Persecution Unveiled Cause

Persecution Unveiled Cause
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Persecution Unveiled has established this cause to educate people about the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in the US & worldwide. Mission Raising awareness to the growing tide of bigotry and hatred toward Christians around the world has become a burden on those trying to wake up those who cherish religious freedom as a God given right. Persecution Unveiled has been called by God to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to speak up and act on behalf of those who have no voice. Email
persecutionunveiled@gmail.com

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hostility to Religion Rising Globally, Christians Targeted in 144 Nations: Pew Study



By Brandon Showalter
The Christian Post


New research reveals that religious hostility is on the rise globally, as government-sponsored restrictions and non-state actor assaults on religious practice have grown for the second year in a row.

The Pew Research Center's ninth annual study, which was released Thursday, on restrictions on religion around the world charted the direction of religious freedom in 198 countries in 2016, and found a notable overall increase from 2015. Whether from government decrees hostile to religious faith or terror groups committing atrocities against religious minorities in their societies, antagonism toward people because of their religion is trending upward.

"More than a quarter (28%) of countries had 'high' or 'very high' levels of government restrictions on religion in 2016, an increase from 25% the year before. This is the largest share of countries in these categories since 2013," the report reads.

Continue reading here



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jack Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop Sees 3 Times More Customers Since Supreme Court Victory

Christian baker Jack Phillips distributes free cookies to both supporters and
opponents after his Supreme Court victory in Lakewood, Colorado, on June 8, 2018.

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post


Jack Phillips told The Christian Post on Thursday that his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, has seen three times more customers since his Supreme Court victory.
"We have had so many people coming by to support us as the case has gone on, and there has been an outpouring of love and support since the decision came down. The state's targeting of my beliefs cost me 40 percent of my business and forced me from 10 employees down to four. But we're so happy to be busy doing what we do best at our shop," the Christian baker told CP in an email.
"We're also eager to start designing custom wedding cakes again," Phillips added. "A cake is a canvas, and I'm really looking forward to creating beautiful art that celebrates such a special day."
Close to 400 supporters lined up at Masterpiece Cakeshop to celebrate his Supreme Court victory earlier this month, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers defended him. Cookies were offered to the LGBT activists who came out to protest.

As for the response from the community, he said that even though one can never get used to death threats, for the most part people have been supportive and understanding of his position.
"Since we won, we've seen far more support than negativity. Even people who don't believe what I do about marriage, including many who identify as LGBT, have been so encouraging. Tolerance is a two-way street. If we want freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to those with whom we disagree. Most people get that," Phillips told CP.
"While we've seen much support, it hasn't all been positive. Throughout the case, I received a lot of harassment, profanity-laced phone calls, and even some death threats. The threats got so bad at one point that my wife was afraid to set foot inside our own shop," he continued.
"Even after we won the case, a group of people showed up at my shop to protest. I offered them cookies and told them to stop by anytime."
The baker explained: "Certainly, you never get used to hostility, misrepresentation, or death threats. We've had to deal with our share of hatred directed at us. But most people in our community and our customers know that we serve everyone — we just don't celebrate every event or express every message."

ADF published a YouTube video published last week that shows long lines of people, customers and supporters congratulating Phillips at his shop in Colorado, ordering and enjoying food items, and speaking out for free speech.
"A lot of people are coming out to show their support and encourage us. People have been praying across the country and around the world, it is just phenomenal," Phillips says in the video. "Our God is so good."


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Communist Authorities Remove Jesus Images, Destroy Major Way of the Cross Pilgrimage in China

Christians worship in the rubble of their demolished church
in China's central Henan province. 
(Photo: China Aid}

By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

Communist officials in China's Henan province have reportedly destroyed the major Way of the Cross pilgrimage site, and have also removed images of Jesus Christ. UCAnews reported that the demolition of the Catholic holy site took place last week in Tianjiajing village of Anyang Diocese.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin of Anyang was apparently told one month ago that the Way of the Cross must be brought down, but was not provided a reason for the decision.

As Catholic News Agency explains, the Way of the Cross pilgrimage leads to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For over 100 years, thousands of pilgrims have traveled annually from nearby provinces on July 16, though the government has attempted to limit the number of pilgrims each year.

It was built in 1903-05 as a means to thank the Virgin Mary for helping missionaries during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. As many as 10,000 people are said to have visited the shrine on July 16, 1986.

A source, who wasn't named, shared what happened on the evening of June 5:

"Excavators and pickup trucks were driven to the site at night because authorities feared there would be too many church members in the daytime," the man said.
Local nuns are said to have taken photographs and videos of the demolition.

