Faith and Stress (06/13/2014 @ 11:22:14)
Faith Can Improve Mental Health and Reduce Stress
by Fawne Hansen
Scientific studies have shown faith to have a positive impact on mood and mental health
The pharmaceutical industry makes millions from the marketing and sale of antidepressants and other mood enhancers. While these medications have their place, it is concerning that they are being prescribed at a higher rate than ever before.
There is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels. It’s free, doesn’t require a prescription, and has zero side effects or drug interactions. You will know it as faith, and millions of people around the world rely on it to see them through hard times. The results are not just anecdotal, there is evidence that it works. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.
Here are the sections in this article:
Using Faith to Reduce Stress
The Importance of Prayer
Scientific Evidence That Faith Improves Mental Health
What Does The Bible Teach Us About Stress?
Some Prayers To Help With Stress
Nashville Strip Church (06/04/2014 @ 22:58:14)
MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. -- Erin Stevens isn't the kind of evangelist who stands outside the strip club with a bullhorn, yelling at the customers to repent or face the flames.
She's inside the lobby with the strippers, feeding them a catered dinner twice a month, giving them Mary Kay Cosmetics gift sets and quietly slipping her cellphone number into their hands.
She brings no Bibles. No tracts. No lectures.
Just love and an unusual mission given to her by God two years ago, she says, after she spent 21 days fasting and praying for a building for nondenominational Friendship Community Church in Mount Juliet. Friendship, launched by her husband, Todd Stevens, in 2006, has more than 1,000 members but still meets in an elementary school's rented auditorium.
"I prayed for a building. I got strippers," Erin Stevens said. Three so far, in fact, who left the business for some unexpected careers.
Actually, first she heard the words in her mind — Strippers are not your enemy, they said, they're your mission field. So she sought counsel from the national Strip Church ministry group and started calling club managers. She has co-written a book about her experience, published by Nashville's Thomas Nelson and going on shelves mid-June. Its intriguing title is How to Pick Up a Stripper ... and Other Acts of Kindness.
Perhaps the most unexpected part of the story: The Association of Club Executives, a national trade group for strip club owners, is fine with Stevens' ministry.
The association is well aware of the Strip Church effort, in which individual congregations send their evangelists into the clubs discreetly — that's part of the deal — to help women get out of the business, Executive Director Angelina Spencer confirmed. Not every club owner wants to participate. But if the strippers don't want to be there, she said, they shouldn't be.
"We're about entertainment, not enslavement," Spencer said. "There is a contingent of dancers who really have it in their hearts to witness for the word."
It's not simple to see the ex-strippers in Stevens' converts.
Katherine Holland just collected her associate's degree in criminal justice and is looking for work as a police officer. She has a verse about faith, hope and love from 1 Corinthians tattooed around her forearm. Instead of dancing onstage Friday nights, she's leading a small group Bible study about practical ways to love your enemy. She's usually wearing a conservative blouse and skirt — her stripper clothes literally burned during a burst of Christian passion.
Mary Harvel was in the business the longest. It's so easy to get in, she said. Show the wares and start dancing that night — potentially taking home $500 or more. Soon, customers are giving free drinks, and swilling them helps numb dancers' feelings about how they earn money. Walking away from that cash was one of the toughest things Harvel has done, she said, but now she's running a day care.
The third, Lisa Ciamboli, is a patient care technician. Several others come to church but aren't ready to stop stripping.
They all illustrate one of the realities of running a Strip Church ministry, Stevens said. If a church is going to start one, it had better be ready with job and education opportunities, child care, housing, food and rent. Because part of the deal of asking women to leave adult entertainment is promising their bills will be paid. To that end, there's a website where supporters can donate money or gifts.
Not everyone is going to be a supporter. Stevens said she frequently gets these kinds of emails: "How can you go in there without the Word of God? That's our shield!"
But the fact Stevens doesn't bring it is the only thing that works, Harvel insists. "She made me feel like Jesus probably would have hung out with me. He wouldn't have thrown the door in my face. ... And nobody else has ever made me feel that way about church and about God."
Vets Target Child Predators (10/22/2013 @ 11:15:22)
Friday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers joined ICE Acting Director John Sandweg, US Special Operations Command Director of the Care Coalition, Kevin McDonnell, and National Association to Protect Children Executive Director, Grier Weeks, in a swearing in ceremony for 17 veterans as part of the inaugural class of Human Exploitation Rescue Operative Child Recue Corps, or the “HERO Corps.” Many of those sworn in were wounded in the line of duty.
