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 includes items from:
Florida Baptist Witness
Innovative Faith Resources
Compass Direct News
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
International Mission Board
Florida pastor accepts Charles Stanley’s invite as assistant pastor of First Baptist Atlanta
By Joni B. Hannigan
WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida Baptist Witness)–Central Florida pastor Anthony George announced to his congregation at Aloma Church Sunday, March 4, he has accepted the invitation of Charles Stanley at First Baptist Church in Atlanta to serve as that historic church’s assistant pastor.
Aloma’s director of communications told the Florida Baptist Witness George described the past nine weeks as a period of intense prayer and searching. He eventually concluded God was calling him to the Atlanta megachurch where Stanley, who served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been pastor for 42 years.
“The most difficult part of the decision was the mere prospect of saying goodbye to the church family. You have encouraged me, supported me, and loved me for fifteen years,” George told the congregation, according to Chris Monaghan, Aloma’s director of communications.
Elected as the fourth pastor of Aloma Church in June 1997, George followed the 26-year tenure of Joe Boatwright. He will officially assume his role at First Baptist Atlanta April 22.
A Mississippi native, George moved to Neptune Beach in his teens. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and Criswell College in Dallas, Texas.
In leaving Florida, George resigns his seat on the Florida Baptist Convention’s State Board of Missions, where he serves as chairman of the Denominational Polity and Practice Committee. He will also resign his service of 12 years in Florida’s seat on the Board of Trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he has chaired the Academic Administration Committee for the past four years.
“Assisting Dr. Stanley will be a great privilege,” George told the Witness. “Keeping up with him will be the challenge. His worldwide impact for the Gospel has never been greater, yet he’s trusting God for even more.”
Joni B. Hannnigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness.
Former SBC State Exec’s son releases national CD
By Amanda Sullivan
LYNCHBURG, Va (Innovative Faith Resources)–After more than eight years since his previous studio album with original music, Charles Billingsley is set to release his newest solo-artist CD “Never Forsaken” on March 6. A live-streaming concert will be aired on CharlesBillingsley.com, taking place at Thomas Road Baptist Church, of Lynchburg, Va. This online event is free.
Billingsley’s father, Clyde Billingsley, has served in Baptist state conventions in years past.
“He was missions and evangelism director for the Northwest Baptist Convention and the Northern Plains Baptist convention, as well as evangelism director for the Florida Baptist convention,” Billingsley said. “Later he became executive Director for Utah/Idaho convention and after that was the Executive Director for Montana.”
The former preacher’s kid’s recent endeavor is “a plea to the church,” he said in a news release. This new albums is a wake-up call to the church, according to the news release.
“Look beyond the four walls of our buildings and get out there and love the world,” Billingsley said. “It’s just a reminder to us all — God actually loves them as much as he loves me.”
The mantra for “Never Forsaken” is two-fold, with the first concept being love.
“There’s a (book) called the ‘Jesus Story Book Bible,'” Music Director and long-time friend Adam Lancaster said. “We read it to my daughter just about everyday. It describes God love as ‘a never stopping, never giving up, always and forever love’ — that’s the love that we are talking about.”
Additionally, the purpose of the album serves as reminder to listeners that “God chose us to share that love,” Lancaster said.
“So whether it’s someone right beside us in our neighborhood, or half-way around the world just trying to live today, it’s our responsibility to meet the needs of these people, physically and spiritually,” Lancaster said. “Charles wanted to make a project ‘for my generation’ to challenge them do more, give more and love more for the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom.”
So, in an effort to show more love, Billingsley decided to partner with CauseLife, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to those who need it.
“Last summer, Charles and some close friends went on a trip to Guatemala to see what CauseLife was doing down there and how they could help,” Lancaster said. “Charles came back…and the partnership was taking shape. What started out as raising awareness and money for wells has flourished into an entire village project where we are raising money to build houses, a church, school and community center.”
Much of the inspiration for Billingsley’s title track “Never Forsaken” stemmed from his experiences in Guatemala. For him, the song is a call to action for listeners.
