Avenging Kayla Mueller’s shining spirit

Soon after I started this blog a news story caught my attention and my heart.A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital operated by the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Aleppo, Syria.

A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders

Perhaps there is now justice for humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller.

The ISIS leader responsible for her kidnapping, torture, and death has died at the hands of an American military operation fittingly named for her.

According to the New York Post Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., was 25 when she was taken captive by ISIS in August 2013 after crossing the Turkish border into Syria to visit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo. She was held for 18 months before her death was announced in 2015. Her body was never recovered and her parents still are searching for closure. Read the report at this link.

Al-Baghdadi operation named after captured aid worker tortured by terrorist

Who was Kayla Mueller?

Soon after I started this blog a news story caught my attention and my heart.

A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital operated by the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Aleppo, Syria.

She was held in captivity by the Islamic State for 18 horrific months with three other American hostages.  Kayla died on February 6, 2015, reportedly following the bombing of a location where she was being held captive.

God hasn't called me to be successful, but to be faithful. quote Mother Teresa
graphic from Lightstock.com, affiliate link

After reading  and watching the news reports about the life-and death- of Kayla, I wrote this.

I cannot think of anything else worth saying today other than to express my sadness  for and sympathy to the family of Kayla Mueller. On  the evening news last night I heard Kayla’s aunt describe her as “noble beyond her years.”

I had never heard of Kayla until a few days ago, but her story touches my heart. I have a son about the same age; and like her, his work and passions take him all over the world. I cannot imagine getting an email like the one her parents received confirming her death.

At only 26 years old, Kayla had already traveled to India, Israel, Palestine and Syria on humanitarian endeavors and in Arizona worked at a women’s shelter and with AIDS patients.

In a letter  to her family from captivity, she expressed regret that she was causing them pain. I hope the memory of this beautiful young woman brings some comfort to their grieving hearts.

Recently while reviewing my older posts, I wondered what happened to Kayla’s family after her death; perhaps someone had written about her, or established a memorial of some sort.

I am pleased to see that Kayla was not  forgotten, and her work was not in vain. I want to let you know what has happened since her capture and murder in 2015.

FOR KAYLA 

FOR KAYLA is a website devoted to  her  humanitarian projects, including quotes from her blog and the touching letter she wrote to her family from captivity.

Her are just a few of the quotes from her blog and letter.

This really is my life’s work, to go where there is suffering. I suppose, like us all, I’m learning how to deal with the suffering of the world inside myself… to deal with my own pain and most importantly to still have the ability to be proactive.

Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny. C.S. LEWIS

The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.

merciful God, release us from the time of trial that we may witness grief becoming joy and life rising from death. amen

I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free.

True liberation is freeing people from bonds that prevent them from giving their gifts to others.

KAYLA’S HANDS

Kayla’s family established a foundation in Kayla’s name, which they called Kayla’s Hands  a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation “to further her humanitarian efforts both locally and internationally.” On the website they write this about their daughter-

“Kayla devoted her life to helping others. Kayla’s heart was for the innocent children thrown into a life they should never be in; for moms trying to raise them alone and for families that needed help to stay as one; and for the soldiers, reporters and humanitarian workers who have seen such horror as well.

She wanted to help heal wounded hearts, minds and bodies bringing happiness and joy to all she could. It was this commitment that drove her to help victims in shelters near our home in Prescott, Arizona and to leave home for far away places she felt called to help.

She spent her life working for those who needed it most, using her voice to amplify those of others, and standing in solidarity with people as they struggle for their own rights and dignity. Even in captivity, she gave comfort to the Yazidi girls held with her and others suffering around her. If there was work to be done in service to others, she did it.”

you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael

Journalist Scott Peley remembers Kayla’s life in this video-

A REFLECTION ON KAYLA MEULLER’S SHINING SPIRIT

On the second anniversary of Kayla’s death, her family dissolved the foundation and donated $120,000 to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) an organization Kayla believed in and had worked with.

The foundation also donated funds to

  • Iraqi Bridge/Dr. Mirza , for  work on behalf of the Yazidi victims of genocide,
  • Save the Children , for  work to save the Syrian children and children throughout the world,
  • Syrian American Medical Society/SAMS who continue to work on behalf of Syria’s war victims,
  • Folds of Honor to provide educational scholarships to the families of America’s fallen and disabled service members
  •  Kiwanis Club of Prescott  Arizona who faithfully work “for the kids”.

Kayla Mueller Memorial Endowment Fund

Doctors Without Borders used the donation to establish an endowment fund in her memory. From their website-

“The endowment will be used to support medical and humanitarian aid programs operating in nearly 70 countries and providing care to more than 8 million people every year affected by armed conflicts, epidemics, as well as natural and man-made disasters.”

