Thursday – Baptist Press

Some of the articles from Baptist Press

March 5, 2008

TEXAS–McCain seals nomination; Huckabee drops out. http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27549

TENNESSEE–Study: 1 in 100 Americans are in prison. http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27550

ZAMBIA–Cornmeal outreach aids flooded Zambians. http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27554

TENNESSEE–EDITORIAL (Will Hall): Obama lacks trust in the whole Word of God. http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27556

Thursday’s Devotional

 

KneEmail

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).

Mike Benson, Editor

 

THERE ARE THREE desires of the human mind that create the circumstances for a perfect spiritual storm…

First, we will seek happiness in our lives. Second, we will seek to fulfill our own desires. Third, we will do what we have to do to be at peace with ourselves. Our minds will find a way to accomplish these goals if we do not control them. They will be wild horses loosed from their stables.

People will do anything to accomplish these goals. They will lie to themselves and everyone else. They will abandon their loved ones and plunge into human depravity while maintaining their innocence. These desires become the core of their lives and anything that crosses them suffers the consequences.

Those who cannot silence their conscience will dig deep to find justification for their actions even to twisting Scripture. Rationalization, accomplished at the speed of light, alleviates our minds of all manner of complications. We act and then find the means to justify our actions. There appears to be no limit to our skill in this area. In our haste, we leave no room for reason and sobriety.

One of the most devious of these rationalizations is, “God wants me to be happy.” God ultimately becomes irrelevant as we seek our own pleasures, no matter the cost.

Keeping these facts in mind, we examine whether God wants man to be happy. The answer is obviously affirmative. God desires that we find joy in our time on earth. However, the happiness we find must be God’s definition. Man’s selfish brand of happiness is insufficient.

God promises, “[T]he peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We can find inexpressible joy in our lives if we are in Christ (1 Peter 1:8; Ephesians 1:3; Psalm 100).

God’s mind is vastly different from man’s mind (Isaiah 55:8,9). We cannot hold him to our lax standards. God bases truth on absolute standards established prior to the construction of time (Psalm 119:89). Situational or cultural ethics have no bearing on God. The feelings we cherish are simply grass blowing in the wind, ready to be burned and cast aside.

God did not call man to happiness, but to holiness. Holiness should make us happy but holiness comes first. Happiness never supersedes holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 1:3,4).

Man expects to do as he pleases, to accomplish the three goals mentioned previously, and God should stand by his side as he does so. We do what we want and expect God to agree. We imprison God in the structure we have constructed for him. We live however we wish and when confronted with the objective truth of Scripture, we say, “Well, God wants me to be happy!”

We must never confuse our voice for God’s voice. Millions do this every day. They are completely convinced that whatever they do, God will nod affirmatively. Therefore, the Lord is no longer the God who demands obedience (John 14:15), but the indulging grandfather ready with a smile and treats.

Wayne Jackson said, “How very foolish we are when we allow ourselves to be enticed from godliness by the temporal and exceedingly shallow emotions of passing mirages that will prove to be nothing more than cruel illusions in the eternal order of things.”

In our delusion, we believe the lie that true happiness is found outside of God in fleshly pleasures. We choose sexual pleasure, allegiances and materialism to justify disobedience to God. However, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” (Richard Mansel)

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thess. 4:7).

Thursday

Missionaries Jon, Mindy Jamison Live

 

in a Missions ‘Field of Dreams’ in Iowa

 

­­By Mickey Noah

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa conjures up images of a Midwestern state of green cornfields, big-time pig and dairy farming, small towns and the fictional setting for wonderful movies like “The Music Man” and “Field of Dreams.”

“The Hawkeye State” certainly is all those positive things and more. But Des Moines — Iowa’s state capital and largest city with 500,000 people — also is plagued with the same neighborhood gangs, crime, violence, drugs and poverty of other American cities. Just ask Jon and Mindy Jamison.

For almost nine years, Jon and Mindy, both 33, have been a husband-wife team of North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries, working as co-directors of Friendship Baptist Center in inner-city Des Moines. They are also state church and community ministries directors for the Baptist Convention of Iowa.

