iBlog: behind the stories

December 31, 2017

Year of Living Dangerously

By Marney Blom

“Are you sure it is safe to go into Bethlehem?” read the desperate early morning whatsapp message from my Arab Israeli assistant, to which she had attached a menacing image of a black and white keffiyeh-clad Palestinian Arab swinging a smoking molotov cocktail.

Following President Trump’s announcement of US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, protests and violence had erupted in the town of Jesus’ birth – precisely the time we were to go in to film a special Acts News Network (ANN) Christmas story that was slated to air on the Canadian Christian weekly news program, “Context with Lorna Dueck.”

Along with the clashes that took place on the streets of Bethlehem that day, the city would also go on strike cancelling the event we were scheduled to capture.  Then three days of rage followed.

Just a few weeks earlier I had prayed, “Lord, what is on your heart for a Bethlehem story?”  Following my prayer I had come across the work of Tony Samaan and the ministry he leads called “Yes for Children.”  This small group of Arab believers have been given an unprecedented open door to bring the message of Peace on Earth into Palestinian schools throughout the West Bank.  Wonderfully, Tony had agreed for us to interview him.

Palestinian children hearing the Christmas story.

Every day of delay diminished the chances of completing the report on time to air on CONTEXT’S Christmas TV special.  Yet somehow I had a deep peace knowing that many were praying about this trip.  Finally, I sensed the Lord say yes. We were to go.

The shoot day was rescheduled and we left for Bethlehem. God was faithful!  Not only did He keep us from harm, but He gave us the most wonderful story.  In his interview, Tony Samaan explained that as a result of His work with the children, Palestinians have been asking him about the “strange” dreams they are having — dreams about Jesus!  (See story LINK).

After a successful day of capturing the story, we drove out of Bethlehem to a brilliant early evening sky “on fire” with colour.  Could this be a sign in the sky that we had just witnessed the fire of God’s Glory moving among the Palestinians? I pondered.

Wonderfully, the story entitled, “Jesus Returns to Bethlehem” made CONTEXT’S deadline and aired in Canada both on YesTV and on the Global network. (LINK to broadcast)  As a result, I’ve received many positive responses from viewers. Someone even asked, “Why doesn’t CNN cover stories like that?”

Sky over Bethlehem

My Bethlehem story experience also taught me that often when a situation or circumstance appears difficult, dangerous or even impossible, it just may be an opportunity to witness our God at work!

And so with the end of 2017, I am thankful for all the wonderful stories God entrusted to Acts News Network this year.   Can’t imagine what’s in store for 2018!

Marney Blom is news director for the Acts News Network.

Copyright 2018 © Acts News Network, Inc.

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September 27, 2017

Thank You David

Rev. David Mainse, Founder of 100 Huntley Street and CCCI.

By Marney Blom

I clearly remember the day I first walked onto the brightly lit 100 Huntley Street set. It was early March 1993 and I was about to meet a man I had watched on TV since the 1970s.  Newly hired as the development producer of Crossroads Christian Communications (CCCI), I was on a tour of the facility to meet the staff.

Rev. David Mainse – a tall, robust, focused man – momentarily redirected his gaze from the activities of the studio to acknowledge the new producer standing in front of him.  From the expression on his face I could sense his thoughts, “Huh?  Why are we hiring another producer?”  Recent budget constraints had dictated the downsizing of the CCCI production team. The timing of my arrival had raised more than a few eyebrows.

However in the following days, months and years I came to enjoy the full support and friendship of this charismatic, and genuine Christian leader.  Increasingly he trusted me not only to produce the show’s development segments (commercials) but he released me to create testimonial and human interest features.  Then I began appearing on camera criss-crossing Canada, and venturing out to far-flung locations to report on topics such as the 1995 Bosnian War and the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda.

At times I joined Lorna Dueck, David or his family on set to “back talk” the stories I had produced.  The experience and lessons learned from my season at CCCI helped prepare me for the work I am doing today.

I shed tears when I heard of David’s passing on Monday.  To date, I have experienced few spiritual giants that fit his stature.  A gifted communicator and spiritual father in the nation, Rev. Mainse’s infectious passion to fulfil God’s mandate of sharing the Good News of the Kingdom has indelibly impacted the nation of Canada, as it has me.

Thank you David.  Until we met again.

Marney Blom

News Director, Acts News Network

Copyright 2017 © Acts News Network, Inc.

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April 25, 2017

Israel: Taking time to remember

By Marney Blom

Today is Yom HaZikaron, the day Israel honours the memory of its fallen soldiers and civilians – ones who have lost their lives through war and acts of terrorism.

“We remember with sadness the young lives cut short – each and every one of them an entire world,” said IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

From the moment the modern State of Israel was born, it became a target of annihilation – an unwelcome member of the hostile neighbourhood of the Middle East.  As a result, 23,085 Israeli soldiers, police officers and innocent civilians have been caught in the crossfire of war and terrorism, 102 more names than last year.

“We are here thanks to Israel’s fighters who joined the struggle for our existence, thanks to those who survived the wars and thanks to those who fell,” remarked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his weekly cabinet meeting.  “We do not forget, even for a second, that we are here thanks to the fallen.”

