BP Ledger, Jan. 31 edition

EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger includes items from:

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

International Christian Concern

International Mission Board

Campbellsville University

Ex-clinic director gets probation for fake bomb threat

TULSA, Okla. (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission)--A former abortion clinic director in Tulsa, Okla., was sentenced Jan. 7 to five years of probation for calling in a fake bomb threat to police.

Linda Meek, formerly executive director of Reproductive Services of Tulsa, pleaded guilty in October to giving "false and misleading information" to police about a threat to the clinic in August, the Tulsa World reported.

Meek, 63, told federal Judge Claire Eagan she purchased an egg timer, set it so it would tick, placed it inside a box and put it in a trash can, according to the World. She reported a bomb to police.

She could serve a prison sentence of as much as five years if she violates her probation.

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Mother to freeze eggs for daughter, 2

LONDON (ERLC)--A British mother intends to donate and freeze her own eggs in hopes her infertile, 2-year-old daughter may be able to use them to give birth when she is grown.

Penny Jarvis, 25, said she wants Mackenzie, who has Turner Syndrome, to be able to have children via in vitro fertilization (IVF). Since Mackenzie has the chromosomal aberration, she has no ovaries. Any children conceived in this way would be the product of eggs from MacKenzie's mother and sperm from Mackenzie's husband or partner.

The ethical implications would be "immense," the Daily Mail reported.

"The test-tube baby would be a half-sibling of [his] birth mother as well as another child of [his] grandmother," according to the British newspaper. "The baby's father would be [fertilizing] his mother-in-law's egg. In addition the baby's aunts and uncles would also be [his] half-brothers and sisters."

Jarvis, who lives in Sheffield, told the Daily Mail, "You could look at it as her giving birth to her own brother or sister, but I choose not to see it like that."

Pro-life advocate Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics told the newspaper, "One can fully understand the sadness for a mother to discover that her little daughter suffers form Turner Syndrome, but I do not think putting her own eggs in the freezer is either a practical or an ethical solution.

"One has to think of the implications for any hypothetical children born of such inter-generational donations," she said. "The complexities of these relationships are often impossible to unravel. Psychologists are already talking about the trauma of genealogical bewilderment, as egg and sperm donation and surrogacy create more and more artificial conceptions."

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11 Countries to Watch in 2011 ICC's 2011 Hall of Shame Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. (International Christian Concern)--International Christian Concern (ICC) has released its annual Hall of Shame report, a list of the globe's worst persecutors of Christians in 2010.

Islamic fundamentalism has replaced Communism as today's number one persecutor of Christians. Iraq and Egypt have been added to the list this year due to a substantial increase in anti-Christian violence. One of 2010's worst attacks occurred in a Baghdad church on October 31 and left more than 50 worshippers dead. The next day, Al-Qaeda declared Christians throughout the Middle East as legitimate targets for the Mujahedin, or Holy Warriors. Since the declaration, Christians have been murdered almost weekly and thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homes, adding to the largest exodus of Christians in modern history.

Egypt, more than any country outside of Iraq, has suffered the most from the Al-Qaeda threat. Religious tensions were inflamed early this year when six Coptic Christians in Naga Hammadi were shot dead in January. Anti-Christian demonstrations – inflamed by Muslim propaganda – followed. On November 24th, Egyptian security opened fire with live ammunition on Christian protestors in Giza, killing two people. The attacks on Copts have continued into the new year. On January 1, a suicide bomber murdered 21 Christians outside a church in Alexandria.

The other countries ranked in this year's report remain on the top persecutor list from last year, having made little to no progress in religious freedom. They include North Korea, Eritrea, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, India, Vietnam, Nigeria and China.

Jeff King, ICC's president, said, "In compiling the report, it was striking to see the rate at which Christian persecution has accelerated around the globe, especially in the Islamic world. Anti-Christian hatred arising from Islam has flowed into 2011, as seen in the horrific attacks in Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq already this year. Constant vigilance is needed in the struggle to defend the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those of us fortunate to live in countries that grant religious freedom must not forget nor neglect the plight of Christians who are condemned by extremist ideology or government tyranny to suffer – or die – for their faith."

The report is in PDF format, and can be found on ICC's website, persecution.org, or it can be accessed directly here. (http://www.persecution.org/pdf/2011HallofShame.pdf).

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South Asia News Prayer Requests (International Mission Board), February 2011, http://www.go2southasia.org

BANGLADESH. The second largest gathering of Muslims in the world happens in Bangladesh. It is called the Bishwa Ijtema. This has been called the poor men's Mecca for those Bangladeshis that can never afford to go to Saudi Arabia but want to make a pilgrimage of faith of some sort. There is a large field just north of Dhaka that is dry enough during the winter for millions of people to camp and listen to teaching and pray for several days. The Ijtema was divided into 2 sessions this year and has just concluded (Jan. 28-30). Pray for these millions of devotees from Bangladesh and around the world who came seeking enlightenment and spirituality. Pray that they would come to learn that the only journey worth making is the journey of repentance and faith that leads them to the cross.

