Be transformed to change the world

By Robert Onsare

I wanted to change the world.

To change the world, I had to transform the leaders;

To change the leaders, I had to transform the citizens;

To change the citizens, I had to transform my society;

To change my society, I had to transform my family;

To change my family, I had to transform an individual;

To change an individual, I had to transform myself;

So, I need to be transformed to change the world.

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Five secrets for church growth

Research shows that growing churches share common principles in reaching out the world and retaining new members.

Pastor Hensley Moorooven, Associate Secretary of the General Conference (GC), who was involved in the study on church growth, said that even church minutes can tell whether the church is growing or has stagnated.

The GC leader, speaking during the West Kenya Union Conference ministerial conference at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton; outlined the following principles for church growth:

  1. Prayer, saying Jesus said that churches should be houses of prayers for other important activities such as preaching and singing to fall in there right place.
  2. Members should be trained and equipped for mission.
  3. The church should answer to the needs of the community.
  4. The church must preach the word of God.
  5. The church should have a serious follow up programs.

He said evangelism is a cycle that involves revival, training and equipping the members, outreach, reaping and nurture, adding that the church does not need new methods to reach the world but dedicated men and women with renewed hearts, filled and guided by the Holy Spirit in serving the Lord.

Pastor Moorooven said the church exists for mission. “When we make choices that are not in agreement with the mission we are in great trouble.”

He said salvation is a coin with two sides: God and our responsibility. Thus “we must share the gospel because it’s God’s means of saving the lost and for personal spiritual growth.”

 

Student-to-student ministry baptizes 1,200

The University of Eastern Africa, Baraton (UEAB), outreach ministry, baptized 1,200 students during the institution’s annual rally on May 27.

The guest speaker Prof. Ramesh Francis, Dean School of Science and Technology, UEAB, emphasized that “the gospel to be preached just before the second coming of Jesus is not a new gospel. It is as old as eternity. But it has specific features relevant to the people living at the close of the earth’s history.”

The message amplified the rally’s theme “Beyond Samaria”. The students were encouraged to go out of their way and reach the perishing world through their dedication for the Lord.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Korso Gude urged the students to embrace Adventist education because “it is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers” in preparation “for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.”[1]  He encouraged the students to consider UEAB as their destination of higher learning.

Dr. Rei Kesis, UEAB, Chaplain said the ministry enables students to grow in their love for Jesus as they minister to others. The University trains outreach members on evangelism, effective Bible study, prayer and leadership among others key areas for them to be effective witnesses.

The annual rally culminates the ministry of UEAB students, faculty and staff who mister to various institutions, particularly non-Adventist, every Sabbath.

The outreach members, in some Sabbaths travel more than 300 kilometers to reach some of the schools. “We have come to learn that whether we have money or not, every Sabbath we have to go out to minister,” says Ms. Fiona Ntinyari, the group Organizing Secretary.

Ms. Ntinyari articulated, during a Friday outreach meeting in which they organize on how to reach various schools that usually sends letters of invitation, that the student-to-student ministry has made their faith to grow as they experience God providence every Sabbath.

The outreach ministry has seen students, while in school, accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior through baptismal; against the wishes of parents who threaten them with rejection and abandonment of school fees payment.

But every year such students have stood on their ground, leaving the consequences to God. “From the past cases God has never disappointed those who have stood for Him against all odds,” says Mrs. Anne Katamu, who went through severe punishment when she was baptized and started attending the church on Sabbath, adding that “when someone gives his or her life to Jesus – the new life in Jesus compels others to make a choice for Him.”

Mrs. Katamu, who is a staff at UEAB, says although she went without food in some days accompanied with beatings to attend the church on the Sabbath it was worth it. The love of God touched her family and they are all Seventh-day Adventist.  His stand made her parents to hold her at high esteem as a young girl of principles.

Government officials led by Mr. Raymond Jembe, the Assistant Sub-County Commissioner, Chesumei Sub-County, Nandi County and a Chairman of Nandi County Peace Forum Rev. Rono attended and appreciated the organization of the event that is molding law-abiding and peace loving citizens.

