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    Alaska women confront anger and pain of losing a child

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    Child death
    Child death

    Anchored in Hope is a peer-led ministry intended to solidify healthy reliance upon God’s promises rather than isolation, shame or silence that so often follows infant loss and pregnancies ending in miscarriage. A local group of Alaskan women launched the outreach after months of intentional planning and prayer.

    As she pondered the depth of her own miscarriages, Ashleigh Levesque became aware that God was prompting her to reach out to others who were suffering. With the full support of Anchorage Baptist Temple’s pastoral team, she and two fellow coordinators began meeting weekly at the church. Women at any stage of the grief process can join them as they look to forge friendships and a healthy connection to Christ.

    “We’re simply here to be a support,” Levesque said. “We make a big deal about following Jesus. And if we do that, we trust that suffering cannot sever our relationship with God.”

    Levesque has endured eight miscarriages and knows well the darkness that can threaten to eclipse a mother’s heart.

    “The enemy uses all things to separate, but within a faith journey that’s different,” she observed. “Anger at God is allowed.”

    In her own contemplation, Levesque was touched by the imagery of Jesus mourning Lazarus, even knowing he would raise him. The hope of Heaven is a bond shared by women mourning their children as they work through their loss.

    The meetings, which occur from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays, are open to all women, and a strong referral network is already in place for anyone who desires formal counseling. Levesque is keenly aware of the unhealthy alternatives to spiritual healing – depression, drugs and alcohol being among the most common. Rather than closing in upon ones’ sorrows, reliance upon God is the touchstone of Anchored in Hope.

    Even with her successful pregnancy and the joys of raising a young son, she knows the sting of her losses.

    “This can destroy a marriage,” she said. “Having a baby became my God.”

    While they don’t have the structure to walk post-abortive mothers through their unique pain, they’re eager to connect those moms to solid healing, too. Above all, she emphasizes the resilience which can be fortified through honest conversation. Levesque cites the limitations of a superficial society unable to meet the needs of grief. Contrasted with the superficial presentation of family life on social media or sometimes even within church and professional life, Levesque knows the piercing blow of real, intimate tragedy.

    “There is no beautiful ending,” she said of losing a child. “Confront this,” Levesque added. “Admit that you’ve gone through this. Isolation leads to not processing or unhealthy coping.”

    With one in three women experiencing miscarriage and infant loss, the need for support is critical. The women of Anchored in Hope are already a visible resource to area community pregnancy centers and are becoming known in Anchorage hospitals as well.

    Levesque has also stepped into a leadership role for a related ministry called Clothed in Compassion, which accepts donated wedding dresses, converting the gowns into burial garments for stillborn infants.

    The weekly meetings are restricted to women, although quarterly gatherings for couples are in the works as way for husbands and wives who walk this path to build friendships with one another.

    As the ministry grows, Levesque keeps in mind the ministry’s scriptural base, which she found in 2nd Corinthians 12:9 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

    Levesque and other volunteers will bring their own testimony each Thursday as they walk alongside women of all faith traditions who seek that grace.

    Click here for more information, or email Levesque at alevesque@abt.church

    Military chaplains are ‘true lifeline’ for soldiers

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    Military chaplain pic
    Military chaplain pic

    Faith is a major factor in the lives of many U.S. soldiers. Military men and women lean on this pillar through deployments and combat, but also in dealing with challenges of missing milestone events and uprooting families due to frequent reassignments around the world.

    In the midst of these difficulties, military chaplains serve as spiritual advisors, mentors and leaders. As commissioned officers they lead religious services, offer sacraments, provide spiritual and moral counsel and accompany soldiers into dangerous combat zones.

    Presbyterian Chaplain Jeremy Coenen, stationed at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, became a military chaplain six years ago when he felt a call to serve the spiritual needs of men and women in the armed forces.

    “I see the role of the chaplain as the primary person in a given unit who provides spiritual care to the members and their families,” he said.

