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Music Mania

by Tracy Darlingto n

Hawk Nelson is also taking a different direction with their new lead singer, Jon Steingard. Theyre getting ready to introduce a new line-up of original music to their fans! Go to their website: 5. Get ready to ring in the Christmas holiday with American Idol alum Mandisa!** She has just re-released her project Its Christmas* for you to enjoy all over again! She focuses on the real reason to celebrate with tunes such as Little Drummer Boy and What Christmas Means to Me, as well as a few new tracks to get you into a holiday mood! Visit her website: 6. Let me introduce you to the worship band No Other Name**. Brother-sister worship duo, Sam and Laura Allen, along with friend Chad Smith formed the group at a Nashville music conference. So what are they doing for Christmas? Well, Ive lived in Nashville for 13 years, Sam says. And every year Ive made the trek back home for the holidays. This year, my wife and I plan to stay here and make everyone come to us! Its going to be great not having to drive for hours in a car with two small children, but Ill miss all the wonderful things about being home for the holidays. After all, theres no place like home for the holidays. Who knows? Maybe all my Floridian relatives will get to see snow for the first time! Visit their website:

Find out what seven of your favorite Christian artists or bands are doing during the Christmas holidays.
Christmas is just around the corner, and its easy to get caught up in the latest gifts and gadgets. Why not take a second to thank God for what you have and celebrate the season in a whole new way? Heres how your favorite music artists are spending their holidays this year, along with their latest projects. 1. Rebecca St. James says, I love Christmas when we go around the room and share about what God has done in our lives through the year. Thats the most powerful part for me, hearing from everyone in the family and friends who are with us during Christmas. Its moving to celebrate what God has done and to look back and thank Him. We have a tradition to do that every year. I really look forward to it. Rebecca is thrilled to be part of Watch & Talk*a new series of short films and companion study guides. She hosts each film with a modern day biblical message. Great for Bible study groups or just by yourself! Visit her website:

2. Skillet has a new CD! I think Skillet has an identifiable sound at this point that people recognize, says John Cooper, lead singer and bassist for the group. I dont want to get too far away from that. At the same time, I dont want to just release an album that sounds exactly like the last record. Were trying some new things. Our goal was to make the signature Skillet sound, but with a lot of fresh ideas. See for yourself at: 3. Jaci Velasquez is looking forward to family time. My plans for the holidays are loving my family and enjoying my hubbys family, as they will stay at our house. Imagine 14 Mexicans in one house! What could be more fun? I foresee lots of gooooood food! Jaci is back for the first time since marriage and motherhood with her lastest release Give Them Jesus already climbing the charts! Diamond* might just be her best album ever! Check out her 4. Attention Hawk Nelson fans! Former lead singer, Jason Dunn, has just released his first solo project under the name Lights Go Down. Ill miss playing music on stage with my friends, but Im really looking forward to the future with Lights Go Down, he says.

7. Lara Landon** says, Im going to spend time with my family relaxing and eating a lot of food! I moved to Nashville seven years ago away from my mom, dad, older sister and her four kids to pursue music and ministry. Its hard not being involved in their everyday lives. But during the holidays I go back to California and resume my role as the baby of the family. I usually plan some concerts on the West Coast during that time so they can come with me and get to share in what I do. During the holidays, Lara also plans to help New Reality International, the medical non-profit that she co-founded with her sister, reach out to victims of sex trafficking in India. Weve always had a heart for that injustice and for India, so we hope to make our first trip to assess how we can help. Stop by her website: Tracy Darlington lives in Lancaster, Pa., where she is the cofounder of the Christian entertainment website **Look for a chance to win free merchandise from these artists in SUSIE's 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Check the SUSIE Facebook page for more details.

