Seeing “Religious” Freedom in India

A few weeks ago, I went on a mission trip to India where I enjoyed the delicious food, the lively quarter tone music, and the erratic yet exciting traffic. However, more importantly, I witnessed a variety of cultures and religions. In terms of religion, India is very different than the United States as Hinduism is the main religion, followed by Islam as the second main religion. The difference in culture was truly evident in the numerous Hindu temples and the occasional Muslim call to prayer that blasted throughout the city.

Now, when I say the word religious I actually don’t mean religious at all in the sense of including all religions, however am specifically talking about Christianity. First off, being a Christian—a follower of Jesus Christ, is not actually a religion but a relationship. It’s important to understand that through a relationship with Jesus is where the freedom comes. The freedom I saw in India was not the freedom to worship openly on the streets or the ability to declare the name of Jesus to anyone in our sphere of influence as we still are able to do so in the United States; however, what I witnessed was the freedom that comes from knowing and experiencing God.

So, with that in mind, the freedom I witnessed in India was a Jesus filled freedom, the freedom Jesus said that people who believe in him would have.

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In a country where it is illegal to share the gospel openly on the street because of “conversion” laws, I saw the beauty of Christians thriving in tough environments and in a society and culture that is against them. I saw thousands of people hungry for the real and astounding power and love of Jesus Christ. I saw lives being renewed and Love entering into the lives of many. Although Christians are the minority in India, I witnessed freedom. I saw a boldness for preaching the Gospel regardless of the cost. Many were free from religious routine, complacency and safety, and instead pursued an intimate relationship with God whole heartedly, while following Him wherever He led, saying whatever the Holy Spirit told them to say.

What I learned in India, is that true freedom is found by having a relationship with Jesus and living boldly for him no matter the cost. The church I helped and ministered at has had numerous threats from many who wished to do the pastors and congregation harm; however as Jesus has promised, He has and will continue to build His church.

In a world that is increasingly getting darker with wars and rumors of wars, moral decline and selfishness and hate seeming to be on the rise, there still is a beautiful and brilliant light that is rapidly growing. We the followers of Jesus Christ are the light of the world, the salt of the earth and through abiding in Jesus are we empowered to share and spread His love to the ends of the Earth.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.cross2

Under the Radar: Ethnic Cleansing of Christians

There is no doubt World War One and World War Two were one of the darkest times in the history of the World. Both consisted of a mass genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian people in the Middle East during World War One and of the Jewish people during World War Two. As the saying goes, “hind sight is twenty-twenty”, which enables many in the generations after the two world wars condemn the atrocities that have occurred during the early 20th century sadly; however, many are oblivious or apathetic towards the atrocities going on today.

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According to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) news, “Every day, thousands of Christians in the Middle East are brutally persecuted by Islamic jihadists demanding they convert to Islam or pay the penalties, “speakers from around the world [have] gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the horrors Middle East Christians are facing on a daily basis.” Although these talks are occurring, what is surprising is that there has been very little news coverage about this daily massacre going on when Christian persecution has drastically been on the rise and is the most persecuted group in the world.

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Speakers at the meeting in Washington such as Penny Nance who is the president of Concerned Women for America and others argued that “[people] must not be afraid to refer to those committing these heinous crimes as Islamic jihadist… [and that] we need to identify what’s happening in order to accurately fight it,”

An important question to ask is when will Americans and other countries finally put their foot down and deal with ISIS accordingly? If ISIS is not stopped, than the world faces (if it is not already) repeating the horrific ethnic cleansing that occurred during the two World Wars.

One of the main reasons on why the wide spread persecution of Christians is not being discussed as much as it should be is because of the fear to anger others. According to the New York Post “As a candidate in January 2008, Obama pledged to recognize the [Armenian] genocide… but Obama has never used that description since taking office, mainly out of deference to Turkey, a key US partner and NATO ally, which is fiercely opposed to the “genocide” label”. Just like with the Armenian genocide politics always plays a role in addressingarm a problem or pointing out wrong doings. Is Christian persecution going under the radar or being downplayed because of the fear to offend others? That can very well be the reason.

