Monday, August 24, 2009

Sudan Event in Austin This Week

My good friends Missy & Dave are coming to Austin! After my trip to Sudan this summer, Andy and I felt compelled to pitch in and spread awareness about the issues that are affecting the southern part of the country. Both spiritual and physical poverty are everywhere. And Missy & Dave are trying to do something about it. So we invited them to come tell their story to my friends living in Austin.

YOU'RE INVITED, if you live in Austin, to join us THIS THURSDAY (Aug 27) at Mercury Hall at 7pm.

We'd love to have as many people there to hear about what's currently happening in Sudan, and how Seed Effect (Missy & Dave's microfinance company) is working to alleviate poverty while at the same time spreading the gospel!

Andy & I are excited about the work God is doing among the poor in Sudan and we want YOU to have the chance to participate... Don't you want to impact poverty?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Andy's "Nothing Compares" Video

I am so proud of my sweet husband, Andy Melvin... He has given his life to the service of the Church by using his talents as a musician & songwriter to lead believers in worship through song! This is a video of one of the church services at Austin Stone Community Church this summer. The song is one of Andy's originals off his most recent album, The Human Engine Waits (available on itunes). This video captures our church body in praise as we corporately sing "Nothing Compares."

Here are the lyrics...

Forgive me Lord when I rely

On anything else but Your life in mine
All the vain things I held so high
I count it as loss

Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You
Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You
And it keeps drawing me in
And it's stirring my soul to know You more

Forgetting what lies behind
I'm reaching for the prize
The upward call of Christ
I'm reaching for You

Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You
Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You
And it keeps drawing me in
And it's stirring my soul to know You more

Cause You're my hope, You're my goal
You're all I'm striving for
You're my strength and my peace
You're everything I need
Nothing compares to You

Feel free to put the video up on your blog, or Facebook, etc... you can get the embed-code off or

Friday, August 21, 2009

Want to Pray for Muslims?

Today begins an important month in the lives of Muslims around the world... today is the first day of Ramadan, the month-long fast that is one of the major traditions of Islam. From sunrise to sunset for about 30 days Muslims abstain from food, drink (even water), smoking, and sex. They do this to remember the month that Mohammad received his revelations that eventually became the Quran. Austin Stone's Make Disciples blog has posted a few updates that help explain Ramadan if you are interested in more info.

Each year, there is an organization that puts out a little prayer booklet that serves as a guide for Christians to pray for Muslims during this critical period of their year. This is website... . I ordered about 50 of the booklets to be able to give out to my friends who are interested in joining me on this journey of prayer for Muslims... Do you want one? Let me know and I'll get it to ya! Its really great because it helps me have some guidance and focus for my prayers for Muslims... PLUS I get to keep the book and use it year round too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Iraqi Refugees Find Adjusting Hard In The U.S.

Of the refugee population being resettled here in the United States, right now about 30% are from Iraq. Most of those being granted refugee status were Iraqis that had helped the U.S. armed forces as translators, engineers, doctors, etc. Their fellow countrymen felt that these people betrayed their country by helping the U.S. and so they face harsh persecution and sometimes even death.

On the one hand, I am grateful that our government is granting asylum and refugee status to these individuals that are now targeted for attack because they helped us out. But on the other hand, when these refugees arrive in the U.S. they are coming to terms with a much more difficult life than they imagined. Most of their higher education and skills do not transfer, they are living off ridiculously small government aide (for 4 months, and then they're on their own), and they are living in the most poor conditions America has to offer... on top of which they are isolated by language barriers and prejudices. True, their lives ARE safer here, but their quality of life is certainly disappointing.

Today, the New York Times ran an article about this situation that was really good. It gives an insiders look at their transition and the emotional and physical difficulties they must endure. Here is the first 3 paragraphs:

"Not long after the Iraq war began in 2003, Uday Hattem al-Ghanimi was accosted by several men outside the American military base where he managed a convenience store. They accused him of abetting the Americans, and one fired a pistol at his head.

Now, after 24 operations, Mr. Ghanimi has a reconstructed face as well as political asylum in the United States. On July 4, his wife and three youngest children joined him in New York after a three-year separation.

But the euphoria of their reunion quickly dissipated as the family began to reckon with the colder realities of their new life. Mr. Ghanimi, 50, who has not been able to work because of lingering pain, is supporting his family on a monthly disability check of $761, food stamps and handouts from friends. They are crammed into one room they rent in a two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in a city whose small Iraqi population is scattered. And Mr. Ghanimi’s wife and children do not speak English, deepening their sense of isolation."

(click here to keep reading)

The article continues with several other people's stories and some very interesting journalistic facts about the situation. I highly recommend you read it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turkey T-shirts For Sale!

Andy & the band are going to Turkey in September... and to help raise money to cover costs, we are selling T-SHIRTS! The text says "God loves Türkiye" (which is the Turkish spelling of Turkey) and the crescent & star above the wording is from their flag. The design is printed on American Apparel shirts. Cost is $20 each.
If you are interested in buying a T-shirt, shoot me an email a t x a n n a @ g m a i l . c o m with the following info:

COLOR: (red or black)

Orders need to be received by MONDAY, August 10th.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Famous People Who Were Once Refugees

Did you know that Albert Einstein, Madeleine Albright, Chopin, and Victor Hugo (author of "Les Misérables") all used to be refugees?

To read/learn more, click here for 136 vignettes of refugees that have made a difference in the world.