Monthly Archives: December 2013

Misrata man walks for peace to Tripoli

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab and Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 25 December 2013:

A 37-year athlete from Misrata has embarked on a 201-kilometre “peace” walk to Tripoli.
Waleed Abu Sala left Misrata yesterday morning to “prove that the road between the two cities was safe, contrary to what is said”.

His walk is a response to last month’s tragic events in Tripoli’s Gharghour district when 47 people died after gunman fired at demonstrators demanding that Misrata forces withdraw from the capital.
The day chosen for his departure, Independence Day, was deliberate, the aim being to emphasise Libya’s unity. The final destination too, Martyrs Square, is symbolic – again emphasising what draws Tripoli and Misrata together: the sacrifices during the revolution.

Speaking yesterday evening to the Libya Herald, Abu Sala said that he had just finished the first leg of his walk. “The time now is 5:30 pm and I have just arrived Zliten and there is an ambulance car with me to see if I need anything.”

A police communications technician, the father of five added that he wanted to show to the world in this his “first adventure” trip that everyone could walk freely anywhere without hassles or problems, despite what is being said now.
He added: “My trip has not been sponsored by any state institutions.”
He hopes the walk should take no more than four days. “I talked to a professional athlete who said that the trip would take six days, but I think I will have finished it within another two or tree days.

He said he has met a lot of people during his trip supporting him. So far, he added, he has stopped only for prayer, food and to change his trainers.

“This is my first public adventure” said Abu Sala, but he has ideas of other people joining him on future walks between towns and cities “to show their love for each other and for the nation and, of course, the peace that must unite Libya”.



The White Sisters: A Catholic Institution as Old as Tunisian Independence

December 2013 3:17 pm | Alexandra Hartmann

“Nuns?” I said in surprise. “You take Tunisian Arabic classes from nuns?”
Actually, my friend informed me, he was taking advanced classes with Father Paco Donayre, but at 280 dinars per year he strongly suggested I call up the White Sisters to learn more about their course.
Tunisia is a popular destination for students of Arabic. Anyone who has been to the country for a semester knows the grind: The most well-known school by far is The Bourguiba Institute in downtown Tunis. Several smaller, private, or more prestigious programs also exist in the country and among any group of foreign friends, it’s likely that most of them are taking classes from different instructors.

But Tunisian Arabic classes from nuns; that was something I had not heard before. 
A few sleepy churches and cathedrals are present and visible in the capital, but I wondered immediately what the work of missionary order looked like in a country that outlaws “proselytizing” and attempted conversion. The White Sisters belong to the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, founded by archbishop Charles Lavigerie in Algeria during the late 19th century with the initial goal of evangelizing North African Muslims. The sisters were known for donning the traditional white sefsari, hence their name. The order came to Tunisia in 1937. It’s primary apostolate, the Maison d’Etudes or “House of Studies” in Tunis, opened to the public in 1957, one year after Tunisia’s independence from French colonization. Now, the order is a well-known resource for community members in greater Tunis and for foreigners seeking to learn more about Tunisia. Sister Chantal Vankalck joined the White Sisters in Tunisia in 1996, after fleeing from a violent attack on the order in Algeria in which several brothers were killed. Vankalck entered the order in her early twenties and also served in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya before coming to Tunis.

A few sleepy churches and cathedrals are present and visible in the capital, but I wondered immediately what the work of missionary order looked like in a country that outlaws “proselytizing” and attempted conversion. The White Sisters belong to the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, founded by archbishop Charles Lavigerie in Algeria during the late 19th century with the initial goal of evangelizing North African Muslims. The sisters were known for donning the traditional white sefsari, hence their name. The order came to Tunisia in 1937. It’s primary apostolate, the Maison d’Etudes or “House of Studies” in Tunis, opened to the public in 1957, one year after Tunisia’s independence from French colonization. Now, the order is a well-known resource for community members in greater Tunis and for foreigners seeking to learn more about Tunisia. Sister Chantal Vankalck joined the White Sisters in Tunisia in 1996, after fleeing from a violent attack on the order in Algeria in which several brothers were killed. Vankalck entered the order in her early twenties and also served in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya before coming to Tunis.