“By donating to Doctors Without Borders” noted her parents Marsha and Carl, “we can ensure Kayla’s spirit and her legacy of healing is continued in the world.”

Doctors Without Borders map of activities
map showing sites where Doctors Without Borders works, from a recent mailing

share the HEART of health

I invite you to browse the links above to learn more about these organizations and the work they do to bring the HEART of health to people around the world, work that I and this blog consider much needed and worthy of support.

(This blog is not compensated for listing this organizations here.)

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

 

 

 

 

 

FEATURED AFFILIATE-LIGHTSTOCK

All of the photos and graphics in this post are from Lightstock.

Lightstock, a stock photo site, has an extensive collection of quality photos, graphics, and videos. Please consider Lightstock for your media needs.

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos
Please visit Lightstock.com for quality photos, graphics, and videos (an affiliate link)

 

With a free account you will get a weekly free photo. There are different options for purchasing products; subscribers get extra complimentary photos, graphics, and videos.

Sign up for a one month risk free trial at this link; purchases through any Lightstock link on this blog pays a commission which funds this blog’s mission.

 

                              Dr. Aletha 

A Shining Spirit- Kayla Mueller

Soon after I started this blog a news story caught my attention and my heart.

A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders

 

Soon after I started this blog a news story caught my attention and my heart.

A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital operated by the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Aleppo, Syria.

She was held in captivity by the Islamic State for 18 horrific months with three other American hostages.  Kayla died on February 6, 2015, reportedly following the bombing of a location where she was being held captive.

God hasn't called me to be successful, but to be faithful. quote Mother Teresa

 

 

After reading  and watching the news reports about the life-and death- of Kayla, I wrote this.

 

I cannot think of anything else worth saying today other than to express my sadness  for and sympathy to the family of Kayla Mueller. On  the evening news last night I heard Kayla’s aunt describe her as “noble beyond her years.”

I had never heard of Kayla until a few days ago, but her story touches my heart. I have a son about the same age; and like her, his work and passions take him all over the world. I cannot imagine getting an email like the one her parents received confirming her death.

At only 26 years old, Kayla had already traveled to India, Israel, Palestine and Syria on humanitarian endeavors and in Arizona worked at a women’s shelter and with AIDS patients.

In a letter  to her family from captivity, she expressed regret that she was causing them pain. I hope the memory of this beautiful young woman brings some comfort to their grieving hearts.

 

 

 

Recently while reviewing my older posts, I wondered what happened to Kayla’s family after her death; perhaps someone had written about her, or established a memorial of some sort.

I am pleased to see that Kayla was not  forgotten, and her work was not in vain. I want to let you know what has happened since her capture and murder in 2015.

A Shining Spirit-Kayla Mueller-watercresswords.com

 

 

FOR KAYLA 

 

FOR KAYLA is a website devoted to  her  humanitarian projects, including quotes from her blog and the touching letter she wrote to her family from captivity.

Her are just a few of the quotes from her blog and letter.

This really is my life’s work, to go where there is suffering. I suppose, like us all, I’m learning how to deal with the suffering of the world inside myself… to deal with my own pain and most importantly to still have the ability to be proactive.

 

Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny. C.S. LEWIS

 

 

 

 

The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.

 

merciful God, release us from the time of trial that we may witness grief becoming joy and life rising from death. amen

 

 

I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free.

 

True liberation is freeing people from bonds that prevent them from giving their gifts to others.

 

 

 

 

 

There are links to many news reports about Kayla which you may have seen,  including this moving video by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley

A Reflection on Kayla Muella’s Shining Spirit

angel statue in a cemetery
photo source- Lightstock.com , an affiliate link

Kayla’s Hands

 

Kayla’s family did indeed establish a foundation in Kayla’s name, which they called Kayla’s Hands  a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation “to further her humanitarian efforts both locally and internationally.” On the website they write this about their daughter-

Kayla devoted her life to helping others. Kayla’s heart was for the innocent children thrown into a life they should never be in; for moms trying to raise them alone and for families that needed help to stay as one; and for the soldiers, reporters and humanitarian workers who have seen such horror as well.

She wanted to help heal wounded hearts, minds and bodies bringing happiness and joy to all she could. It was this commitment that drove her to help victims in shelters near our home in Prescott, Arizona and to leave home for far away places she felt called to help.

She spent her life working for those who needed it most, using her voice to amplify those of others, and standing in solidarity with people as they struggle for their own rights and dignity. Even in captivity, she gave comfort to the Yazidi girls held with her and others suffering around her. If there was work to be done in service to others, she did it.