Mathew 5:10-11

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

John 16:1-4

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues [today it might be from churches]; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”

Discovering Your Identity

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By Jessica Daniel

You may be wondering what is your purpose here on this earth. You ask yourself, “Why am I here? And do I actually matter?” You may have grown up thinking you would never amount to anything because that was what you heard from your mom or your dad. Because you were told that, you grew up believing it was true and that you really had nothing positive to say or think about yourself since you were never shown the love and encouragement you desperately needed as a child.

You may think that because of where you came from, whether you came from a broken home, a dysfunctional family who experienced many hardships, or out on the streets, that there is no hope for you and no chance of you rising above those situations and becoming someone who indeed has a purpose and a story to tell to help others. But, I’m here to tell you that you do have purpose in your life and that you ARE here for a reason. You DO matter! God loves you more than you will ever know, and He has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord , thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” You see, you were created for a reason, a purpose, and it does not matter who you are, where you have been, or where you are right now or what the situation looks like because God chose YOU. He thought of you before the creation of the world. He knows everything about you and just wants you to turn back to Him and remember who you are in Christ.

Jesus sees your struggle and wants you to give it all to Him. You think of yourself as no one special or just a lost cause, but God thinks of you as someone special. He thinks of you as His child. What God thinks of you is more important than what other people think of you and what you think of yourself. You may have had a bad relationship with your dad or really never knew who your dad was. But God wants you to come to Him as your true father, your heavenly father who loves everything about you and is waiting for you to draw near to Him. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Do not listen to the lies the enemy, Satan will throw at you to get you to believe that you are not worth anything. God saw just how much you were and are worth it when He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you and while Jesus was hanging on that cross, He thought of you, and the joy of bringing you back to Him, for you to know your identity in Him. God wants to do big things in your life if you will let Him enter and transform the struggles and the hurt in your life into blessings. No matter what you’ve been through, God can still use you and allow your life to be a living testimony of what God has brought you out of, so you can bring hope and encouragement to others who are struggling and wondering why they are here on this earth.

God turns your test into a testimony! By finding and stepping into your identity in Christ, who God has called you to be, you discover the reason why you are here and that you are loved by the One who loved you first.

Single and Waiting

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By Jessica Daniel

It seems like everyone you know is in a relationship. You may have friends who are dating right now or have gotten married to their soul mate, and you can’t help but wonder why you haven’t met your soul mate and why you are still single, especially when people around you ask “Why haven’t you met anyone?” That is a pretty common question that many people who are single get asked. I get asked that question myself sometimes as a young woman, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” and I just smile and say “I’m not ready for one yet.” I would rather be single and wait for the right one to come along than to rush and settle for the wrong one.

Many people believe that in order to be happy and whole one should be in a relationship. Some even settle for whoever comes along regardless of how he or she treats them because they want to be with someone so bad. The truth is, no man or woman can ever make you truly happy and whole or fulfill the deepest desires of your heart. It is up to you to find that true joy and fulfillment within yourself by discovering the one who gives you that joy and fulfillment inside of you, which is Jesus. Being single is a great opportunity for each of us to discover our self-worth and who we are in Christ. It is the most important time of our lives as we learn to love and feel good about ourselves and never settle for less because God has the absolute best in store for each and every one of us. He knows who our spouse will be because He set aside that special someone just for us. God knows and can truly fulfill the desires of our hearts if we learn to trust Him and wait for that man or woman He has in place for us to marry.

Being single and waiting for the right person for you is not a bad thing at all. In order to be ready for any relationship, you first have to feel content and happy with who you are as an individual. For me, being single is a time for me to grow in my relationship with God as He shapes and molds me to be the young woman He is preparing me to be for the man I marry someday. Until then, I am happily single and waiting.

The Life of A Go Gettah

CEO of Go Gettah Apparel
CEO of Go Gettah Apparel

In this touching video, “Evelyn Richardson Documentary, “Defies  All Odds.” She discusses her story of being born with Spina Bifida and a single parent to a handsome wonderful little boy. Encouraging other people around the world to know that regardless of your limitations or circumstances you can be successful in life.

 I am just like you, we all face challenges but only you control your success.