The 17 HEROs are participating in a one-year pilot program that was announced last month to work with ICE HSI offices across the country where they will assist special agents with criminal investigations involving child pornography and online sexual exploitation. The HERO Corps program was developed jointly by ICE HSI, the Department of Defense and the National Association to Protect Children.
The HERO Corps pilot class includes veterans from all branches of service deploying to 11 states.
In fiscal year 2013 to date, more than 2,000 child predators have been arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) special agents on criminal charges related to the online sexual exploitation of children.
Since 2003, HSI has initiated more than 29,000 cases and arrested more than 10,000 individuals for sexual exploitation and related crimes.
“DHS continues to focus on bringing perpetrators of online child exploitation to justice, with a priority on protecting children from these predators,” said Beers. “The goal of this initiative is to give our nation’s military veterans a chance to continue to serve at home for a righteous cause. Through this program, they are trained to fight on a new battlefield to protect the innocence of children at home and around the world.”
“ICE is on the front lines of the fight against online child exploitation and there are none better to join with us than veterans of the US military,” Sandweg said. “We are proud to work with these veterans to stand watch over the most vulnerable among us and to bring these perpetrators to justice.”
After completion of the training, HERO Corps participants will be based at HSI offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Fairfax (Va.), Las Vegas, Memphis (Tenn.), Miami, New Haven (Conn.), New Orleans, Orlando (Fla.), Phoenix, Savannah (Ga.), Seattle (Wash.) and Tampa (Fla.) They will work under the direct supervision of HSI special agents, conducting computer forensic exams, assisting with criminal investigations and helping to identify and rescue child victims.
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement, “The HEROs have just completed seven weeks of training in computer forensic analysis and digital evidence collection at HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., in order to help identify and rescue child victims of sexual abuse and online sexual exploitation.”
Prior to that, DHS said “they attended four weeks of intensive training at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee where they learned about child exploitation cases and the federal and state criminal laws that they will be helping to enforce.”
The next recruitment for the program is expected to begin early next year. DHS said anyone interested in learning more about the program or applying should send an email to hero(at)ice.dhs.gov. All applicants are interviewed and vetted to ensure a good fit with the HERO Corps.
The HERO program is made possible by a five-year, $10 million initiative funded by the private sector that underwrites training, logistics and equipment.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
Pay Per View Child Rape (10/18/2013 @ 10:21:21)
Involving 4 yr old (08/07/2013 @ 00:18:50)
3 indicted in human trafficking case involving 4-year-old
By Emma Witman
POSTED: August 1, 2013 12:51 a.m.
Three Gainesville residents were indicted by a Hall County grand jury Tuesday in a human trafficking case involving a young girl.
In the 15-page indictment, authorities allege that Maria Mercedes Vasquez-Quiroz was trafficking the girl for “sexual servitude” purposes to two men, Junior Alexander Delcid-Leon, 31, and Digno De Jesus Mejia, 36. Criminal records show the girl is 4.
All three were placed on immigration holds upon arrest. Records show Vasquez-Quiroz and Mejia are from El Salvador and Delcid-Leon is from Honduras.
Delcid-Leon, arrested Feb. 13, is charged with aggravated child molestation, child molestation, cruelty to a child in the first degree, rape and aggravated sodomy.
Mejia is charged with child molestation, cruelty to a child in the first degree, enticing a child for indecent purposes, rape and trafficking of a person for sexual servitude. He was arrested March 16.
Alleging she was a party to the crimes committed by Delcid-Leon and Mejia, Vasquez-Quiroz is charged with aggravated child molestation, child molestation, cruelty to a child in the first degree, enticing a child for indecent purposes, rape and aggravated sodomy. She is also charged with trafficking of a person for sexual servitude. She was arrested Feb. 28.
According to the indictment, the exact dates of the offenses are unknown, but took place between December 2010 and December 2012.
All three are being held in the Hall County Jail. A date in Superior Court has not yet been scheduled.
Child Trafficking Rescue (07/30/2013 @ 00:30:11)
Posted: 07/29/2013 10:57 am EDT | Updated: 07/29/2013 6:26 pm EDT
The FBI has rescued 105 child sex-trafficking victims, FBI Assistant Director Ronald Hosko announced Monday.
The youngest of the rescued children was 9 years old, according to Reuters.
One underage victim told officials she became involved with prostitution when she was 11, according to CNN.
"Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children that are disaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street themselves," FBI Acting Executive Assistant Director Kevin Perkins said, according to the network. "They are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them."
