Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
International Mission Board
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Campbellsville hears message on missions, giving
By Tanner Royalty, student newswriter
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) -- "Why you? Why here? Why now?" the Rev. Scott Miller, pastor of Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Ind., asked those in attendance at Campbellsville University's weekly chapel service Oct. 10. Miller brought a message on missions, and taking the cause of Christ out into the whole world.
Miller asked, "Why was I born in America? Why were you born in America?"
He emphasized how we as a country have been blessed with so much but give so little.
Miller said 42 percent of the world population has never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, approximately 156,000 people die every day without knowing Christ, 25,000 die every day from starvation or hunger related diseases, 3.6 million die every year from a lack of clean water, and 70 percent of unreached people groups are preliterate meaning they have not had the opportunity to learn to read and write.
Miller said, "Why have we been so blessed? Not to keep it to ourselves. The reason we as a country and as Christians have been blessed is to share our blessings and resources with the world."
He referred to Acts 17:26-27, "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us."
He used these verses to emphasize that we were born for a reason and that we are not accidents. He said, "You are here right now for a reason, and you were born in this great country of abundance for a reason."
Miller said as Americans we keep 97.75 cents of every dollar received, give 2.15 cents to places where the gospel has and is already being proclaimed, but only give 1/10 of a cent to places where the gospel has never been shared. Miller asked, "What is wrong with us that we can only sacrifice a tenth of a penny? What has happened to our country? What has happened to our believers?"
America accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population but has 95 percent of the world's Christian resources, he said.
Fifty percent of the world's population today is under the age of 25, Miller said. "The millennial group has surpassed all groups before them but yet only 15 percent of the millennial group consider themselves Christ followers."
Miller challenged the audience and said, "Maybe today will be your beginning. Maybe you began to feel the calling to another country to serve the cause of Christ, but if not, you are right in the middle of one of the biggest mission fields."
Miller providing three verses with three challenges. He said, "Read Matthew 9:37-38 and pray. Read 2 Corinthians 9:13 and give, and last but not least, read Acts 16:9-10 and go tell the world about Jesus."
Faculty Members Share Encouraging Data for Graduating Students
ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University) -- As students prepare to graduate from Hardin-Simmons University in December, faculty members have encouraging news. In a recent opportunity to respond to a question regarding what recent graduates are doing, they say student acceptance into grad schools is high. Faculty members also say job placement rates in many professions is extremely encouraging. In some cases, faculty members offered data concerning beginning salaries.
Below are some of the responses from HSU faculty members.
Dr. Chris McNair, dean of the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics, says, "One hundred percent of students majoring in the sciences last year were accepted into health professional programs for the 2012-2013 academic year. Graduated students were accepted to schools in medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, podiatry, graduate-level nursing, physician's assistant (PA), and optometry."
Dr. Carol Hill, head of the department of speech-language pathology, broadens the scope of students, saying, "Over the past three years, 100% of the graduates from HSU's program who have applied to highly competitive graduate schools have been admitted.
"The students who sought employment had several job offers from which to select, both in the Abilene area and in larger cities in Texas," says Hill. "We receive emails and phone calls weekly from potential employers inquiring about students who can start working immediately."
Students participating in one of Holland's graduate programs have enjoyed 100% job placement since 1997, says Dr. Janelle O'Connell, director of the physical therapy grad program. "Median salary of PTs in Abilene is $68,000 with the average starting salary for PT's in Abilene at $60,000." O'Connell also says that HSU students' pass rate on the PT licensure examination has been 98% for the last five years, and HSU students' matriculation rate is 95.5%, which is higher than the national average.
In the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts, Melissa Milliorn, head of the department of social work, says, "Of our 2012 graduates, 72% are employed in the field of social work, 14% are continuing their education, and another 14% postponed their careers for various reasons." Among those students who have reported their beginning salaries to Milliorn, the highest salary is $33,000.
But primarily, Milliorn points to what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is saying about the rapid growth of social work job opportunities. The website at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/Social-workers.htm reveals a median income of $42,480 per year and an anticipated 25% growth rate in the profession through 2020.
Milliorn says social work jobs are expected to increase from 650,500 jobs nationally to 821,700 jobs by 2020. She points out, "That's an increase of 161,200 social work jobs that will be added over the next seven years."