    Coenen noted that chaplains ensure soldiers and their families have opportunities to exercise their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion no matter where they are stationed. In carrying out this ministry, each chaplain serves according to their own faith tradition, he added, “but we care for all people equally.”

    Trey Fuller was in the Air Force for 24 years before retiring in 2015. Stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage from 2011 until 2013, he and his wife Wendy both relied heavily on their Catholic faith during their military time.

    The biggest challenge was that “we were never able to grow as part of a faith community for a long period of time,” Trey said. “That’s a part of our life that we totally missed out on.”

    Wendy agreed, saying it was difficult to not have a place “where you get to put down roots in one single parish,” growing with that parish family and being able to impact the community and vice versa.

    “As a military family, you deal with change all the time,” she said. “For me personally, the one thing that was always the same, that never changed, was my faith. It gave me that sense of belonging and sense of consistency that I needed to bloom wherever we were planted.”

    Chaplain Coenen noted that the sense of rootlessness is a unique spiritual challenge for military families of all denominations.

    “The members and their families do change duty locations frequently,” he said. “This means that those members and families who have a religious faith need to find new places of worship more frequently than the general public.”

    In addition to frequent relocation, Trey found his faith challenged at certain moments during active duty.

    “There were things that were troubling,” he said. “It’s difficult to square those things.” Amid the challenges a strong faith life was key for he and his wife.

    There are, however, obstacles to providing for the spiritual needs of military families. According to an article from North Carolina Public Radio, the military faces a chaplain shortage. It is particularly difficult to provide enough chaplains due to the growing diversity in the military, which now has over 200 officially recognized religions.

    Chaplain Coenen has noticed this diversity in Alaska with the soldiers he serves, noting that as a civilian pastor he served a more narrowly defined population.

    “Now my net is much wider,” he said. “I am now able to care for so many more people who wouldn’t normally (in the civilian world) ask for my help.”

    Fuller said that help is of “absolute importance” for soldiers. “It’s a grace that’s hard to put into words,” he said. “For those people who are out there in combat zones deployed all around the world, it is a true lifeline.”

    Click here to learn more about how to become an Air Force chaplain.

    Click here to learn how to become an Army chaplain.

     

    LISTEN: AK Watchman Editor Joel Davidson interviewed by Jim Minnery

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    825403374 1280x720
    825403374 1280x720

    Click here to listen to the radio interview between Jim Minnery and Alaska Watchman Editor-in-Chief Joel Davidson. The interviewed aired on Family Matters Radio Show and looks at the need for a pro-life, pro-family news agency in Alaska.

    Traditional marriage reveals God, and is still worth fighting for

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    Matrimony pic
    Matrimony pic

    “Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 2015 in the decision Obergefell v Hodges

    Leading up to and following the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling mandating that all states issue marriage licenses to individuals of the same sex, a question regularly surfaced for those of us who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman: “How does it feel to be on the wrong side of history?”

    But history has a way of surprising us. From God’s perspective, the past, present and future are all within his view and grasp. He resides outside of the realm of time. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

    The omniscience of our creator gives us comfort that nothing is beyond his control. We may not be able to “see” what he is doing at all times, but we can be certain his plans are not being thwarted.

    At a cellular level, we sense that it was God who created marriage – not government. But we have stumbled on how to rectify it legally, culturally and politically

    Including his plans for marriage – something many of us who engage in the intersection of faith and politics have not focused on as much since the infamous Obergefell decision over four years ago. From a biblical perspective, we know that the Court’s decision was deeply wrong just like we know that children acutely need mothering and fathering – not just parenting. At a cellular level, we sense that it was God who created marriage – not government. But we have stumbled on how to rectify it legally, culturally and politically.

    I’m certain there were similar statements made back in 1973 when Roe v Wade was decided. “How does it feel to be on the wrong side of reproductive choice history?” The New York Times ran a front-page story following that dismal decision shouting out how the Court had “resolved” a heated national debate. In retrospect, the Court only ignited a movement to protect and defend the least of these. Education, advocacy and exhortation by cultural warriors for decades created an environment where today, more young people are pro-life than ever before. The end of Roe v Wade may well be on our horizon.