Another victim, identified as "Alex," told interviewers she became a prostitute at the age of 16, when she felt she had no other options to feed and clothe herself.
“At first it was terrifying," Alex told interviewers, "and then you just kind of become numb to it. You put on a whole different attitude—like a different person. It wasn’t me. I know that. Nothing about it was me.”
The raids also resulted in the arrests of 150 "pimps" and other individuals, according to an FBI press release.
The rescues were the product of Operation Cross Country, a three-day nationwide initiative to aid victims of underage prostitution.
Operation Cross Country is a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, a joint program by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created to fight child sex trafficking in the United States.
Since 2003, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has netted the rescue of more than 2,700 children.
Teen Sex Slave Rescued (01/14/2013 @ 01:57:12)
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with the deputy who offered to help the girl. He said she was his daughter’s age.
“That day was probably the most rewarding day of my interdiction career,” Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Paquette said.
Paquette said a Georgia state trooper called him and his partner for backup Wednesday on Interstate 20 at a traffic stop. He didn't dream when he took the call that he'd help free a 17-year-old from sex-trafficking bondage.
“She gave me a look that I'll never forget. I'll never forget that as a parent, for a child to look at you and ask you for help, that's my job,” Paquette said.
He said the girl was with Johnathan Nathaniel Kelly, and they were heading west toward Atlanta. While the trooper dealt with Kelly, Paquette said he noticed indicators he'd been trained to look for by the GBI's child sex trafficking unit, so he called an agent assigned to the area.
“She actually made the comment on the way to the hospital, she felt like God had answered her prayers and that she had prayed to be rescued,” GBI Agent Renea Green told Winne.
Green and another agent, Sara Thomas, said they believe the girl was sexually exploited before age 12. She had been with Kelly at first voluntarily but against her will since November, and there was at least one pimp before, the agents said.
“He used the relationship that he had with her,” Thomas said.
She said Kelly, who is from Decatur, maintained he never forced the girl to do anything, but he has been transported to Richmond County to face charges.
Child Trafficking in Atlanta (08/11/2012 @ 01:47:27)
We spent several nights on the streets in Metro Atlanta. We went to communities to the north, to the south and in between. What we witnessed was unbelievable and happening all around us. Children being bought and traded for sex.
"I started off prostituting at age 11," said one young woman who did not want to be identified. She asked us to call her 'Beautiful.'
Beautiful, like so many young women and men who are lured into prostitution, ran away from home.
"I met this guy, and he swore it could be a better life for me!" Beautiful told us.
It was a life of hell.
"I ended up sleeping with one of his friends. I didn't know it was for money in the beginning but after one friend become two friends and two friends became five friends and five friends became," Beautiful trails off, lost in thought.
She was trapped in a life of prostitution and stayed in it for 6 years until she managed to escape.
"This is a problem that is not reported, that the average people don't see, and when they hear about it, they are so disgusted. It's so distasteful they couldn't possibly think it's true. But it's true," said Ernie Allen with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"They can find 500 girls on the streets in Atlanta in any one given evening," Lisa Williams, with Living Water for Girls, told us when we sat down with her to discuss the problem. She found 'Beautiful' and helped get her off the streets.
"Before Miss Lisa Williams, I didn't really receive help," Beautiful said, her eyes welling up as she relayed what had happened to her.
She was traded from pimp to pimp and kept in hotel rooms while men were paraded through.
"You just feel filthy that these men are doing this to you," she said.
When she was 14, 'Beautiful' got into a car with a John and she thought her life would end.
"He held a screwdriver to my neck and basically raped me," she told us.
Every once in a while some girls are rescued. In June the FBI conducted a sweep across the nation including one in Gwinnett County where 3 juveniles, held in hotel rooms, were pulled to safety and 5 Johns were arrested. It was part of an ongoing sweep called the Innocence Lost National Initiative, which so far has resulted in more than 1000 convictions.
Changes in Georgia law now treat the woman forced into prostitution as victims and changes have also been made to beef up the laws to help prosecutors go after human traffickers with tougher penalties.
"For Atlanta SVU we've always treated these children as victims," said Sgt. Ernest Britton with the Atlanta Police Department's Special Victims Unit and Child Exploitation.
"They keep a lot of the underaged off the streets out of view because they know if we know about it, we'll be able to shut them down quickly," he said.
We witnessed it. We were tipped off to a location in North Atlanta about what appeared to be a legitimate business. We watched men pull up as very young girls were paraded out to their cars.
We've since reported what we saw to authorities.
"If they do not produce per se a certain amount of money, they risk being beaten," Sgt. Britton said.