“The song ‘Never Forsaken’ is for those people in the world who are hungry, lost, afraid, malnourished, thirsty, who cry out everyday for something called hope,” Billingsley said in a news release. “They won’t hear this album. This record is for the people who will hear it to do something about it.”
The project has been “very fun, fulfilling and rewarding,” according to Lancaster.
“The challenge is to make sure those things don’t cloud the message and that the heart of the artist is still heard in the end,” Lancaster said. “I believe we achieved that with this CD. Album projects are always a lot of fun to do, especially when you’re in the middle writing and creating the thing, and this one was no different. Its something we’re all proud of.”
Billingsley’s recent shift in focus was a result of a personal struggle. In 2009, an aggravated blood vessel burst, leaving a polyp on his vocal chords. The only option was surgery — a procedure that may not have allowed the singer to continue in his vocal career, according to the news release.
“God used that polyp on my voice to refocus me,” Billingsley said in a news release. “Before that polyp, I used my voice for success. Now I want to use it for significance.”
Amanda Sullivan is a writer for Innovative Faith Resources, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.
Pakistani Muslims Employ ‘Blasphemy’ Threat in Land Grab
Attempt fails as influential Islamic family intervenes on behalf of Christians.
SIALKOT, Pakistan, February 27 (Compass Direct News)–Tensions are still high in a village near here following Muslims’ attempt to seize land from a Christian family by threatening to accuse them of “blasphemy.”
What began on Feb. 19 as a quarrel over a pigeon between Christian and Muslim youths at Nawa Pind Sabu Mohal village, in Sialkot’s Pasroor area in northeast Punjab Province, grew into an occasion to jail some Christians in the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim country, the Christians said.
Gulshan Masih, 20, told Compass that his younger brother, Saif Masih, 18, had quarreled with a young Muslim over a pigeon that led to about a half dozen boys from each group charging into a fistfight and later pelting each other with stones. With the Muslims throwing bricks and stones from inside a mosque at the young Christian men’s homes, the skirmish ended when an elderly female relative of the Christians was wounded in their courtyard, Gulshan Masih said.
A few hours later, police officers arrived and took his father, 55-year-old Bashir Masih, and 50-year-old uncle, Pervaiz Masih, into custody.
“The Muslims had accused us of desecrating the mosque by throwing stones at it,” Gulshan Masih said. “My father and uncle were not even involved in the fight, yet they were taken into custody on false charges.”
Muslim villagers have tried to drive Christians from the village on similarly petty pretexts, he said.
“We own land and cattle, and this may be one of the reasons why the Muslims keep on picking fights with us over minor issues,” Masih said, recalling how relatives Saleem and Rasheed Masih were arrested on a false blasphemy charge in 1999 after a quarrel stemming from a Muslim ice cream vendor refusing to serve Saleem Masih from the same bowl used by Muslims. Rasheed Masih was not even present at the scene of the quarrel, Gulshan Masih said, but was also charged.
Their accusers had carried a grudge again them after having lost a civil land dispute. The brothers were convicted of blasphemy by a lower court, but the Lahore High Court freed them on March 19, 2003.
As soon as word spread in Sialkot that the Christian youths had “desecrated the mosque,” Muslims from nearby villages gathered at a police station to pressure officers into registering a false case against Bashir and Pervaiz Masih under Pakistan’s internationally condemned laws against blaspheming Islam, its prophet or the Quran.
Two days later, Tuesday (Feb. 21), police took into custody eight more Christians – Gulhan Masih, his cousin Amir Masih, Mehmood Masih, Irshad Masih, Kashif Masih, Qamar Masih, Khuram Masih and Akmal Masih – in order to increase pressure on the Christians, according to Napoleon Qayyum, a Christian rights activist. He said it was evident that the Muslims were trying to seize a 1.5-kanal (one kanal is one-eighth of an acre) plot of land owned by Bashir Masih, as they demanded that he surrender it as a condition for the release of the jailed Christians.
Bashir’s land is located near a mosque run by one Hafiz Ishfaq, who is also a member of the militant Islamist group, the Sunni Tehreek, Qayyum said.
