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Southwestern

Riley Reynolds

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Africa embraced as Fuge camp’s 5-year focus

JOHANNESBURG (BP)--A group of 26 young people spent their spring break in South Africa to catch a vision for using Fuge camps to touch Sub-Saharan Africa with God's love.       Organizers aimed to raise awareness in this summer's camps about physical and spiritual needs from a global perspective, said Joe Hicks, LifeWay Christian Resources team leader for student events.       "We want to challenge students [at Fuge camps] to listen to God and then to pray for missions, give to missions and possibly even go on an international mission trip," Hicks said.       Since its first Fuge camp in 1979, LifeWay Christian Resources has developed six different Fuge summer camps to engage young people from the third grade through college in God's Word and His global vision. Over the past 27 years Fuge campers have donated nearly $10 million toward world missions. Each summer's gifts support the work of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.       For the past five years Fuge camps have directed their international missions focus toward the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe. Now Fuge is kicking off a five-year partnership with the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa.       College and seminary students who serve as Fuge camp directors visited South Africa in March to build relationships and assess specific needs that the Fuge missions offering could meet. The leaders were dispersed between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Soweto (the nation's largest township) to discover ways to spark a fire in the hearts of the next generation of campers.       "Our goal is to ignite these youth to have a passion for the Gospel, and to be a Christ-follower, whether it's in Africa, Germany or in their hometown," said Audra Long, director of Fuge Combo Camp at Mississippi College this summer.       Fuge camps partnered with the International Mission Board's International World Changers to send students on mission trips to minister to the Roma people during the now-concluded five-year initiative. Now, once Fuge campers hear about Africa this summer, leaders will identify future IWC opportunities for campers to go on mission in Sub-Saharan Africa.       "We feel that over the course of five summers, students will have a better understanding of the needs in Africa, and their heart will have a special place for the ministry needs in that part of the world," Hicks said.      

Amid Africa’s political turmoil, Christians glorify God

JOHANNESBURG (BP)--As uprisings in parts of Africa and the Middle East continue to escalate, many Christians are seeing God make Himself known in the midst of chaos.       Pro-democracy protests have swept through several Arab nations, with the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt forced to resign amid growing unrest. Most recently, activists in Libya, Iran and Bahrain are clashing with the police and military as they seek political reform.       Former International Mission Board (IMB) missionary Mike Edens, associate dean of graduate studies and professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), believes Christians all over the world can make a difference in this time of unrest.       "We who are outside of the situation pray for and are partners with people inside the situation, and God is working through both of us to make Himself known," Edens said.       DESPERATE FOR PRAYER       An Egyptian Christian monitoring the situation said it is difficult to know what's really going on in his country.       "The protest started as [a] real people's revolution -- it was the farmers, the poor workers, the true Egyptians asking for change, because they cannot take it any longer," he said.       Now it is as if "evil was unleashed on Egypt," he continued, with freed prisoners and thugs -- believed by some to be from the secret police -- taking to the streets to kill, steal and destroy.       "The church is confused in Egypt -- not sure how to pray," he said. "... We don't know if change is going to be good or worse. [We] need wisdom and revelation to move at this opportune time in strategic prayers led by the Holy Spirit."       The Egyptian man asked for prayer for peace and security to return to the streets of Egypt and for wisdom for Christians to speak truth to churches and to the nation.       SOUTHERN SUDAN SEEKS SECESSION       Believers in Sudan, a country divided between the northern and southern regions, also are relying on God during a crucial time for their nation.       A Jan. 9-15 referendum in southern Sudan yielded a nearly unanimous vote that the south secede from the north.