Wednesday, December 5, 2012

LTNI Presents: the James 2:8 Benefit --bet you wish you were there!!

Keynote Speaker Michael Coren blew the socks off his audience with his unedited opinion of religious intolerance in the Middle East, and how Christians are suffering around the world.
Love Thy Neighbour International (LTNI), a not-for-profit human rights organization dedicated to the promotion of religious freedom worldwide and international development projects for religious minority communities in Pakistan held their first annual ‘James 2:8 Benefit’ on Friday, November 30th, 2012 at the Grand Olympia Hospitality and Convention Center in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Through this event, LTNI raised funds towards their latest project to build a Primary School and Health Clinic in Youhanabad, Pakistan. The benefit was very well attended by well over half of the expected 220 guests despite challenging weather conditions and extreme traffic delays spanning across the greater Hamilton and Toronto areas.

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel presents MP Harold Albrecht and MP David Sweet with some Team LTNI gear and Pakistani sweets!
Special guests who joined Team LTNI that evening included Federal Members of Parliament David Sweet (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) and Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga); Mark Dotzert, National Councilor of the Conservative Party of Canada; Rt. Honorable Reverend Sir James Thomas and Krystyna Thomas; Dr. Peter and Tracey Marshall of Victory International and Faith International Churches; Pastors Tony and Vicky Schleiffer from Faith FM93.9 Brantford; keynote speaker Michael Coren, author, journalist and host of The Arena on Sun News Network; Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association; and Cherrie Anderson, Hal St John, and Nico Cox of the British electro-pop band Ooberfuse. Many thanks to Member Parliament Joe Daniel (Don Valley East), although MP Daniel could not make it due to the unfortunate weather we sincerely appreciate his support!

Wilson Chowdhry, BPCA and Ooberfuse awarded ELCSA's by LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel along with MP Albrecht and MP Sweet.
Wilson Chowdhry, BPCA presented a brief summary outlining the situation of Christians in Pakistan and the history surrounding religious intolerance; while Serena Samuel (Media Coordinator, LTNI) discussed the project’s details and how LTNI would create indigenous income sources to support the school and clinic’s sustainability.

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel chats with Michael Coren and Wilson Chowdhry, BPCA.
Chowdhry commented:
"Pakistani Christians face increasing discrimination and persecution yet any voice of opposition is either killed or assassinated, it is essential that world humanitarians speak out for them.  I was pleased to share our research with Christians in Canada who share our passion for justice for those suffering in the homeland and are challenging for change."

Michael Coren, who is well known for his knowledge and research on international issues specifically surrounding the Middle East, U.S. and Europe; is an avid supporter of religious freedom in Canada and is not one to shy away from speaking the plain truth. He did not disappoint in his speech during the evening. His criticisms of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws were echoed throughout the evening by all guests.

The evening also featured an incredible special performance by Ooberfuse featuring Wizard MC, including several songs; specifically ‘Free Asia Bibi’ and ‘Blood Cries Out’ which they wrote in tribute to Pakistan’s former Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti who was assassinated in March, 2011 for his fervent stand against the Blasphemy Laws and support of Asia Bibi.

Ooberfuse Performs 'FREE ASIA BIBI'. Left to Right: Nico Cox, Wilson Chowdhry (Wizard MC), Cherrie Anderson, Hal St John.
LTNI has created an annual award christened the ELCSA (‘Excellence in Leadership and Community Service Award’) to be presented to individuals, families or groups that have impacted their local/international communities through their service. The ELSCA was revealed at the James 2:8 Benefit and honoured several couples including Dr. Peter and Pastor Tracey Marshall of Victory International and Faith International Churches; Pastors Tony and Vicky Schleiffer from Tabernacle of the Congregation in Waterford, and Faith FM 93.9 Radio in Brantford; Mark and Colleen Dotzert, Mark is National Councilor of the CPC, he and Colleen are both extremely active with local organizations such as LTNI and are also small business owners; Rt. Honourable Reverend Sir James Thomas and Krystyna Thomas, who have both served as missionaries around the world in countries like Croatia, Jamaica, and Mexico. A special edition of ELCSA was also created to honour Wilson Chowdhry of BPCA and Ooberfuse for their dedication, support, and the awareness that they have raised for the issues faced by Christians in Pakistan. Needless to say, every recipient more than deserved the recognition and Team LTNI would like to thank each of them for their work.

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel presents an ELCSA to Dr. Peter and Pastor Tracey Marshall with MP Harold Albrecht and MP David Sweet.
We would like to thank all of our incredible Team including Chair Vincent Samuel, who single-handedly invited the majority of all our guests; Vice-Chair Edward Howell; Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel, for acquiring and coordinating all our corporate and business sponsors; Youth and Young Adult Director Zarin Arif, for her support in planning the event; General Secretary Nadeem Akhtar; Treasurer Rafique Masih; Media Coordinator Serena Samuel for James 2:8 marketing and graphic design, as well as the audio-visual presentations; Raheel Masih; Simon Arif; and all our other members and board members.