 

you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael

 

 

On the second anniversary of Kayla’s death, her family dissolved the foundation and donated $120,000 to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) an organization Kayla believed in and had worked with.

The foundation also donated funds to

  • Iraqi Bridge/Dr. Mirza , for  work on behalf of the Yazidi victims of genocide,
  • Save the Children , for  work to save the Syrian children and children throughout the world,
  • Syrian American Medical Society/SAMS who continue to work on behalf of Syria’s war victims,
  • Folds of Honor to provide educational scholarships to the families of America’s fallen and disabled service members
  •  Kiwanis Club of Prescott  Arizona who faithfully work “for the kids”.

 

Kayla Mueller Memorial Endowment Fund

Doctors Without Borders used the donation to establish an endowment fund in her memory. From their website-

“The endowment will be used to support medical and humanitarian aid programs operating in nearly 70 countries and providing care to more than 8 million people every year affected by armed conflicts, epidemics, as well as natural and man-made disasters.”

“By donating to Doctors Without Borders” noted her parents Marsha and Carl, “we can ensure Kayla’s spirit and her legacy of healing is continued in the world.”

 

Doctors Without Borders map of activities
map showing sites where Doctors Without Borders works, from a recent mailing

 

Your turn to explore

I invite you to browse the links above to learn more about these organizations and the work they do to bring the HEART of health to people around the world, work that I and this blog consider much needed and worthy of support.

(This blog is not compensated for listing this organizations here.)

 

 

 

FEATURED AFFILIATE-LIGHTSTOCK

All of the photos and graphics in this post are from Lightstock.

Lightstock, a stock photo site, has an extensive collection of quality photos, graphics, and videos. Please consider Lightstock for your media needs.

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos
Please visit Lightstock.com for quality photos, graphics, and videos (an affiliate link)

With a free account you will get a weekly free photo. There are different options for purchasing products; subscribers get extra complimentary photos, graphics, and videos.

Sign up for a one month risk free trial at this link; purchases through any Lightstock link on this blog pays a commission which funds this blog’s mission.

 

 

 

Thank you for exploring the HEART of health with me, please share and follow Watercress Words.

Dr. Aletha 

Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?

What to know before you volunteer#volunteer#humanitarianaid#relieforganizations

Master of Something Yet   posted an interesting piece about the value of volunteering  while travelling in other cultures.

Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?.

I’ve written here about some of my volunteer trips; based on my experiences I agree with this blogger’s observations that all volunteer trips are not created equal. Some do more good for the volunteer than for those being helped, although that may not always be a bad thing. If you come home more compassionate and passionate about helping others, then maybe it was worthwhile.

Some of the groups I worked with met the criteria  this blogger suggests better than others; those are the ones I worked with a second time.

I encourage you to volunteer, either abroad or in your community.

a basic construction site with bricks
volunteers helping locals to build a medical clinic

 

a well in a remote site
a community well built and donated by a relief agency and donated

 

 

Interested in voluntourism? Here’s what to look for

(summary of points in the article)

  • Is the company offering the project a reputable, well-established company?
  •  Has the project been established in consultation with the local community?
  • Is the project of lasting benefit?
  •  Is the project sustainable?
  • Does the project employ local people?
  •  Where is your money going?

 

 

 

If the opportunity doesn’t measure up, look for something else. There are plenty out there that  need your help.

A local nurse assisted me with a patient encounter in Thailand
A local nurse assisted me with a patient encounter in Thailand

And how often do doctors volunteer their knowledge and skills? Find out here.

 

Wherever you go, thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me here.

           Dr. Aletha WATERCRESSWORDS.COM-exploring the HEART of health

Dishing out love

The mistake we should never make is to be generous with judgment and stingy with love. The people around us are starving for love and we need to unlock our pantry and see to it that everybody gets a belly full.

My husband Raymond and I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing Bob Peragallo and his wife for several years. He is the Board Chairman for Vets With a Mission  (VWAM) , a faith based humanitarian organization;  we have served with them on mission trips to VietNam.

Like my husband, Bob is a veteran of the American war in Vietnam. After his military service, he pastored a church. Here he shares his thoughts on pastoring, leading a service organization, and serving people in need. Words worth sharing

two veterans in Vietnam
Raymond Oglesby, Bob Peragallo and local officials at Trabong Vietnam

“Often people come to me searching for something deeper than a 500 character religious platitude, something stronger than a scripture icon or soundbyte. Like them, I need something I can touch, see and feel. What we need is love because only love can satisfy us.

When this need happens for me, I never want to have to walk away empty handed or when it is my turn to be the giver of this love, God help me to never give them a substitute.