    Give Justice Kennedy credit. Marriage most certainly has a God-centered reality.

    With respect to natural marriage, there are very good reasons for traditionalists to keep seeking ways to lift up this building block of our society.

    To begin with, the statement Justice Kennedy made in his majority opinion in Obergefell about the “transcendent purposes of marriage” provides fertile ground for biblical marriage supporters to stay engaged on this issue. Just what exactly is the highest purpose of marriage and why is the Supreme Court talking about this issue in a manner, according to Webster’s definition, that “exists apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe?”

    Give Justice Kennedy credit. Marriage most certainly has a God-centered reality. The first wedding unfolds in the garden in Genesis and will conclude when Christ comes for his bride, the church. In addition, you and I are image bearers of a God who is made of three parts – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In order to accurately reflect that mystery, man and woman come back together, after she was created out of his very body. And they become one flesh. A new creation. Marriage displays beautifully and personally how God is in the creation business.

    As each of us seek to love those who disagree with us on this issue, including those within the LGBTQ community, may we be ever mindful of how incredibly important the message of marriage is to God’s plan and the expression of his glory.

    As someone smarter than I once noted, “God does a two-stage creation of man. First he makes the full orbed being (Adam, which in the Hebrew means, mankind), then in phase two, God removes woman from Adam’s side and makes Eve a separate being. Though of Adam’s substance, she is designed to ultimately reunite to her source through the mystery of holy matrimony.” The deeper we navigate into Scripture, the more we become aware of how God is intimately concerned with and completely intertwined to the physical and spiritual characteristics of marriage. It is, as scholars have articulated, a “miniature social platform on which the Gospel is to be displayed.” Certainly, children are a fruit of and the consequential gifts resulting from marriage but ultimately the “transcendent” purpose of marriage is to display Christ and his bride in love together.

    As each of us seek to love those who disagree with us on this issue, including those within the LGBTQ community, may we be ever mindful of how incredibly important the message of marriage is to God’s plan and the expression of his glory. As Paul tells the Romans, “How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

    Let us each also pray that Alaska and country will continue the critical but difficult work of advancing policy, legal and cultural measures to strengthen holy matrimony amid a fallen culture that desperately needs transformation.

     

    The writer is president of Alaska Family Action, a statewide, pro-family public policy organization.

    Mat-Su election update: Pro-life conservative loses assembly race by 25 votes

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    Fairbanks Elections pic
    Fairbanks Elections pic

    With all absentee, questioned and special needs ballots counted, conservative, pro-life and pro-family candidate Brian Endle has lost – by just 25 votes – a race for a seat on the Mat-Su Borough Assembly. On the Nov. 5 election night Endle led Tim Hale by two votes, 983 to 981. The final count, however, gave the victory to Tim Hale – 1135 to 1110. Voter turnout was just 10.3% of all registered voters.

    In the lead up to the election Endle answered survey questions from the Alaska Family Council indicating that he opposed public funding for abortion, and laws that would pose a threat to religious liberties. Additionally, Endle agreed that the borough should designate that public restrooms and locker rooms be exclusively for persons of the same biological sex, and that taxpayer funds should not be used to promote “Drag Queen” events in public libraries. Hale refused to respond to any of the survey questions.

    In the other assembly race, the final count has Stephanie Nowers beating conservative candidate LaMarr Anderson with a vote of 717 to 578. Neither Nowers nor Anderson responded to the survey, but Anderson was considered the more conservative candidate.

    In the school board races, however, three conservative, pro-life and pro-family candidates held onto their election night leads. In District 2, James Hart beat Ray Michaelson by 27 votes – 689 to 662. Ryan Ponder easily outpaced Alma Hartley – 344 to 208. In District 7, Jeff Taylor ran unopposed.

