For millions of orphaned children in Africa, blankets do more than warm their bodies—they give them hope, reminding them that someone in the world cares for them.
What makes Operation Kid-to-Kid’s “God Loves Me” program even more special is that both the donors and recipients of the blankets are children. “Children learn best by doing, and so this gives them a tangible way to express their love and God’s love to other children,” says spokeswoman Shannon Velasquez. read more
The Pew Forum on Research recently asked American Christians about their prayer habits. Think you have a healthy prayer life? Tally your points from this quiz to see how you compare.
What type of church do you attend?
A historically black church4
How old are you?
What’s your gender?
How much do you earn per year?
Less than $30,0004
According to the study, a female making less than $30,000—who attends a historically black church and is older than 65—would score a perfect 16 points and statistically pray the most. How did you compare? For a better measurement, how does your prayer life compare to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (NKJV)? read more
Born with a hearing problem—in addition to having speech issues and wearing glasses and braces—Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings was made fun of for most of her childhood. That is, until she realized she had a knack for playing sports.
“No matter what sport it was, no one could make fun of me,” says Catchings, who eventually decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a professional basketball player. She dedicated her life to achieving that dream.
Over time, however, Catchings says basketball “became my god.” It wasn’t until she damaged her ACL during a college game that she realized it was time to recommit herself to Christ. Only then did she begin living her dream. read more
Remember, fear is a controllable emotion. That’s the last thing Ted Thompson, co-founder of Real Men Outdoors mentoring camps, says to a group of boys before sending them into a dense forest with only the moon’s light providing visibility for the next few hours. No, this isn’t punishment for the teens; it’s one of the many character-building situations they’ll face as part of the Orlando, Fla.-based ministry’s program to instill godly values in developing young men.
Run by an all-volunteer staff, Real Men Outdoors is a organization that uses the “wilderness experience” to teach fundamental qualities such as responsibility and accountability, which Thompson believes are missing in many of today’s youth. Citing results from a census poll taken a few years ago, Thompson says he and his co-founder Lawrence Williams were dismayed to find that 40 percent of all young men under the age of 19 in America live in homes without responsible men present. read more
Gilbert Tuhabonye loves to run. Growing up in Burundi, he ran the African plains near his village every day, challenged often by other distance runners who wanted a race. “They would see dust,” he says, “because I would run like the wind.”
Now 36, Tuhabonye never dreamed his youthful passion for running would one day save his life or become his gift of life to people a continent away.
Of the Tutsi tribe, Tuhabonye was a middle-schooler when civil war ignited in his country between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes. One afternoon, Hutus came to his school. read more
Weighing about 100 pounds and facing hospitalization, award-winning vocalist Candy Christmas, former member of southern gospel group The Hemphills, says she hit rock bottom.
In 2004 her doctor, seeing Christmas’ depression was winning the war inside and out, suggested medication or admittance to a hospital. But deep inside, Christmas knew there was another way to overcome the darkness in her life.
“I knew that the Word of God says that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and so I told my doctor ... either my religion works for me or it doesn’t, and I’m just not going to go that direction,” Christmas says. read more
Zach Hunter had always thought he should’ve been born more than 200 years ago. Heartbroken by the idea of slavery, which he says is America’s “biggest blemish,” Hunter felt he could have made a difference alongside leaders of the anti-slavery movement that included Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
That perspective changed when Hunter discovered there are millions of people in various forms of slavery in the 21st century. He knew at that moment what God was calling him to.
“I just thought, Wow, I can do something to change the world,” says Hunter, who launched the student-led Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign while in middle school. He says there are billions of dollars in change in American households alone. “Why not take something as underestimated as the teenage years and something as underestimated as loose change and see what we can do?” read more
Chef Brett Swayn believes that teaching the homeless to cook can save their lives.
Swayn says this was his experience after his marriage collapsed and his music career fell apart, causing him to live four months in a homeless shelter before he found work. He later emerged from his despair and learned a new trade in culinary arts. read more
This summer 24-year-old Brian Seeley wanted to do more than just soak up the sun on the beaches of sunny Florida. He decided to live alongside the homeless in Lakeland, Fla.
The Southeastern University senior wanted to build lasting relationships when he willingly gave up the comforts most college students enjoy by sleeping outdoors, taking bucket showers and eating with the homeless at places that offer free food. read more