Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship. While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering (Latin oblatio) can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts. For offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring, the term libation is used.
The centrality of sacrifices in Ancient Israel is clear, with much of the Bible, particularly the opening chapters of the book Leviticus, detailing the exact method of bringing sacrifices. Sacrifices were either blood sacrifices (animals) or bloodless offerings (grain and wine). Blood sacrifices were divided into the burnt offerings (Hebrew: עלה קרבנות) in which the whole animal was burnt, guilt offerings (in which part was burnt and part left for the priest) and peace offerings (in which similarly only part of the animal was burnt and the rest eaten in ritually pure conditions). The prophets point out that prayer and sacrifices are only a part of serving God and need to be accompanied by inner morality and goodness.
The nightmares still come sometimes, yanking Kevin Lunsmann back. He forgets he is safe in his own bedroom, guitar leaning against the wall, cats curled up asleep, in his family’s little yellow ranch house in Lynchburg. He forgets classes at Brookville High School, football games with his friends, learning to drive, all the normal routines of a typical Virginia kid.
In his nightmares he’s back in the Philippines, hungry and afraid, a prisoner of Islamic terrorists.
Kevin was 14 and on summer vacation with his mother when they were kidnapped.
They didn’t know at first who their captors were. They didn’t know that the men in camouflage fatigues who surrounded them on a beach barking orders in a language they didn’t understand were part of an al-Qaeda-linked group known for beheading its victims.
But as they huddled at gunpoint in a boat speeding south, a full moon glowing over a sea empty of even a single fishing boat that might send up an alarm, Kevin’s mother looked at her son, and she began to pray.
Kevin and his mom, Gerfa, had been in the Philippines for two weeks in 2011, on an island near where she had grown up, lapped by clear blue water and white sand, behind a tangle of mangroves.
Gerfa had moved to the United States as a teenager when an older sister married a U.S. naval officer, but she loved to visit her family in the Philippines. They stayed in a small hut on stilts next to relatives’ homes on a remote part of Tictabon Island, toward the southern end of the string of islands that make up the Southeast Asian nation.
Written By: Saniya Ahmad
Dear person who had a bad eye,
I apologize for my rude behavior. I should not have stared at you so incredulously for having a bad eye. I should not have stared at you because you were different. It wasn't you fault that you were born with it. You did not ask to be this different. I’m sure you must have had a difficult time going about, with people awkwardly looking at your eye, just like I did.
You were so polite, helping me buy the Converse I had come to buy. You even went out of your way to give me a 10% discount. You even told me I could replace my Converse if I didn't find them too comfortable. You told me to come back soon for the new stock. You told me to have a nice day. Basically, you were nothing short of a perfect gentleman.
But I kept staring at your eye. While on one hand, I was trying my level best to pretend you were just as normal as I was, on the other hand, I couldn't stop thanking God it was you and not me. I felt ashamed of myself for ostracizing you from my definition of normal but I couldn't help it and I want to apologize to you for that.
I’m sure you must have met a lot of people in your life who mocked you or jeered at you because of your eye. You must have experienced people cringing at you when they see your face. You must have faced rejection while making friends, while applying for jobs, while just trying to live your life as normally as you possibly could. And I apologize for that. You see, us, normal people, we have a disability too, of the mental kind. We just can’t accept people who have physical disabilities. We can’t “hang out” with people who have a defect of any sort, because some time or the other, we end up letting them know we think they’re abnormal, they’re peculiar, they’re weird, that they’re just not like us.
All I want to say is a sorry and a thank you. A sorry for being so rude, for making you feel like you weren't, when actually you are more normal than most of us “normal” beings. A thank you for being kind and polite even though I was technically very rude to you. I don’t have much to say because I am not able to express my feelings into words but in the words of Nirvana:
What else should I write
I don’t have the right
What else should I be
I don’t have the right
What else should I be
There are things in life which just happen suddenly or just happen because they have to happen and end up teaching you a lot and end up changing your thoughts or the way you perceive things.
It was evening time when I had to rush towards the market, the sun was setting and darkness was taking over when I reached the market I saw a cute little boy sitting on a bench. The shops were about to close so I ran towards them ignoring the kid, shopped a little and then came back.