The Jamisons are two of more than 5,000 missionaries in the United States, Canada and their territories supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® for North American Missions, and are one of eight NAMB missionary couples highlighted as part of the annual Week of Prayer, March 2-9, 2008. This year’s theme is “Live with Urgency: Seize Your Divine Moment.” The 2008 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering’s goal is $61 million, 100 percent of which is used for missionaries like the Jamisons.

The Friendship Baptist Center, a non-descript building, sits on the corner of Meek Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Des Moines.

“The neighborhood surrounding the Friendship Baptist Center is a poverty-impacted community,” according to Jon. “Upwards of 30-35 percent of the households are in poverty. Many of the people are victims of crime. There’s a lot of violence, gang activity and drugs in the communities surrounding the center. So we have a challenge just outside our doors.

“Many people struggle with having something to eat, having clothes to wear, shelter, heat in the winter. For kids in the area, there’s no one at home to take care of them. Kids must find a way to wake themselves up in the morning. If there’s food in the house, they have to make their own breakfast. They have to find a way to school, if they go. Many kids are sort of their own parents. That may sound like fun, but it also brings some struggles for the kids,” Jamison said.

Mindy Jamison echoes her husband.

“The kids get up and don’t take a bath because there’s no water. They don’t have a toothbrush or shampoo. They probably forget to take their books to school. They walk to school in the cold, and it gets very cold in Des Moines,” said Mindy. “They go hungry and without basic needs, much less encouragement and nourishment.

“I think if that doesn’t break our heart, if that doesn’t concern us, then our heart isn’t lined up with the heart of Christ. He was so concerned for the least of these.”

Mindy, who grew up doing urban missions work in her native Fort Myers, Fla., calls the neighborhood around the Friendship Center “great” and “horrible” at the same time. The center serves primarily African-Americans and Hispanics, and refugee families from Zaire, Sudan and Bosnia.

The Friendship Center is multi-faceted. “Kids Club” is an after-school program in which children come in and get help with their homework, play board games or sports. They also learn about life skills, nutrition and even how to cook. And, of course, the Jamisons teach them about the Bible.

“Once we get to know the kids better, we offer a Bible study and teach them what God says about their lives and how God wants to be a part of their lives,” said Jamison. “Many times, we tell them Bible stories, and it’s the first time they’ve ever heard Bible stories. It’s great to see the lights come on when they realize that God loves them and can provide for them.”

Telling the center’s kids Bible stories is different from teaching children who’ve grown up in a Southern Baptist church, who can finish the story just by giving them the story’s character or topic.

“Many of the neighborhood kids here are waiting on the edge of their seats to find out how the Bible story ends,” Mindy says, “because they haven’t heard it before.”

Mindy credits the center’s 15 Kid’s Club volunteers, who come and “pour their lives into these kids every day.” In all, some 250 volunteers support Jon and Mindy with their myriad of ministries on an annual basis.

“The kids get to meet volunteers from all over who may be Iowa State students, people from local churches, and others. The kids get to rub shoulders with them and be mentored by them. Our kids get help with their homework, hear the Gospel and get a snack. It’s so important . . . to get them here, off the streets and into a positive place.”

Another huge project for the center is teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), conversational English and the ability to read.

“It’s a great way for us to connect to the community,” says Jon. “Immigrants and refugees come to Des Moines and need to provide for their families. They need a job. And often they can find better jobs if they speak English. They may not have a hunger need or a clothing need, but it’s easy for them to know that they have a need to speak English.”

The center also provides food to the hungry, clothes to the needy, adult Bible studies, GED tutoring and summer camps.

“The Clothes Closet is an important ministry because it’s free, and because it’s meeting such a basic need. A lot of our ladies come to the Clothes Closet. They call it ‘The Mall.’ It’s fun for them to come and get new clothes for themselves and for their children, as well as free household items,” said Mindy.

The Clothes Closet offers the Jamisons a chance to build personal relationships, share with the women “customers” and talk about spiritual things.

