EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
The Adoption Journey Project
University of the Cumberlands
East Texas Baptist University
Charleston Southern University
Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy and Wife Lauren Challenge 100,000+ Racing Fans at Brickyard 400 Super Weekend to Learn More About Adoption
INDIANAPOLIS (The Adoption Journey Project) — This week, well over 100,000 racing fans will have a chance to hear a personal appeal from Tony and Lauren Dungy on the subject of adoption at the world’s largest spectator sporting facility, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indianapolis Super Bowl-winning coach is featured in a 30-second public service announcement, framing the current orphan crisis and need for adoption awareness. The video spot will be featured on an exterior 12-foot electronic billboard scheduled to run for 15 hours a day throughout the four-day event composed of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and GRAND-AM Road Racing and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 races. The Super Weekend at the Brickyard runs from Thursday July 26 through Sunday July 29.
According to a national survey, more than one-third of Americans have considered adoption, but less than 2 percent have actually adopted. (Source: Harris Interactive and Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey).
The Dungy family has partnered with The Adoption Journey Project (www.adoptionjourney.org) to help provide practical tools for couples considering adoption.
“Everyone has the chance to do something about the orphan crisis. It is relevant to families across the country just like the ones attending this week. But the bottom line is, we need to act,” said Tony Dungy.
“In foster care alone, there are approximately 116,000 children waiting to be matched with a loving family right now. That’s almost as many as the number of fans who will show up to fill the seats of Indy Motor Speedway this weekend,” noted Marc Andreas, Vice-President of Client Marketing at Bethany Christian Services, the nation’s largest adoption agency.
The www.AdoptionJourney.org site features content such as FAQs by couples who have already gone through adoption, webcasts, adoptive families’ stories, leaders involved with adoption initiatives, and biblical references related to adoption. Additional resources, such as financial planning tools are being published on an ongoing basis on the website.
UC’s Baptist Campus Ministries Share Witnessing Dolls
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands) -– Every spring break, University of the Cumberlands (UC) Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) sends groups all around the country to spread the word of God to children and share His love with others. This year, the group used Witnessing Dolls to pass out to children as a sign that God is always with them. The dolls were donated by Mission Service Corps (MSC) Missionary Robin Reeves and her Sewing Seeds of Ministry.
“The women of Frankfort Baptist Church might not be able to go on a mission trip themselves, but through these salvation dolls they can share as we are the feet, hands, and bodies that take the good news,” said BCM Director Dean Whitaker. “Each one has a plan of salvation attached to its beads that share how to receive Christ and follow Him.”
One group from BCM traveled to New York to visit Brooklyn and Queens to speak the word to people of different backgrounds with Urban Impact, a ministry that teaches English to a variety of ethnic groups in the surrounding area. BCM also ministered to parents and their young children, teaching about the Lord’s Supper and how Jesus loved His friends so much that he died for them. 40 Salvation Dolls were given to those children and a public school district nearby.
“The Dolls are a witnessing tool,” said Reeves. “The different color beads represent a different stage in salvation. One side of the doll has closed eyes that represent before you know Christ and the other side of the doll has opened eyes for when you get to know Christ. When the dolls are shared, we explain the void in our hearts without Him and that He is there to provide for you when you accept the Lord into your life.”
Students were moved by the impact the dolls had on one woman and her son Lukey after recently moving to New York to recover from a divorce. After receiving a doll, the young boy also requested two more dolls to give to his siblings. “As he hugged the dolls, I told them I would be in prayer for their family and that the ladies at Frankfort Baptist would be blessed to know that they had brightened his world through these dolls,” said Dean. The group still prays for her and her 3 children that God’s love be shown to them through the gospel truth that was ministered.
“Sewing” Seeds of Kindness Ministry was formed in 2009 by MSC Missionary Robin Reeves at Frankfort Baptist Church in Corbin, Kentucky after receiving two boxes of “Dolls on Mission” witnessing dolls from the North American Mission Board. Since then, the group of ladies has met weekly to handcraft over 6,000 witnessing dolls. These dolls have been shipped all around the world, including 27 states in the U.S. and 17 countries.
“It’s amazing how God orchestrated it all,” said Robin. “God opened the doors for me and it helped our women’s group at the Church become excited and everyone started to get involved.”
Acts 1:8 reinforces where Jesus told his followers, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.
ETBU Helps Youths In Alaska To Be Better Leaders
MARSHALL, Texas (East Texas Baptist University) — Five East Texas Baptist University students spent 12 days in Alaska during June, not to get away from the Texas summer heat, but to provide leadership training for high school age students who desire to be better Christian leaders in their local churches. The students weathered through 50 degree days as they served with the Alaska Baptist Convention as it held its annual T3 (Training Teens Today) Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, at Grandview Baptist Church.