    The Mat-Su Borough Assembly will certify the election results on Nov. 19.

    Ways to engage Alaska’s culture for the common good

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    Upcoming events
    Upcoming events

    Below is a roundup of upcoming events, presentations and opportunities to engage Alaska’s culture from a Judeo-Christian perspective that seeks the common good.

     

    CHRISTIAN OUTREACH OFFERS FREE THANKSGIVING DINNERS

    Christian outreach offers free Thanksgiving dinners

    Frontline Mission, a nonprofit Christian outreach in Wasilla, will hold its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Curtis D Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla. Last year the outreach provided 1500 Thanksgiving meals, along with boxes of clothing and gifts to Valley residents in need.

    The humanitarian agency partners with organizations, churches, businesses and individuals to provide emergency relief food to the homeless, and otherwise less fortunate. At Frontline Mission, families in need are able to receive a free box of groceries each Thursday from 10:30 a.m. -12:45 p.m. Hot meals are served on Wednesdays at 6 pm, as well as on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Additionally, the outreach distributes free clothing each Thursday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and it provides free showers and laundry services on Thursday from 10:30-12:45 p.m. For more information, call (907) 357-8600 or visit them online. https://www.frontlinemission.org/?fbclid=IwAR1cgcQPO2-3mU2Jh9krc3U1Ki2z6nEbyPN0G8xmgayJGW6SCnrdwqXGQaQ

     

    AMID CULTURAL IDENTITY CRISIS WE MUST REMEMBER ‘OUR FATHER’

    In a culture consumed by a crisis of identity, it is necessary to remember the words of the one prayer Jesus gave to the world – “The Our Father.”

    On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Deacon Kevin Klump, of St. Michael Church in Palmer, will deliver a presentation in Anchorage that looks at a prayer which reveals the source of mankind’s supernatural dignity — that they are made sharers in the Divine sonship of Jesus himself. The talk will look at why “No prayer is more pleasing to God; no prayer more powerful against temptation; no prayer more ready to raise up the sinner.”

    Hosted by the Anchorage chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, the event is free and open to the public. It will take place Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the upper room banquet hall at Gallo’s Mexican Restaurant in Anchorage (8615 Old Seward Hwy.). The talk begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. for those who wish to order food and drinks. The evening will include a 45-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session until 8:30 p.m.

     

    FOSTERING ‘REASONABLE FAITH’

    Reasonable Faith Anchorage is a group that wishes to interact with, challenge, and grow together in the knowledge of God and defend the Christian worldview. Inspired by the idea that all Christians should be ready to give an intelligent reason for their faith, the group seeks to study the Christian faith, and at times other worldviews, through the lenses of science, philosophy, biology and history.

    Reasonable Faith meets in Anchorage on the second Thursday of each month, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm., at Coffee and Communitas (12100 Old Seward Highway). All who seek out the truth, specifically the truth of Christianity, are invited to join in the collegial and cordial academic discussions. This includes Christians, agnostics, atheists, and those of other religions. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook Page or send an email to chris.gonzales@reasonablefaith.org.

     

    ABORTION OUTREACH OFFERS HEALING
    Project Rachel is a confidential support group for post-abortive women and others who have been impacted by abortion. This ministry of the Archdiocese of Anchorage is open to all faith backgrounds and is free and open to the public. For more information, call the group’s confidential phone line at 297-7781 or toll-free (866) 434-3344.

    State backs group advocating for radical LGBTQ ideology in schools

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    Gender spectrum
    Gender spectrum

    Alaska educators are being encouraged to adopt a new educational model that claims to be more child centered. Coined “Whole Child,” the model was developed by ASCD, an educational reform group that aims to transform schools by encouraging them to focus more on emotional, social and physical health issues. Promotional flyers for ASCD’s Whole Child approach emphasize broad themes about empowering students, expanding health services and meeting the needs of the “whole” child. Unmentioned in the flyers, however, is the fact that ASCD supports weaving controversial notions about gender identity, sexual orientation and human sexuality into curriculum and school policies.

