Group will beginning in July.  Open enrollment for the group ends June 15. The program is slated to begin July 1. This group is designed to help women grow their businesses to the level they desire. Branding, marketing, client attraction, systems, social media, outsourcing are some of the training topics. Only 20 women are allowed to participate. The cost is $67 per month. Visit http://www.inpdw.com/mastermind.html for more information.

In Dallas, Texas: ManeLock Communications will hold a workshop titled, “Introduction to Memoir Writing” from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 19 at St. Phillips School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Dallas. Writing consultant Linda Jones will facilitate the program. This fun and thought-provoking workshop will help attendees turn their memories and special moments into precious family heirlooms. Learn how to become gatekeepers of unique histories and storytellers in families. The workshop fee is $45. Bring a friend and get an additional $5 discount. To RSVP, email manelock@yahoo.com.

In Dallas, Texas: ManeLock Communications will hold a workshop titled, “Writing Through Grief” from 1 to 5 p.m. on May 20 at the Center for Spiritual Living, 4801 Spring Valley Road Suite 115 in Dallas. Writing consultant and author Linda Jones will teach participants to use writing as a vehicle to work through grief cause by death and other losses. This time sensitive workshop will explore journaling techniques, mood monitoring, music meditation, affirmations, and poetic approaches. The workshop fee is $50. Bring a friend, and he or she is admitted for $40. To RSVP, email manelock@yahoo.com.

In Euless, Texas: CAREER SOLUTIONS, a nonprofit job seeker ministry, will hold a workshop “Networking on Steroids” from 8:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 19. The workshop will take place at First Baptist Church, 1000 W. Airport Freeway, in Euless. Seminar leader Mike Richards will teach career changers how to do so from a biblical perspective. Preregister online for $50 or $80 donation the day of the event. Spouses may attend the seminar FREE with your paid registration. Remember to enter your spouse’s name in the comments field when you are purchasing the seminar. Deadline to register for seminar online is May 17.

In Arlington, Texas: The Lyricist’s Café will celebrate its 10-year anniversary at 7:19 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the Artist’s Boot Camp, 1940 Stadium Oaks Court in Arlington. Cost is $10. Tallied as one of the hottest Christian open mics in DFW, the event will be hosted by SE7EN. Poets, rappers, singers, musicians and anyone who would like to be on the open mic should email Robert L. Wagner at robertlwagner@live.com.

 

For one mother, the mirror is worth a thousand words

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

The story I am about to tell is two months in the making. I could have told you all the story before Mother’s Day weekend, but it is too good to pass up.

If you have children, you understand the difficulty they can sometimes cause parents. If they don’t get their way, they complain. If you direct them in the right direction they don’t listen most of the time. When they want something, they want it now. Well, I don’t know if this describes your kids, but it sure describes mine.

One morning before school, my 8-year-old son, Torry, overslept and he was running a bit late in preparing to get to school. The more I rushed him to beat the clock I set to notify the kids that I am out the door and down to the car, the grumpier he became. When everyone was piled into the car, he said very little. Once we got to the school, I told Torry and the twin girls, “Bye, have a good day.” The girls said, “Bye.” Nothing came out of Torry’s mouth. I was a little disgruntled. The last thing I wanted was for Torry to have a terrible day at school. Or, was I just worrying too much.

Here is where I get a little personal. After taking my morning walk, I got home and took a shower. I hardly look in the mirror after taking a shower, mainly because it is usually covered with mist. But this time, there was a message in the mist. On the mirror where the words, “I love your mommy.” All I could do was smile and shed a tear. Ironically, although I have cleaned the mirror several times since then, the message still appears when the mirror gets misty. To pick his mind, I asked Torry why he wrote that message on the mirror. He told me, “I love you mom, and you do a lot for me.” That’s my boy!

The greatest example a mother can show her child is love despite the circumstance. As a child of Christ, the love mothers show their kids comes from no other place than Him. We learn how to respect, adore, and guide our children because He does all these things for us (1 John 4:7-8 and Ephesians 3: 16-19).

Let this story become a reminder to all the moms who struggle with their kids. They love you no matter what because they realize the importance you play in their lives. Rough spots occur in parenting. Kids will always remember the good and bad moments in the entire process. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

Egyptian families alarmed by abduction of Christian girls

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By Aidan Clay of International Christian Concern
Special to ASSIST News Service

EGYPT – “We don’t know if our daughter is still alive,” Magda told ICC during a recent visit to Egypt. “We haven’t seen or

heard from her in five years. Her kidnapper called us and said she was dead and buried.”