BHUTAN. A worker among Bhutanese writes, "Please lift up the Buddhist people in our part of the world right now. God is doing something amazing that we can't even imagine. Satan is attacking as he fights to keep them in darkness. We know that God has called them by name and longs to have fellowship with them. Join us in the battle to lead them into the light. Prayers of the faithful are more important than any of us will ever fathom. We are grateful that we can share the burden with you, our family in Christ!"

INDIA. It is estimated that 80 percent of those who reside in India claim Hinduism as their religion. This represents more than 800 million people who need to know Jesus. Many times those with lower incomes are searching for some way out, but those from the upper class are content with their lifestyle, making it very difficult to reach them. Please pray for a High Caste Fruitful Practices Training that is being held in India on February 1-4. This training is seeking to help believers know how to use culturally appropriate methods to reach out to those from the upper class. Pray that many will come to know the Savior as a result of this training.

MALDIVES. When you think of Maldives, you immediately think of the beautiful islands, the coral reefs, crystal clear water...a place for the wealthy to vacation. Did you know that 99.9 percent of the people who live on the Maldives Islands are Muslim? They may have heard of "Isa" (Jesus), but they know him only as a prophet, not as the Messiah. They live each day in fear never knowing that Jesus came to set them free. Pray that God's Word would spread throughout the Maldives transforming men, women, boys and girls into "fishers of men" ready to share His love with all whom they encounter.

NEPAL. Pray for cross-cultural workers who recently returned to Nepal and hope to visit some very hard-to-get places in the days, weeks and months to come. Pray that Father will "clear the path" and "open doors" before them so that those who have never heard the Good News will have the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus. Pray that those who follow Jesus would be eager to share with their family and friends so that God's Word might spread throughout Nepal.

PAKISTAN. Plans for repairing and rebuilding flood-damaged homes are underway. Access to bricks and masons has been slow. Treacherous road conditions and water damage is limiting the amount of useful bricks for building; also, construction costs have increased. Pray that helping with rebuilding will prove to be an open door for contact and witness. Lift up new contacts that have been made because of the flood. On a recent Sunday, many adults and children attended a Sindhi worship service. They represented seven different locations. The giving of tangible care has opened new doors for witness.

SOUTH ASIAN DIASPORA. "Mrs. L, how soon can we have another Bible story?" The boy couldn't wait for the weekly meeting at the home of a member of Team Canada in a large suburb of a major city. Many families in the neighborhood are of South Asian descent and religions, but all the children play together! Some children were curious about what Mrs. L was teaching her children and wanted to hear the stories too. After getting permission from the parents, Mrs. L opened the story time to any interested children. Please pray for the three families who are touched by this story time, asking the Holy Spirit to open their ears to the Truth. Pray for a relationship of trust between this couple and the neighborhood parents. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide this couple so "that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel" (Ephesians 6:19, HSCB).

SRI LANKA. Sri Lanka will be one of the hosts of the 10th Cricket World Cup, beginning February 19 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and culminating with the finals on April 2 in Mumbai, India. The World Cup has gained momentum through the years, with the first being held in 1975 in England, with eight teams participating. This year, 14 teams will be battling it out for the coveted cup in approximately 12 different arenas. There will be two venues in Sri Lanka, one in the capital city and one farther south. Pray for the church to rise to the occasion! Pray for believers to be trained in sharing their faith, and petition for boldness to do that among those who will be attending these events. Pray for a mighty outpouring of God's Spirit to provide opportunities, protection, and a harvest of souls!

SOUTH ASIAN HINDU FESTIVALS. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10, HCSB). As you pray on Feb. 8, Hindus in South Asia are celebrating Vasant Panchami to welcome the first day of spring. Also known as Saraswati day, it honors the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. Traditionally, children are taught to write their first words on this day, as an auspicious beginning to their education. Most educational institutions will have special prayers for Saraswati. Pencils, notebooks and pens are placed at the feet of the idol for blessings and then used by the students. Musicians will have special "pujas" (worship rituals) performed for their instruments. The goddess is considered to be the personification of all knowledge. Please pray that students, musicians and artists will realize that the idol has no power to help them. Pray Colossians 2:2-3 for South Asia's Hindus today.

