- Before 9/11, Todd Beamer was a Sunday School Teacher
- Christian Forum Supports Persecuted Religious Minorities Worldwide
- Pitching Pirate Professes to Power of the Savior
- Sri Lankan Believers Imprisoned in Saudi Arabia
Before 9/11, Todd Beamer was a Sunday School Teacher
With a new Sunday school year just around a corner, the National Sunday School Department has released a video featuring Sunday school teachers Todd and Lisa Beamer and the impact they had on their students, reports the Assemblies of God News Service. Todd Beamer, whose last known words, "Let's roll!" became a national rally cry post-9/11, was one of the American heroes of Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
Long before 9/11, Beamer was a Sunday school teacher who believed "life is really about getting to know God and then helping other people to do the same," said Todd's wife Lisa Beamer. The five-minute video features Lisa Beamer as she describes the role of Sunday school in creating a spiritual blue print that guided their everyday decisions. Todd's faith developed as he grew up in Sunday school, said Lisa. The Bible stories he learned as a child became principles that guided his life as an adult. "Todd was prepared to make the decision he did on September 11 because of the decisions he had made every day to that point," Lisa said.
According to A/G News, the video also features several students from Beamer's Sunday school class, who describe the impact Todd's Bible teaching had in developing their response to God. "The Bible learning that takes place every week in Sunday school prepared Todd and Lisa Beamer to respond with faith and courage in a national crisis and to great personal loss," says Dr. Deborah Gill, national director of the Division of Christian Education. "We pray that their testimony will encourage many others to be in involved in Sunday school and learn to live the life."
Christian Agencies Launch Persecuted Religious Minorities Forum
Support for persecuted religious minorities around the world has received new impetus following the inauguration of a strategic new network of UK Christian agencies. The Christian Forum in Support of Persecuted Religious Minorities Worldwide was launched at a London conference on July 20, which attracted nearly 200 participants.
Participants at the conference were left in no doubt as to the reality of these issues in the world today. Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of Kaduna, Nigeria, spoke powerfully of the plight of the Christian community in Muslim-majority North Nigeria. The progressive introduction of full Islamic Shari'ah law since October 1999 has led to widespread discrimination against Christians and inter-communal violence which has resulted in hundreds of deaths.
Dr Joseph D'Souza of the All India Christian Council painted a picture of discrimination, intolerance, violence, death and destruction in areas of India where Hindu militants have turned on Muslim and Christian minorities. Following his experience in India where Muslims and Christians are working together, D'Souza was particularly keen to aid a Christian forum with a mandate to support all religious minorities regardless of faith.
Support for the Forum comes from Barnabas Fund, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Christians Aware, Church Mission Society (CMS), Churches' Commission on Mission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CCOM), International Centre for Reconciliation, Coventry Cathedral and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG). The mandate of the forum is to facilitate the sharing of information, raise awareness within Church and society, respond appropriately and encourage prayer and action.
The Forum has also launched a website to provide up to date information from around the world and channel a Christian response to this religious persecution. It can be found at www.sufferingandhope.org
Pitching Pirate Professes to Power of the Savior
Agape Press reports that Kip Wells of the Pittsburgh Pirates attributes his success to God: "I've had success," Wells says. "And for me to have success, I know where it's from. As long as I give the glory to God and don't take credit for the success I have, He allows me to do more."
According to Agape Press, Wells, who was traded to Pittsburgh in the off-season, has begun to experience what success is like in the big leagues. In 2001, when he spent the majority of his rookie season with the Chicago White Sox after being called up from AAA Charlotte, Wells notched four consecutive wins during a stretch in the latter part of the year. The 6-3, 190-pound right-handed pitcher also dealt with great disappointment and frustration at times. "It's hard and it's trying," Wells adds. "I'm at a relatively young age. I'm still learning a lot. There are a lot of opportunities to get down on yourself and to get too high on yourself."
Raised in a family that was very involved in church, Wells never wandered far from the truth, says Agape. Keeping his eyes on Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior, has kept the former second-team All-American at Baylor University on the path to enjoying a victorious life.
Sri Lankan Believers Imprisoned in Saudi Arabia
The Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, The Evangelical Fellowship of Asia, and The Voice of the Martyrs are calling upon believers from around the world to remember two Sri Lankan Christians, Joel David and Solomon Privthiviraj who were arrested on April 25 by Saudi religious police. According David's sister, Janet David, the two were among a group of believers who were meeting at Joel's home for prayer, when the meeting was interrupted by a knock on the door. A voice in Sinhalese (the main language of Sri Lanka) asked for admittance, but when the door was opened, the Saudi religious police stormed the home and arrested several of those present (including David, his wife, and Privthiviraj). The following day all but David and Privthiviraj were released and have been held in the Al Wattani prison.
The families of the two Christians are very concerned for their safety, although they have received reports that their loved ones are being treated well. The prisoners, however, are being pressured to reveal the identities of other Christians. David's wife has reported that all charges have been dropped against her husband, but that authorities have delayed signing the appropriate documents for the last three months, claiming that the authorized official is "on holidays."