Team LTNI members, Left to Right: Simon Arif, Treasurer Rafique Masih, Nuzat Masih, Kushnood Arif, General Secretary Nadeem Akhtar.

We would also like to thank all our wonderful volunteers –those that were able to brave the storm and come out and those that could not— and the amazing people that took up the job to support us when we needed extra help; specifically Sophia Athan and her two fabulous sons; Julia Horton; Aisha De Marzo; Sharon Doughtry; Mary Matthews (D’Souza); Mary Nundy; Nick Lauwers; Elizabeth Aravanitis; Rohin Nundy; Gratian D’Souza; Tabassum Iqbal; Lana from Tabernacle of the Congregation; Julie Scott and her family; Thanh Campbell; our incredible camera and video volunteers; and the entire Victory/Faith International Praise & Worship Team led by Colvin Chambers.

Members of Tabernacle of the Congregation including ELCSA awardee Krystyna Thomas, Pastors Tony and Vicky Schleiffer, next to Mary Nundy, Rohin Nundy, and others --closest to camera: MP Harold Albrecht.

Thanks to our sponsors including Hosanna Printers Inc.; Elie Assaf (the best hairstylist in the world!) of Eliegante Hair Design & Spa; Sharon from Ceragem, Hamilton; Metro Hamilton; Costco Wholesale, Ancaster; Sobeys, Ancaster; Sweet Paradise, Hamilton; Montforts Mediterranean Restaurant, Burlington; Faith FM Radio Brantford; Munchies Coffee House & BARKery; Victory International Church, Stoney Creek; Tabernacle of the Congregation, Waterford; Zion Assembly, Kitchener; Abe and Mini Moore of SuperClubs Cuba; Sunny Gill Photography; Muslims Facing Tomorrow; Eric Fahim; a Passion For Living, Ancaster, Dr. Roy Eappen, Cardiogenix Medical Center, Montreal; Dr. Roy’s Thoughts (Blog); Punjab Sports Canada, Brampton; JS Insurance & Financial Innovation Inc.; and everyone else who was able to support us!

Rt. Honourable Reverend Sir James Thomas raffled out an incredible array of door prizes and had the entire room in stitches with his hilarious jokes.
If we have missed anyone’s name, you are by no means unappreciated. Everyone that has supported us in any way has a special place in our hearts and our prayers. You are all incredible individuals without whom, our mission would not be possible.

God bless,



Left to Right: Julie Scott; LTNI Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel; Rt. Hon. Rev. Sir James Thomas; Mary Matthews (D'Souza).

LTNI Treasurer Rafique Masih and wife Nuzat.

Some of Victory International Church's incredible leadership!

LTNI Youth and Young Adult Director Zarin Arif with two of our handsome young volunteers!

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel introduces Pastor Vicky Shleiffer to Keynote Speaker Michael Coren --might we add that his books totally sold out that evening! You should all go and pick one up yourselves a copy of Heresy at your local bookstore ASAP!

Nick Lauwers and Elizabeth Aravanitis alonside LTNI Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel.

ELCSA awardee Krystyna Thomas chats with Michael Coren.

LTNI Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel with the lovely Almut Sweet.

LTNI Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel with MP David Sweet.

More of our fabulous Victory International Church family!

One of our LTNI Charity T-shirts: 'Know Jesus Know Peace'.

Team LTNI artists display their fabulous work!

Team MP Sweet!

LTNI Public Relations Director Phoebe Samuel interviews MP David Sweet.

Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Rev. Sir James Thomas, LTNI Treasurer Rafique Masih, Simon Arif, Raheel Masih (in back), and Wilson Chowdhry of BPCA.

Guests arriving at the James 2:8 Benefit.

Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Rev. Sir James Thomas, Krystyna Thomas, Pastors Vicky and Tony Schleiffer.

Check out the fancy decor --many thanks to Lisa from Grand Olympia Hospitality and Convention Center.

Funny stuff: our head table listening avidly to Sir James!

Bethel Gospel Tabernacle supporters! Left to Right: Mrs. & Mr. Larry Chaput, Pastor Gene Clark, Mr. & Mrs. Elie Assaf and another wonderful guest!

Caught in Discussion!
Left to Right: Chris, Eleni Aravanitis and Elizabeth Aravanitis!

Ooberfuse's Cherrie Anderson, lovely as always --poses for a photo.

Our amazing sound guy for the evening Gratian D'Souza!

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel presents an ELCSA to Rt. Hon. Rev. Sir James Thomas and Krystyna Thomas alonside MP Harold Albrecht and MP David Sweet.

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel presents an ELCSA to Pastors Tony and Vicky Schleiffer alongside MP Harold Albrecht and MP David Sweet.

Ooberfuse ft. Wizard MC, they were AMAZING!

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel and Vice-Chair Edward Howell joking around with Michael Coren.

LTNI Vice-Chair Edward Howell has the honour of welcoming to the stage keynote speaker and special guest Michael Coren!

LTNI Chair Vincent Samuel jovially thanks everyone on behalf of Team LTNI!

More Pictures and Video Coming SOON!

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