“When they come in for clothes, we ask them about other needs in their lives,” Mindy says. “We ask them if we can pray for them. We ask them if they know about Christ. It’s an avenue for us to share the Gospel and build relationships.”

“We have found that forming relationships is the way we’re going to introduce Christ in Des Moines,” said Jon, “not only to the children but to the adults. If we can connect with them on a level that is non-threatening – a level that says ‘I’m fun and I want to have fun with you’ – then we can relax. Once we get to know them, the spiritual conversations can take place. We can talk to them about the things that bother and worry them, and share the love of Christ with them.”

One of the most challenging problems facing the Jamisons is ongoing gang activity in the area and preventing kids at the Friendship Center from joining the gangs that roam inner-city Des Moines.

“Many of the kids join a gang because either they want power or protection,” says Jon. “Some people will join a gang because they know they can wield power. They can be a powerful person in the neighborhood. Or they fear that without the gang, they will be picked on. They feel like a gang gives them a ready-made group of people who are willing to stand up with them.

“A lot of times the gang becomes their family. The gang provides immediate support, immediate family and immediate love.”

Jon says gangs make it difficult for the children and youth who want to do what’s right, who want to follow Christ.

“The kids still have to face the pressures of violence in the streets,” he said. “They have to decide ‘am I willing to stand alone and be a Christian and follow Christ and do what that means, or do I want to surround myself with gang members and let them become my family?’

”Through the Friendship Baptist Center, the kids are taught that God loves them and that God has a plan for them, beyond violence and destructiveness.

“Some people have not heard the name of Jesus. We share the Gospel and often it’s the first time someone’s ever heard of Jesus,” Mindy said.

“This community also is, at times, devastated by violence,” said Jon. “Many people in the community have had violence affect them in some way. Family members have been affected. We have many people from the community who are in prison right now because of violence. Our goal is that as these people come to know Christ, the crimes will stop and the reliance on drugs will stop.”

The stakes are high in inner-city Des Moines, Jon said.

“While we know we’re attempting to reach this community for Christ, there are gang leaders who are attempting to reach the community, too. There are people of other faiths who are trying to reach this community,” said Jon, referring to Muslims, Buddhists and Mormons who are aggressive in the spreading of their religions locally.

The Jamisons say they are “blessed” they are able to serve together as husband and wife and bring Maggie, their almost two-year-old daughter, to work with them every day.

“When Jon and I first met, we both knew that God had called us to do inner-city missions work, and so we knew we would work together. “We can come to work together every day and can both be used of God,” said Mindy.

Jon, a native of Elizabethton, Tenn., and Mindy both accepted Christ as children, graduated from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., and from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They fell in love with missions because of mission trips they participated in during their youth.

“The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is such a blessing to us,” Mindy says. “We’re so thankful that we don’t have to stop our work and go and raise funds somewhere. Because of financial cooperation among Southern Baptists, we can focus on the ministry without worrying about where funds will come from or where our next paycheck will come from, or how to find money to feed hungry people.

“Through the Annie Armstrong offering, we are able to offer the love of Christ to people out of a ministry center without closing the doors every couple of months to seek additional funding,” she said. “Annie Armstrong provides consistent, reliable ministry for those in need all year-round. We also know Baptists are praying for us as they give. It enables us to be here and the ministries to continue. It’s our lifeline here in Iowa.”

Thursday – Obituary

James “Jim” Travis

James “Jim” Travis died Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at his home in Amite. He was 49 and a native of Baton Rouge. Mr. Travis was a computer programmer who attended Centenary College for two years on a golf scholarship and also attended LSU-Shreveport for three years. He won the City Junior Amateur Golf Tournament in Shreveport in 1976. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visiting at First United Methodist Church, Amite, on Friday from 9 a.m. until religious service at 11 a.m., conducted by the Rev. Brady Whitton. Interment in Greensburg Cemetery, Greensburg, on Tuesday, March 11, at 10 a.m. Survived by his parents, Monroe and Tesshe Travis, Amite; two uncles, Preston Hutchinson, New Orleans, and Robert E. Travis, Prescott Valley, Ariz.; and three aunts, Minnie Lou Hutchinson, Tangipahoa, Elise Daniel, Baton Rouge, and Shelia DeArmond, Amite. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. For more information, visit http://www.mckneelys.com.

