Afghanistan

OFWI delegation returns safely from Afghanistan

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OFWI delegation returns safely from Afghanistan

Dear Friends and Partners,

Since visiting Canadian troops in Afghanistan in 2007, Rev. El Shafie has spent three years planning a return mission, assembling a delegation including a Canadian member of parliament, and building a plan of action. We are delighted to announce that, despite many challenges along the way, the mission took place June 25-30 and Rev. El Shafie and our delegation have returned home safely.

Canadian SoldiersThe delegation met with some Canadian soldiers and presented them with the cards of support that you had signed. They had a priceless opportunity to encourage the troops and pray with them, letting them know they are not forgotten and their hard work and sacrifices are appreciated back home. They met with Afghan officials and opposition leaders, including high level officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, among others, as well as women’s rights and human rights activists. They also met with victims of human rights abuses and paid a visit to a girls’ school.

Boys VictimsThe meetings with Afghan officials were critical. Rev. El Shafie confronted the government with evidence of its efforts to execute converts from Islam during the last several years. He also raised concerns over the new Shi'a personal status law which, among other things, allows husbands essentially to starve their wives if they refuse to submit to their sexual demands, and the issue of the sexual slavery and abuse of young Afghan boys through a practice known as bacha bazi or "boy play".

Tortured Afghan WomenThe issue of converts was particularly timely. There are very few native Afghan Christians. All are converts from Islam and worship in secret to avoid being killed for apostasy. Rev. El Shafie carried with him evidence provided by Afghan refugees who have fled their homeland because of death sentences for their conversion. As if to prove our case, while we were busy preparing for this mission the Afghan government was busy cracking down on Christians. On May 27, 2010, only a few weeks before our mission was scheduled to take place, a television program claiming to show Afghan converts being baptized and praying triggered demonstrations against converts. In response, pledges were made in the parliament and supported by President Karzai himself that all Afghan Christians would be found and executed and Christian aid organizations involved in converting Afghans would be punished.

In the last few weeks, at least 24 Afghan Christians have been arrested and the operations of over a dozen western aid organizations suspected of converting Afghans have been suspended. Homes and offices have been searched and Muslim family-members of suspected converts have been investigated and some arrested. There are reports of torture and of threats against family-members in an effort to force Christians to renounce their conversion and to betray other converts.

Our delegation has returned but this mission is far from over. The Afghan Christian community is in great turmoil. They need our urgent help. Please write to your Afghan embassy and demand that authorities immediately release all converts and their families, drop all charges, and ensure the religious freedom of all Afghans in accordance with international human rights standards. Demand also that authorities repeal the discriminatory sections of the shi’a personal status law and that they take effective measures to eliminate the practice of bacha bazi. The ultimate success of this mission depends on your willingness to take action and build on the work that we have begun. WE MUST NOT ALLOW OUR SOLDIERS’ SACRIFICES TO BE IN VAIN.

Finally, OFWI has significant expenses related to this mission that we must meet. Please join us and share in helping our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan by shouldering part of the financial burden of this mission and sending your special contribution today.

Please pray:

• for the tiny Afghan Christian community, that they would remain strong, steadfast, and faithful in the midst of this great trial and that they would have courage to stand up for their beliefs regardless of the consequences, in order to bring light and truth to the Afghan people;

• for the families of Afghan converts and the people of Afghanistan, that they would see the injustice in these attacks on their family, friends, and neighbours simply because of their beliefs. Pray that they would be moved in their hearts to seek and pursue truth, justice, and righteousness, and be rewarded with true peace;

• for the women and children of Afghanistan, many of whom suffer terrible abuse at the hands of family members and those whom they trust and depend on, that they would experience healing from the physical and psychological wounds inflicted on them by those who ought to be protecting and nurturing them and that they would be set free from the bondage in which they live; and,

• for Afghan authorities, that they would govern their country with truth, justice, and righteousness, and that they would ensure the Afghan people the freedom to seek and worship God in accordance with their conscience and protect the vulnerable women and children of the country.

ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):

• to the Afghan embassy in your country, demanding that authorities immediately and unconditionally release all converts and any family members being held, drop any and all charges and cancel any outstanding death sentences against converts, and ensure the right and freedom of all Afghans to worship in freedom and to convert to other religions in accordance with their conscience and international human rights standards. Demand that the authorities repeal the discriminatory sections of the Shi’a personal status law and that they take effective action to eliminate the practice of bacha bazi (“boy play”). Remind them that we have sent our young men and women to Afghanistan to fight for freedom for the Afghan people, not for continued oppression;

• to the authorities in your country, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State, Minister for Defence, and the Prime Minister or President: our men and women are sacrificing their lives in Afghanistan daily on behalf of freedom and democracy for the Afghan people – our governments must demand that Afghan authorities honour international human rights standards, release converts immediately, ensure the full religious freedom of all Afghans, and protect vulnerable Afghan women and children (girls and boys); and,

• finally, help us cover the costs of the mission by sending your donation today to the address indicated below.

Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.

Rev. Majed El Shafie President and Founder One Free World International El Shafie Ministries

CONTACT: In Canada:
His Excllency Jawed Ludin Embassy of Afghanistan 240 Argyle Ave. Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1B9 Tel.: (613) 563-4223; Fax: (613) 563-4962 Email: contact@afghanemb-canada.net

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Minister for Foreign Affairs 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON   K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence National Defence Headquarters Major-General George R. Pearkes Building 101 Colonel By Drive, 2 NT Ottawa, ON   K1A 0K2 Tel.: 613-996-3100; Fax: 613-995-8189 Email: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON   K1A 0A2 Fax: (613) 941-6900 Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

In the United States:

His Excellency Said Jawad Embassy of Afghanistan 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008 Tel.: (202) 483-6410; Fax: (202) 483-6488 Email: press@embassyofafghanistan.org Also, Mr. Ashraf Haidari, Political Counselor Email: Haidari@embassyofafghanistan.org

Secretary Hillary Clinton U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC  20520 Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard) Webform:http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=F5OZZa6i&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li

President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Tel.: 202-456-1111; Fax: (202) 456-2461 Webform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Maryam and Marzieh are safe and Rev. El Shafie is headed to Afghanistan

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Maryam and Marzieh are safe and Rev. El Shafie is headed to Afghanistan
Dear Friends and Partners, 

We would like to take this opportunity to give you some wonderful news: as a result of international pressure, Maryam and Marzieh, the Iranian Christian converts whose story of courage and dignity in the face of their persecutors has been an inspiration to all of us, have been acquitted of all charges and have left Iran.Please continue to pray for these courageous young women as they recover from their ordeal and adapt to a new culture and environment, that they will be able to use their story to glorify God and help improve the lives of their fellow Iranians. Please also continue to pray for the Iranian government and people, and especially for the Christians, converts and other minorities in Iran, that they would be able to freely exercise their faith without having to leave their families, homes, and country to escape persecution.

Update: Operation Horizon of Hope In the meantime, we recently sent an alert highlighting Rev. El Shafie’s upcoming return mission to Afghanistan. Rev. El Shafie will be leaving soon on this mission to encourage our troops, but also to meet with Afghan government officials in order to challenge the government about human rights issues in the country.

This mission is rapidly approaching and so we are re-sending the alert to encourage you that now is the time to send your letters and donations in order to make this mission a success. We must receive your cards and letters of support by June 15th in order to ensure that Rev. El Shafie can deliver them. Please stand with us and with our troops through your notes and letters, as well as your prayers and financial support for this important mission.

May 4, 2010 
Dear Friends and Partners,
You may recall that Rev. El Shafie travelled to Afghanistan almost three years ago to support and encourage our troops who are sacrificing their comfort and risking their lives on our behalf to help bring peace and freedom to the Troops AfghanistanAfghan people. He presented the troops with several cards signed by over 2000 of our friends and partners, including several members of parliament and the prime minister. The visit and your messages of support clearly meant a lot to the troops so before he left, Rev. El Shafie promised to return. He is now preparing to fulfill that promise by travelling back to Afghanistan where he will be visiting Canadian, American, and NATO soldiers.This is a critical time in the mission for Canadian troops. As they prepare to come home next year in accordance with the government’s decision, they will face great dangers. At the same time, questions over Canada’s role in the treatment of detainees by Afghan authorities have grown into a full-blown controversy. OFWI supports any necessary, legitimate, and democratic investigation into the detainee issue in accordance with Canadian law; however, we must not let this controversy overshadow the sacrifices our troops continue to make. After all, those who are demanding information and documents from the government are only able to do so because our soldiers once fought to defend our freedoms here in Canada as they are doing today in Afghanistan. The purpose of OFWI’s mission is not to get involved in the political debate, but to show our troops that we have not forgotten them and that we support and pray for them regardless of what happens on Parliament Hill.

Rev. El Shafie is inviting a delegation of Members of Parliament from both major parties to join him in this mission. In addition to encouraging the troops, Rev. El Shafie and his delegation will meet with Afghan officials to discuss their progress in the area of human rights and to stress the importance of ensuring equality and the human rights of all Afghan people both now and after Canadian troops leave. Support Our Troops Sign OFWI would like to give you the opportunity to participate in this mission. Once again, we are asking our friends and partners across the country to sign one of six cards of support and appreciation for the troops that are currently circulating. Also, some of you may not have the chance to sign the large cards, so we would like to give you the opportunity to send personal cards or letters of support which Rev. El Shafie will deliver to the troops together with the joint cards. Simply prepare your card or letter and send it to One Free World International marked “Operation Horizon of Hope”, making sure we receive it by June 15th.