Police released Bashir and Pervaiz Masih and the other eight Christians on Wednesday evening (Feb. 22) with a warning that they would be charged with blasphemy if they did not meet the conditions set the previous day by a “reconciliation committee” comprising the area’s notable Muslim leaders, Qayyum said – though in fact an influential family had argued successfully against imposing the condition on the Christians.
Muhammad Riaz Dar, the police inspector in-charge of the area, told Compass that the matter had been “amicably resolved” by the two parties. He declined to comment on the illegal detention.
Qayyum said the chain of events was clear.
“Look at how conveniently they threatened the Christians with involving them in a fake blasphemy case and were about to acquire the land without even paying a penny,” he said.
The intervention of the influential Muslim family on behalf of the Christians persuaded Hafiz Ishaq and others against trying to seize their land, Gulshan Masih said. Thus far the Muslims have backed off from that demand, but the village was still volatile, he said.
The other demand imposed by the “reconciliation committee” was that Pervaiz Masih’s son, Amir, not enter the village.
The Muslims suspect that Amir Masih had an affair with a local Muslim girl and took this opportunity to ban him from the village, said Qayyum.
He criticized police for playing into the hands of the Muslims.
“The police kept Bashir and Pervaiz in illegal custody for three days while eight others were detained for a day without any justification,” he said. “The police did not bother to take action against the Muslims involved in the fight. No Muslim was arrested, and no notice was taken of the injuries suffered by the Christians.”
Southwestern Seminary leads nation in church music
By Benjamin Hawkins
FORT WORTH, Texas (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary leads the nation in church music education, according to survey results reported last fall during the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
According to this survey of 84 schools, Southwestern is the only accredited institution to the offer a Ph.D. in church music. Also, only seven institutions—including Southwestern, as well as two other Southern Baptist seminaries—offer Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in church music.
Of the institutions surveyed within the NASM, 61 have only one music program related to church music or worship, and many of them offer only bachelor’s degrees. In contrast to all other institutions, Southwestern Seminary offers the greatest variety of specializations, and the most degrees in church music.
Alongside its doctoral degrees, students can choose from three master’s programs in church music and a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. In these six degree choices, students can specialize in accompanying, composition, conducting, jazz studies, music education, music history, music ministry, music missions, music theory, orchestral performance, organ performance, piano pedagogy, piano performance, vocal pedagogy, vocalperformance and worship.
The survey also reported that, during a span of seven years, a national average of 678 students enrolled each fall into accredited programs related to church music and worship. In the fall 2011 semester alone, a total of 167 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students enrolled in Southwestern’s music programs. According to Stephen Johnson, dean of the School of Church Music, this means that the seminary trains almost 25 percent of the students who study in these programs related to worship and church music.
Last fall, 38 students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Music program at Southwestern, 110 students enrolled in the School of Church Music’s master’s programs, and 19 enrolled in its doctoral programs. According to the survey reported at the NASM meeting, the national average for fall enrollment over the past seven years was 377 for bachelor’s programs, 254 for master’s programs and 47 for doctoral programs. As suggested by this information, Southwestern trains almost half of the master’s and doctoral students enrolled in church music and worship programs in the United States.
“We are very excited,” Johnson said, noting the many options that students have when they enroll in the School of Church Music. “It is very exciting to say that Southwestern is addressing this multi-faceted nature of worship in the life of the local church. And, yes, every local church is different, and you can’t say there is a one-size-fits-all approach to church music.” Unlike many schools, Southwestern has the “resources ready to address the level of need” in the churches.
On the other hand, Johnson added, the reported survey results “stress Southwestern’s responsibility.”
“There is a sense of responsibility to make sure that we are on the front edge, to make sure that we are doing it right and to make sure that we’re always having a visionary approach to what we’re supposed to do when we serve all the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
In the School of Church Music, students not only train in the classroom, but also perform on campus and insuch prestigious venues as New York’s Lincoln Center. Also, the School of Church Music equips students not only with the skills to handle any musicalstyle, but also with the theological training necessary to enhance worship centered on the proclamation of God’s Word.
Benjamin Hawkins is senior news writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (www.swbts.edu/campusnews).