Mary disappeared in June 2007, but to her mother, Magda, it feels like only yesterday that she was sleeping peacefully in her own bed under the loving care of her parents. For those who lose a child, as Magda had, the pain never goes away.

“There were no warning signs. There was nothing we could do, but the guilt doesn’t go away. If only we could have known [what would happen],” Magda explained while fighting back tears.

The abduction took place on an ordinary Thursday evening. After school, Mary went out with friends for pizza and a movie. While sipping cocoa at a restaurant, Mary began to feel dizzy and sick. “You go ahead and go home,” said Nahla, a Muslim girl. “The rest of us want to go to the cinema.” Nahla was new to Mary’s group of friends; they had only known her a few weeks.

Mary left the group to catch a bus home alone. This was the last time her friends would see her. No one knows what happened next, but Mary was gone.

Mary’s friends and parents believe Nahla had something to do with it; perhaps she was an accomplice to Mary’s abductors who put drugs in Mary’s drink. Although this suspicion has yet to be confirmed, after Mary’s disappearance, Nahla was nowhere to be found.

Mary’s parents stayed up throughout the night waiting anxiously for their daughter’s return. Mary’s father filed a report at the police station the next morning. He stayed at the station the entire day, determined to see that an investigation was being carried out. Late that afternoon, the police told him they had found his daughter.

Mary was escorted along with several other women into the station by four men in Islamic dress with long beards. The men were Salafis, a group that follows the strict doctrine of Wahhabi Islam from Saudi Arabia. Mary was covered head to toe in a burka. “[My husband] recognized her by her shoes,” Magda told ICC.

Two armed policemen stood by, watching the father’s every move. When he called Mary by name, a Muslim man hit her in the face. There was no answer.

Then he tried to grab his daughter, but she was quickly taken away by the police. The father yelled after her while struggling desperately to free himself from the grip of the police officers who were holding him down. It was no use. Mary was forced in the back of a van and driven away.

“I went back to the police station that night with my son,” Magda said. “They cursed us and humiliated us. They treated us very badly.”

The parents soon began receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls. “Become a Muslim and we’ll spare your life,” one caller said. “Pay a £6,000 ransom or your daughter is dead,” said another. One caller told Magda that Mary had been killed and buried.

“Look at me. I’m dying inside,” Mary’s father told BBC. “Jesus Christ gave me my daughter. He gave her to me, not to them.”

Two months later, several police officers showed up at the parents’ house. “They demanded that we sign documents that said Mary had changed her religion to Islam,” Magda said. The parents refused. Months later, however, they learned that a birth certificate had been forged stating that Mary was now a Muslim.

Still, the family would not give up. They hired a renowned Christian lawyer who demanded to see Mary. Agreeing to meet at a neutral location – Mary’s former university – Magda saw her daughter one last time. There she sat, fully covered on the sofa in the dean’s office. “My dear, are you OK?” Magda asked. There was no response. “Mary, can you hear me?”

Mary seemingly did not understand or was not coherent enough to respond. “She is a Muslim now. What right do you have to see her?” questioned the security officers, who were growing increasingly angry during the meeting. The meeting lasted ten minutes, but not a sound was uttered from Mary’s lips.

Magda’s lawyer regrettably said there was nothing more he could do. “There was no case, he said, because Mary’s birth certificate had been forged and she is Muslim now,” explained Magda.

On a dreary February afternoon, the parents sat in a Cairo office, trying to understand a world where Mary did not exist. “We don’t even know if she’s still alive,” Magda told ICC.

Abductions of Christian girls are nothing new in Egypt. Records exist of cases that were filed as early as the 1970s. However, kidnappings have increased significantly since Egypt’s revolution last year. It is often the police – the very people that are trusted to uphold the law – who are responsible.

“I have proof there are corrupt police officers,” said Coptic lawyer Karam Gabriel, who had worked months to find 15-year-old Nabila Sedky, a Christian girl who was abducted in Cairo on April 5, 2011. “I gave the investigators tips where to look, information we got through three months of hard work, and instead they were [investigating] at a Coptic [Christian] with an alibi.”

Mary is only one among hundreds of Christian girls who have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.

When Magda looks at the bed where Mary once slept, tears cloud her eyes. She says a silent prayer for her daughter and continues on with her day, believing that someday God will reunite them.

Aidan Clay is the Middle East Regional Manager for International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington, DC-based human rights organization that exists to support persecuted Christians worldwide by providing awareness, advocacy, and assistance (www.persecution.org). Aidan is a graduate from Biola University in Southern California. Prior to joining ICC, Aidan worked with Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He and his wife currently live in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact Aidan Clay at clay@persecution.org