Religious sources said that the Communist party's policy seeks to "allow Catholicism to exist but not develop."

Christians have been facing rising persecution in Henan and across China in the last several years, with hundreds of church rooftop crosses demolished in what the government says is building code violations, though activists have argued is an attempt to stifle the growth of the faith.

Followers of Jesus in China have cried out for prayers, warning in April that Communist authorities are intensifying their campaign against them, targeting both officially sanctioned churches and underground congregations.

"The condition is deteriorating, but the obstacles tie the house churches together and direct them to God," a believer named Li from a house church in Nanyang told watchdog group ChinaAid at the time.
Of particular concern has been China's revised Religious Affairs Regulations document that came into effect February 1, placing further restrictions on the lives of citizens and believers.

Government officials have said that they want Chinese faith communities to move "to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China's national circumstances."

The Communist party has also previously targeted images and photos of Jesus.

Back in November 2017, officials told thousands of villagers in southeastern China that if they want assistance with poverty and illness relief, they must replace their posters of Christ with photographs of Chinese President Xi Jinping.




Monday, June 11, 2018

Assembly of God Pastor and Family Held Hostage for 4 Days Released by Captors in Burkina Faso

A Church in Burkina Faso.

By Worldwide Watch
Christian Post

The Christian pastor who was abducted last Sunday with his family in Burkina Faso's northeastern province of Soum has been released.

Local sources told national broadcaster Omega Radio that Pastor Pierre Boena, his son David and his daughter-in-law, Ami Sawadogo, were released on June 7.

The report does not specifically mention the two granddaughters, Fasne-wendé Ouédraogo and Pélagie Sawadogo, who were also abducted during the raid on Sunday, but does state that the pastor was released "with all the other members of his family in Malian territory."

The reason for their release is not known, nor is it known whether a ransom was paid.

Pierre Boena, a pastor with an Assembly of God church, was kidnapped last Sunday evening in his village of Bilhore, near the border with Mali.

At the time of the attack he was at home with four family members and a church member, Pauline Sawadogo, who was visiting with her two daughters, Sanata and Zoenabou, local sources told World Watch Monitor.

These sources suggested that Pauline and her daughters might have been kidnapped along with Pastor Boena's family on June 3. Speaking on Thursday they said the whereabouts of Pauline and her daughters remain unknown.

Meanwhile there has still been no news regarding catechist Basnéré Mathieu Sawadogo, and his wife Alizeta, who were abducted two weeks earlier. Mathieu serves as a catechist at their parish, Notre Dame des Apôtres (Our Lady of the Apostles) in Arbinda, 62 miles from Djibo.

Kidnappers have previously targeted Djibo. Eighteen months ago an Australian couple were taken hostage from the city by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Ken and Jocelyn Elliott had run a 120-bed clinic for 40 years until their abduction in January 2016. Jocelyn was released a month later, but her husband remains in captivity.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent kidnappings but World Watch Monitor understands that the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Fulani ethnic group.

Some relatives have been able to speak over the phone with the hostages, who told their family that they were in good health and were being treated well by their abductors.


Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith. Follow us on Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spain's New Atheist Prime Minister Looking to Integrate Muslims, Remove Catholicism From Schools


By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post


Atheist politician Pedro Sánchez was sworn in as Spain's new Prime Minister on Saturday, for the first time in the country's modern history without the presence of a crucifix or a Bible at the ceremony.

In his oath there was no mention of God, and he chose to use the Spanish word for "promise" instead of "swear."
"I promise by my conscience and honor to faithfully fulfill the obligations of the office of president of the government with loyalty to the King, and to keep and enforce the Constitution as the fundamental norm of the State," Sánchez said on Saturday in the translation provided by CNN.
Catholic publication The Tablet laid out several concerns on Wednesday with Sánchez and his PSOE Socialist Party platform, accusing them of being anti-Catholic but pro-Islam.

It pointed out that Sánchez has vowed to remove religious symbolism from institutions, as well as to end public funding for the Catholic Church, which is the largest church in the country. Additionally, he has said he will remove religion from the school curriculum.

At the same time, he has offered a hand to Spain's minority Islamic community, saying that he will pay special attention to the "full incorporation of Islamic communities into the European project and for the recognition of the Arab contribution to the European culture."

In other statements he has said that he does not want "any religious denomination having preferential treatment," though he has also said that he will support legislation "in which ideological, religious, cultural and gender convictions and expressions are respected."