Doug Bandow tells Campbellsville University what Ronald Reagan would say in 2012
By Matthew Schmuck
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)–In his early 20’s while working in the 1980 Presidential Campaign and later as a White House aid, Doug Bandow got to know the late President Ronald Reagan.
A special assistant to Reagan, Bandow said an extended amount of time has passed since the day Reagan left office on Jan. 20, 1989. However, Bandow said some of Reagan’s ideals are still evident within the walls of the Oval Office.
Bandow was a guest speaker at the Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy (KHIPP) event on Feb. 9, which dealt with how Reagan would react to today’s world issues.
A senior fellow at the Cato Institute, Bandow specializes in foreign policy and civil liberties and is the editor of “Inquiry,” a political magazine.
The Washington Post describes the Cato Institute as, “…the hot policy shop, respected for not compromising its core beliefs even when they get in the way of practical politics.”
With his speech titled, “What would Ronald Reagan say in 2012?” Bandow said to Campbellsville University faculty, students and community guests that Reagan would say exactly what he wanted to say, due to the fact that he was very much his own man.
Bandow went into depth on certain topics on which he believed Reagan would be inclined to comment.
Bandow said Reagan did not believe in leading a one-man band. He said Reagan believed America is a country of the people working together. In the words of Reagan, “It’s America. This is our country.”
Although he was a strong Conservative, Reagan worked with his political opponents to get things done.
In speculating on Reagan’s beliefs, Bandow said Reagan would declare Americans to be active, and to be active together.
“History shows American citizens are especially capable of overcoming great challenges,” Bandow said.
Reagan himself was no stranger to the concept of great challenges upon his entering into presidency. Reagan overcame skeptics and media portrayals in his ascendancy to the White House.
Bandow said Reagan would strive to have Americans work alongside their political adversaries, regardless of one’s political attitude. Reagan believed, according to Bandow, at the end of the day, we are all Americans needing to be exposed beyond the realms of our respected political hives.
“We need not just to help the poor, but to build communities that work to help all people including the poor,” Bandow said Reagan would believe.
Reagan’s Republican core values focused on the idea that government started at the local and state levels. Bandow said Reagan insisted that he wouldn’t lead or others would lead, but all of America would lead together. Reagan believed firmly that just one person does not hold the job of creating a future, but instead it is the job of an entire country.
Visualizing what Reagan would have to say about key public and world issues in 2012, Bandow discussed topics such as: taxes, regulation, education, healthcare, income inequalities, human rights, foreign policy, war and the current Republican presidential candidates.
Bandow said Reagan was bright, thoughtful and well read, and noted he was often underestimated by the media and adversaries. Reagan was always handing the younger Bandow newspaper articles to read on airplane flights to stay updated. Bandow said Reagan would spend money on education in today’s world but would prefer education be handled at the state and local level.
Bandow said Reagan was a man who never hated, while he supported a very strong military deterrent. He was horrified by nuclear weapons and believed the issue should be handled with extreme caution. A man who was very concerned about poverty, Reagan wanted peace and was referred to as the “appeaser” by critics when he worked with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to reduce nuclear weapons.
“Reagan was a president of consequence,” Bandow said.
Bandow, who is a regular commentator on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, believes not much has changed in Washington since Reagan was in office.
“All that matters in Washington is predicting the future,” Bandow said.
Watering hole at Hardin-Simmons University working to provide future water wells
ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)–The water cooler is taking on a whole new meaning this semester with the swipe of a purple Hardin-Simmons University ID card.
Students, faculty, and staff members can donate enough money to build a water well by this same time next year in an area of the world that does not have safe, fresh water with only the act of filling up a water bottle or buying a reusable water bottle.
At the beginning of the spring semester the HSU Green Team launched the Water4Water project that allows students and other HSU folks to donate enough money to build at least one water well per year.
Set up in the HSU’s Moody Center is the Hydration Station where students can fill up water bottles of cold, clean, free water. What make this project more than simply a water fountain is that the Hydration Station requires a reusable water bottle, which helps eliminate one-use bottled water, which helps reduce litter, and it provides an avenue for raising funds for Charity Water.
According to Charity Water, a non-profit organization working to bring clean and safe water to people in developing nations, a little over 12% of the world’s people drink water that is likely to make them sick.
