ATLANTA – The 22,000 students that attended the Passion 2011 conference were the most generous in the history of the event.
University-age students, known for regularly joking about being broke, collectively donated $1.1 million, far exceeding the $500,000 goal as well as the $668,000 total for Passion 2010. Students donated specifically to nine global aid projects through Passion's Do Something Now campaign, which seeks to teach young adults to exchange self-centered lives for God-centered ones that focus on the needy.
"Together, we are a force for good, making a massive difference in the lives of people around the globe in Jesus' name," states the Passion vision for the Do Something Now campaign. "At the core of it all is a desire to wed worship and justice, believing that what God wants most is not just another song, but a reflection of His love and mercy among the poor, the imprisoned, the voiceless and the oppressed." more >>
Habitat for Humanity, known for building homes for those in need, is “aggressively” working on providing affordable shelter by buying foreclosed homes and selling them at low cost to poor families.
For about a year and a half now, the ecumenical Christian ministry has worked in local markets across the United States buying foreclosed homes in cities such as Miami, Boston, New York, Charlotte and Atlanta. HFH is also considering buying homes across the state of Michigan where there is a “huge opportunity,” said Mark Crozet, senior vice president of resource development for Habitat for Humanity International.
Crozet noted that it is oftentimes cheaper to provide a family with a foreclosed home than to build a new house. more >>
A TV special that began airing online Monday follows award-winning Christian music artists Matthew West and BarlowGirl to Latin America where they participate in an Operation Christmas Child program for needy children.
West and BarlowGirl go to Colombia and Belize, respectively, to distribute shoe boxes and see how a thoughtful gift can be used to help a child begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. The program focuses on a Bible study program, developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The program is used to disciple children who receive a shoe box filled with gifts through the Samaritan’s Purse program Operation Christmas Child.
“We want to disciple every child that gets a box, every child that makes a decision for Jesus Christ,” says Franklin Graham, president and CEO of both BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, in the program. more >>
More Americans are expected to reduce their spending on presents compared to 2009. But half of the population says it would consider giving to charity instead, a new study found.
Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Americans say they will spend less on holiday presents this year because of the economic climate, according to a World Vision study conducted by Harris Interactive. By comparison, only 57 percent of Americans said the same last holiday season.
The study also shows that about half of Americans (51 percent) said they would be more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present. The question was not asked in last year’s World Vision-Harris Interactive holiday survey, so no comparison can be made. more >>
President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday that made some clarifications on the partnership between the government and faith-based organizations.
In an executive order, the president said the government is required to provide recipients of federally funded social service programs referrals to alternative providers if they object to ones provided by religious organizations, post online the list of entities receiving federal financial assistance for social service programs, and monitor and enforce standards regarding the relationship between religion and government to avoid excessive entanglement.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the order, however, is the approval that allows religious organizations receiving federal money to provide social services in their facilities without removing religious art, icons and scripture. The organizations also can retain religious terms in their name and choose board members based on religion. more >>
The death toll for Haiti’s cholera outbreak has reached 544, health officials said Monday.
Thousands more are being treated in hospitals for the intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Cholera can be fatal even though it can be easily treated through rehydration and antibiotics. But in a country that lacked access to clean water even before the January earthquake, treatment is not always within reach.
Hurricane Tomas, which brought heavy rains last week, raised fear that the disease could worsen. Cholera spreads through contaminated water and the hurricane triggered flooding and mudslides in some areas. more >>