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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disposable People

To many, unborn babies are disposable people. The political feeling is that unless the pregnant mother desires to have the baby, that unborn life is disposable. I believe that attitude arises from lack of relationship. We human being can't seem to care about others unless we have a relationship with them - preferably a mostly positive one. We just can't bring ourselves to care if no relationship exists.

In the case of unborn babies, I have a passionate connection. Although I have not experienced abortion in my own body, I have witnessed its effects first hand. Since I have not been able to have children, I have considered adoption many times - but the cost is exorbitant and foreign adoptions are "easier." There are just not as many children in this country who need a home and parents. In my own family, my parents have lost nearly a third of their grandchildren to abortion. This is quite shocking if taken as a common statistic. Could it be that nearly a third of our future has been killed before birth?

One of the wonderful things about ultrasound is that unborn children are no longer unseen and disconnected. Ultrasounds permit others to develop a connection with that unborn child because a relationship is established. We see, therefore we believe. It is becoming more difficult to make the case that the "disposable cells" in a mother's womb is not a valuable human life.

In this country, fathers are also becoming disposable people. The value of a father to a family is considered merely a financial obligation. Our courts and our society clearly understand that value. What seems to be missing from the equation is that a father's connection to his children is critical for their well-being and his.

Those people who believe in biblical principles understand this. And, those "believers" seem most able to care about "disposable people" when others can't. They find a relationship or connection to all human life that makes no one disposable and every life valuable - because God values every life and God values the father-child relationship. God values the people across the globe - even in places like Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, India, Morocco, Columbia, China and Russia. And God instituted the father-child relationship himself with the creation of Adam.

Psalm 139:13-15
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Sunday Update on the Moroccan Orphans

Overlooked in the midst of the Moroccan government’s widespread enforcement of its “non-proselytizing laws and consequent expulsion of Christian aid workers is the story of how these foreign aid workers live side by side with local Moroccan citizens, and how all parties have learned to form lasting bonds of community, friendship, trust and respect.

Over the last fifty years, the American aid workers running The Children’s Haven Orphanage in Azrou and the Moroccans living in that area have formed social relationships that have become the anchors and staples of their everyday lives. The American aid workers have, for decades, given their medical supplies and personal assistance freely to the locals, and the Moroccans, in turn, have come to know they can trust and rely upon the aid workers.

As such, the government’s current threat to deport the American aid workers from The Children’s Haven is a threat to the local community as well. Just as the confidence and security of the aid workers in calling Morocco their home, and in being parents and family to the orphans they care for, have been shattered, the security of the Moroccan locals has been shattered too.

Prior to the government’s recent expulsion of Christian foreign aid workers in general, and from a neighboring orphanage in specific, the Azrou locals didn’t question how their medical and community needs would be met. They had their answers in the long established traditions of turning to the American aid workers. The orphanage workers are available to help the locals in any way they can, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. And the villagers know to depend on the orphanage and seek its help.

But with the government’s recent practices of expelling Christian aid workers, such as those who ran the Village of Hope Orphanage, the welfare of local Moroccan citizens is just as uncertain as the welfare of the children living at the Haven. This is why area villagers joined together and prayed at the Mosque last Friday, for the protection and safety of their local orphanage. And they continue to pray.

Local citizens are literally knocking on the orphanage’s doors to express their support and to say they are standing by the orphanage. As one of the villagers stated in recent days, since the Haven has come under investigation, “That [The Haven] is the light of the village. You kick those people out and the light goes out.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Update from Morocco

This is really quite interesting and encouraging:

Local Moroccans, in the villages and towns surrounding the Children's Haven Orphanage, flocked to the Mosque on Friday, March 12, 2010, and prayed for the protection and safety of the American aid workers and orphans who live at and run this local orphanage. The Moroccans prayed on the word of The Prophet who said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together. (Saheeh Al Bukhari ::Book 8 :: Volume 73 :: Hadith 34 ) The Children's Haven has, for over fifty years, provided essential care services to the residents of neighboring towns and thus has been and is an integral part of the local community.

Due to the Haven's great value to the locals, they fear its loss to their community and fear the void that would follow. For decades the American aid workers at the Haven have given free daily medicine to the community; have participated in local births, weddings, circumcisions and burials; have helped the sick and poor receive medical care from local hospitals; and have provided needed transportation for emergencies and everyday life. For these reasons, local citizens joined together to pray for the ongoing protection and welfare of The Children's Haven.

The Children's Haven, which is run by American Christian aid workers, is under threat, due to the Moroccan government's recent deportations of foreign Christians, for the purpose of enforcing "non-proselytizing" laws. The most recent and alarming example to Moroccan locals of Christian deportations, was the sudden expulsion of all foreign Christian aid workers (21 adults) on Monday, March 8, 2010, from another nearby orphanage, The Village of Hope. This left 33 orphans, some with medical needs, without care. The current government investigations of the American aid workers at The Haven, and the deportations of the European and American aid workers from The Village of Hope, appear to be the result of a radical shift by the Moroccan government away from its long-standing tolerance of Christianity. Both orphanages, since the 1950's, have, until the present, operated safely and comfortably with the government's knowledge and consent. In particular, both orphanages have always complied with government policies and completed all required paperwork. But both organizations have been caught in a seeming anti-Christian dragnet that started sweeping the country a year ago this March.