Sánchez has in the past referred to himself as an atheist, explaining his beliefs in a 2014 interview with El Plural:
"I am an atheist and I believe that religion should not be in the classrooms, it has to be in the churches, in the classrooms you have to form citizenship, not people with religious beliefs, that corresponds to the private sphere."
The CIA World Factbook notes that 9.1 percent of Spain's population identifies specifically as atheist, along with another 18.4 percent who say they are non-believers. Two-third's of the population, or 67.8 percent of people, say they are Catholics.

Evangelicals, who are a small minority, have been fighting bills in the country that they say is pulling it away from its traditional roots. The Spanish Evangelical Alliance campaigned against a bill last year seeking to strip parents of their rights to stop their children from undergoing hormone treatment and sex change surgeries.

The evangelicals argued at the time that the belief that gender is fluid is "dogma," warning that cross-hormonal treatment in children leads to "deep and irreversible traumas."  Openly atheist leaders in Europe have been increasing in numbers over recent years. France, Croatia and Greece have also been led by non-religious figures.



Woman Saves Pastor From Angry Hindu and Muslim Crowd by Saying Jesus Christ Transformed Her Life

Christian children light candles in memory of those who died in a bomb 
attack on a church in Baniarchar on June 3, 2006.
By Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post

A woman in Bangladesh saved a pastor from an angry crowd of Muslims and Hindus who were accusing him of converting people to his church, by testifying how she has been transformed by Jesus Christ.

Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International told Mission Network News that the woman, who wasn't named, stepped up to the crowd at the village near the Indian border and said that she invited the pastor, named Paul, to speak with her.
"I know there are people who want to know the truth about God. I want them to experience the forgiveness that I have found in Jesus Christ," the woman told the crowd
"I want my family, my friends, my neighbors to have the power for daily living that Jesus provides through His Holy Spirit. The transformation of life," she added.
Allen explained that the crowd was "stumped" by the testimony, as it went against their accusations that the pastor was manipulating or bribing people to come to his church.
"This was truly a grassroots movement from within their own community," Allen said.
He revealed that his missionary group is looking to help evangelists and church planters in rural parts of Bangladesh to reach more people who are seeking to hear the Gospel.

They are there, they're crying and saying 'Please feed us, please take care of us.' And so FMI would love to be able to support more church planters in these hard-to-reach, creative access places," Allen noted.

Christians have faced various attacks over the years in the Islamic-majority Bangladesh, where they are a distinct minority.  Radical terror groups, such as the Islamic State, have also carried out killings, including hacking to death a Christian man, a gardener at his church, back in 2016.Mgr.

Theotonius Gomes, the Bishop Emeritus of Dhaka, said at the time that Christians are facing increasing dangers from Islamic fanatical groups that want to put nonbelievers to death.
"We are aware, concerned but not alarmed. Fanatical groups are spreading death, but we hope that the government can control them. The pastoral and social activities of the Church continues," the bishop said then.
Christian Post report continues here

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith. Follow us on Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Supreme Court Same-Sex Wedding Cake Ruling: What About Other Cases on Christian Dissent to Gay Marriage?

Supporters of Colorado baker Jack Phillips hold signs in front of the 
United States 
Supreme Court as arguments in Masterpiece 
Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on December 5, 2017.

By Samuel Smith
Christian Post


Although the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips, the court did not definitively rule whether baking a cake for a same-sex wedding constitutes speech and still leaves questions about how other cases involving Christian business owners and same-sex weddings will play out, lawyers say.

The nation's high court ruled 7-2 on Monday in favor of the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, who faced backlash from the Colorado government after he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012.

Although Phillips' six-year legal battle has seemingly come to an end, there are other Christian business owners throughout the country who are still in the middle of their own legal battles and still seeking relief after being punished for refusing to service same-sex weddings.

Even though the court ruled in favor of Phillips, it did so on the grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's treatment of Phillips was so overtly hostile towards his religious viewpoint and did not act in a neutral manner when it weighed his case.

Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Kristen Waggoner, who defended Phillips in the case, admitted in a call with reporters on Monday that the court's decision didn't necessarily speak to the overlying issue at hand.
"The court said that the [government's] hostility was so open and obvious ... that [the court] didn't need to reach the issues related to whether Jack's cakes are speech and how that would play out," Waggoner said, adding that the court left such questions "open for another day."
"I think it leaves the question of how the courts will balance those [other cases] still in debate," Waggoner added. "There are a number of cases being litigated in the courts of appeal dealing with this very issue — videographers, filmmakers, hand painters and calligraphers. Those cases are in courts of appeal right now. We expect the court will eventually have the grapple with those issues but the hostility was just so overt here that it didn't need to reach it to rule on Jack's behalf."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented gay couple turned down by Phillips, asserted in a statement that court's decision was based on "concerns unique to the case."

