I hope you'll read Matthew Green's article on the response to the tsunami by the church in Sri Lanka (see page 54). I'm sure you'll be inspired. As you know, we asked Charisma readers to respond generously to the need right after the tsunami hit--and so far, more than $239,000 has come in. We worked with the churches in the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) to provide immediate assistance to those who were left homeless and without food.
Then we sent Green, editor of Ministries Today, to Sri Lanka in February to see how the money was spent and how the church is responding. He brought back a good report. Not only was the money used wisely, but also the church, a persecuted minority, is showing the love of Jesus to those in need.
We made contact with the NCEASL through Clive Calver, former president of World Relief. He believes that when needs arise, the church must help the church. That's what we did in the tsunami crisis.
But the needs are still great. Homes and churches must be rebuilt.
I hope many pastors will follow the lead of Bishop Keith Butler of Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, Michigan. He had planned to take an offering for the tsunami victims and give it to a large secular relief organization. When he found out Charisma readers were helping the Christians in Sri Lanka through Christian Life Missions--Charisma's nonprofit partner--and the NCEASL, he chose to send the donation to Christian Life Missions.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if thousands of churches would take offerings and channel them through the church to help meet the need?
We pledge to send 100 percent of what comes in to the church in Sri Lanka. Please mail your tax-deductible gift to Christian Life Missions, P.O. Box 952248, Lake Mary, Florida 32795-2248.
We've all heard the expression about getting outside the four walls of the church. Charisma is making great strides next month in going beyond the boundaries of the Christian community to get the gospel message into the marketplace. Beginning with the June issue, as many as 50,000 copies of Charisma will be on secular newsstands in two major drugstore chains and in other places magazines are sold.
For many years it was nearly impossible for Christian publications to find a place among the many titles on magazine racks. But the leaders of Curtis Circulation Co. say they see a new interest in spirituality in the nation and think there are opportunities for Christian magazines. Along with Charisma, they are initially placing New Man and Vida Cristiana and later more of our titles as well.
Now we need your help in getting the word out. Tell your friends to look for one of our magazines on the newsstand. Or buy a copy and give it to someone to read. With hundreds of thousands of our readers each doing his part, I believe we can sell out of Charisma's June issue.
Congratulations to Southeastern
On April 30 Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Lakeland, Florida, became Southeastern University, and we want to congratulate President Mark Rutland and his team for this important milestone. We told Rutland's story--an inspiring account of how he provided vision to a small college that was dying--in the November 2004 issue. (See his article on higher education on page 65 of this issue.)
Many don't know that I have ties to Southeastern going back to 1962. I was 11 years old when my father became a professor there. At the time, it was a small Bible college with only about 400 students. Later my mother graduated from Southeastern. And my brother-in-law James Ferrell was a professor at the college for nearly 30 years.
So I feel a personal tie to Southeastern even though I was never a student there. And I am happy to congratulate Rutland on the college's new status as a university. I know that even as it grows academically, the school will retain its spiritual foundations, continuing to provide a quality higher education in a Pentecostal atmosphere.
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.