"I've been beaten; I've been pistol whipped by pimps. Bottom line I didn't make quota," said 'Beautiful. As she talked, she began to tell us more and more graphic detail about her horrible experiences.
"I feel like I'm a survivor because I lived to tell my story," she said.
She's now working on getting a college education.
Fortunately, Atlanta has been making great strides in offering assistance. There are now many advocacy groups like Living Water for Girls and others who rescue young prostitutes from the streets and who work to help the FBI track known locations where kids are being sold.
"They are demanding our attention, they are our children and these are our daughters," said Williams who encourages young women and boys to escape and seek help.
Courtney Dow Interview (08/05/2012 @ 05:19:19)
Former stripper helps women escape sex industry (05/02/2012 @ 06:59:42)
It may seem like an unlikely place to find a group of women from a Rockdale County church. But for the team led by Kasey McClure, it is ground zero for their ministry, 4 Sarah.
McClure, a former stripper, began the nonprofit organization to help girls escape what she said is a dangerous and destructive industry.
McClure said it leads to alcohol and drug abuse and a life of crime.
On two Saturday nights in March and April, CBS Atlanta followed the missionaries as they stopped at strip clubs, sex spas and motels.
Armed with gift bags filled with treats, a Bible and information about resources, the McClure and her team speak to the girls who sell sex for a living.
"Our main goal is to get them out of course, but we know that it takes a while. Sometimes they're not ready. A lot of times they're not ready. It might be years before we see results for one girl we work with," McClure said.
McClure said some girls believe stripping or prostituting is the only way to make money to support themselves and sometimes children.
McClure tries to earn the girls' trust by not judging and returning month after month with gifts and advice.
As the team drives down the street, they pull over to hand gift bags to prostitutes walking on the shoulder of the road.
"You're beautiful. You deserve better," McClure said to one girl.
McClure said many of the girls working in the sex industry come from poverty and a history of sexual abuse.
McClure and her team became hopeful when they met "Amber" at a motel.
At the time, Amber, 19, said she was 9-months pregnant and turning tricks up to 15 times a day.
"I knew I had to do something to survive," Amber said. "I don't want to do it. The only thing that gets me through is I find a hole in the wall I look at it. When I'm done I count my money, go pay for my room and go to sleep."
The women pray with Amber, give her gifts for her baby and offer to get her a safe place to live.
Amber said "thank you," but walked away without accepting their offer.
McClure said she's not surprised. It takes time for women like Amber to trust them.
"Hopefully we touched her life today and she's willing to listen to what we have to say. Even if it's not today she'll remember this night and later in the future she'll know God truly loves her," McClure said.
Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals (04/30/2012 @ 00:51:11)
by Jack Minor –
Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.
Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits. “Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.
B4U-Act calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization's website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”
In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.”
Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.
Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fl) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law. “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”
The White House praised the bill saying, “At root, this isn't just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another -- whether we embrace our differences rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.”
Earlier this year two psychologists in Canada declared that pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality or heterosexuality.
Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, "Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality."
He went on to say, "True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent."
When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied, "If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”
Dr. Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, agreed with Van Gijseghem. Quinsey said pedophiles' sexual interests prefer children and, "There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or through anything else."
In July, 2010 Harvard health Publications said, “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges."
Linda Harvey, of Mission America, said the push for pedophiles to have equal rights will become more and more common as LGBT groups continue to assert themselves. “It’s all part of a plan to introduce sex to children at younger and younger ages; to convince them that normal friendship is actually a sexual attraction.”
Milton Diamond, a University of Hawaii professor and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society, stated that child pornography could be beneficial to society because, "Potential sex offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex against children."
Diamond is a distinguished lecturer for the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. The IASHS openly advocated for the repeal of the Revolutionary war ban on homosexuals serving in the military.
The IASHS lists, on its website, a list of "basic sexual rights" that includes "the right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud." Another right is to, "be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior" and "the freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire." The organization also says that no one should be "disadvantaged because of age."
Sex offender laws protecting children have been challenged in several states including California, Georgia and Iowa. Sex offenders claim the laws prohibiting them from living near schools or parks are unfair because it penalizes them for life.
NightLight Atlanta on Pure Passion (01/10/2012 @ 18:03:37)
Voice Today on Pure Passion (02/14/2012 @ 04:43:13)
WellSpring Living on Pure Passion (03/05/2012 @ 05:22:44)
Hope House CBN Interview (02/13/2012 @ 05:08:26)
Natasha Herzig rescued (11/23/2010 @ 00:00:40)