    STATE PROMOTION

    Wendy Hamilton is the school health program manager within the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services. As part of her job she helps organize the annual Alaska School Health and Wellness Institute, a state-backed professional development program with a history of promoting radical theories about gender identity and sexual orientation for Alaska’s public schools. The conference, which took place last month in Anchorage, includes teachers, school nurses, counselors, administrators, school board members and others. Last month the institute featured a presentation by Sean Slade from the ASCD.

    “This is an exciting new opportunity for your school to expand and improve using the Whole Child approach,” Hamilton wrote in an email to Alaska educators. “If you saw Sean Slade present at the School Health and Wellness Institute you know that promoting the ASCD Whole Child approach is his passion!”

    Hamilton’s enthusiastic email highlighted the fact that Slade’s group is in the process of actively expanding its global network of schools that are in line with ASCD’s educational philosophy.

    ACTIVIST EDUCATION

    As director of outreach for ASCD, Slade travels the country, speaking writing articles and giving interviews promoting the group’s educational philosophy, one part of which includes transforming schools into bastions of LGBTQ affirmation and promotion.

    In a 2017 interview for Education Week, Slate argued for schools to be “deliberately more accepting” when it comes to affirming LGBTQ youth in their feelings about gender and sexuality. He also suggested introducing “LGBT-inclusive curriculum” under the pretense of combating bullying.

    ASCD also publishes an online journal – the ASCD Express – which is filled with articles arguing for mandatory sex education, including information on gay and lesbian sexuality. The publication also includes articles offering advice on how schools can affirm kindergarten students who wish to dress and present themselves as members of the opposite sex.

    An article from the June 6 issue of the ASCD Express says sex-ed teachers “must learn how to provide education and guidance with as little judgment as possible.”

    “Your health education might include a unit on abstinence and marriage, but not on the decision to have sex,” the article states. “Consider opening a discussion about whether or not students think abstinence is the right choice for everyone. Try to challenge perceptions that come up that imply youth sexuality is inherently wrong.”

    An October article from ASCD’s flagship publication, Educational Leadership, celebrates a principle who implemented a school-wide plan to affirm kindergarten-age boys who attend school in dresses, nail polish and nightgowns. The article advanced the notion that people are not born male and female but along a gender spectrum. Teachers at the school were praised for participating in the gender-fluid philosophy by wearing clothes that defy gender norms, and by encouraging students to dress and act in accord with whatever gender they identify with.

    “The message was particularly impactful in the kindergarten class where our gender-nonconforming students were placed,” the ASCD article observed. “In addition to occasional female clothing, these students wore nail polish and sparkly necklaces. One often drew self-portraits of himself in which he had long hair and wore a dress.”

    MAKING YOUR VOICE HEARD

    While the State of Alaska continues to harness public funds to promote ASCD’s educational philosophies, public input is possible. Below are contacts for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Department of Education. These departments regularly state that they value parental and community involvement.

    How Alaskans can uphold core values while sipping lattes and bundling up

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    Coffee cup
    Coffee cup

    As winter settles in, Alaskans have choices to make when it comes to buying steamed lattes and winter gear. 2ndvote.com highlights businesses that uphold traditional beliefs about marriage, the sanctity of life and other issues of concern to shoppers who want to spend money at businesses that share their values.

    Recently, the national non-profit group highlighted North Face and Starbucks as businesses that should be avoided for those who share long-held beliefs about the sanctity of marriage, religious liberty and the protection of unborn human life.

    2ndVote regularly scores companies based on what groups and organizations they support

    BUYING WINTER GEAR

    Outdoor retail giant North Face received relatively low marks. According to 2ndVote, North Face’s parent company, VF Corporation, received a score of 100 on Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. As one of the largest activist groups for the LGBTQ political agenda, the HRC “seeks to undermine our most cherished liberties and our values,” 2ndVote reports.

