Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soo Excited about this year's CORE

About an hour ago I was reading this weeks YS update and was literally flailing with glee when i saw the information about this year's CORE training. I wasn't expecting it so soon but i'm really excited. I love these events because they're not very expensive and the one-day local format cuts out a lot of travel and lodging costs that you face with other events. Pretty much all we have to buy besides registration is a little gas and lunch. I recommend it for anyone who works with teens (even if its not in a church), and i think its especially fit for people in small ministries where funding is limited. Seriously, registration is about $55 - less if you sign up early. Even many tiny churches could afford to send their youth volunteer to that.

Anyway, this year's title is "Generation Change: Calling Students to Change Their World." Last year i brought my pastor, my volunteers, and a friend who is a nurse and works with adolescents. This year I'm considering inviting my teens' parents as well. Not being a parent myself, or nearly as old as any of them, this is one of the few ways i could provide growth opportunities for them.

Their website is Maybe I'll see you there :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Hello again,

I don't know how much of it is to our credit, but part of what i hoped for has happened in regards to Mynamar/Burma.

"Bush announced Friday that Washington would expand sanctions imposed last month to punish the military-run government and its backers for the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

"Bush ordered the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S. assets of additional members of Myanmar's ruling junta, and tightened controls on American exports to the country. He also urged China and India to do more to pressure the government of neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma."

- from

Japan adds to pressure on Burma

Japan is halting $4.7m (£2.3m) in funding for a human resources centre in Burma, as economic pressure mounts on the military government there.

The move follows the death of a Japan's journalist during the Burmese military's bloody suppression of anti-government protests last month.

It reflected Japan's "strong concerns" over the situation, a minister said.

On Monday, the EU upped sanctions on Burma and the US urged "consequential" action against its leaders.

Japan is a leading aid donor to Burma and has been criticised in the past for failing to take a harder line against the military government.

The funding, promised in 2005, was to have been used for a centre at Rangoon University, where courses in economics, management and Japanese would have been taught.

But the shooting of video journalist Kenji Nagai, 50, sparked outrage in Japan and has led to a tougher position.

''Japan has to show its stance and we can't effectively be supporting the military junta at this point in time,'' said Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

The funding represented about one sixth of Japan's annual aid to Burma.

But Japan stopped short of ending all aid and remains one of the military junta's significant trading partners - leaving it unclear exactly what effect the cancellation might have.

- from

I don't know how many of you signed a petition, e-mailed diplomats, or encouraged others to do so (if you did I'd love to know), and i don't know if I or any of you reading this made any difference in the outcome. But we might have :) We'll never know if it would have been any different without us, but we know we didn't sit still.

I really hope things get cleared up over there. It would be so cool to look back in a year or two and see that the crisis was resolved and the people of Mynamar now have freedom and stability. If you haven't done anything to help yet, I have the link to one petition and two diplomats' email addresses here. And if you know of any other petitions out there, let me know.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Burma Crisis

Hello again,

One of the reasons i haven't been blogging as much recently is that most of the really good information i come across seems to make it into a bunch of other blogs, so there's no point reposting it here. But i got an e-mail yesterday with some things i hadn't heard before - things that also couldn't be reposted too often.

I don't know how much you've heard about the crisis in Burma right now, but all I had heard until yesterday was neutral news reports of monks protesting and the government fighting back. But then I got an e-mail from an organization I trust called World Hope with some more information. I discovered that the Burmese government is truly oppressive, Christians suffer greatly there, and the protesters need to be supported by the global community. I'm frustrated that the news networks describe the conflict in vague terms and leave people with no sense of what the conflict is over or whether it warrants international action.

The e-mail I got from world hope (which you can read here) contained links to three ways to get involved - one petition and 2 e-mail addresses to write. I did all three, and I'm copying them here for you to use if this makes sense to you. The petition link also contains more information about the conflict. Also, if you have a blog, please consider re-posting this for your readers. Wouldn't it be great to know that you were a part of the global outcry that helped liberate an oppressed people?

  • Avaaz: People power can win this. Burma's powerful sponsor China can halt the crackdown if it believes that its international reputation and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing depend on it. To convince the Chinese government and other key countries to intervene, Avaaz is launching a major global and Asian ad campaign including full page ads in the Financial Times and other newspapers to deliver its message. Avaaz needs 1 million voices to be the global roar that will get China's attention. Visit to sign the petition.

  • You can email the EU President Luís Amado to strengthen the EU position on Burma at

  • You can also send an email to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at, urging him to coordinate a strong response to Burmese repression at the UN Security Council and reminding him that waiting, as the UN did in Darfur and Rwanda, could cause untold suffering.