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Contents:


  1. Hong Kong's 'Guerrilla' Christian Pastors Targeted by China | Time
  2. 60,000 Political Prisoners and 1,250 Missing: Welcome to the New Egypt
  3. A “Subversive Seabed”

Do the same for youth and young adult groups.

Make an effort not to waste water. Remembering to turn off the water faucet when you are brushing your teeth or washing dishes can help, especially in regions suffering from drought. Shelter the homeless There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home.

See if your parish or diocese is involved with a local homeless shelter and volunteer some time. Donate time or money to organizations that build homes for those who need shelter. Many homeless shelters need warm blankets for their beds. If you can knit or sew that would be an extra loving gift.

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There are millions of children and families who are on the move, fleeing from war, illness, hunger and impossible living conditions, and searching for peace and safety. Engage parish groups of children, youth, young adults, and families in doing some research on the causes and challenges that these families face to survive.

Contact Catholic Social Services, or diocesan offices of peace and justice for help with your research. Seek ways to provide shelter for the homeless locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

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Hong Kong's 'Guerrilla' Christian Pastors Targeted by China | Time

Give blood Spend time volunteering at a nursing home — Get creative and make use of your talents e. Take time on a Saturday to stop and visit with an elderly neighbor. Offer to assist caregivers of chronically sick family members on a one-time or periodic basis. Give caregivers time off from their caregiving responsibilities so they can rest, complete personal chores, or enjoy a relaxing break.

Holy Spirit Outpouring in Prison!!

Next time you make a meal that can be easily frozen, make a double batch and give it to a family in your parish who has a sick loved one. See if your parish, or a nearby parish, has a prison ministry and if so, get involved. Volunteer to help out or donate to charities that give Christmas presents to children whose parents are in prison.

60,000 Political Prisoners and 1,250 Missing: Welcome to the New Egypt

Send a card to someone who has recently lost a loved one. Make your own card and use some of these prayers. They preached in bomb shelters and rescued Jewish children out of the ghettos. Richard and Sabina were repeatedly arrested and beaten and, at least once, nearly executed. Sabina lost her Jewish family in Nazi concentration camps. In , Romanian Communists seized power and a million Russian troops poured into the country.

Pastor Wurmbrand ministered to his oppressed countrymen while engaging in bold evangelism to the Russian soldiers. Many religious leaders came forward to praise Communism and to swear loyalty to the new regime. Richard walked up to the podium and declared to the delegates, whose speeches were broadcast to the whole nation, that their duty was to glorify God and Christ alone. He walked out with a prescription for Albuterol, a common asthma medication. When he returned, they prescribed more inhalers. Over the next few years, Casteel wrote and traveled widely, lecturing about his experiences across the United States and in England, Ireland, Sweden and South Korea.

During a lecture at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, Casteel reminded the audience that Christians make up the vast majority of uniformed American troops. The next year, after enrolling in divinity school in Chicago, and getting a job teaching a graduate writing workshop, Casteel began exeriencing terrible back pain. He visited the chiropractor but nothing helped. At home in Iowa, his mother drove him to the VA.

The doctors diagnosed bronchitis. They sent him home. On Halloween, he coughed so hard something snapped in his back. At the emergency room, the doctors took X-rays for the first time and discovered a mess of tumors in his lungs. The next morning, Casteel called Kristi and told her she needed to come to the hospital. She was frantic. Then the doctors walked in and announced that her year-old son had Stage 4 adenocarcinoma, cancer of the lungs.

They said this was rarely found in otherwise healthy young men—mostly it affects geriatric patients and Asian women. Joshua had tumors in his lungs, liver and spine. Later it would spread to his arms, legs and finally to his brain. Kristi fell forward onto the floor and started sobbing. She cried so hard the maintenance man dropped his tools and ran over to comfort her. He said he knew. He wanted to start a magazine and a film company. He had a memoir to finish. Casteel visited a lot of specialists.

The pain was so bad he slept an hour at a time. He had spinal surgery, radiation therapy, chemo. His hair fell out. Fall turned to winter, then spring, then summer, and not 20 minutes passed without pain. He used a cane to walk. People visited him and prayed. Casteel started to wonder if he was being punished or tested by God for what the Americans had done in Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of innocents killed. Iraq torn apart, close to a decade after the invasion. The wider region was destabilized and only getting worse. Then a friend stopped by to visit, a woman whose father had suffered most of his adult life from exposure to Agent. Do you think maybe the cancer has anything to do with Iraq? His friend told him respiratory illnesses were being diagnosed in many soldiers returning from the war, and some doctors were connecting them back to the burn pits.

The burn pits were used on U. Casteel had slept yards away from an enormous burn pit and in his final weeks he had manned a second one. The connection had never occurred to him. He had never used a mask when he worked. His concerns had been metaphysical.

A “Subversive Seabed”

In November , his muscles spasmed from his waist up. Casteel was in agony, lips locked between clenched teeth. She had to scream at a nurse in the hallway to persuade her to give Casteel a shot for the pain. Kristi took Casteel home to Cedar Rapids in December. Two weeks later he had a seizure so strong the vertebrae in his spine collapsed.

He went back to the hospital, but Casteel believed he had been blessed with a mysterious grace from the very beginning. He was determined to continue his work. He kept teaching and giving speeches as long as he could. In early , Casteel traveled with his mother to New York, where he would take part in a clinical trial of an experimental cancer drug. They lived at a housing center for cancer patients and their families in Midtown Manhattan called Hope Lodge. For a while Casteel was able to manage the stairs to the subway.

But the cancer mutated and spread. He became emaciated. Movement was so excruciating that his eyes rolled back in his head. His mother and sisters took turns holding his arms above his head for hours, hoping it would relieve the pain. One Saturday, on the way to the hospital, Kristi passed a church with a statue that made her pause. It was the limp body of Christ, just after he had been pulled from the cross. That statue looks just like Joshua, she thought. Kristi walked to the hospital. She told her son how much she loved him. How he had been the joy of her life, that she could never have asked for a better son.

In the days that followed he weakened to the point of no recovery. One afternoon Casteel started having a hard time breathing. Kristi fled to the bathroom. Then she began thinking about Mary, how it must have been for her when Jesus was going to die and return. Kristi had a necklace Joshua had given her with a blue heart, which to her symbolized Mary.

This is his walk up the hill. He was climbing up on the cross. After her son died, Kristi established the Joshua Casteel Foundation, which raises awareness about Iraqis and veterans in need of help, in particular those affected by the burn pits. More than 10, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have filed medical claims connected to the pits, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has acknowledged that burn pit exposure is related to at least 2, of the cases. And I am a happier man.

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