    “For years, HRC has coordinated the deliberate and incremental campaign to challenge laws protecting marriage such as the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) culminating in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision that overturned state laws affirming the definition of marriage between one man and one woman,” the 2ndvote website states. “Now, HRC leads efforts to implement sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) accommodation measures like the Equality Act that ultimately eliminate 1st Amendment protections for business owners and religious institutions.”

    On the question of abortion, North Face has a mixed record. The company contributes to a United Way chapter that donates to Planned Parenthood, but it also donates to the Salvation Army, which is a pro-life organization that supports traditional understandings of marriage as between one man and one woman.

    According to 2ndVote, better alternatives to North Face are Eddie Bauer and Carhart. While there is no indication that either of these two companies support groups that advocate for pro-life positions, religious liberty or traditional understandings of marriage, neither do they undermine those issues through corporate donations.

    WHERE TO SIP LATTES

    When it comes to mochas, lattes and americanos, Alaskans have myriad choices dotting the roadsides, but one of them should not be Starbucks, according 2ndVote.

    The international coffee company is the parent of the following brands: Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tazo, Ethos Water, and more.

    “Even though Starbucks is a popular place to grab a cup of coffee and do some work, eating there undermines your values based on their continuous support of the leftist agenda,” 2ndVote reports.

    On the issue of marriage, Starbucks received a score of 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and it supported the Supreme Court ruling favoring same-sex marriage. It also partners with the National Urban League, which supports same-sex marriage.
    As for abortion, Starbucks is a regular donor to Planned Parenthood, which does the vast majority of abortions in Alaska and around the nation.

    “Fortunately, when you want coffee or a snack, but don’t want to sacrifice your conservative views, there are better alternatives out there,” 2ndVote notes. “Try supporting a small local coffee shop, Green Mountain Coffee Company or Lasaters Coffee & Tea. Their neutral stance on issues and commitment to its customers is why 2ndVote has deemed them better alternatives to Starbucks.”

    Editor’s note: The Alaska Watchman aims to provide regular updates on national and local businesses when it comes to the causes and organizations they support.

    Former assassin with PLO urges Alaskans to share Christ with Muslim neighbors

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    Sniper pic
    Sniper pic

    A former assassin for the late Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization was in Alaska last month urging Alaskans to “wisely and lovingly” share the Gospel with their Muslim neighbors.

    Tass Saada spoke at three events in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, sharing his dramatic conversion from militant Islam to Christianity. Born in Gaza and raised in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, he is now an international advocate for persecuted Arab Christians in the Middle East.

    The Alaska chapter of International Christian Response, an organization that assists persecuted Christians, invited Saada to Alaska.

    PROUD ASSASSIN

    “I was proud of the destruction I brought. There was no remorse,” Saada said of his time in the PLO. Speaking to students at Alaska Bible College in Palmer on Oct. 31 he said he “inflicted a lot of wounds.”

    “When I wasn’t fighting the Jews, I used to go looking for Christian Arabs and throwing hand grenades in their homes or shooting up their homes, just because they were Christians,” he said. “We believed that Christians were spies for Israel and they shouldn’t exist.”

    Saada left home at age 17 to become a sniper for Arafat in the late 1960s. In 1974, after years of inflicting death and destruction, Arafat granted him permission to study in the United States at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The goal was to train him for further service with the PLO but Saada eventually met and married his wife Karen, and never returned.

    LOVING A JEW

    In America Saada encountered a wealthy Christian man, Charlie, who showed him love and respect while Saada was working as a waiter in a French restaurant. After a 19-year friendship, built on mutual trust, Charlie finally shared the Gospel one night. This was only possible because Charlie had “captured my heart” with kindness, Saada said.

    “Friends, listen carefully,” Saada told the Alaska Bible College students. “You never know how God will use you when you speak words that will touch a person’s life.”

    Charlie told Saada of his faith in Christ as the Son of God, and said that if Saada ever wanted true peace he would need to love a Jew – Jesus.