Finally, as you know, OFWI is fully supported through the voluntary donations of our friends and members without whose support none of our work would be possible. Please join us by participating financially in this important mission so that we can make it a reality. Your donations are important and will have a lasting impact on the Afghan people by encouraging our troops and through the contacts Rev. El Shafie will be able to make. Please note that your donations are not tax deductible because OFWI has chosen not to seek charitable status so that we can pursue our goals freely, without the limits placed by law on charities.

Canadians can disagree about whether we should be in Afghanistan and OFWI does not take a position on this question. However, the reality is that Canadian soldiers are on the ground risking their lives daily on behalf of peace and freedom for the Afghan people and for Canadians. These brave men and women are doing their jobs and need and deserve our support.

Please pray:• for all the details of this mission to come together smoothly and for Rev. El Shafie’s safety throughout the mission;

• for the government and leadership of Afghanistan, that they would commit wholeheartedly to human rights, democracy, and equality and that they would have the strength of will and political leadership to implement these goals effectively for the benefit of all Afghan people;

• that the troops would be encouraged and uplifted by Rev. El Shafie’s visit; and,

• for the continued safety and protection of the troops who will then stay behind on the battlefield while Rev. El Shafie returns home to the safety of Canada. Pray particularly that the troops would have unusual wisdom and compassion in dealing with the Afghan people whom they are trying to help and that they would have supernatural discernment and intuition in order to prevent attacks by the Taliban that could harm them and ordinary Afghan people.

 
ACTION: 

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and:

• send your card or letter of support to the Canadian troops by June 15th to:

    One Free World International     c/o Operation Horizon of Hope     20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129     Toronto, ON     M4W 3T3

• send your financial contribution by cheque to the above address or deposit it directly to:

    Bank: Royal Bank of Canada     Institution Code: 003     Transit Number: 5452     Account Number: 1008507 (Canadian deposits); 4003232 (U.S. dollar deposits)     Swift: ROYCCAT2

Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.

One Free World International El Shafie Ministries

Reverend El Shafie safely back from Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Reverend El Shafie safely back from Afghanistan and Pakistan

Dear Friends and Partners,

Reverend El Shafie has returned safely from Afghanistan and Pakistan where he met with and encouraged Canadian and NATO troops and local Christians during a highly successful trip. One Free World International would like to thank you for your support and prayers for the success of this mission. The trip created several new opportunities and marked the official launch of Operation Horizon of Hope, under which Rev. El Shafie plans eventually to return to Afghanistan to continue bringing encouragement to our troops and to support the underground church.

we support our troopsDuring his 15-day trip Rev. El Shafie met with Canadian troops to encourage them and present them with cards of support signed by our friends and members across the country, as well as the Prime Minister of Canada and some federal cabinet ministers. The purpose of this meeting was not to make a political statement about Canada’s presence in Afghanistan, but to express in a concrete way that we stand behind our troops and appreciate their work and sacrifices. These brave young men and women do their job and risk their lives daily on our behalf and on behalf of peace and freedom for the Afghan people and they deserve our support and appreciation.

Neeha Victim of Christian PersecutionRev. El Shafie also met with local Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan to encourage and support them in the midst of persecution. In Pakistan he met victims of the country’s blasphemy laws and a young girl, only 4 years old, who was raped at the age of 2 and a half by the son of her father’s employer. The young man felt entitled to inflict this cruel punishment on the girl simply because her father had a dispute with his employer and as a Christian had no rights. The family remains in hiding and cannot report the incident or obtain medical help for the child.

The mission has opened up tremendous opportunities. Currently One Free World International is working with a media production company to produce a professional quality documentary about the persecution of Christians worldwide using video footage shot during this and upcoming trips. This documentary will be used to educate the public and decision-makers about human rights abuses and persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians. With decision-makers already expressing interest in the video, it promises to be a powerful tool on behalf of many who are suffering around the world.

One Free World International is able to make the documentary in a relatively cost-effective manner. Nevertheless, a production like this still requires exceptional resources. As you know, our work is only possible through the voluntary donations of our friends and members and we do not usually ask for your support. However, the opportunities and challenges before us are so great that we must continue to share them and give you the chance to ensure the success of these projects. Your participation is vital and much appreciated. (Please note that we cannot provide tax receipts because One Free World International has chosen to pursue its goals free of the limitations associated with charitable status.)

Among the many opportunities arising from this trip, Rev. El Shafie was interviewed on his return on CTV’s morning show Canada AM about his mission, his experiences, and his gratitude toward Canada. The interview from Thursday, August 9, 2007, can be viewed by visiting the One Free World International website and downloading the file. With so much happening, Rev. El Shafie is available and eager to speak to your church, congregation, or group about his recent trip and the documentary project. Together we can share the message and bring hope to suffering Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and around the world.

