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SBC DIGEST: WMU aids Nicaraguan safe house; BGR clean water campaign underway; Point of Grace’s 2nd LifeWay album released

WMU aids Nicaraguan safe house after tropical storm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — After Tropical Storm Nate pummeled a safe house for girls in Nicaragua, a HEART Fund grant (Humanitarian Emergency Aid for Rebuilding Tomorrow) is helping the ministry in offering crisis care to its neighbors.

The $2,500 gift from the WMU Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time, said Landa Carnes, a missionary serving at Emmanuel Home of Protection, a ministry of Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International.

Missionaries at the safe house in Diriamba, Nicaragua, are still working to repair damage from the October 2017 storm and restore the ministry’s finances after stretching resources thin to help meet the dire needs of storm survivors around them.

The HEART Fund grant will help cover Emmanuel Home of Protection’s ministries to young victims of sexual abuse or trafficking. The grant also will help replace damaged roofing, windows, walls and doors.

The needs in the Diriamba area are “almost insurmountable,” said Cindy Walker, a board member for WMU Foundation, which stewards the HEART Fund.

“Poverty is rampant. Hopelessness is evident everywhere you look,” Walker said. But she also told of story after story of people in the area who had been won to Christ because someone from the safe house reached out to them and met their physical needs. The home “is a beacon of hope and light in a dark area of our hemisphere,” Walker said.

At Emmanuel Home of Protection, Carnes and other missionaries provide girls from birth to age 18 with a formal education and training in life and job skills.

“Most of our girls come to us pregnant, the average age of the young mother being 11 to 12 years old,” Carnes said.

The staff offers psychological, emotional and spiritual care, introducing the girls to the unconditional love of Jesus. That’s why it’s vital to keep the ministry up and running at full speed, Walker said. “Anything we can do to help these missionaries minister in this community is wonderful.”

Since the HEART Fund’s creation in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, the WMU Foundation has granted more than $473,000 in aid to disaster victims in the United States and around the world.

The WMU Foundation is accepting gifts to the HEART Fund for disaster relief victims online (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=wmuf&id=24) or by mail to WMU Foundation HEART Fund, 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL 35242.


Baptist Global Response launches 2nd Well Dig Dare

NASHVILLE (BP) — Baptist Global Response’s second annual Well Dig Dare is underway, aiming to double last year’s initiative for communities abroad needing clean water.

In 2017, supporters of the Southern Baptist humanitarian aid organization raised more than $15,000 through the Well Dig Dare to provide 15 wells and water systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast and Central Asia. In 2018, the organization’s goal is $30,000.

BGR launched its Well Dig Dare on March 22 in conjunction with the U.N.’s World Water Day. The cost of one well is roughly $1,000. The BGR campaign will continue through April 30.

“Water is essential to life, and last year, generous donors took the dare and raised enough to install 15 wells and community water systems,” said Jeff Palmer, CEO of the BGR and its international community development and disaster relief initiatives. “That means children in 15 communities won’t get sick from dirty drinking water. Mothers in 15 communities don’t have to haul water for miles. Fathers can sleep in peace knowing their families are healthy and well. This year we hope to double the number of wells through this dare, which means doubling the number of families that will have clean, safe water.”

BGR’s overall clean water projects in 2017, beyond its Well Dig Dare, encompassed 672 wells and water systems.

Participants can learn more about the Well Dig Dare and make donations at gobgr.org/welldigdare. The site includes resources to promote the event online, such as the hashtag #BGRWellDigDare, and in local churches.


Point of Grace releases hymns & worship album with LifeWay

NASHVILLE (BP) — In 25 years of recording Christian music, Grammy-nominated Point of Grace had never released a full-length hymns and worship album. That changed April 3 when the trio released their second project with LifeWay Worship — a collection of classic songs called “Beautiful Name.”

The project showcases Point of Grace’s signature harmonies atop 10 fresh arrangements of beloved favorites, old and new.

Produced and arranged by Kent Hooper and Phillip Keveren, Beautiful Name features the cherished hymns, “All Creatures of Our God and King,” “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “Blessed Assurance,” alongside worship classics such as the Twila Paris-penned “How Beautiful,” Hillsong Worship’s “Cornerstone” and renowned modern hymn, “In Christ Alone,” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

“We have always known at some point in our career we would record a hymns and worship project,” said Point of Grace’s Shelley Breen. “After being together for 25 years, this seemed like the perfect time. So much of our ministry is based on the foundation we received growing up in the church and singing these hymns that are so theologically rich and full of verity.

“These days, especially, we believe every single song we record and release needs to be heavily anchored in truth,” Breen added. “Our hope is that the words of this project will remind people of the absolute trustworthiness and freedom we can find in a life with Christ.”

Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship, was excited to get Point of Grace back in the studio after customers’ responsiveness to their LifeWay-exclusive Christmas project, “Sing Noel.”

“Their new album, Beautiful Name, is full of familiar songs with a fresh and exciting sound only Point of Grace could deliver,” Harland said. “Denise, Leigh and Shelley have created an extraordinary worship collection that truly expresses just how beautiful Jesus’ name is.”

Beautiful Name will be available in CD form exclusively at LifeWay Christian Stores and LifeWay.com for $5. It will also be available for digital download on iTunes.

Point of Grace’s Denise Jones hopes the mixture of old and new songs on the album will help unite generations in worship.

“We are so thankful for the music we learned as children in church that helped establish our roots,” Jones said. “Our prayer is that this record can bring generations together. A grandmother could know these words and sing along in the car with her granddaughter so that it gives them a chance to talk about who Christ is.”

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