“I told them,” Vankalck said, “‘I can’t explain to you, but this call for me is so deep that I want to respond to it in a very radical way of leaving my country, my family, and all what I have in order to move toward other cultures.’” The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady Africa and their brothers, the Missionaries of Our Lady Africa, strongly emphasize pluralism and cross-cultural understanding. When sisters arrive in a new place they are immediately trained in the language and practices of their host country. This was the initial purpose of the Maison d’Etudes. As sisters integrated with the community, they thought it was important to build a library as a resource for young female students in the neighborhood. These students aided in instructing the Tunisian Arabic courses, which soon expanded to local women interested in learning the language, usually those in religiously mixed marriages. Now, classes largely consist of foreign professionals based in Tunis.
“More and more, [our services are open] to lay people who have the desire to be in tune with what the people of the country are living,” Vankalck said. “The people we receive here have changed, but the spirit remains the same.” The library has since grown, including a study room and shelves of English, French and Arabic historical and philosophical texts used by both male and female students. Additionally, the sisters host weekly lectures on Christian and Islamic theology. “It’s all to help people to try to enter into contact, to have links with Muslim people beyond all the prejudices and fears we might have,” said Vankalck. “Because often in the media, they give an image that is not really real. In reality, we discover wonderful people here with the desire of openness, of trying to know the other and respect him, and to engage a kind of dialogue of life.” The Tunisian Arabic courses are modeled around such everyday conversations and cultural exchange, which Vankalck says is central to her religious life here. “It’s been 17 years that I have been here. So now, young girls that I knew as children, now they are mothers, and they invite me [over] and I see those little children, and they are like mine, they understand ‘that’s tata [aunt]’ and I’m like part of the family,” she explained. “That’s for me my biggest joy.” “You know for me we have been here for so long that I can say we are a part of the picture,” Vankalck continued. “Here, people are even protecting us. So when something happens like the revolution, we’re phoned by our friends everywhere [who ask]: ‘Are you ok? Do you have enough bread?’ For them, we are part even of their family.
This kind of familial care is a strong component of Vankalck’s work, which she says has shifted drastically in tone since the revolution. Where before, Vankalck addressed peoples’ want for a good education and an understanding of ‘the other,’ she says there now exists a general hopelessness. “We are already three years after the revolution and I can sense a kind of despair among the people I meet,” she said. “Despair first of all, among the Tunisian people, but also with some of our students in Arabic courses who…see the country going downward.” “So when I’m meeting people and discussing with them, for me it is very important to give a message of hope and [recognize] that we are in a very complex situation but a very impassioned time. Now people…can open their mouth and say ‘we want a society where we can live together in peace and justice; where everybody can be respected, have dignity, have work.’” Vankalck added that living conditions in post-revolutionary Tunisia have affected her friends, her community, and those who use the sisters’ services. Minds are preoccupied with joblessness. But, she says, she sees both despair and hope. “Even though they have to fight to finish the month, they say ‘hamdullah, hamdullah we are going on struggling,’” Vankalck said of a particular family she visits. “Tunisians have the strength in them to face the challenges.”

An Algerian Believer Shares

I believe it\’s time for Algeria – a time for change. Change of leadership. Changes to the economics. Change from so many things being centralized to being more open to others! Please pray that God will raise up new, strong, righteous political leaders for this nation, ready to lead when the time comes.

How to pray for Algeria now?

  1. pray for a good leaders for the nation and good shepherds for the church
  2. pray for the changing of systems in Algeria (education , social, all of the spheres in Algerian society)
  3. pray for development of tourism to bring in fresh winds and fresh income
  4. pray for freedom of religion
  5. I also believe we must pray for the women in Algeria: The women are prepared. Pray that they understand the real meaning of unity and go to encourage others! So pray also for the women believers to rise up and with the power of the Spirit be able to lead ministry to women. I feel it\’s a time for the women in this nation!

US teacher shot dead in Benghazi

An American teacher has been shot dead in Libya\’s eastern city of Benghazi, local officials say.

Ronnie Smith, who is reported to be from Texas, taught chemistry at the international school in the city.

The 33-year-old was gunned down earlier on Thursday as he was jogging in the Fweihat district, a popular residential area in the city.

No group has said it carried out the attack. There was no formal statement from the US embassy in Libya.

from BBC World

A worker shares the prayer they pray as they face the world map :

\”I say to the Lord, “Why would you not want to send a move of your Spirit in these places in order to bring transformation and glorify Your Son. You, Lord, care for the four million people of Mauritania with a life expectancy of 56, earning only $1000 a year per person and 20% living as slaves.”

We say, AMEN. Come, Lord Jesus, Come! Move in Mauritania and bring in a harvest of souls for your Kingdom

Egypt Prayer

In the midst of so much violence, uncertainty, persecution and general uprising in Egypt, the church has been growing in leaps and bounds. Prayer has become a strong focus in the Egyptian church in recent years with large scale prayer gatherings drawing thousands of people to join together across Christian traditions to unite in prayer for their nation.

Young people have been gathering by the thousands to worship together. Check out the One Thing Egypt channel on You Tube and you will be encouraged and amazed at the large scale event that was held again in September 2013.

The Count it Right annual event was held in Cairo again in November 2013. Thousands were expected! Count it Right 2012. Count it Right 2013

Praise God for the church in Egypt! Pray that God will continue to pour out on them His love, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, healing, and hope. May they lead the way towards reconciliation in Egypt. Pray that God would remove any fear, and fill it with love, power and a sound mind. Pray that the church in Egypt will grow in their desire to share their faith across all groups of people in Egypt. May God truly revive Egypt in these days.

Newspaper editor faces up to 15 yrs in prison, 2 politicians face death penalty, all for \”insults\” http://bit.ly/JpixC8
—via @hananHRW

Wednesday prayer for Mauritania


Tough pill 2 swallow for gov tht insists slavery doesn\’t exist in #Mauritania, @UN will recognize abolitionists work http://t.co/KY6kQ9lib7


Mauritania, 1976. People’s access to basic healthcare has been our priority for decades. #ThrowbackThursday #IVD2013 http://t.co/BEgVuvsB5w

Mauritania is mostly desert. The little farming is often threatened by locusts. Ask God for protection over crops.http://t.co/74MZW3rQt1

Join us in praying for Mauritania today. Did you know that Mauritania has the world\’s highest rate of slavery (per capita)? Luke 4:8