*Purchase this item at a great price through the Shop tab on

henYou W Don't Fit

e Hanscom by Jeanett

Some remember kindergarten as the year they learned to read. I remember it as the year I learned I was different. The teacher held up a block. What color is this side? Blue! A chorus of 5-year-olds answered, each holding up a matching block with the appropriate side facing front. And this? Red! I turned my block around, pulling it closer to my eyes. How did they know the answers? I waited for my teacher to scold me for not participating. As the first visually impaired student at my school, nobody knew what to do with me. At home, my younger sister Sherry had low vision, too. Mom and Dad praised our strengths (such as my ability to memorize every story I heard) and treated the vision issue with such grace that, other than the frustrating activity called working on your colors I rarely saw it as a big deal.

When You Think You Don't Fit

Do you ever feel like you dont fit in at school, home or social situations? Perhaps you have a disability or illness. Maybe youre the tallest girl in school, two grades ahead of everyone else your age or recently moved to a new community. Or you might not know why you feel like one of those clich square pegs, you just do. Whatever the reason, the I dont fit feeling is real and painful. How can you get past it? Let me share what God continues to remind me when I forget that I fit. When those feeling-like-an-outcast moments come, here are nine truths to keep in mind:

1. You arent alone. I dont fit in is a common fear, even for the beautiful and popular. Artists, authors and performers battle intense insecurity as well. So youre never the only one feeling awkward. 2. God created you to fit. Psalm 139:1-16 includes familiar reminders that God created each fiber of your being and personality. If the God of the universe created you, He created you to fit into His eternal plan. 3. God uses misfits. Think about young David, Ruth and Jesus discipleshardly members of the cool crowd. But look how God used them. Take encouragement from these stories and others in Scripture. 4. This wont last forever. Read some Before They Were Stars stories and see how many actors and recording artists struggled as teens. Consider how God might be preparing you now for exciting things later. 5. Focus on where you do fit. Where do you shine and feel confident? Who do you have fun with? Who truly appreciates you? Ask God to shift your focus from where you wish you could fit to where you already do. 6. Take your emphasis off I. It hit me that when Im thinking I dont fit in, life is all about me feeling good about myself. When I focus on others, I rarely think twice about whether I feel accepted. In moments of insecurity find someone to reach out to or get involved in an act of service. 7. Develop your gifts and talents. Activities help us develop God-given abilities, build confidence, open doors for friendships and get our minds off the negative. What gifts could use more attention? 8. Remember who you are in Christ. No matter who ignores you or treats you like an outcast, you are precious to the One who died for you and calls you His friend. 9. Embrace what makes you different. When my perspective is correct, I actually thank God for my sight limitations! Why? Its part of what makes me unique. Adapting to a 20/20 world sharpened my memory, hearing and other skills. Like in the story of the blind man, God has used it for His glory. What good can you find in what makes you different? How is God using it? Ask God to show you dailyor more often if necessaryhow beautifully you fit into the life He has crafted for you.
Jeanette Hanscome has written three books for teen girls and more than 400 articles, devotionals and stories. Despite being completely colorblind, Jeanette is known for always wearing perfectly color-coordinated outfits.

Standing Out
I had just enough sight to create extra work for a regular classroom teacher. To my classmates, I looked like any girl with glasses until they discovered that I couldnt read the board, squinted constantly, tended to paint orange grass and green skies and made a horrible tetherball partner. I went to Special Ed weekly but didnt really belong there. Mom dreaded the day when the district would transfer me to a blind school, where I wouldnt have belonged either. In the mean time I tried to adapt, make friends and avoid games involving flying balls and color. When a job transfer sent my family to a school district with programs for the visually impaired, and an eye doctor who finally gave this mystery vision problem a name (achromatopsia), Sherry and I got the help we really needed. But face it, when you pull books up to your nose to read, still ask what color is this at age 12, get pulled out of class to work with special teachers and wear dark glasses indoors, you stand out. No matter what supportive adults tell you, or how many friends you have, as a kid, you feel like an outcast.

Here are nine truths to reshape your thinking.

