It has been several months since I have written in this blog, and since then I have given birth to a wonderful baby boy. In honor of that, I want to showcase the faces of God's beautiful babies from around the world:

Mongolia
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Peru
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Kenya
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France
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China
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Ireland
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Afghanistan
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Morocco
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And my little baby boy!

United States of America


"Jesus loves the little children
All the little children of the world!"

Here is the trailer to that movie "Babies", where a man followed the lives of four babies around the world, from birth to toddlerhood. Babies are babies, no matter where in the world, but it's still cute to see them in different cultures!!! I still haven't seen this movie, but I want to!



Thanks for reading! Please share or leave your thoughts in the comments!
God Bless You in the Name of Jesus †
♥Jenn

Country Profile: Albania

Posted by Jenn On 9:26 PM 3 COMMENTS!
I'll be showcasing different country-profiles and unreached people groups on this blog, so I figured I would start with Albania because I have a friend who is trying to do some fundraising so he will be able to start a life of full-time ministry and his first trip will be to Tirana, the capital of Albania. He is hoping to stay there long enough to make an impact and form relationships with the locals. On his website he says that the goal of visiting Albania is to build up the small, local church (about 50 members!) and to serve the local community.

Visit his Facebook Page, Therefore Go Ministries, to learn more!

Religion and Church-Planting Progress Scale

While Albania is not really considered an "unreached" area (15.4% unreached), it is largely Muslim and non-religious and the Joshua Project website describes it as mainly having a  "formative/nominal church" among many of its people groups.


Of the 13 people groups in Albania, two are "unreached" (Han Chinese and Israeli Jew), and ten groups have greater than 5% "Professing Christians" and less than 2% Evangelical Christians. Only one people group (Romani/Vlax) has a "significant/established church" with greater than 2% Evangelical Christians.

from Joshua Project "Albania People Groups"

Brief Overview

"This pint-sized, sunny slice of Adriatic coast was ground down for years by poverty and blood vendetta, but Albania now manages to pack a wild punch of traditional Mediterranean charm and Soviet-style inefficiency. It's a giddy blend of religions, styles, cultures and landscapes, from Sunni Muslim to Albanian Orthodox, and from idyllic beach or rocky mountain to cultivated field. Relics from one of the longest dictatorships in Eastern Europe rub shoulders with citrus orchards, olive groves and vineyards." (Lonely Planet's The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, 2008, page 11 "Alabania")
From WWII until 1992, Albania was a Communist/Stalinist state. In the 90s, many Albanians left the country in search of work (as much as 20% of the labor force). During the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999, about half a million ethnic Albanian refugees fled from Kosovo into Albania, burdening the country's already weak economy. Outside of the former Soviet Union states, Albania remains one of Europe's poorest countries, with high unemployment rates and corruption that really deters foreign investment. Freedom of the press is a constitutional right, however there is are powerful political, business and media agendas that often inhibit this freedom. After the communist regime, illegal and unregulated buildings sprouted up all over the place in large cities, proving to be a disaster for Albania's urban development. (Source: BBC News Country Profile) Rural women who have moved to the urban centers are one of the most poverty-stricken and abused groups in Albania.

See Women News Network for full article on the poverty level among women in Albania
Note: The Kosovo/NATO war is a very complex one including charges of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Wounds are still sore and I can't begin to go into all the details and history of the war here. I have not researched it previously, but I am finding that it is too much to get into at this time.

Quick Facts
provided by Lonely Planet's The Travel Book
  • Albanians shake their heads to say "yes" and typically nod their heads to say "no"
  • Known for shish-kebabs, baggy pants, and colorful scarves
  • Birthplace of Mother Theresa
  • Watch Lamerica for a stark look at post-communist culture
  • Tungjatjeta means "hello"
  • Listen to some polyphony for some traditional Albania music
  • Read Broken April by Ismail Kadare (Albania's best-known modern writer) and learn more about the blood-vendettas on the northern highlands before the 1939 Italian invasion

Photos

Lonely Planet
Flikr
World of Railways
BBC News
Blue Planet Green Living

Poetry

The following poem was written by a Kosovar Albanian, regarding the Kosovo war:

Until when, O God?

Why do You let me suffer?
Why do You let me weep?
Why do You not heal my pain?
Until when, O God?
Why must I live alone?
Why must I live a wasted life?
Why don't the flowers bloom?
Until when, O God?
Why does the springtime sun not shine?
Why is the darkness not removed?
Why do You not permit the light?
Until when, O God?
Why have You taken hope from my life?
Why has yesterday become my today?
Why does the rain never cease to fall?
Until when, O God?

- Ismet Lajqi


*    *    *    *

Don't forget to check out Therefore Go Ministries to learn more about my friend's trip and his fundraising needs. He has a special fundraising opportunity with Mark Kay, where until October 1st 100% of the profits coming into this particular Mary Kay site will go to Ben's fundraising efforts. Click here for more info about the Mary Kay fundraiser.