The boy was still sitting on the bench, I saw he had a poster in his hand with words written ' Help me Study ' , he was such a cute little kid that I couldn't help but stop in front of him and stare. He looked like an Asian (and later on I came to know that he is from Pakistan) When he notice that I was standing near him he said in his cute voice ' A penny please! Help me study please '.
I checked my pockets but I barely had a penny in my pocket after shopping let alone some amount worth giving. So instead of giving anything I just smiled at him and told him that for now I don't have anything but will help him tomorrow if he is around.
I thought about leaving but then don't know why I sat beside him and started talking. Ever since I have been to the UK, this was the first time I was talking with a kid and it made me excited, people are so conscious here usually and don't even let you touch their kid let alone sit and talk.
Education is free for most of the locals here in the UK but most of the kids who come from abroad either study in the schools opened by their own country men, and are a little costly.
He told me that he has no parents (after further investigation I came to know that he lost his parents in a car accident and that none of his relatives in Pakistan wanted him back, his parents had moved to the USA for completing their PHD) and is living at a nearby place* and he also told that he wanted to study in a proper school so his guardian* left him here to collect some pennies. I had seen few kids asking for pennies for some dummies but I thought that was a new form of begging.
We both kept on talking until his guardian came and took him away, I came back and quickly called a couple of friends and discuss with them an idea that came in my mind. I thought I will try and collect some funds for him, as much as I can.
The next day I went back to the market, helped the kid from my side for now as much as I could, I had already taken the address and information about him from his guardian. For now a total amount of 51000 PKR ( $500) are required to kick start the education of the kid.
All episode gave me an idea! That I can actually help kids in Pakistan who want to study but are unable to do so. They can be anyone, from our servant's kids to people around us who are poor and can't afford the education of their kids. Why just a on off thing? It has always been an aim to open schools in each of the provinces of Pakistan for kids who can't afford or study due to different reasons, so perhaps this is the chance when I can start doing what I always wanted to.
Next day I went to the University and discussed the idea with few other friends who to my amazement agreed to help me and also have discussed the idea with a few of my friends in Pakistan and in few other countries and for now the response seems to be good. I have asked one of my professor, who was born in Pakistan but has been living in the UK for over 30 years now to help me manage the funds I collect.
The plan is very simple. Identify a kid in Pakistan, estimate his educational cost for a year, collect funds, pay for his education. Few people are already identifying a few kids and you guys can do that too.
I know it is a difficult task maybe, maybe because people say they will help but when the time comes they don't and because everyone earns for their own self and giving away their money for a cause they don't know much about may not be easy for them. I also know it can take time, months or maybe years to gain the trust and make this thing a success but I am sure this is something worth trying.
Making it Possible.
We have named this campaign as Help Me Study.
We will be using the blog's facebook page for promoting the cause as making a new facebook page and asking people to like it will become troublesome and because many people know about the blog and the page already, we will also try and get a webpage for this soon, social networking will be done through twitter once again from my and the blog's twitter accounts and trending.
My friend, Amna Javed will be responsible for collecting funds from Pakistan. She will also be campaigning for it in her university and later on collect funds, this will be our first proper try. Another friend Rabia Nasir from UAE will also campaign for this in her school and hopefully soon people will know more about it. Which ever event takes place in relation to the campaign the pics will be posted on as many platforms as possible. All the money collected, the amount and the spending will be regularly updated on the blog and the page.
Will request you people who are reading this to help in whatever way you can. If you want any more information, want to help, or want to know anything feel free to contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at +447881935815 , thank you.
You can send your donations to.
Note: The website link (if we get it), the blog page link, and other contact details will be update here soon.
Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them.
As she helps the children dress for school, Basnet might appear to be a housemother of sorts. But the real story is more complicated.
All of these children once lived in Nepal's prisons. This 28-year-old woman has saved every one of them from a life behind bars.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world -- according to UNICEF, 55% of the population lives below the international poverty line -- so it lacks the social safety net that exists in most Western nations. Space is extremely limited in the few children's homes affiliated with the government.
So when no local guardian is available, an arrested parent often must choose between bringing their children to jail with them or letting them live on the streets. Nepal's Department of Prison Management estimates 80 children live in the nation's prisons.
"It's not fair for (these) children to live in the prison because they haven't done anything wrong," said Basnet, who started a nongovernmental organization to help. "My mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls."