Students, faculty, and staff can use any existing bottle at the station, or they can purchase a bottle for $2 in the HSU Green Office in room 212 of Moody Center. Whether it is a card swipe or a water bottle, the money is donated directly to Charity Water. http://www.charitywater.org/?gclid=CLKq7f-Qxq4CFYZoKgodcx9jWw
“Each time a card is swiped at the station, 25¢ is added to the HSU sponsorship account to help provide clean water in a place where there is none,” says Hunter Mangrum, residence life associate and director of sustainability for HSU. “If each or our students donates $2, which is eight card swipes, or the purchase a water bottle, over the course of a school year, we can provide funds to build one water well for over 250 people who desperately need it,” says Mangrum.
The Green Team, which is powered primarily by student leadership, started HSU’s first campus recycling program and a statistical data collecting system to track how much material the university is keeping out of landfills.
* The team is also responsible for the dorm move-out event, “Dump Day,” that provides students with a convenient area to leave reusable or recyclable goods that would otherwise end up in the trash.
* HSU Green also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to create the annual “1 for 1” tree to student donation program. For each student who signs up and participates in New Student Orientation each fall, one tree is donated to the Arbor Day Foundation. This past semester, HSU Green donated 450 trees, most of which have been planted in Bastrop County were this summer’s fires raged.
* Education-based events for students include Global Awareness Week, Human Power Day, various awareness films, like The 11th Hour, and an annual gift guide posted on the HSU website featuring the top 10 picks of earth-friendly gifts.
ASIA PRAYER REQUESTS, INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD
SOUTH ASIA (IMB)–Brief items reported by South Asia News (http://www.go2southasia.org) on Jan. 10 include:
BANGLADESH. “I can say with full confidence that God is at work in Bangladesh. How can I be so sure? God’s Word tells us that people from every tongue and nation will be before the throne, and He has called us and other workers to the field. However, the best way that we know that He is at work lately has been through the sudden increase in persecution. Satan does not want the millions who are living in darkness to come out from under the cloak he has binding their eyes and hearts. A national partner, M, was seeing dozens come to faith and was discpling them. Another national brother found funding from abroad and offered land and jobs to the new believers. Not yet grounded in their faith, all of the new believers have left M’s shepherding for the worldly securities offered by this other brother. M was also just given notice at his apartment because his landlord does not like the singing and prayer meetings going on in the building. Pray that God will help us all to be strong and find encouragement in Him. Pray that we will trust Him for greater things than we have seen or could imagine.”
BHUTAN. Rejoice with cross-cultural workers who write, “We would be remiss if we didn’t share many of the victories we have seen the Lord deliver in the past few months while we have been gone. One of our national partners was able to see the first man in a remote village in Bhutan come to faith in Christ. Another national partner started two new fellowships inside Bhutan. A young man, who has been a believer for only 2 years, left his family and home to another area where he has started 4 new churches. God is at work, and your prayers are casting darkness out for light!” Rejoice in these “new births”. Pray that these new Bhutanese believers would grow in faith and knowledge of the Word of God and share His love with their families, neighbors and friends. Pray that many indigenous Bhutanese churches would “spring forth” in 2012.
DIASPORA. A group of women working among South Asians in the diaspora are writing out simple versions of key Bible stories. They want to get them recorded in the various languages spoken by women living in their area. Please pray for these ladies to find women who speak these languages clearly and can translate the stories and record them onto CDs. Ask the Lord to prepare the hearts of the women who will hear the stories of God’s grace and His plan to save them through His Son.
INDIA. “Please join us in ‘desperate’ prayer for the city of Kolkata. The Gospel has been present in the city for hundreds of years, but little impact can be seen today with possibly 200 churches that represent a minimal part of the population. We ask for desperate prayer that is characterized by reverence for God, humility before Him, and faith in the Lord. Pray with us before God, asking Him why the Gospel is not spreading rapidly throughout the city. Pray with us, calling on God to act and to pour out His Spirit on the people so that new churches will be multiplied.”
