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 >>
Hundreds of Christian-sponsored events nationwide will take place Sunday to draw attention to the half million children in the U.S. foster system today.
The national Orphan Sunday campaign, led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, is an annual grassroots event calling Christians to be involved in adoption, foster care and the global orphan ministry. Local events across the country seek to raise awareness about the orphan crisis and infuse passion into the church to tackle the problem.
“While everyone may not be called to adoption, we are all called in the body of Christ to do something on behalf of the orphan,” said Kelly Rosati, senior director of the Sanctity of Human Life Division at Focus on the Family, in the video program called, “Answer the Cry.” more >>
Well-known U.S. Christian leaders met with President Obama Monday to press him to take a stronger stance on poverty and hunger.
Millions of Americans are struggling to find jobs, make payments, and put food on the table amid the economic downturn, highlighted the delegation that included the heads of Church World Service and the National Council of Churches. Although many of the groups present at the meeting are helping to provide meals and assist those impacted by the economic hard times, more needs to be done, they stated.
“As families in the U.S. find their household budgets more and more strained, families in the developing world are hurting too,” said the Rev. John McCullough, executive director and CEO of CWS. “Today, we asked for the President’s leadership in crafting policies that ensure men, women and children have access to enough food and adequate nutrition for all, particularly children, as well as policies that support sustainable, diversified food production.” more >>