“The ETBU students provided leadership training for Alaskan youth in the ninth through twelfth grades,” said ETBU Interim Director of the Great Commission Center Dr. Emily Prevost, who accompanied the ETBU group on the trip. “Many of the local youth were from very small churches and because churches are small, older youth in the Alaskan churches need to be able to lead Bible studies, lead worship, operate sound equipment, plan events, and mentor younger youth.”
The training time in Alaska consisted of intensive Bible study and skill tracks to prepare the youth for leadership opportunities. The skill tracks included video, technical applications, worship leadership, missions, ministry, and recreation. Several of the ETBU students, also led group studies in evangelism or sign-language.
Jimmy Stewart, Director of Evangelism and Church Development for the Alaska Baptist Convention for the past 11 years, likes what the college students bring to the conference in their teaching roles. “The energy and enthusiasm the college students bring, relate more to the youth than us older leaders,” said Stewart. “The ETBU students not only trained but mentored our students and took a deep interest in their lives. By using Christian college students dedicated to serving and following Christ, it modeled to our students the next stage in life.”
The trip was a new experience for ETBU sophomore music major Kristine Mailloux as this was her first time in Alaska. “I went on this trip because I was sitting in our Missions Chapel at ETBU and as I listened to the students talk about their experiences and how much going these service trips changed them, I felt called to go and do something for someone else,” said the Hemphill native. The cool temperatures of Alaska and daylight at 3:00 a.m. each day was an adjustment for her as well.
“I definitely did not expect to see the kind of poverty that I did. I saw children wearing the same clothes each day and kids asking us for water and food instead of wanting to play with us,” said Mailloux. “I also saw many heartwarming actions as young teens reached out to help these kids. I saw compassion on their faces and love in their hearts. I saw Christ-like leadership qualities in those we were working with.”
“The students from ETBU were very dedicated and contributed tremendously to our program,” said Stewart. “Many of the college students found it hard to leave Alaska and the relationships they had formed.”
Students from ETBU have been assisting with T3 since the summer of 2006. The hope is that T3 participants will attend all four years of high school.
ETBU had over 125 students and faculty serving this summer in 6 states and 13 countries in places like California, Colorado, Romania, and the Middle East. The student team that went to Alaska was Mailloux of Hemphill, Kenny Adcock of Joshua, Lerinda Baham of Bethany, La., Dylan Mathis of Kaufman, and Daniel Tice of El Campo.
Chantel Blunt: From Victim to Victor through Bluefield College’s inSPIRE Degree Completion Program
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College) — Graduates of Bluefield College’s inSPIRE degree completion program often speak of the significance of earning that long anticipated bachelor’s degree. It’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream or the key to career success. For winter 2011 BC graduate Chantel Blunt, it means even more, considering the road she traveled to get there.
As a child, Chantel showed great promise, but her mother and maternal grandparents died from cancer while she was still young, and her father was just never in the picture. Soon after, Chantel found herself in foster care, where she endured abuse that forced her to choose to live in the streets.
“My three brothers and I were separated and lived on the streets of many different cities,” Chantel recalled. “Homelessness became a way of life for me. I wanted to change that, but I was unaware of how to do so. I was always a bright young lady, and I received scholarships to many prominent schools, but I was not emotionally stable to pursue an education.”
Chantel, who grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, attended six different high schools and stayed where she could to find shelter. Despite the obstacles, she persevered and finished secondary school.
“I had to become an adult early in life, and I was not the average kid,” confessed Chantel. “I had no support system. I never fit in anywhere, so I kept running.”
In fact, Chantel continued to wander until she was 25 years of age. That’s when she met Sean Blunt, a young man from Brooklyn, New York, she fell in love with and married. Sean, she said, brought stability, joy and fulfillment to her life, but she knew she needed a college degree to better herself. She took community college courses when she could, but her job came first since she “had to work to eat.”
Through a college fair, Chantel learned about BC’s inSPIRE degree completion program, an accelerated program designed to provide working adults with a convenient, flexible opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree. And, for the first time, she began to see herself fulfilling that goal.
“Before, I never thought I was worthy of great things happening to me,” said Chantel. “I was accustomed to abuse and poverty. I never envisioned the riches that God had in store for me. But, I was worthy, because God said that I was. So, I began to think, I can do this, because God doesn’t make junk.”
It was this same “infectious excitement” that convinced her husband to pursue the journey at Bluefield College with her. Together, they researched BC’s credentials and were impressed with its Christian emphasis, accreditation, and quality curriculum. As a result, they both enrolled, knowing all too well the challenge that lie ahead.
