Sandra U Speaks to the United Nations Security Council

UNSandraOn August 27, 2012, our In Their Shoes podcast featured an interview with Sandra Uwiringiy’imana, a young woman originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo now living in Rochester, New York, who has become a powerful advocate for peace and justice.

On September 8, 2014, Sandra spoke to the Security Council of the United Nations during it’s session addressing the promotion and protection of the rights of children, specificially the impact of armed conflict on children. See the video of Sandra’s statement here.

Not only does Sandra teach us much about a tragic situation in DR Congo, but she shows us the power of using one’s voice for justice. She shows us the power of young women moved to action. She shows us the power of faith and hope. Please hold Sandra and others in partnership with her in your prayers as they work to bring God’s peace to the world.

 

 

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Expect the Unexpected

By Rev. Valerie Andrews. This is the fourth in a series of posts on the Republic of Georgia.

Having been identified as a potential participant in the spiritual pilgrimage to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia (sponsored by AB Women’s Ministries) was something I never expected. As I went through the many days and months of planning, I rarely gave much thought to what would occur. Finally the day arrived and I found myself at the Newark, New Jersey, airport anxiously waiting for my sisters to arrive as well. We laughed, talked, fellowshipped over a meal, and then we were off to Munich, Germany.

It seemed as if we had not been too long in the air when I happened to look at my watch and noted that it was somewhat late in the States. I watched a movie, took a few z’s, and woke up to what I thought was the reflection of lights on the wings of the aircraft. I opened the window shade only to be stirred to tears…it was the dawning of a brand new day! I hadn’t expected to move into another day while leaving behind yesterday. Completely overwhelmed, I began to journal my thoughts about such an unexpected blessing; knowing that God was still in yesterday, but had moved us into tomorrow!

Munich

Munich, Germany

Shortly thereafter, the plane landed and we were in Munich. What a beautiful place! We were surrounded by people dressed in special attire, and later learned we were in the midst of celebrating Christ! This, too, was not expected but beautiful to the eye as the community sang unto our God. We enjoyed a scrumptious meal, walked, talked, and simply beheld God’s beauty in this country. Later that evening, we prepared to return to the airport for the lengthy flight to Tbilisi.

It was now 3:00 a.m. and we had safely arrived in the Republic of Georgia. As we landed there was evidence that rain had fallen, but it did not dampen any of us. I would like to think that we were excited and tired all at the same time, but open to what was before us.

Being greeted by a group of the warmest people was simply amazing. It was 3:00 a.m.! Who does that? Sure, I could understand if perhaps three people were there, but it was a miniature-sized congregation standing there smiling, with loving arms and firm handshakes waiting for our arrival. The unexpected was once again at work!

DSCF3038In a few hours my roommate, LaKeenyna, and I were awakened…our journey onwards to Tbilisi had begun! There was much to see, learn, embrace, experience, and discover. I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, nor with what. Initially, I felt out of sorts as the Itinerary seemed somewhat drafted in “busyness”. Not the expected. I later learned however, it was all part of the plan of preparing us for those unexpected moments when God would show Godself the people, nature, and circumstances in the span of two weeks!

I warmly quote this phrase, “Expect the Unexpected,” as so eloquently preached one Sunday during our travels by the Rev. Angel Sullivan, one of my fellow pilgrims. This was and is the only way I can describe my experience on this spiritual pilgrimage: May we open our hearts to this concept and see what the LORD will do!

Rev Valerie AndrewsRev. Valerie Andrews is events coordinator (2012-2015) for American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and business manager at Church of the Redeemer Baptist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“A Time of Grace: Aging and Faith”–Upcoming Event

shutterstock_142939927“A Time of Grace,” September 29-October 3, 2014, is a virtual mission encounter for women offering the opportunity for participants to explore issues of aging from the perspective of faith. Themes and activities will offer the opportunity for those who are of mature age themselves to experience this season of their lives with grace and purpose; those who are experiencing the aging of their loved ones will find encouragement and increased awareness of how to be in relationship as needs change over time. Daily activities will address the spiritual side of aging, physical issues and changing needs, legal concerns, family relationships, how seniors may engage in needed ministries, and how congregations can reach out to seniors in special ways.

Special guests for “A Time of Grace” include Rev. Jennifer C. Streeter, chaplain at the Fairport Baptist Homes in Rochester, New York; Rev. Randy Frederikson, chaplain at Trail Ridge Retirement Community, an American Baptist Homes of the Midwest facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Mr. Stacey Lucich, an estate planning attorney in Twin Falls, Idaho; and the Rev. Dr. Bobby Joe Saucer from Decatur, Georgia, author of The Judson Press title Our Help in Ages Past: The Black Church’s Ministry among the Elderly.

Virtual mission encounters are a way for women to explore mission topics more deeply while still being able to attend to their responsibilities at work, home, church, or in their communities. Suggested activities to explore each day’s focus are emailed to participants: each participant determines how many activities she may have time to do within her daily schedule. Activities may include such things as reading the newspaper, exploring websites, reading and responding to blog posts, taking prayer walks, researching a topic of interest further, listening to audio files or watching videos, and other activities. Every evening includes a conference call featuring a special guest with particular expertise or stories to share on the daily theme; participants may attend as many or as few conference calls as their schedule and interest allow.

For more information, speaker bios, and online registration, visit www.abwministries.org/vme.