MALDIVES. During the second week of February, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, President Mohamed Nasheed, stepped down from his post amidst threats of violence. Please pray that during this time of political unrest in this Sunni Muslim nation the Holy Spirit would move in the hearts of men, women and children, calling them unto Himself. Pray that believers would be unashamed to share the Hope they have in Jesus!
NEPAL. Nepal’s rough roads and congested streets make it hard for people with disabilities to make a living because they must crawl on the ground or have others help them. A welding shop called Hope Haven has used a BGR grant to build hand-propelled tricycles that allow them to ride comfortably and upright. The design makes it possible for the physically disabled to get to school, work, church and the market on their own – opening new roads of hope and opportunity and giving people with disabilities a new sense of dignity and independence. Watch the video at http://vimeo.com/35278431 and pray that these families who have been touched by God’s love would choose to follow Him as Lord and Savior.
PAKISTAN. “We like the stories and can remember them because they are on our hands,” says one woman at the henna party. A national woman partner, K, gathers a small group of her neighbors and has a henna party. A young girl draws the henna design on the women’s hands while K tells the Creation story. The sun, moon, stars and waves make beautiful henna designs while teaching truths from the Word. These majority women are asking many questions about the Truth. Please pray that God will open their spiritual eyes to see Him and understand who He is. Pray for K as she is sharing and visiting with these women regularly, asking that her words will be His words and bring healing, salvation, freedom and peace. These women are precious in God’s sight and He desires “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV). Oh, that they may know the salvation and freedom in Christ!
SRI LANKA. In a country where only 2% of the population is Christian, a believer’s funeral can be an opportune time to share the Gospel with many who have never heard. A believer who attended a house church led by Geethan*passed away. Before she died, she had Geethan promise to share the Gospel with her lost family, friends, and neighbors at her funeral. As you can imagine, many of the non-believing relatives were not happy and one of them tried to choke Geethan*. Pray 2 Timothy 4:17 & 18 along with us … “Lord, we thank you for standing with Geethan and strengthening him to proclaim the Truth. We pray that Your Word would find fertile soil in the lives of Sister Shana’s* family and that many of them would turn to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” *Geethan (pseudonym for a local pastor); Sister Shauna (pseudonym for believer who died).
BANGALORE HOSPITAL, INDIA. The Bible studies with medical staff in the various departments are continuing. There are some departments where there are no Christian doctors or perhaps only one. Pray that medical staff will be able to hear and understand God’s Word. Pray that Christian doctors will be committed to sharing their faith with colleagues and that more Christian doctors may be found to work in the hospital.
SOUTH ASIAN FESTIVALS. Hindus and South Asians from many backgrounds are busy this week purchasing packets of colored powders and water cannons in anticipation of celebrating Holi on Thursday, March 8. Also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrants throw the powders and water on each other, resulting in a display of walking kaleidoscopes. Even though most South Asians do not know the origins of the festival and believe it is simply a celebration of unity and brotherhood, Holi is actually based on several events related to jealousy between Hindu deities, and is also a time to seek the blessings of Hindu gods for fertile lands and harvests.Pray that South Asian Hindus will realize that God, the One and only, is jealous for them to know Him and worship Him. Pray for opportunities to share about Jesus, whether on the streets in the midst of the rainbow showers or in the quiet of homes where families have gathered for their own celebrations. Pray that many South Asian Hindus will discover the salvation that brings incomparable brotherhood and unity in the Body of Christ.
SOUTH ASIAN PEOPLES. In the Deccani Muslim area is the coastal city of Ratnagiri, an historic fishing town of approximately 100,000 people. According to the local confirmed data, there are less than 1,000 Christians living there. In 2011, they faced opposition to sharing the Gospel. The churches are growing, though slowly, yet the Muslim communities remain virtually unengaged with the Gospel. There are many Muslims from other parts of India living there, while the older, more dominant Muslim community controls the fishing industry. Local believers have coined the phrase, ‘the perfume of Ratnagiri,’ referring to the evening smell of drying (or rotting) fish! Please pray that the body of Christ will catch the Lord’s vision and love for the Muslims in this city. Pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will have His way in the hearts and minds of the Muslim community. Pray for the dissemination of the Gospel message, asking that where historic opposition exists, God will pave the way for transformed lives.