    “For him to suggest that I have to love a Jew, he was taking a lot of chances,” Saada said. “But I am so grateful to God that Charlie was willing to tell me the truth, no matter what the cost.”

    That night Saada committed his life to Christ. It was a decision that changed the course of his life.

    COMBATING ‘THE HISTORY OF HATE’

    For years he was the target of assassins sent from the Middle East to kill him for converting to Christianity.

    “They started sending assassins after me,” Saada recalled. “It is amazing how the training I had for evil (in the PLO), God has used to help me get away when I sensed danger coming at me. I have diverted many assassins that have come against me.

    Saada’s personal struggle is a microcosm of the much larger millennia-old conflict between Arabs and Jews, which Saada now devotes his life to healing.

    “The history of hate goes back 4,200 years,” Saada explained, referring to God’s promise in the Old Testament to give the Promise Land to Abraham’s son Isaac instead of Ishmael, the son he conceived through his maidservant Hagar. Muslims, however, believe it was Ishmael and his descendants – the Arabs – who are the rightful heirs to the Holy Land.

    While a lasting resolution between the two groups may seem impossible, Saada said Christians must be tireless advocates for peace.

    “God is counting on us to bring peace between people, whether it is in your community or thousands of miles from here to the Middle East,” he said.

    He urged Alaskans to pray for Middle East Christians and to consider traveling to the Holy Land to share the Gospel.

    “Many thousands of Muslims are being met by Jesus himself, personally and, converting to Christianity like myself,” he said. As this happens, “our hearts change towards Israel and the Jews.”

    MISSIONARIES IN ALASKA

    Saada recognized that many Alaskans will never travel abroad as missionaries.

    “So God is sending thousands of Muslims over to your lands to bring them to Christ,” he said. “I don’t know if you have many Muslims now, but I guarantee you they will be coming.”

    He encouraged Alaskans to read his book, “The Mind of Terror: A Former Muslim Sniper Explores What Motivates ISIS and Other Extremist Groups (and how best to respond),” in order to learn how to share the Gospel with Muslims neighbors.

    “It is for you to understand how to reach them wisely and carefully and lovingly,” he said. “That is very important. Charlie captured my heart with his love. Live Jesus in front of a Muslim before you begin to speak to him of Jesus.”

    Saada and his wife originally founded Seeds of Hope, a humanitarian organization that operates in Jericho and Jerusalem. After handing over leadership to the next generation, he now works with Hope for Ishmael, a Christian ministry which he founded to advance Israeli-Palestinian dialogue as well as to reach Muslims with the Gospel.

    To learn about upcoming Alaska events by International Christian Response, contact coordinator Noel Maxwell at noel.icrusa@gmail.com.

    Anchorage School District encourages staff to donate to Planned Parenthood

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    Giving to PP pic
    Giving to PP pic

    The Anchorage School District actively promotes charitable giving to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the state.

    Through the district’s “Charitable Giving Campaign,” it encourages district employees to give to select local “charities” and nonprofits, which are matched in part by the United Way. The annual fundraiser brought in more than $58,000 from school district employees last year, according to the district’s website.

    “This effort makes a significant difference in the lives of many of our students and their families,” the website claims. “When you make a donation to the Anchorage School District Charitable Giving Campaign, you choose how the money helps to improve our community by selecting one or more of the agencies on your pledge form.”

    Planned Parenthood is one of more than 50 organizations that school district employees are encouraged to support financially.

    Last year, there were 1,253 abortions recorded in Alaska, with the vast majority of those being done by Planned Parenthood. Abortion is so central to the organization that it recently forfeited hundreds of thousands in federal dollars after President Trump issued new rules banning abortion clinics from accessing Title X funds.

    To voice an opinion on ASD’s “Charitable Giving Campaign,” contact Morgan Duclos in the communications department at (907) 742-4151 or Duclos_morgan@asdk12.org.