Wednesday’s Devotional

KneEmail

 

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).

Mike Benson, Editor

Good

THE MAJORITY OF Americans seem to believe that all a person has to do in order to go to heaven is be a “good person…”

Sure, rapists, drug pushers, and child molesters will be lost; Hitler and Osama bin Laden will go to hell for sure; but if you try to be a “good person,” you’ll surely be in heaven.

While it is commendable to be good, of course, our goodness alone is insufficient. Cornelius is an example. He was a “devout man…feared God with all his household…gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” ( Acts 10:2; cf. v. 22). A very good man! Yet, he needed to hear words by which he and his household would be saved ( Acts 11:13, 14; cf. Matt. 19:17-23).

We cannot get to heaven by our goodness alone.

(Wade Webster)


“So He said to him,

‘Why do you call Me good?

No one is good but One,

that is, God…'”

~Matt. 19:17~

Wednesday

NBA’s Wade Pays for Homes in New Orleans
By Michael McCormack

Baptist Press
Mar 4, 2008

When the NBA came to New Orleans for the All-Star break, thousands of eager recovery volunteers came as well.

One of those volunteers was Miami Heat All-Star Guard Dwyane Wade, who, in advance of the All-Star game, had heard of what the Baptist Crossroads Project is doing in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. He wanted to help. Wade’s Christianity is well-known around the league; he chose to wear the No. 3 because it represents the Trinity.

The Baptist Crossroads Project is an ongoing partnership between the Baptist Crossroads Foundation and New Orleans-area Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing in the Upper Ninth Ward neighborhood. Crossroads is also targeting the 75-block area around the site for long-term recovery.

Carmen Wilson, who once worked for the Miami Heat, contacted Baptist Crossroads Project volunteer coordinator Jared Pryer in early January. Wade partners with Wilson’s company, 4 Survival to Go, to distribute survival kits to people threatened by natural disasters.

“At that point, she just told me there was an NBA player who was going to be in town for the All-Star game,” Pryer said. “She asked me what we were doing. I told her about the Baptist Crossroads Project, and at that point, she talked to me about passing out hurricane emergency kits to homeowners.”

The 4 Survival to Go kits are packed with items to help a family survive the first 72 hours after a disaster: emergency food and water, phone card, flashlight/radio/siren/phone charger, poncho, sleeping bag, survival tools, first aid kit and other items.

Not long after that, though, another of Wade’s associates and his sister stopped by Pryer’s office while the Heat were in town for a regular season game.

“They told me that Dwyane really wanted to do something that was more permanent than just the emergency kits,” Pryer said. “I mentioned home sponsorship as an option.”

Before construction on a new Habitat house can begin, $20,000 must be raised. That $20,000 can come from a single sponsor or from multiple sponsors. A great way to participate in what Baptist Crossroads is doing in New Orleans, Pryer said, is to sponsor a house.

“The called me back a few weeks later and said they’d like to sponsor three houses,” Pryer said. “They like to do things in threes, because that’s his number.”

Wade, a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, partnered with Converse on Saturday, Feb. 16, to host a brunch that was emceed by ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith. At the brunch, First Baptist Church of New Orleans Pastor David Crosby spoke about the Baptist Crossroads Project. Then, Wade described what he was doing the next day at the Crossroads site. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Baptist Crossroads Project.

The next day, Wade took a driving tour of New Orleans that ended at the Baptist Crossroads site. Wade’s interaction with neighbors around the Crossroads site, Pryer said, marked the whole experience.

“Dwyane personally went up, knocked on doors, gave the kits to families, talked to parents and their kids for a little bit and took pictures,” Pryer recalled.

Wade “got to meet all the families of the homes he’s co-sponsoring with Baptist Crossroads Project, Prayer said.

One of the homeowners even gave him a tour.