Because the Moroccan government insists its investigations and expulsions of Christians are based in law enforcement and not anti-Christian policies, the question of "due process" has arisen. The expelled Christians, from the Village of Hope, for example, were not allowed to defend themselves properly to the authorities. As U.S. Ambassador Samuel Kaplan recently stated, "Although we expect all American citizens to respect Moroccan law, we hope to see significant improvements in the application of due process in this sort of case." The European response, particularly by the Dutch, has been much more critical and forceful. Political parties in Holland "denounced the attitude of the Moroccan authorities." As well, Morocco's standing with the European Union might come under examination.

Regardless of how the Moroccan government justifies its actions and deportations of Christians, the damage by these policies to innocent Moroccans, including orphan children and local citizens, is undeniable. The cost to the Moroccan government is still unknown, but currently unfolding. At the least, Morocco's long-standing reputation for religious tolerance is crumbling. The Moroccan government, to those watching worldwide, appears to be reversing itself and moving backwards toward radicalism. Consequently, its impossible not to admire and respect the Moroccan locals who have shown, and remain prepared to show, their unified support for the Christian aid workers, such as the Americans running The Children's Haven, in their communities.

Salim Sefiane

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Terrible News from Morocco

This report was sent to me by a friend who was raised in this orphanage.

Christian Orphanage forcibly shut down in Morocco

Greetings from Morocco :

I have devastating news.

This afternoon, I received a phone call from Herman Boonstra, the director of the Village of Hope saying that the police had just told them the staff needed to pack up and leave for the airport to be deported out of Morocco this evening.

Let me step back and describe the events that led up to this.

In March 2009 the police raided a woman’s bible study in Casablanca and sent the five foreign women who were visiting out of the country.

In November 2009 the police raided a Christian meeting in the north and sent five foreigners out of the country.

In January 2010 the police raided a Christian meeting south of Marrakech and sent the visiting American out of the country.

Then this past weekend, in a coordinated effort, coming from the highest levels of the government, Christians around the country were called in, questioned overnight and sent out of the country the next day.

The list thus far: British couple from Essaouri, American from Fez (his wife and daughter have been permitted to stay until the daughter finishes her school year), Brazilian from El Jadida, British man from Tangiers (his wife is allowed to stay until her card runs out in August), Korean pastor from Rabat (has led the service before ours), Congolese man from Marrakech, three Americans ( I think) who were running a handicap center in Nador. An American was denied entry into the country when he tried to come back home. A South African was pulled out of his work as a teacher in Casablanca to be questioned. A man in Meknes was pulled in to be questioned.

There is so much going on that I may be forgetting some. Throughout the day I have been receiving phone calls and emails and Skype talking about all the latest developments.

The police, as part of this national campaign, came to the Village of Hope on Saturday about 3:30 PM. They said this was just routine and had a few questions to ask. They asked if they could see one of the houses and were invited in. They immediately began opening closets and drawers, going through bookshelves and taking whatever materials they considered incriminating. They interviewed each of the children. They interviewed all the staff and volunteers. Finally, at 3 AM they left.

They came back on Sunday after interviewing some volunteers who were staying in nearby Azrou. They continued interviewing children, getting documentation. There were three groups of police and each wanted their own copies.

Herman was called into the town of Ain Leuh to meet with high level police officers. He called me last night at 11:40 PM to say this was really serious.

They had collected all the passports of the staff and then finally announced to Errol and Herman that they all had to leave.

So in less than seven hours, the parents and staff had to pack their bags and say goodby to their children.

The oldest of these children have been there for ten years. These are the only parents they know and the government has ripped them away, traumatizing the children and ripping out the hearts of the parents.

We are all stunned. The American Embassy has been wonderful. They are following these events intensely. A couple of the embassy families were just at VOH last weekend to paint a room in the infirmary and worship with the community. So this is personal.

I am not happy that the government has deported so many people. But that pales in comparison with what has happened at the Village of Hope .

A second children’s home, Children’s Haven in Azrou, is on the same track and it is expected that the staff there will also be sent out of the country. But maybe not. We will wait and see.

All my analysis of the political trends in this country have proved to be wrong. But I am not alone. No one understands what is happening. This is a new wave sweeping across Morocco .

The King appointed new ministers of Interior and Justice in January and it seems that these men are driving the campaign and the campaign seems to be pulling Morocco away from openness and liberty into a more Islamic state.

May God have mercy on them.

It is obvious what to pray about. The parents and children are at the top of the list. Pray also for those who have been deported. And please pray for me.

We have no idea who is next or who else is on their list.

I am unable to understand why God would allow this to happen, but then there is so much suffering that takes place in the world on a daily basis, much worse than this, and I do not understand that either. This suffering is closer to home and that is why it hurts so much.

For those of you who can read French, here is the official report that came out of the Moroccan Press Association.

Monday, March 1, 2010


And now Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. Ps. 39:7

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
Ps. 6:9-10

The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Ps. 103:6

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (MSG)

And now these three abide: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13