Thanks for reading! Please share or leave your thoughts in the comments!
God Bless You in the Name of Jesus †
♥Jenn
The other week, my husband and I went to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island with his brother and sister, along with his sister's husband and two sons. It was a very hot day for a zoo and I have very mixed feelings about zoos (especially when animals are completely out of their natural habitat), but it was well worth it in the end. I really love animals and therefore took so many photos... way more than are shown in this post, of course! So, here is a showcasing of some of God's wonderful animal creations:
How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number,
living things both large and small.
(Psalm 104:24-25)

























and God's crown of creation:


Thanks for reading! Please share or leave your thoughts in the comments!
God Bless You in the Name of Jesus †
♥Jenn
Open Doors USA "One With Them Campaign"

Got an email today from Open Doors USA for two FREE "barbwire" wristbands (flexible rubber) to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering because of their faith.

They share our faith - but not our freedom

Watch the below videos to hear testimonies from Christians in Bangladesh, Eritrea and Central Asia. Also visit the below link to order your free wristbands. They will certainly be conversation starters!! 

I hope that wearing it will remind me to pray for the persecuted Church every time I look at it. I will also keep in prayer that the Holy Spirit would speak through me on their behalf whenever if anyone asks me about the bracelet.








Holy Father, I pray for Your children who suffer persecution and adversity for Your Namesake and for following the One True King, Jesus Christ. May Your Holy Spirit guide them and give them strength to endure and the courage to face Your enemies in the name of Jesus. I believe the words of Jesus that we are blessed to suffer on His behalf and that if we truly strive to live holy lives through faith in You and by the power of the Holy Spirit, then we will suffer persecution. May we in America be inspired by our brothers and sisters overseas who have no freedom for their faith, yet they fearlessly hold on to the truth. Bless them abundantly, for they are a blessing to us. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides me to living a more holy life and that the Lord My God will grant me strength and courage to stand firm by the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I ask in the Name of Jesus that my life be transformed into a life that brings glory to You, as our brothers and sisters bring glory to You and Your Name. You are a holy God. May all Your people be holy also as a reflection of Your holiness. I thank you for the persecuted Church and all that we can learn from them. Bless them and may they feel Your presence always. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thanks for reading! Please share or leave your thoughts in the comments!
God Bless You in the Name of Jesus †
♥Jenn
Millions of Christians around the world suffer adversity for their faith, but what is it that American Christians do not know, or understand, about our brothers and sisters overseas?

Please check out the presentation I created with information from an article written by Carl Moeller, President and CEO of OpenDoorsUSA, for Crosswalk.com. Link to article and photo credits are on the last slide.

Let me know what you think and please share with others for His glory.


Thanks for reading! Please share or leave your thoughts in the comments!

God Bless You in the Name of Jesus †

♥Jenn

To be honest, this is the FOURTH blog I have set up, but probably the one I am the most excited about. I had a fashion blog called Style à la Eclectica, but I believe that God was urging me to stop paying so much attention to it, so I gave it up. Every once in a while I will still post there, but not the long posts that I used to do. So, I began working more on my blog The Ten Talents, which is basically my thoughts, struggles, and showcasing people's God-given talents to bring glory to Him. I intend to upkeep that one more often, but unfortunately I have been slacking...but I promise I will get back to it!! Then when I became pregnant, I started a blog called A House Built Upon a Rock. I should journal in that one more often about my pregnancy, but I think I will use it more often when the baby is actually born (God-willing and if I have time!).

I have always been fascinated with nature and culture, but since I came to know Jesus/God in a more personal way and became more familiar with the Bible I have become even more fascinated and awe-inspired. We serve such a creative God!!!

"What great deeds are done by His hands." Mark 6:2

I hope to use this blog to showcase His wonders - from the stars in the heavens to the life He created on earth. I especially hope to showcase PEOPLE and the various cultures around the world, with a focus on the persecuted Church in different countries, as well as unreached people groups.



I believe the following about the cultures we find on this earth:

The beauty and worth of human cultures, even though we now see them distorted and darkened by evil, is something the Bible celebrates with anticipation. In the age to come, although the city of God is illumined by the glory of God (Rev 21:23), it will be adorned with the glories of all the ethnicities of humankind. The nations "will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it" (Rev 21:26).

Such high regard for culture and the distinctive worth of every tribe, tongue and people can be seen in the creation accounts of Scripture. Miriam Adeney describes how God endowed humanity to create culture and to flourish in distinctive communities. This means that the reality and value of ethnicity is rooted in creation. God prizes and delights in the cultures of humankind, even though now, because of sin, as Adeney observes, "the cultures we create reek with evil." As we seek to fulfill our part of God's mission, we should evaluate and value culture from God's point of view. Mission work can be seen as helping people begin to bring God a measure of the "glory and the honor of the nations."

Hawthorne, Steven. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: The Study Guide. 4th Edition. p. 19. Regarding the following article: "Is God Colorblind or Colorful?" by Miriam Adeney

Please be patient with me as I set up this blog and I ask that you say a little prayer for its success and for God-centered energy on my part to make it what it should be to bring glory to God's Name.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless you :)

Jenn

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