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling argued that the court actually "reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Churches Hold Worship Outdoors to Stand With Persecuted Christians Worldwide

"Taking time out to pray for the persecuted can spur us on to use our freedom to the full."

 Villagers Stood at a Mass Grave in Dogon Na Hauwa, Nigeria, 2010
(Photo: Reuters/Credit Akintunde Akinleye)

By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post


Churches in the U.K. and Ireland held their services in the open air on Sunday to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world and to pray for them.

"Choosing to meet outside come rain or shine really brings home how precious our freedoms are," said Paul Robinson, the CEO of the U.K.-based Release International, which is behind the annual campaign called Great Outdoors Church Service. "Taking time out to pray for the persecuted can spur us on to use our freedom to the full."
Charity's spokesperson Andrew Boyd told Premier Christian Radio that Christians in the U.K. have "amazing freedom in this country to do whatever we like really without the risk of persecution."
"It's ever so easy to take that freedom for granted, so why don't we just take a very small risk; the really small risk is that it's probably going to rain but never mind," he said.
Not all churches participating in the campaign held outdoor services this Sunday, as the charity has encouraged them to set aside any date that would be suitable while just suggesting that it could be held May 27.

The charity said Christians around the world continue to be persecuted under Islam, militant Hinduism, authoritarian regimes and communism.

Last month, Nigeria witnessed a mass wave of slaughter of Christians at the hands of radical Muslim Fulani herdsmen. At least 58 Christians were slaughtered in April, according to a statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Nigeria, which called for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

"We are sad. We are angry. We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable. Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?" the statement said.
In China, authorities are demolishing churches, tearing down crosses and seizing properties used for worship.

ChinaAid said earlier this month the local governments of Wenzhou and Shaoxing had banned all religious gatherings under the guise of fire safety inspections. Wenzhou, which is known as "China's Jerusalem" due to its large Christian community, has been especially targeted by the atheistic Communist government, which has banned Sunday School for Christian children.

In India in April, the state of Uttarakhand became the eighth state in the country to pass legislation that is officially named the "Freedom of Religion Act" but has the allegedly hidden intent to punish those who facilitate religious conversions, especially conversions from Hinduism to Christianity. The law carries a jail term of up to two years.

Christian persecution, which includes violent attacks, destruction of Christian property and false accusations, has risen in India since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won the general election in 2014. A report by an evangelical group in India described the year 2017 as "one of the most traumatic for the Christian community" in 10 years.

North Korea also continues to be the most hostile place in the world to be a Christian, and in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Christians are being accused of blasphemy as a way of settling scores and driving out Christian minorities, Release International said.




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Up to 120,000 Trapped in North Korean Labor Camps




By Samuel Smith
Christian Post



Between 80,000 to 120,000 people are trapped in North Korean gulags with many of them being imprisoned for their faith, the U.S. State Department has said.

On Tuesday, the agency released its congressionally-mandated 2017 International Religious Freedom report, an annual document describing the status of religious freedom in every country.

This year's report labels the Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma as "ethnic cleansing." It also places an estimate on the number of people subjected to North Korea's notorious system of prison camps.

Escapees over the years have shared the horrors of torture, forced labor and abuse they have experienced inside North Korea's prison camps. People are imprisoned in what the Kim regime likes to call "re-education camps" for crimes such as worshiping in a church that's not state-recognized or for defecting from the country.




   



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith. 

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

High School Forces Christian Valedictorian to Remove References to Jesus, Faith From Speech

Sam Blackledge, 2018 Valedictorian of West Prairie High School, Sciota, IL
(SCREENSHOT: KFVS12)
By Leonardo Blair
Christian Post

Officials at an Illinois high school who forced their Christian student valedictorian to remove references to Jesus, God and his faith from his speech may soon be facing a lawsuit after First Liberty Institute, one of the nation's top religious liberty law firms, decried the move as a violation of the student's constitutional rights.
"The most important thing in your life is to find ... intimacy with God," Sam Blackledge, the 18-year-old valedictorian of West Prairie High School in Sciota, wrote in his prepared remarks for his graduation on Saturday, according to KVFS12. "As you search for goodness, justice, love and forgiveness, know that only God is big enough to provide that for you."
He said he turned in a copy of the speech to school officials on Saturday afternoon but ten minutes before his graduation ceremony, school administrators reportedly told him to remove all references to God from his speech and warned him not to discuss his faith.