“The homeowner just wanted him to go in the house to show him where things were going to be,” Pryer said. “He told him, ‘This is going to be my living room. This is the kitchen. This is where my daughter’s going to sleep.'”

After a long series of heart-felt hugs and pictures, Wade had to leave to prepare for the All-Star Game, played downtown later that day.

Although several famous people have visited the Baptist Crossroads Project, Wade is the first to personally sponsor a house.

“Once we knew the All-Star game was going to be in New Orleans, we really wanted to find a way to leave something behind,” Wade said in a statement. “One of the main things you can do is give someone a home –- and we accomplished that today.

“Although I’m here to play in the All-Star game, my purpose was to come to New Orleans and be a blessing to as many people as possible, and we’ve done that. I feel whole.”

And it didn’t stop there. Wade’s sponsor, Converse, outfitted a hotel ballroom with Converse gear during All-Star week. Organizers didn’t want to have to pack anything up, so they called Pryer to see if he wanted it.

In the end, Pryer got an office full of Converse shoes and the three homeowners –- already blessed by Wade’s generosity –- each now have furniture for their house.

(For more information about how to volunteer with Baptist Crossroads Project or about sponsoring a house email Pryer at jared@fbno.org, or visit www.baptistcrossroads.org. Michael McCormack is a writer for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.)

Wednesday

Week of Prayer for Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

 

Campus Church Planting Missionary David Proffitt

 

Says Virginia Students Understand Life’s Uncertainties

 

By Mickey Noah

HARRISONBURG, Va. – For North American missionaries David and Shirley Proffitt, their passion is winning the next generation to Christ by planting new churches near college campuses. And this passion has turned into a family affair.

Seven years ago, the Proffitts left Southern California – where the couple and their grown son and daughter had been planting new churches for 25 years – for Virginia. In Virginia, they have been planting new collegiate churches as missionaries supported by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV).

David and Shirley are two of more than 5,000 missionaries in the United States, Canada and their territories supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® for North American Missions. The Proffitts will be featured as part of the annual Week of Prayer, March 2-9, 2008, the theme of which is “Live with Urgency: Seize Your Divine Moment.” The 2008 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering’s goal is $61 million, 100 percent of which is used for missionaries like the Proffitts.

At James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., the Proffitts’ first Virginia church plant, Aletheia (Greek for “truth”) Church, has grown in six years from four members to the some 400 who regularly attend Sunday worship service.

The Proffitts’ son, Aaron, 29, is Aletheia’s worship leader and pastor, a missionary for NAMB and a church planter for SBCV. Amy, their 30-year-old daughter, serves as a counselor for the church, which meets in a renovated warehouse in Harrisonburg. Aaron’s wife, Ashlee, is a semester missionary while Amy’s husband, Jon, also is on Aletheia’s leadership team.

“Three-quarters of the 400 are students,” says David. “The rest of them were probably former students who have gotten married and now have their own children. This is a church that has leadership, supports the Cooperative Program, sends missionaries out, disciples, trains and teaches,” he said.

James Madison University is located in scenic Shenandoah Valley, and has an enrollment of some 17,000 students, 4,000 of them freshman, the largest freshman class in the school’s history. Most of the students are from Fairfax County and northern Virginia.

The 57-year-old Proffitt – who pulls up roots, relocates and plants new campus churches much like itinerant missionary Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees – says starting new churches on a college campus comes with its own special challenges.

“The challenges come when the university is not friendly toward a Christian organization, Christian ministry, churches and Christian campus organizations,” he explained. “They’ve been pretty friendly here in Virginia.

“We have to realize that each place is a unique setting. Even though they’re college and university students, they still are different no matter where.”

Proffitt said one reason he enjoys working with college students is because of the varied demographics they represent.

“College students are mobile. They are ready for risk-taking and challenges. They’re ready to pursue whatever might be next. They’re developing their values. They are in transition. Usually they’re more flexible. They usually don’t have much debt and don’t have to worry about a house to sell. They’re teachable and open. They love to get together, they love to study and they don’t want to be ‘dumbed’ down.