 

Evelyn “Eve” Richardson is the CEO of “Go Gettah Apparel” and a walking testimony. Richardson graduated with her BA degree in Business Admin and Sales & Marketing from DeVry University. She shares her story with Young Urban Voices and explains why she created the brand of clothing and accessories she has now.

 

Young Urban Voices: What is Eve’s story?

Eve Richardson: I am a single parent of a handsome-wonderful little boy, Nehemiah. I was born with Spina Bifida, a Neural Tube Defect. From birth I never let anything stand in my way or stop me from what I wanted to do. Since I couldn’t walk, I crawled & BOY! was I fast.  Since I couldn’t run, I hopped. I taught myself how to swim and how to ride a bike. I graduated from college with my BA. I’ve never been without anything that I needed. It may not have been what I wanted but I am blessed. My life story, struggles, limitations etc. is how “Go Gettah” came about. I KNOW I am a “Go GETTAH”. No matter my disability, no matter that limitation, no matter being a single parent or circumstance, “shout out to the mothers and fathers raising their kids on their own.” Yes I have a physical disability and I am limited with doing stuff but I do not let get in the way of my success or happiness. I am determined to succeed for my son and everyone who said I couldn’t do it. For those who need a role model or an example to look up to. This is my testimony and I am here to share with whomever is willing to listen. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.” Philippians 4:13 – that’s my motto.

Young Urban Voices:Can you explain more about Go Gettah Apparel?

Eve Richardson: My friend and I was talking about how people are just living out their dreams and creating clothing lines. We said we should start one and I began to think of the name; then Go Gettah came to me, then I began to think of the definition and that came about from what was going on in my family and what I seen from others.

Noun: someone that does not let their limitations or circumstances get in the way of their determination to succeed. My friend was pursuing a dream of his own already so he could not give it his full attention, so I said you know what this describes me.

I launched GGA October 2013. The Logo is a representation of me and my son. I am the Big G and he is the little G with our backs to each other. “Go Gettah” so I saved up my disability checks and researched everything I needed to know and had my first set of inventory made and began business.

 

 Young Urban Voices: Why do you feel so open about sharing your story and inspiring people?

 

Eve Richardson: My sister made a good point about how I am a living testament. Looking back at all my baby pictures and accomplishments all you seen was God’s glory. My strength, my courage, my struggles, so I began to think well I know there are people around the world that face the same challenges as me so I must reach out to as many as I can and let them know Philippians 4:13. 

Young Urban Voices:Do you have a new line of clothing coming out soon?

Eve Richardson: Winter Apparel dropping October 20th my 1 year anniversary. You can purchase it at www.gogettah.com.

Young Urban Voices: What do you want your peers to take away from your story?

Eve Richardson:I am just like you, we all face challenges but only you control your success.

Young Urban Voices: How have you turned your company into the popular and growing brand that it is?

Eve Richardson:  I have met so many wonderful people along the way of networking and being at different events and I have taken what I have seen and heard and put it to use. It is not a race thing, a disabled thing, a single parent thing: each and everyone of us that have overcome/coming their circumstances are too Go Gettah’s. So I have created a brand that can relate to many!

Young Urban Voices: What advice do you have for other inspiring entrepreneurs wanting to get started with their own business or just anyone who has to overcome an obstacle in life?

Eve Richardson: You have already been given the power to achieve whatever you set your mind to. It may not be easy, but you can do it. I am a living testament to that. When business is slow, look at it as a chance to get organized for the big flood of business that will be coming shortly.

Young Urban Voices: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Eve Richardson: Show others better then you can tell them!!!

 

CEO/Founder of Go Gettah Apparel  Faith-Based Motivational Speaker  Makeup Artist  website:www.gogettah.com  facebook:www.facebook.com/gogettahapparel  website: www.hairbyeve.webs.com  cell: (916)-995-0171  #shareevesstory
CEO/Founder of Go Gettah Apparel
Faith-Based Motivational Speaker
Makeup Artist
website:www.gogettah.com
facebook:www.facebook.com/gogettahapparel
website: http://www.hairbyeve.webs.com
cell: (916)-995-0171
#shareevesstory