Christina Martin

Dreams live on: A couple’s dreams for adoption carry on after husband’s death

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
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May 4, 2012 (LiveActionNews.com) - Renee Loux is a dreamer. Since the age of 7, Renee has had a desire in her heart to care for orphans. She shared those desires with her husband, Derek Loux. Derek was a gifted musician whose passion for adoption began as a young boy. Together, the Louxs set out to make their dreams come true.

Renee’s parents brought her to the Marshall Islands when she was nine months old. A daughter of missionaries, she spent the first ten years of her life stationed there. In that environment, her young heart became burdened for children. Years later, while teaching in the U.S., she revisited the Marshall Islands for a short mission trip that changed her life forever. During the trip she met Derek for the first time. He fell head-over-heels for Renee and asked her to marry him after only 8 days together. In 1992 the couple wed, and their adventure began.

Renee gave birth to her first child two years later. Josiah was a beautiful boy born with a severe case of spina bifida. Renee and Derek had two and a half years with him before he passed away. Enduring the pain together, they found strength and comfort in God’s love. In 1997 they had a girl named Sophia, and three years later another daughter named Michaela.

For most Americans, two children make for the average size of a family. Yet the Louxs never wanted to be average. They longed to obey the biblical command found in the book of James (chapter 1, verse 27): “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Seeking to live out that verse, they adopted twin girls Teyolla and Keyolla from the Marshall Islands in 2002. Less than a year later they took in Telma, another girl from the Islands. Born with severe scoliosis, Telma was abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother. She ended up alone, fighting to survive on the streets. Renee promised to get her the help she needed. She kept that promise by welcoming Telma into the family.

In December of 2008, Derek and Renee traveled to the Ukraine to adopt three boys with special needs: Sasha, an energetic child with spina bifida, and Ethan and Silas, who both suffered from Down syndrome. The journey had its difficulties. Derek’s journal entry displays his precious humanity: “I was thinking, this is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes?

In that moment, Derek heard God speaking to his heart: “Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

That experience marked his heart with a powerful revelation that adoption is a form of redemption. Derek believed that God was removing a selfish human love and replacing it with an “agape” love that cares for others even when love isn’t reciprocated. The Louxs wanted to make sacrifices for love. They successfully brought home the boys, who were sick and worn down from their stay in the orphanage. In a short time and with much medical care and attention, they were noticeably healthier and happy. The story of their adoption was later told in a beautiful children’s book called Redemption. In addition to their boys, the Rouxs continued on by adding two more girls, Leeann and Sana from the Marshall Islands.

Derek once said, “I wanted something to live and die for, to breathe and bleed for. I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort. That’s one of the reasons why we adopt in a radical way. On purpose, I set myself up to where I’ve got so much pressure I gotta run after Jesus…”

In the midst of their journey Derek, at 37, lost his life in a tragic car accident, just days before Christmas 2009. He was traveling back from a conference focused on rescuing girls from sex slavery. His death was a great loss to both those who knew him personally and those who connected with him through his beloved music and teachings. He left behind his beautiful wife and ten children. The family bravely forged ahead through deep pain and sorrow.

After Derek’s death, Renee courageously continued to bring home children. Though some would think it crazy to do so after such a loss, Renee knew that she was being led to continue adopting. She welcomed Judah, the family’s first boy from the Marshall Islands. She also began caring for Joanna, a girl from the Islands who is completely blind and non-verbal. Though Joanna came into their family as a 13-year-old, she had the body size of a 5-year-old. Renee received no financial aid for Joanna’s medical and dental needs, instead depending on the generosity of donors to cover the expenses. Joanna is continuing to grow and respond in new ways. She loves to joyfully sing her own little songs, and she is a delight to her family.

Derek’s and Renee’s life together has inspired many people to adopt and care for children. Renee is the founder of the Orphan Justice Center, an organization whose mission is to help rescue, adopt, and restore orphans across the globe. They do a number of things, from bringing resources to pre-adoptive, adoptive, and foster care families to working with children in their community who are recently adopted or are in foster care. Renee travels and shares hopeful truths about adoption. She is a strong voice for justice as well as a loving mother. She recently had the great pleasure of seeing her oldest adopted twins girls marry a set of twin boys. It was a proud moment for her, though she earnestly wished Derek could have been there to share it.

Though it’s difficult raising her children without a father, Renee carries on with grace and strength. As she remarked in her family’s blog, “I will never understand this side of heaven, why Derek had to die, but, I know my God is sovereign and I can trust him. Even without an answer to the ‘why’, I can see the fruit of his beautiful life. I see it in the eyes of our amazing children. I hear it in the voices of those who share with me how their own lives were impacted by Derek’s passion and vision for loving, caring for, and restoring orphans. I see it as I remember what was once just a dream in our hearts, taking root and becoming reality as we rescued 10 children, teaching them along with our biological children, to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ Jesus, which would help restore them all.”

This life will end for all of us. The dreams that we fight for now can impact generations to come. A life devoted to caring for weak, vulnerable, and voiceless children is a life well spent. May we all learn from Derek’s and Renee’s example and open our hearts to the children of the world.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.com


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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