Longing to Belong
I spent much of my school career trying to fit in. I wanted desperately to 1) be part of a group and 2) be known for something other than low vision. God answered my prayer in high school when I went from That girl who cant see very well to That girl whos in school plays and on the speech team. I realized that I had a gift for writing and pursued it with passion. Today Im an author and recognized at church as a singer. I have a wonderful group of friends between fellow writers and singers, Bible study buddies and other sisters in Christ. Still, I catch myself walking through life as that insecure girl who doesnt fit. Recently God revealed some eye-opening truths regarding my struggle with belonging. Why do I worry so much when I am clearly loved, have accomplished more than anyone expected and cant even remember the last time I was teased or left out? During those tough growing-up years, was I really a misfit or did I just feel like one? Lets just say that some considered me weird. But God never saw me that way. The more I let these truths sink in, the less I fight that awful social uncertainly. I actually live like I fit in. The trick is, making the truth stick.

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A Global Crisis Unveiled
By Rebekah Mlinek
wenty seven millionno less, but maybe moreit has affected them all. It preys on poverty and clings to desperation. Innocence is irrelevant. All that matters is money and power. Theres nothing else. People are the easiest tool; when it comes down to business they just become another product. Their lack of money, lack of power, and lack of dignity define its success. Manual labor and sex it is the perfect trade and the perfect way to affect 27 million people around the world. Its name is slavery and its effect has spread to 161 countries worldwide and continues to grow even today. Slavery sounds like a thing of the past. The early 1600s saw the roots of injustice when Africans were used in North American colonies until the mid-1800s. Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia and just about every other eastern state were repeat offenders of forced labor. Today, in 2012, the United States still remains a force for slavery along with many other countries. However, its roots have hidden themselves in a modern culture of so-called freedom. The most predominant form of slavery today is sex trafficking. Sex trafficking can be defined as purchasing, transporting or selling a person for sexual exploitation. That means peoplemen, women and children. The realization of the horrors of a problem that has so widely enveloped much of the world has spurred a movement among thousands. Men and women, young and old have advanced to stop the inhumanity, especially towards women. President and CEO of the anti-trafficking, nonprofit organization Freedom 4/24, Mike Zealand, was one of those affected. After his realization of the stone cold facts, he was moved to take part in the action to fight against it. Zealand, also a full-time employee at an Orthopeedic Center in Central Virginia, fostered the idea of starting a running event to help raise awareness of human sex trafficking. It was to be for people, like himself, who were blind to the issue before. In February of 2008, Run for Their Lives, an annual 5k and 10k race was the result of that idea. For $24, the cost to purchase a woman for a night, participants can register for the race and run for the freedom of hundreds of girls. The event has spread to multiple locations across the United States. Since that day I have had one thought- I cannot do nothing now that I know what I know, Zealand said. God has lit this fire in me, and as long as He chooses to use me, I will be serving with this team and working at full speed to bring hope, healing, and freedom, Zealand said on the organizations website. Freedom 4/24 is just one of many organizations dedicated to informing the public and taking action to stop the problem. Organizations such as the International Justice Mission (IJM), House of Hope, A21 Campaign, Not For Sale, and others have joined the fight to find and rescue women and children from pimps and brothels. Statistics from the Human Trafficking Project put on by the Academy for Educational Development, show that countries in the Pacific and East Asia top the list. Such countries include Australia, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States of America. The facts continue to spill out more surprises as they include even more regions laced in sex slavery like Europe, Eurasia, South and Central Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Canada, South and Central America, the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the United Nations, human trafficking is a hefty, $32 billion per year industry occurring in 161 out of 192 countries in the world today. Poverty drives most of it, Zealand said in a recent Fox News interview. Many times [a family] will sell the oldest one or two into slavery to feed the rest. (TRAFFICKING cont. on pg. 28)

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Trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry occuring in 161 of 192 countries today.



The Victims

Are responsible for recruiting victims of sex trafficking

The Money

are ever



women men and

exotic virgin young









sex or forced labor





27 &SOLD





The Traffickers

1in 100,000
are ever




The Place



$32 $
$40,000 USD


generated in yearly



The center for trafficking in Europe



in Asia

The largest exporter of women for sex trafficking



Red Light Districts are areas of concentrated brothels. They are illegal in many countries, however it is legal in the Netherlands to offer these areas as tourist traps.



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$90 USD

Information and statistics gathered from the A21, Polaris Project, and Not For Sale Campaigns