We all believe in love, but often we love the idea of love, when it needs to be our job description. God declares Himself to be “Love” and He is, but it doesn’t always run in the family. Far too often, our lives become a poor substitute for the Jesus that the world is looking to see. If I lose my focus, I may give a poor substitute for this kind of love.

As someone who has received this love from my heavenly Father, I should always err on the side of loving people.

volunteer team members dishing out love in Vietnam

We might give our religious form, our knowledge of God or worst yet, my version of what is right (oh, how I love to be right). We can dish out our political views, judgments and contempt, even silence. We all understand and can relate to this from personal experience…and we know how much it sucks.

The mistake we should never make is to be generous with judgment and stingy with love. The people around us are starving for love and we need to unlock our pantry and see to it that everybody gets a belly full.

That doesn’t mean you always tell them what they want to hear and that they are not accountable. Whenever I find myself in this tension with people, or if you do, always do your best to fill that gap with compassion, kindness and decency. When you need love nothing else will work. My job is to love others, not see to it that others love me. “

my husband snapped this photo of me with Bob; he went with us to visit the site of Raymond's firebase during the war
my husband snapped this photo of me with Bob; he went with us to visit the site of Raymond’s firebase during the war
along the way we visited the memorial at Son My, better know to Americans as My Lai, site of the infamous massacre
along the way we visited the memorial at Son My, better known to Americans as My Lai, site of the infamous massacre
"And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

sharing the HEART of love

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Touching lives in Panama-a medical mission trip

I have volunteered on several teams with CompassionLink, an organization that serves to provide

HEALTH RESTORED-HOPE SUSTAINED.

One of the privileges of being a health care professional is travelling to other countries to provide care to under served people. So, I have volunteered on several teams with CompassionLink, an organization that serves to provide

HEALTH RESTORED-HOPE SUSTAINED.

Our team giving medical consultations, dental care, and vision exams for eyeglasses.

two health care professionals, one in a native costume
Dr. Aletha with a local healthcare worker
a makeshift pharmacy at a rural clinic
our team pharmacy
a man making faces at a little girl
one of our nurses entertaining children (he is now a physician)

Visiting the famous Panama Canal

And one of the pleasures of travelling is when our hosts express their appreciation by showing us the local sites and culture. In Panama, of course, that meant a visit to the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel. The landscape and people of Panama are also captivating. Add to that a warm and usually sunny climate, made for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Miraflores Lockes-Panama Canal
Panama Canal ship
cows in a pasture

enjoying a dance performance at our last group dinner before heading home

dancing ladies in native dresses of Panama

How you can touch lives with Compassion

CompassionLink welcomes volunteers for their projects  on either short or long term assignments.

Use their free resource Compassion Link Journal,an international journal of theory and practice in compassion ministries produced by Assemblies of God World Missions.

Buy earrings or a necklace at Jewelry for Hope.

Listen to a free webinar-

Conversation on Compassion Ministry

Thanks for exploring Panama and the HEART of health with me . Please share this post and follow Watercress Words. I appreciate your interest and welcome your comments about this post or just to say hello.

                  Dr. Aletha 
Raymond and Dr. Aletha standing at the Panama Canal

Words about fasting and helping

What is true fasting? Maybe not what you think#Isaiah#CHaRA#faithhopelove

 
 
“Fasting, abstinence from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes.
 
The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent.
 
Fasting has been promoted and practiced from antiquity worldwide
by physicians,
by the founders and followers of many religions,
by culturally designated individuals (e.g., hunters or candidates for initiation rites), and by individuals or groups as an expression of protest against what they believe are violations of social, ethical, or political principles.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Isaiah 58 , HCSB
 
True Fasting
 
“Why have we fasted, but You have not seen?
We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed! ”
 
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast,
and oppress all your workers.
You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist.
You cannot fast as you do today,
hoping to make your voice heard on high.
 
Will the fast I choose be like this:
 
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
 
Will you call this a fast
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
 
Isn’t the fast I choose:
 
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
 
 
group of people sitting under a tree
relief outreach by CHaRA
 
 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
 
 
nurse with boy giving shoes
nurse distributing new shoes to children
 
 © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

sharing the HEART of health with CHaRA- Construction, Health, and Relief Acts

photos by Dr. Aletha during a volunteer trip to Africa to assist CHaRA with their humanitarian work

 

 

You may also like Fasting for the body and the soul

 

 

Exploring the HEART of faith, hope, and love

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

 
 
FAITH LOVE HOPE
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love.  
1 Corinthians 13:13                          
 Lightstock graphic -affiliate link