Basnet is one of several in Nepal who have started groups to get children out of prison. Since 2005, she has assisted more than 100 children of incarcerated parents. She runs a day care program for children under 6 and a residential home where mostly older children receive education, food, medical care and a chance to live a more normal life.
"I had a very fortunate life, with a good education," Basnet said. "I should give it to somebody else."
Basnet was just 21 when she discovered her calling, she said. While her family ran a successful business, she was studying social work in college. As part of her studies, she visited a women's prison and was appalled by the dire conditions. She also was shocked to discover children living behind bars.
One baby girl grabbed Basnet's shawl and gave her a big smile.
"I felt she was calling me," Basnet said. "I went back home and told my parents about it. They told me it was a normal thing and that in a couple of days I'd forget it. But I couldn't forget."
Basnet decided to start a day care to get incarcerated children out from behind the prison walls. While her parents were against the idea at first -- she had no job or way to sustain it financially -- eventually they helped support her. But prison officials, government workers and even some of the imprisoned mothers she approached doubted that someone her age could handle such a project.
"When I started, nobody believed in me," Basnet said. "People thought I was crazy. They laughed at me."
But Basnet was undaunted. She got friends to donate money, and she rented a building in Kathmandu to house her new organization, the Early Childhood Development Center. She furnished it largely by convincing her parents that they needed a new refrigerator or kitchen table; when her parents' replacement would arrive, she'd whisk the old one to her center.
Just two months after she first visited the prison, Basnet began to care for five children. She picked them up at the prison every weekday morning, brought them to her center and then returned them in the afternoon. Basnet's program was the first of its kind in Kathmandu; when she started, some of the children in her care had never been outside a prison.
Two years later, Basnet established the Butterfly Home, a children's home where she herself has lived for the past five years. While she now has a few staff members who help her, Basnet is still very hands on.
"We do cooking, washing, shopping," she said. "It's amazing, I never get tired. (The children) give me the energy. ... The smiles of my children keep me motivated."
Coordinating all of this is no easy task. But at the Butterfly Home, the older kids help care for the younger ones and everyone pitches in with household chores. The atmosphere feels like an extremely large family, a feeling that's fostered by Basnet, who smothers the children with love. The children reciprocate by calling her "Mamu," which means "Mommy."
"I don't ever get a day off, but if I [didn't] have the children around me, it would be hard," she said. "When I'm with them, I'm happy."
All the children are at the Butterfly Home with the consent of the imprisoned parent. When Basnet hears about an imprisoned child, she'll visit the prison -- even in remote areas of the country -- and tell the parent what she can provide. If the parent agrees, Basnet brings the child back.
She is still eager, however, for the children to maintain relationships with their parents. During school holidays, she sends the younger children to the prisons to visit, and she brings them food, clothing and fresh water during their stay.
Ultimately, Basnet wants the families to reunite outside prison, and 60 of her children have been able to do just that.
Parents like Kum Maya Tamang are grateful for Basnet's efforts. Tamang has spent the last seven years in a women's prison in Kathmandu. When she was convicted on drug charges, she had no other options for child care, so she brought her two daughters to jail with her. When she heard about Basnet's program, she decided to let them go live with her.
"If Pushpa wasn't around, (they) could have never gotten an education ... (they) would have probably had to live on the streets," she said. "I feel she treats (them) the way I would."
Tamang's oldest daughter, Laxmi, said she can't imagine life without Basnet.
"My life would have been dark without her," said Laxmi, 14. "I would've probably always had a sad life. But now I won't, because of Pushpa."
In 2009, Basnet started a program to teach the parents how to make handicrafts, which she sells to raise money for the children's care. Both mothers and fathers participate. It not only gives them skills that might help them support themselves when they're released, but it also helps them feel connected to their children.
"Often, they think that they're useless because they're in prison," Basnet said. "I want to make them feel that they are contributing back to us."
Making ends meet is always a struggle, though. The children help by making greeting cards that Basnet sells as part of her handicraft business. In the past, she has sold her own jewelry and possessions to keep the center going.
Her biggest concern is trying to find ways to do more to give the children a better future. She recently set up a bank account to save for their higher educations, and one day she hopes to buy or build a house so they'll always have a place to call home. Their happiness is always foremost in her thoughts.
"This is what I want to do with my life," she said. "It makes me feel (good) when I see that they are happy, but it makes me want to work harder. ... I want to fulfill all their dreams."