SBC DIGEST: GuideStone emerging markets fund; new WorldCrafts products; SBTS Press 'Call to Ministry'; CourierPublishing inaugural titles

Baptist Press
|
Posted: Nov 14, 2013 5:22 PM
DALLAS (BP) -- GuideStone Funds has announced the addition of an Emerging Markets Equity Fund that invests mainly in a diversified portfolio of equity securities of international companies in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Because the new fund will focus on emerging markets, GuideStone's International Equity Fund will shift its strategy to investing primarily in companies located in developed markets.

John R. Jones, chief operating officer of GuideStone Financial Resources and president of GuideStone Funds, said the Emerging Markets Equity Fund "expands GuideStone's investment options in the global marketplace, which creates opportunities for participants to further diversify their portfolios."

The Emerging Markets Equity Fund, which seeks long-term capital appreciation, is available for direct investment. It also will be part of all GuideStone Funds Asset Allocation Funds, the MyDestination Funds and the GPS: Guided Planning Services portfolios.

GuideStone participants who want to determine if the Emerging Markets Equity Fund can be an appropriate part of their retirement investment portfolio can review its fund fact sheet and prospectus at GuideStone Funds. Participants also can access GuideStone's free investment advice service, GPS: Guided Planning Services by logging into their accounts at www.MyGuideStone.org or by calling 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) to schedule an appointment with a personal financial adviser.

The Emerging Markets Equity Fund, according to a GuideStone news release, "may be suitable for investors who seek higher, long-term rates of return, can accept significant short-term fluctuations in account value and want to diversify their portfolio with emerging markets stocks. The Fund invests in emerging markets securities which involves certain risks such as currency volatility, political and social instability and reduced market liquidity."

WorldCrafts adds 7 artisan groups, 60 products

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- WorldCrafts' focus on providing sustainable incomes for impoverished artisans and helping free women from human exploitation has expanded with seven new artisan groups and more than 60 new products this year.

WorldCrafts, a division of WMU, introduced products from two new partners earlier in the year -- Sema Leatherworks in Kenya and Shelano in India. The five newest partners -- in Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- made their debut with WorldCrafts in the Fall/Winter 2013–2014 catalog:

1. Ayu Sewing Project was created to help impoverished Indonesian women learn a trade to support their families. WorldCrafts director Andrea Mullins said these families barely make enough money to feed their families, much less provide for other needs such as schooling. By making just a few scarves per week, these mothers are increasing their monthly income by 40 percent. The women use the money to pay for their children's schooling as well as family rent and medical expenses.

2. Back to Africa in Kenya began in 2008, with a primary objective of family preservation and care for families at risk. The artisans, most of whom are single mothers and/or refugees, lived in extreme poverty before they began creating Back to Africa jewelry.

3. ChildVoice International provides healing for children -- particularly girls -- of war-torn countries such as Uganda through its emphasis on sanctuary, psychosocial and spiritual counseling, education, skill building, reintegration support and access to basic health care, all with the aim of helping the girls return home. "Approximately 93 percent of the girls served in the last few years are back in their communities, raising their families and working in meaningful jobs, not dependent on aid or outside help," Mullins said.

4. Gospel House Handicrafts in Sri Lanka was established in 1983 to provide poor, young adults employment and training in making wooden toys, utility items and ornamental handicrafts. They are currently providing full-time employment for numerous artisans and part-time employment for additional workers.

5. Samaritan Creations in Thailand exists to rescue, restore and empower women by the grace and love of God by offering an alternative income to prostitution. Through entrepreneurial training and funding, Samaritan Creations empowers women to return to their hometowns to help plant churches, alter the local economy and warn people of the trap of prostitution.

This fall, WorldCrafts also introduced four new party themes: Amazonian Affair, Harvest Celebration, Mosaic of Missions and New Year Party. All party themes and party downloads have been updated to include information regarding the season and new artisan groups.

"We are also excited to announce all jewelry products are now packaged in a unique WorldCrafts jewelry box complete with an insert card that features the story of the artisan who made the product," Mullins said.

WorldCrafts is a division of Woman's Missionary Union that develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people around the world. Begun in 1996, WorldCrafts' vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

To learn more, download a new catalog, or order a product, visit WorldCrafts.org.

New SBTS Press title: 'The Call to Ministry'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- SBTS Press, a division of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has released a new resource, "The Call to Ministry," a journal-style book to help discern whether God has called a person to vocational ministry.

The Call to Ministry features essays from Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.; associate professor of biblical spirituality Donald S. Whitney; and Daniel S. Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration.

In addition to the essays, the book contains a collection of quotes that show how pastors, both past and present, think about the call and the task of ministry.

In the book's preface, project editor Matt Damico writes, "The book includes pages with blank space; those pages are for you to respond to questions, react to the quotations and reflect on the Scripture references you'll find throughout. So, open your Bible, get out your pen and discover whether God has called you to this most noble and weighty task."

The book addresses questions concerning the internal and external aspects of the call, the nature of ministry and whether the reader's desires, gifts and qualifications meet that which Scripture requires for ministers.

The Call to Ministry is available from SBTS Press, Amazon.com and Southern's LifeWay Campus Store. More information about the book and SBTS Press, including the four prior volumes in the guide book series, is available at the SBTS Press website.

CourierPublishing releases inaugural titles

GREENVILLE, S.C. (BP) -- CourierPublishing, the newly formed book division of The Baptist Courier, has released its two inaugural titles:

-- "Worry: The Silent Killer" ($11.95), by Rudy Gray, editor of the Courier, newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

-- the 15th anniversary re-release of "Whistling at Snakes" ($13.95) by the late Horace Sims.

"In addition to publishing our own titles, we will offer full-featured book publishing options for pastors and laypeople in South Carolina who are seeking a way to share their work with South Carolina Baptist readers," Gray said. A unique advantage to authors who choose CourierPublishing will be that their work will be advertised in the pages of the Courier, which has more than 100,000 readers in print and online.

Gray, who was a pastor for 37 years and a board-certified counselor for 24 of those years, has written several books. He said Worry: The Silent Killer is a revised version of the book he first published in 1984, with the 2013 edition including new and updated material.

"While worry isn't listed as the official cause of demise on most death certificates," Gray said, "it continues to be a major negative influence on overall health and, in fact, is a significant contributing factor to early death for many people."

In Worry, Gray presents practical insights, scriptural principles, biblical stories and psychological truths to help people identify worry, develop a faith-empowered response to it and avoid its crippling effects.

The 15th-anniversary edition of Whistling at Snakes includes all the humorous stories that were a part of Horace Sims' original book, plus 24 new illustrations by artist Thomas Addison. The new edition is printed in a larger format in order to showcase Addison's drawings. The 1999 release of Whistling at Snakes was popular with Courier readers and went through three printings.

"Horace always managed to take life seriously while looking at it lightly," former Courier editor Don Kirkland writes in the book's introduction. "He could always find at least a little, and often a lot, that was funny. He had no peers as a teller of sidesplitting tales."

Worry: The Silent Killer and Whistling at Snakes can be purchased at BaptistCourier.com at the CourierPublishing link or by calling toll-free 1-888-667-4693.

Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net