“In addition to going to school full time,” said Sean, “we had to maintain our normal lives, from balancing the day-to-day family operations with two children to supporting my full time work schedule in management. It was tough, but we knew it would be worth it.”
The professors, they said, were “amazing,” and the staff “like extended family.” In addition to the tools necessary for career success, they said the inSPIRE program gave them “focus,” “discipline,” and “confidence.” And, on December 18, 2011, they both walked across the stage of Harman Chapel to accept their bachelor’s degree.
“I have overcome many obstacles,” said Chantel, “but the one thing the inSPIRE program gave me that no one can ever take away is an education. Since the death of my mother this is the first goal that I have successfully accomplished.”
Now living in Locust Grove, Virginia, Chantel and Sean said earning their bachelor’s degree also was a great opportunity for them to teach their children to be “survivors” and to “show them first-hand that they can overcome any hurdle they face.”
“The inSPIRE program has shown us that we can do anything, through Christ,” said Sean. “Our kids had an opportunity to see their parents walk across the stage during graduation. That was one of my proudest moments.”
With his BC degree, Sean is now pursuing a master’s degree at Liberty University. Chantel is exploring programs that offer a master’s degree in human services, all for the purpose of dedicating her life to helping others the way Bluefield College helped her.
“I want to help change the lives of children and young adults by showing them that their past does not define their future,” said Chantel. “The inSPIRE program allowed me to believe that. Now, I no longer live as a victim, and because of my faith in God, I live in victory.”
HSU Prof Honored for Work in Hispanic Education in Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University) — Dr. Joe Rangel Jr., director of Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology undergraduate programs in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been recognized for his work in Hispanic education. The 2012 Excellence in Leadership Award, given annually at the Texas Baptist Hispanic Education Convention, through the Hispanic Education Initiative, is given to the person who best demonstrates leadership or advocacy for Texas Baptist Hispanics in education.
Speaking in Spanish and English, Dr. Gus Reyes, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Hispanic Education Initiative, presented the award to Rangel, praising him for the example he has set, “Brother Joe is one of our newest PhD’s. We have a few currently working on their doctorate degrees and we can’t wait to recognize them. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful dream to have more PhDs – your kids are going to be the ones to do that. Dr. Rangel, thank you for what you do and what you will do for our students.”
Rangel is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He completed his graduate degree at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he earned the Master of Divinity degree in biblical languages. He earned a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies in La Mirada, California.
Rangel has taught as an adjunct professor at Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas, and has been a pastor for churches in Texas and California.
Rangel serves as assistant professor of missions at HSU Corpus Christi, which works in cooperation with the South Texas School of Christian Studies (STSCS). STSCS operates as a host institution for religious education in South Texas through which the Logsdon School of Theology of Hardin-Simmons University offers two baccalaureate degrees and the Logsdon Seminary of HSU offers two masters degrees.
“This award is a great honor for me and my family,” says Rangel. “I’d like to thank the Hispanic Baptist Convencion and the Hispanic Education Initiative for acknowledging what God has done in my life and in my profession.”
Reyes, who is charged with leading Texas Baptists to help Hispanic teens complete high school and earn degrees in higher education, says Rangel was the perfect person to receive the award because he has finished the race by earning the highest degree in his field.
“Dr. Rangel has set the example of achievement for Hispanic students throughout Texas,” says Reyes. “He proves once again to Hispanic students that academic goals can be achieved through God’s help. We are very proud of Dr Rangel and thankful for his continued ministry as a professor at HSU in the School of Christian Studies at Corpus.”
Charleston Southern names new dean
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Charleston Southern University) — Dr. Keith Callis has been named dean of humanities and social sciences effective June 1.
Callis joins the CSU family from Louisiana Baptist College and has extensive teaching and academic administrative experience. He has served at other institutions as chair of humanities, chair of the English department and liberal studies, chair of arts and sciences and director of the honors program.
He has also worked extensively with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
“Dr. Callis is a proven Christian academic leader who will be invaluable to CSU in our faith integration efforts,” said President Jairy C. Hunter Jr.
Dr. Jackie Fish, interim vice president for academic affairs, said, “Dr. Callis brings great experience and academic background to CSU in both the role of dean of CHSS and as a professor of English. His new perspective will lead the CHSS in a strong direction.”
Callis plans to work deliberately and methodically to integrate faith and learning. “I plan to give professors the freedom to work in their strengths and with creativity,” he said.
Callis holds a BA from Lambuth College, an MA from Memphis State, an MA from Wheaton College and a PhD from Vanderbilt University.