Sam, who has a 4.0 grade point average, told Fox News that he told school officials that he wanted to share with his fellow classmates how his relationship with Christ impacted his life. But "the principal told me it wasn't appropriate for the setting."

School officials were worried, he said, that the audience at the graduation would think he was speaking on behalf of the school district. When he offered to include a disclaimer with his speech, however, the school rejected it and left him devastated.
"I never felt that feeling before," he said. "It was terrible. I felt like I wanted to cry. I had basically — for months — I knew I wanted to talk about Christ in my graduation speech. For that to be taken away ..."
He further told KVFS12: 
"There's always people out there that will go against what I have to say, and nobody always agrees, but I believe this is the truth. It's impacted my life, and I wanted to share the hope of Christ with others."  
Jeremy Dys, a lawyer with the nonprofit religious freedom firm First Liberty Institute who has taken on Blackledge's case, said what the school did was a violation because the valedictorian's speech is protected by federal law.

Churches Disappearing in China Due to New Laws

Officials Arrest Henan Pastor Mid-Service.
(Photo: China Aid)
By China Aid

Notices posted everywhere when you go out in public. Authorities bursting into your church services, even arresting your pastor in the middle of his sermon. Even your private life isn’t safe, when even meeting with friends in your home can result in fines or arrests if you’re caught.

This is the current situation facing Christians in Henan, a province in the heart of China.

In February, new religious regulations went into effect, and though China has always tried to force its citizens to only join and attend government-run churches, things are even more dangerous with these new laws.

Fearing corruption by propaganda from the Communist-run churches, many Christians prefer to meet in secret, outside of this official system in homes or rented buildings. These house churches risk their safety to gather for services. Even small prayer meetings are forbidden!

And for Henan, the circumstances are only getting worse.

Emboldened by the new laws, authorities are raiding services, arresting pastors, and placing house church members under house arrest. In a few short months, hundreds of house churches now gone. Churches that operated peacefully for years are no longer safe. The doors of their buildings are sealed over and their crosses are demolished.

Again and again, these Christians are pressured to join the “official” churches and register with the government. Their methods of seeking out these Christians are cruel, too. In some branches of the Communist Party, employees are forced to sign a statement denouncing all religious beliefs. If anyone refuses to sign it, everyone in the branch will have up to $5,000 deducted from their salary!

Even those who have registered with state-run churches aren’t exempt from the crackdown. Members of official churches were summoned in early April for “ideological reorientation,” where they were reminded that all churches should display the Chinese flag, that minors younger than 18 are not allowed within a church, and that Christian “propaganda,” such as signs and posters, should not appear on their buildings.

Despite the dangers and increasing pressure, many Christians are still meeting in secret, undeterred by the Communists’ threats. The Communist Party may fear that truth, but they will never defeat it!

Walking with the persecuted,

Bob Fu


"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." -- Matthew 25:40, NIV

Website: China Aid

Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith. Follow us on Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Defend Dying Christians in Pakistan





from ACLJ


Pakistan is one of the most pernicious persecutors of Christians ever.

Pakistani Christians are tortured, raped, and burned alive. Some – like Christian mother of five Asia Bibi – are falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to execution by hanging because of their faith.

Others face mob violence and governmental abuse and injustice.

Despite the increasing extremism, the Pakistani government persistently fails to protect Christians from violence or bring its perpetrators to justice. Even worse the government of Pakistan itself is one of the world’s worst jihadist persecutors of Christians. Yet it receives the most U.S. foreign aid of any nation.


This deadly barbarism – this monumental injustice – must end.

We’ve mobilized our offices on the ground in Pakistan, at the U.N., and on Capitol Hill to aggressively fight back. We are directly defending numerous Christians in Pakistani courts.

Save the lives of persecuted Christians before it’s too late. Take action with us.


Use this link to sign the petition defend Pakistani Christians from torment and death


ACLJ and its globally affiliated organizations are committed to ensuring the ongoing viability of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world.

By focusing on U.S. constitutional law, European Union law and human rights law, the ACLJ and its affiliated organizations are dedicated to the concept that freedom and liberty are universal, God-given and inalienable rights that must be protected.

ACLJ and its worldwide affiliates engage in litigation, provide legal services, render advice to individuals and governmental agencies, as well as counsel clients on global freedom and liberty issues. ACLJ and its affiliated organizations also support training law students from around the world in order to protect religious liberty and safeguard human rights and dignity. For more information, please use this link. 


 



Persecution Unveiled has been called to prick the consciences of this nation and all free people to pray for, speak up and act on behalf of those who are persecuted for their faith. 

Follow us on Pinterest, and Google and like us on Facebook.