Please PRAY:

• for the safety and protection of the Canadian troops and other soldiers risking their lives to bring peace and hope to the Afghan people. Pray that they will return home safe and sound and pray also for the families of our fallen heroes;

• for the Afghan people who have suffered for so long from wars and oppression, that they would be able to live in peace and hope and experience true freedom through the Prince of Peace;

• for the Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan facing persecution for their faith. Pray that they would have strength and courage to stand firm in the face of persecution and be able to love and forgive their persecutors; and finally,

• thank God for Rev. El Shafie’s return from a safe and successful mission.

ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and:

• invite Rev. El Shafie to speak to your church, congregation, or group about his recent trip and the video documentary project by emailing info@onefreeworldinternational.org; and,

• send your financial contribution to:

One Free World International 20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129 Toronto, ON M4W 3T3

or deposit it directly to:

Bank: Royal Bank of Canada Institution Code: 003 Transit Number: 5452 Account Number: 1008507 (Canadian deposits); 4003190 (U.S. dollar deposits) Swift: ROYCCAT2

Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.

One Free World International El Shafie Ministries

Operation Horizon of Hope Set to Launch – Rev. El Shafie Traveling to Afghanistan

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Operation Horizon of Hope Set to Launch – Rev. El Shafie Traveling to Afghanistan

Dear Friends and Partners,

Operation Horizon of Hope is about to kick into high gear as Rev. El Shafie prepares to travel to Afghanistan shortly. In honour of Canada Day which we have just celebrated and in keeping with Rev. El Shafie’s desire to express his appreciation for Canada by supporting our troops, One Free World International would like to give you a final opportunity to participate in the first phase of this important mission.

Support Our Troops SignAs many of you are aware, One Free World International has been asking our friends and partners across the country to sign cards of support and appreciation for the Canadian troops who are risking their lives for peace and freedom in Afghanistan. In a few short weeks Rev. El Shafie will travel to the Canadian base in the south of Afghanistan where he will meet Canadian troops and present the cards you have signed. By showing the troops that ordinary Canadians stand by them with more than just words he will encourage them to stand strong and persevere. He will also have the opportunity to meet ordinary Afghan people and to share a message of hope and freedom to help them understand why Canadian soldiers are risking their lives on their behalf.

In addition to the large cards we have prepared, we would like to give you the opportunity to send personal cards or letters of support to the troops which Rev. El Shafie will deliver together with the joint cards. Simply prepare your card or letter and send it to One Free World International for Operation Horizon of Hope, making sure we receive it by July 18. This is an excellent opportunity for you to share a personal message of support and encouragement for the troops and for Canada.

Finally, as you know, One Free World International is fully supported through the voluntary donations of our friends and members without whose support none of our work would be possible. We do not usually ask for your support trusting that you will contribute as you are able and see the need. Operation Horizon of Hope, however, will involve extraordinary expense. In addition to supporting the troops, Rev. El Shafie will be travelling with a camera-man and shooting footage in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a documentary One Free World International is preparing about conditions in the region. Because the expenses involved in travelling to a war-zone and in the video production are enormous, we must share this need to give you the opportunity to participate and ensure the success of these projects. Please note that your donations are not tax deductible because One Free World International has chosen not to seek charitable status so that we can pursue our goals freely, without the limits placed by law on charities.

Canadians can disagree about whether we should be in Afghanistan and One Free World International does not take a position on this question. However, the reality is that Canadian soldiers are on the ground doing their jobs and risking their lives daily on behalf of peace and freedom. These brave men and women need and deserve our support.

Please PRAY:

• for all the details of this mission to come together smoothly and for Rev. El Shafie and his camera-man’s safety throughout the mission;

• that the troops would be encouraged and uplifted by Rev. El Shafie’s visit; and,

• for the continued safety and protection of the troops when they stay behind on the battlefield and Rev. El Shafie returns home to the safety of Canada. Pray particularly that the troops would have unusual wisdom and compassion in dealing with the Afghan people whom they are trying to help and that they would have supernatural discernment and intuition in order to prevent attacks by the Taliban that could harm them and ordinary Afghan people.

ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and:

• send your card or letter of support to the Canadian troops by July 18 to:

Operation Horizon of Hope One Free World International 20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129 Toronto, ON      M4W 3T3 Canada

• send your financial contribution to the above address or deposit it directly to:

Bank: Royal Bank of Canada Institution Code: 003 Transit Number: 5452 Account Number: 1008507 (Canadian deposits); 4003190 (U.S. dollar deposits) Swift: ROYCCAT2

Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.

One Free World International El Shafie Ministries