“They love the Word. They’re not as hard to reach evangelistically as a lot of people think. As we train and teach them, and show them how to do hands-on ministry, the more interested they become. The more they are taught and the more they get equipped, the more focused they become, and the more loyal they become,” Proffitt said.

When it became clear that Aletheia Church in Harrisonburg was in the good hands of son Aaron, daughter Amy and their spouses, Ashlee and Jon, David and Shirley next moved on to Richmond, home of Virginia Commonwealth University, the largest university in Virginia with 32,000 students. There, they launched yet another church, also called Aletheia, in downtown Richmond.

When they first planted the Richmond church, the Proffitts began by holding a series of Bible studies. For each Bible study, Shirley would invite and feed up to 18 people in their campus apartment.

“Shirley has been our hospitality leader and always prepares terrific meals for all the people we invite over. She uses hospitality to assist with the evangelism process,” said Proffitt.

“Every day a team of US/C2 and semester missionaries are going out on the campus of VCU and to surrounding housing and talking to students, building relationships and doing intentional evangelism,” said Proffitt.

“We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people become Christians,” Proffitt says. “We have even baptized new believers in the James River.”

The VCU campus is multicultural, and includes more than 1,500 international students, many from second-generation, international homes.

“At VCU, there are lots of Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, and a lot of people who just haven’t made up their minds about God yet. Some of our greatest challenges involve seeing the many Muslim friends we’ve made come to an understanding that Jesus is God and loves them and desires to become connected through repentance and faith.”

Because of the heavy international student population at VCU, Proffitt said his ministry, Richmond’s Grove Avenue Baptist Church, and some other SBC ministries combined efforts and resources to hold an international student Thanksgiving dinner last November. About 300 — mostly international students stuck on campus with no place to go during the holidays — attended and enjoyed the 11 roast turkeys Grove Avenue Church members prepared, along with all the trimmings.

With Aletheia Church in Richmond now running about 200 people each Sunday, David and Shirley have since moved on to Norfolk to plant a third new church, the Old Dominion University branch of Aletheia Church.

Proffitt feels strongly about the need for Southern Baptists to be involved in ministry on the college campus.

“It’s important because it’s the future of the Southern Baptist Convention as a denomination. I grew up as a Southern Baptist. But the people who were the older people in the church I grew up in are gone now. They’re in heaven. So we have to continue to think about the next generation, preparing the next generation, getting the next generation ready.

“The next generation can go in any direction,” Proffitt said. “We want to lead them in a spiritual direction – understanding who God is, understanding that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, and that they can have a personal relationship with Him.”

The heart of Proffitt’s ministry, he said, is the dozen or so US/C2, summer and semester missionaries from NAMB who serve as his assistants and support staff during a school year.

“These student missionaries are amazing,” he says. “They do everything from office work, pick up students, disciple, lead small groups and evangelize. They can organize, provide hospitality, connect, create PowerPoint presentations and graphic art, crunch numbers – anything we ask them to do.

“The beauty of our cooperation with NAMB is that we train the students and NAMB helps fund them as interns and support staff for church planting.”

Proffitt asks Southern Baptists to pray that God would continue to give him and his team open and amiable relationships with the college and university administrations with whom he works. He also prays that the students will be open to the message, so they come to Christ.

When Proffitt is asked which part of his ministry brings him the greatest joy, he has a ready answer.

“First of all, it’s really encouraging to see my own family – the son and daughter I’ve invested so much in over the years – doing their own ministry. They’re actually helping to plant new churches. My second joy, evangelistically, is to see a student, or anybody in the community, become a Christian – to see them get discipled, baptized, equipped, involved, experienced and confident in ministry. And the third thing that really encourages me is to see people going global, fulfilling the Great Commission.”

“Live with Urgency,” the theme for the 2008 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, are not just empty words for those in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Proffitt said, because of the tragic mass killing of 32 students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last spring.

“Because of Virginia Tech, we know how short life can be. Because we work among young people, we realize that life can be short and can move on very, very quickly. Before you know it, students are in a phase of life where they’re not as flexible, not as willing to hear, to change, and to allow spiritual alterations in their lives.”