SOUTH ASIAN PEOPLES. More Muslims live in South Asia than in the entire Middle East, yet they account for less than 15 percent of the total population. They are often despised, not only by Hindus, but also by those who call themselves Christians. Pray that South Asian Christians will obey Jesus' command given in Mark 12:29-31 (ESV), after one of the scribes had asked, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" "Jesus answered, 'The most important is, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The second is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.'"

SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED PEOPLES. On the Arabian Peninsula, not all the people are Arabs; 5 million South Asians are there! Desperate to find better-paying jobs, they have immigrated to the Arabian Peninsula for contracted work. They now have even less of an opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus than they did in their homelands. Very little work is being done to reach this huge pocket of South Asians. Please ask the Father to provide resources and to call evangelists to reach these 5 million souls living in spiritual darkness. Pray that it may be even as it was when the ascended Jesus sent Paul: "I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:17-18, HCSB).

Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, will be hosting a training from March 7-9, called "ASAP Strategic Partnering: Moving Forward." The training is designed to meet the needs of churches already partnering in South Asia, as well as churches looking to begin a new partnership. Register at: http://www.calvarynow.com/templates/System/details.asp?id=44069&PID=713407.

South Asia includes the seven countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Pakistan. If you would like more information on how you can pray for the peoples of South Asia, please write to Prayer@asap.hush.com. Become a fan of South Asian peoples on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Asian-Peoples/386535135341.

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CU honored for most students at the National Festival of Young Preachers

By Natasha Janes, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY -- Campbellsville University, a founding member of the National Festival of Young Preachers, was recognized at the recent conference for having the most students attending from any college or university affiliated with the organization.

Campbellsville University also had the largest number attending last year, which was the inaugural year for the festival.

Dr. Scott Wigginton, associate professor of pastoral ministries and counseling at CU, said, "Both last year and this year, our students have not only benefitted from the varied opportunities to hone their preaching skills, but they have mixed and mingled with a broad variety of persons.

"These men and women come from places as diverse as Vanderbilt, St. Meinrad Seminary, Yale, Criswell College, Morehouse College and the University of Chicago, just to name a few. Despite varying theological viewpoints, all feel called to preach."

The CU students who participated in the 2011 National Festival of Young Preachers were Jamie Bennett of Horse Cave, Ky., Trask Murphy of Summersville, Ky., Curtis Clemons of Williamstown, Ky., Andre Morton of Vine Grove, Ky., Andrew McGinnis of Waynesburg, Ky. and Jesse Reese of Old Bridge, N.J.

During the festival, 130 young people from across the nation delivered a sermon based on the Ten Commandments.

The Academy of Preachers is a trans-denominational organization whose mission is to Identify, Network, Inspire and Support young people who sense God's leading into a vocation of enormous social significance-gospel preaching, according to The Academy of Preachers website.

The Campbellsville students and professors who attended all had a magnificent experience and would recommend it to other young preachers in the future, according to Jamie Bennett, who has a 2005 bachelor of science degree and a master's of theology degree from CU in 2009.

Bennett said, "I think it's a great experience for all believers. They get challenged, fed and have their eyes opened to the ways that God is moving in the generation to come."

Bennett also said one of the most interesting parts of the experience was being exposed to so many different traditions and backgrounds.

He said, "Theologically, I think everybody heard a sermon or two that made them wince. That was the beauty of the experience; everybody had to stand back and think, 'Okay, I don't agree with that, but why don't I agree with it? Is it because it isn't biblical, or is it because I've made a few false assumptions about who God is and what the message of Christ means?'"

Clemons said, "I was granted the opportunity not only to preach, but to hear classmates and fellow young preachers from across the nation and one from Canada preach as well.

"At Campbellsville University, we are able to interact with students from different backgrounds, however at the Festival of Young Preachers, the preachers were from many different traditions and denominations. I feel more appreciation for certain traditions in my denomination as well as those in other denominations that may not be part of my specific tradition."

Dr. Dwayne Howell, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at CU, attended the conference and said, "It's a wonderful opportunity for young preachers because they are evaluated and they get to preach for their peers."

Wigginton also said one of his favorite memories of this year's festival was watching CU's students show up for each other and support each other every time a Campbellsville person would preach.

He said there is a sense of family in the School of Theology and opportunities like this give them the chance to enjoy each other.

The Academy of Preachers website offers guidance, direction and professional accountability to Young Preachers through annual events such as the Young Preachers Leadership Team, the Festival of Young Preachers and Summer Preaching Camps. They also encourage Young Preachers to seek the guidance and wisdom of a mentor and to partner together with a supporting congregation in their denomination.

At the final assembly of the festival, all young preachers who participate are formally inducted into the Academy of Preachers, and thus eligible for both institutional scholarships and also for both the summer preaching camps, the Leadership Team and other programs of the Academy of Preachers.

Campbellsville University (campbellsville.edu) is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.


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