Milliorn says that the government information further indicates that social work is one of the fastest growing professions. "Basically, the government website statistically supports what we already know. We need more social workers and the only way to become one is to graduate with a degree in social work from an accredited program like ours here at HSU," says Milliorn.
Michael Monhollon, dean of HSU's Kelley College of Business, says that the KCOB surveys all its alumni one year after graduation and for each of the past two years more than 90% had jobs or were in graduate school or both.
Looking at these statistics more specifically, Monhollon says, "Last spring 36 business students graduated. Eighteen accepted job offers during their last semester and another six were accepted into graduate school before graduation. Three students contacted us over the summer to let us know they had landed jobs in their field."
Good job placement figures also come out of the Irvin School of Education. David Stuckey, head of the department of fitness and health sciences, says graduates in athletic training will have no trouble once they enter the job market. "One hundred percent of our graduates for, at least, the last five years are either employed or are in graduate school," says Stuckey.
Logsdon School of Theology offers the link below, showing the results of a questionnaire answered by students pertaining to the academic preparedness and the effectiveness of the Logsdon graduate programs. http://www.logsdonseminary.org/forms/EducationalEffectiveness.pdf.
Dr. Wayne Dorothy, director of bands and professor of music in the HSU School of Music and Fine Arts, says, "All of our music majors have been successful in finding the employment they sought, whether in music or in another field. Others have successfully pursued additional study in graduate school."
Results from a survey, compiled by the HSU Career Services Office on the post-graduation plans of students who graduated as late as May 2011, shows which businesses employed HSU grads (315 students replied to the questionnaire).
ASIA PRAYER REQUESTS
SOUTH ASIA (IMB)--Brief items reported by South Asia News of the International Mission Board (http://www.go2southasia.org) on Nov. 8 include:
BANGLADESH. November is the month of the year when we focus on thankfulness in the United States. Most Americans have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and a roof over their head. In Bangladesh, the majority of the people struggle to have these things. Over half of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. Please pray that they will be introduced to and accept the Bread of Life and that they will know that there is One who loves them and will provide for their needs. Please pray for those from the U.S. who are serving the Lord in Bangladesh, asking that they will have strength, wisdom and the fruit of the Spirit when they are faced daily (sometimes hourly) with the overwhelming amount of needs of people in Bangladesh.
BHUTAN. Many youth have migrated to India to do their upper level studies. Pray that while these young people are living in India they will be exposed to the Good News, accept the Truth and be equipped to share it with their families when they return home. Pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of their families to embrace this new-found faith as their own and that house churches would spring forth throughout Bhutan.
DIASPORA. The rainy season has brought floods as usual to Myanmar, but this year, flooding has seemed particularly intense in and around the old capital. "A" has been regularly visiting villages around the old capital that are filled with Tamil people, and the floods this year have taken a terrible toll on their villages. Very deep waters have ruined food supplies and also made access to clean drinking water very difficult. A. and a cross-cultural worker have worked together, with help from Baptist Global Response, to provide water filters to approximately 500 families in this area, so they are able not only to have clean drinking water, but also to hear the Good News as the filters are distributed. Please lift up the five villages that A. has visited, asking that these floods will turn into an opportunity for more lives to be changed. Please lift up the follow-up ministry in this area, and pray that hearts will be open to the Good News.
INDIA. A worker in southern India writes,"Toward the end of a visit with 'F,' I extended an open invitation for her to come and visit me in my home. She graciously declined, explaining that her husband was very protective and would not let her out of the house. She said, 'If I come to visit you, you will hear him yelling and beating me through the walls.' My heart broke as I realized that not only does he protect her physically from the world, he also guards very closely what she follows spiritually. More than half of the Muslim population in Karnataka state are women. Please ask God to show us creative ways to share Jesus with this very protected, isolated segment of society."
MALDIVES. Father is moving in this beautiful island nation. Thought to be 100 percent Islamic, Father is drawing people unto Himself one by one. People are hearing the Good News or reading Truth in their own language. Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw men, women and children unto Himself and they would be strong and courageous to share the Good News with those around them. Pray that small groups of believers would gather throughout the Maldives to study His Word.