In communities throughout Israel last night, an 8 p.m. national siren was immediately followed by memorial ceremonies in memory of fallen local residents.  A second siren sounded across Israel at 11 a.m. this morning.  To view the public observance of Yom HaZikaron click LINK.

Marney Blom is news director for the Acts News Network.

Copyright 2013 © Acts News Network, Inc.

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September 30, 2016

When the Kings of the earth gather in Jerusalem

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PM Netanyahu and wife Sara, Pres. Obama, King Felipe VI.

By Marney Blom

Today marked an unprecedented day in history: the kings of the earth gathered in Jerusalem.

Ninety foreign dignitaries representing 70 nations came to pay their final respects to the last of Israel’s founding fathers. 93-year-old Shimon Peres served as both prime minister and president of Israel, in a political career that spanned nearly 70 years. After suffering a stroke on September 13th, Peres passed away last Wednesday.

On simple white plastic folding chairs under a shade-covering on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, 30 former and present heads of state sat side-by-side Peres’ grieving family, friends, Israel’s chief rabbis, Israeli military and political elite.

“He belonged to the generation that emerged from bondage to liberty, that struck roots in our ancient homeland, and wielded the Sword of David in its defense,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the crowd of 5000 attending the state funeral. “Shimon made a monumental contribution to guaranteeing our capacity to defend ourselves for generations.”

Many of the male dignitaries wore kippahs, including Great Britain’s Prince Charles and King Felipe VI of Spain, while others like France’s President Francois Holland and the leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas chose to go without.

Counted among the Canadian delegation were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former PMs Stephen Harper and Jean Chretien, and Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose.

“A bountiful life driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams — this was Shimon Peres’ life. This is the state of Israel,” eulogized the American president Barak Obama, flanked by security detail. “This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century.”

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Funeral of Shimon Peres

Today’s tribute to Shimon Peres marked the largest gathering of international dignitaries since the 1995 funeral of assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzak Rabin, and it came within days of Rosh Hashanah.

Members of Israel’s rabbinic community took note.

Rabbi Yosef Berger told Breaking Israel News that this sudden gathering of world leaders just prior to Rosh Hashanah could signify “the final stages before Messiah.” He pointed to Psalms 47:2-4, the Scripture passage read before the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, which clearly exalts the Lord God as the king over all the rulers of the earth.

“For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.  He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet (NIV).

… set the stage for the unfolding of even greater prophetic events to come.
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Prince Charles, John Kerry

Berger also noted that the portion of Scripture read in synagogues all over the world this week, Deuteronomy 29:10, clearly depicts the scene witnessed on Mount Herzl today.

“All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God — your leaders and chief men, your elders, and officials, and all the other men of Israel…” (NIV).

Before Peres’ sons Yoni and Nehemia, and daughter Prof. Tsvia Walden came forward to read their eulogies, soloist David D’or sang Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King), a Jewish prayer for forgiveness and mercy traditionally sung on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It’s stirring lyrics are a confession of sin, a cry for compassion, and a plea for an end to war and trouble — hallmarks of the messianic age.

Today’s great gathering in Jerusalem was a clear demonstration of the profound impact tiny Israel has on the global community. Unknowingly, it may have also set the stage for the unfolding of even greater prophetic events to come.

Marney Blom is news director for the Acts News Network.

Copyright 2016 © Acts News Network, Inc.

 

 

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June 9, 2016

Jerusalem Day victory marches on …

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Jerusalem Day “Dance of the Flags” march

By Marney Blom

Late last week I attended a press briefing conducted by the Israeli police spokesperson, in preparation for the Jerusalem Day “Dance of the Flags” march.  New security measures were to be implemented in response to the clashes that had tarnished last year’s march.  Stone throwing by Arab Palestinians, and flared tempers by both Arab spectators and Jewish march participants had left several police officers and a French television cameraman injured at the Damascus Gate entrance of the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld, foreign press spokesman for the Israel Police, informed us that five new media areas would be strategically positioned at the Damascus Gate and along Hagai Street, the artery of the march running through the Muslim quarter.  Even with the newly enforced security measures in place, the organization Ir Amin (“City of Nations”) petitioned the High Court Justice, albeit unsuccessfully, to re-route the procession to avoid the Muslim quarter.

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Over 30,000 Israelis march on Jerusalem Day

This year, however, the Jerusalem Day march proceeded without incident.  With over 2,000 police officers patrolling the route, more than 30,000 predominantly religious Zionist youth marched the streets waving flags and banners while singing and dancing in exuberant celebration.  The procession ended at the Western Wall plaza where it spilled into an already over-capacity crowd.  Although it was barely possible to move among the tens of thousands of jubilant flag-bearing Israelis, it was very easy to get swept up by the atmosphere of joy and celebration.

It has been 49 years since the miracle of Jerusalem’s reunification, yet the children of Israel continue to mark this day with a dance of victory.

To see the Acts News Network Jerusalem Day news brief click HERE.

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