This summer, in the midst of deadlines and emergency meetings, I took a moment to write a letter to a student in Bolivia. I'd met Maria (not her real name) on a trip last year, where I saw how desperate many girls are for an education and how difficult it can be to simply finish secondary school. Maria's story was striking. She had a powerful passion to pursue her education and become a lawyer in order to help abused women and children. Yet the obstacles Maria faced were enormous. She was clearly special, yet it was unclear whether that was enough to see her through until graduation.
Maria was born into a poor family in the mountains of Bolivia. Abandoned by her father at birth, she grew up in a mud brick home with a dirt floor with no running water or electricity. She came of age in a community where very few ever make it to high school – especially girls. Yet with the help of World Vision, Maria was able to make a good start, attending elementary school.
Girls who are able to finish primary and secondary education dramatically improve their lives. Research around the world shows that an educated girl is healthier, wealthier and more likely to marry and have children later, allowing her to adequately provide and care for her family. Just one extra year of primary school can increase a women's wages by 10 to 20 percent. Maria's story shows an education can lead to an immediate improvement in the life of a community. more >>
More than 1,600 members of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., responded to the plea from their pastor, Steven Furtick, to become mentors for the youth in their communities. Troubling statistics that include showing a high rate of Charlotte-area students who do not graduate from high school prompted the church's initiative.
"I know the importance of mentoring. My mother connected me with a mentor when I was a child to encourage me after the tragic loss of my father. She knew I would need someone to encourage me when so many others said I would never go anywhere, or amount to anything," said Charlotte's Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, who shared his support for the "M1 Initiative" in a recent video shown to the more than 12,000 in attendance at seven Elevation Church locations.
Furtick made the initiative announcement two weeks ago with plans to connect 1,000 mentors to serve and empower 1,000 children for one year in Charlotte area schools. More than 1,600 responded, according to Jamie Waldron, who is the church's director of outreach programs. more >>
CHICAGO – Several hundred Christian mission leaders began a three-day conference Thursday with a focus on "adjusting missionary method's to today's realities."
The North American Mission Leaders Conference at Chicago Marriott O'Hare coincides with the 100-year mark since the publishing of the seminal book Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? written by Rolan Allen, a former British missionary to China.
Those attending the conference were asked to ponder the words of Allen as a way to "recalibrate" (this year's theme) and improve their work in missions. They were also encouraged by opening session speaker Paul Nyquist, who is the president of the Moody Bible Institute, to move past any opposition they may face in their work. more >>
The City of Nashville is demanding that a church close down its encampment of tents for the homeless on its property, saying that it violates a zoning law.
Nashville officials told Green Street Church of Christ that the placement of about ten tents is a zoning violation, but the church maintains that such an encampment is part of their mission to help the poor.
Tom Cross, an associate director with Nashville's legal division, told The Christian Post that the tent community falls under the zoning laws regarding camping. more >>
As the 2012 International AIDS Conference begins, experts at the event are saying that there is "no excuse" for not taking major action against the global disease.
The conference is expected to draw approximately 25,000 people by its conclusion and has several major speakers and scientists reporting on the global effort to stop the AIDS virus.
Shawn Jain, U.S. communications and media relations coordinator for the International AIDS Conference, told The Christian Post that this "no excuse" statement is enforced by recent developments. more >>
A Christian group in Philadelphia is fighting a city ban on feeding homeless people and has vowed that regardless of any fines, they will continue doing the work Christ sent his followers to do.
The city of Philadelphia had originally banned outside park feedings of homeless people, but a judge ruled late last week that the ban be lifted for 120 days – which gave Chosen 300 Ministries, a Christian charity working to help the poor, the opportunity to feed homeless people during the weekend. But Pastor Brian Jenkins, its founding pastor, says their efforts will continue regardless of whether the ban is put back in place.
"We're not going to move. My understanding that the penalty for holding outside meals is a $150 dollar fine – we will pay the fine. We will continue doing what we need to be doing. If we need to appeal the decision we will, but at this point our goal is to continue feeding the people," Jenkins said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Christian Post. "When we serve, we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are also following the commandment of Christ by serving those in need. And doing it on the outside – because based on Scripture, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.'" more >>