NEPAL. In the midst of training believers to share their story and His story, one man realized that he needed Jesus himself and chose to follow Him! One worker writes, "We had other opportunities to share about Jesus as we were out during our trainings, and just meeting with people in hotels and homes. Many of those we have shared with are good friends who follow other paths which do not lead to Truth. Please continue to pray for us as we continue sharing the Good News with those around us, for open hearts and minds as our friends hear Truth, that strongholds are broken, and they are saved."
PAKISTAN. Some national Christian families have experienced persecution and have fled the country. They are now seeking asylum status and are waiting to learn the location of their new country. Ask God to provide for their needs and to provide encouragement as they wait. Pray that He will guide the United Nations as they consider these applications. Praise the Lord that some foreign workers have recently received their official documents to work in Pakistan. Pray for others who continue to wait.
SRI LANKA. Chanting and shouts rang out in the village throughout the day and
on into the night as soothsayers from the local temple attempted to exorcize a demon from "S." Disappointed, S's husband, "A," hung his head in disbelief at the loss of $1,000 U.S dollars for the soothsayers' useless services. Over the months, S had become known throughout the village for being possessed by a demon who spoke through her, caused her to act violently, and often hurled her to the ground. Everyone avoided her. At his wit's end, A invited Pastor K into the home. As Pastor K prayed over S in the name of Jesus, the demon spoke to him and then left. Immediately A presented his restored wife to the village, and all were astonished. Pastor K loudly proclaimed the Gospel to the village people. S, A and several people in the village that day were reconciled to the all-powerful God of Creation. Pray for all the people in S's village to acknowledge the power of Jesus and proclaim Him as their Lord and Savior. Ask God to give Pastor K wisdom as he begins discipling these new believers and forms them into a healthy house church.
GUTENBERG II. Last month you lifted up the new project in South Asia to provide selected stories from the Bible in video format to reach a specific audience of 500 million people. This month we ask you to pray that God would call out a native speaker of the language who can respond to the inquiries that come as a result of viewing the videos on-line. In September alone, over 3000 people viewed the videos. Please pray that God will call out someone who has a "heart for the nations" to fill this strategic role and that they will respond, "Here am I."
SOUTH ASIAN HINDU FESTIVALS. This month and especially on November 13, Hindus throughout India will be celebrating Divali. Known also as Deepavali or Diwali, this 'Festival of Lights' celebrates once again the victory of good over evil. Lamps will be lit to symbolize hope for a bright and prosperous future. Please pray for Hindus all over South Asia to recognize that the One who has vanquished the evil one for all times holds their very lives in His hands-and His plans for them are altogether good and perfect. Please pray that Hindus will call on Him and come and pray to Him. Pray that they will seek Him and find Him when they seek Him with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13). We appreciate your partnership in seeing His kingdom come and His will being done in South Asia as it is in heaven!
SOUTH ASIANS OF CANADA. In the Vancouver area, there are South Asian women who have fallen into prostitution, drug addiction, mental illness and depression. God is drawing them to Jesus through the Light of Life Fellowship. Please pray for Muslim women who are coming to the fellowship, asking that God will open their hearts to the Gospel message. Others have already believed the Good News of salvation through Jesus. Pray that the Holy Spirit will motivate them to continue in the Word of Jesus, and really be His disciples (John 8:31). Please ask the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers here: men and women Urdu speakers, Punjabi speakers, and Hindi speakers who will proclaim the Gospel boldly like the Apostle Paul did. Ask Jesus to build His church among South Asians in Vancouver.
SOUTH ASIAN PARTNERS. It is not unusual for LEAD (Leadership Equipping and Developing) classes to include pastors' wives. Upon completing the program, one pastor's wife spoke of how it had helped in her scriptural understanding and small-group teaching ability, and made her a better pastor's wife. Her husband was a graduate and wanted his wife also to attend. She was hesitant, but finally became a very consistent and faithful student. She was in class, and the husband cared for the house and children in her absence. Give thanks to God that all of this together gave her more confidence as a person, improved her personal role as the pastor's wife, and improved the marriage and family. She took her certificate of completion and hugged "Mrs. LEAD Teacher" and told her that the hug was for all the LEAD teachers who had helped her for more than six years!
SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED. They are carpenters by trade, but this is all that they share in common with Jesus. There are 96,481 of them, and they all hold to traditional Hindu beliefs. There are no evangelical believers among them, and no one is sharing Truth with them . . . yet. Pray that church planting being done in Orissa, India, will overflow with the result that the Badhai will hear the Gospel and many will become disciples. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work within them to enable them to cast aside their traditional Hindu beliefs in many gods to follow the one true God.
USCIRF Registers Concern over Emerging Religious Freedom Violations in Ethiopia
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is deeply concerned about the increasing deterioration of religious freedoms for Muslims in Ethiopia. Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.
"These charges are only the latest and most concerning attempt by the Ethiopian government to crush opposition to its efforts to control the practice of religion by imposing on Ethiopian Muslims a specific interpretation of Islam," said USCIRF Commissioner Azizah al-Hibri. "The individuals charged were among tens of thousands peacefully protesting the government's violations of international standards and their constitutional right to religious freedom. The Ethiopian government should cease interfering in the internal affairs of its Muslim community and immediately and unconditionally release those wrongfully imprisoned."
Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country's Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam. The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC). Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution. The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government's attempts to control Ethiopia's Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia.
"The U.S. government should raise with the new leadership in Addis Ababa the importance of abiding by Ethiopia's own constitution and international standards on freedom of religion of belief. USCIRF has found that repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence," said USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. "Given Ethiopia's strategic importance in the Horn of Africa and that Muslims account for more than one-third of all Ethiopians, it is vital that the Ethiopian government end its religious freedom abuses and allow Muslims to practice peacefully their faith as they see fit Otherwise, the government's current policies and practices will lead to greater destabilization of an already volatile region."
Ethiopian Muslims traditionally are Sufis. Article 27 of the Ethiopian constitution guarantees religious freedom and "the independence of the state from religion."
However, due to a concern about the rise of Wahhabism in Ethiopia, the government in July 2011 brought al-Ahbash imams from Lebanon to train Ethiopian imams and Islamic school educators on that sect's beliefs to teach their students and worshippers. The government dismissed from their positions those who refused to be trained in or teach al-Ahbash and closed mosques and schools. Beginning in December 2011, protests have been held almost every Friday outside of mosques after prayers. While these demonstrations have taken place nationwide, they are centered at the Awalia Mosque and Islamic school in Addis Ababa.
As the protests continued, an Arbitration Committee of 17 Islamic leaders was created this past spring to negotiate with the government about: 1) respecting the Ethiopian constitution's guarantees of religious freedom; 2) ending government imposition of al-Ahbash on Ethiopian Muslims, while allowing al-Ahbash to operate equally with other religious communities; 3) re-opening and returning schools and mosques to their original imams and administrators; and 4) holding new elections for the EIASC, and having these elections take place in mosques, rather than in neighborhood government community centers, to ensure that the community's selections would be honored.
By July, the negotiations had failed and the protests increased in both size and frequency. In response, the Ethiopian government started to crack down on and intimidate the demonstrators, surrounding them with armed guards and conducting house-to-house searches. Between July 13 and 21, the government arrested all 17 members of the Arbitration Committee and at least 70 protestors. (While the government has confirmed 70 people were arrested, demonstrators place the number in the hundreds). Human rights organizations reported that the police used excessive force against individuals during the arrests and while in detention. While many were released after being held for a short time, nine of the Arbitration Committee members remain in jail.
The charges the government leveled on October 29 were the first issued against any of the arrested protestors, including the nine Arbitration Committee members who were not released with their colleagues in July. The individuals charged were first detained and held in Maikelwai federal police detention center, which frequently houses political prisoners and is known for abusing prisoners, including torturing them during interrogations. The individuals detained also were charged under the nation's anti-terror law which has been used to target dissent, rather than to stop terrorism.
Protestors now hold up yellow or white placards to signal that they are peaceful and to condemn the arrests and charges. While the demonstrations largely have been peaceful, there have been a few violent incidents: On October 21, 2011 four Muslims were killed as they stormed a jail attempting to free protestors and in April 2012 five people were killed protesting the dismissal of an imam who refused to propagate al-Ahbash.
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