More than 13,000 students from 306 secondary schools and institutions of higher learning from various parts of the country attended the rally.

 

 

[1]White, Ellen Gould: Education. Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1903; 2002, S. 13

First black female accepted into Johns Hopkins neurosurgical residency program

Nancy Abu-Bonsrah attributes the achievement to God’s guidance

By Kimberly Luste Maran

On March 17, shortly after 26-year-old Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, originally from the Ashanti Region in Ghana, received the news that she had been accepted into the residency program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s neurosurgical department, she posted this on Facebook: “What a way to begin the Sabbath! I still haven’t processed it yet, but this is such an honor and a privilege to join the department at Hopkins to begin this next phase of my career.”

Abu-Bonsrah, a Seventh-day Adventist, is the first black female neurosurgical resident to have been accepted into the Johns Hopkins’ program in its history, which spans more than 100 years. According to a CNN report, the prestigious program, ranked second in the country, accepts just two to five residents. Ben Carson, now the United States secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is one of the program’s most notable alumni.

 

From Ghana to Johns Hopkins

The daughter of Seth and Georgina Abu-Bonsrah, she moved with her family to the United States at 15 years old when her father became an assistant director for monitoring and evaluation for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which is located in the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Living in Maryland for the past 11 years, Abu-Bonsrah attended Hammond High School and then Mount St. Mary’s University where she received a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and chemistry before joining the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine program in 2012 to pursue a doctor of medicine. Graduating medical students decide on specialties when they apply for residency. Abu-Bonsrah chose neurosurgery.

In a Johns Hopkins statement, Abu-Bonsrah said, “I am very much interested in providing medical care in underserved settings, specifically surgical care. I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure.”

“I am fortunate to have been born in a God-fearing household, one in which we were encouraged to seek the guidance of God in all that we do,” said Abu-Bonsrah in an email interview.

“I deeply believe that without God paving the way for me and serving as a lamp unto my feet, I would not have made it thus far. My family, my husband, and my church family, the Washington Ghanaian Seventh-day Adventist Church, have likewise been incredibly supportive. They have indeed been the wind beneath my wings and their prayers have continued to sustain me. The Lord has blessed my hard work and I am eternally grateful for His bounty. I hope that I will likewise be a blessing to everyone I come into contact with.”

Receiving the Match
Abu-Bonsrah found out she was slated to begin residency training this summer at Johns Hopkins on March 17, known as “Match Day.” On the third Friday of March each year, fourth-year students at medical schools across the U.S. discover where they’ll be continuing their professional medical journey. Students are given an envelope that will reveal where they will begin training. The opening of the letter at a set time has been considered a rite of passage since the 1950s for physicians-in-training. A Johns Hopkins release explains that “matches are selected using a computer algorithm that matches the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the available training positions around the United States.”

“I will be matching into neurosurgery, a field that I am greatly enamored with, and hope to utilize those skills in advancing global surgical care,” said Abu-Bonsrah, who is married to Kwabena Yamoah, a third-year medical student at the University of Maryland.
The young doctor will continue her medical training in a seven-year residency program while at the hospital. In a March 24 Facebook post she wrote, “It has been a whirlwind couple of days . . . we have been sincerely touched by all the support and well wishes! It is indeed an honor and a privilege to have been granted this opportunity to be a part of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Department as a resident, with its rich history of pioneering surgeons.”

Abu-Bonsrah added, “It is truly humbling to be a part of such a legacy and to have so many inspired by our story. We are excited for the journey ahead and ask for continued prayers.”

The Path to Medicine

The interest in becoming a physician started early for Abu-Bonsrah. In Ghana, where she completed her middle school education, students were generally encouraged to study certain subjects based on their aptitude once they entered high school. For Abu-Bonsrah, that was the sciences — with the intention of eventually pursuing medicine. “I seized on the advice of my academic mentors and also felt that I would be able to positively contribute to my community by being a physician,” said Abu-Bonsrah, whose desire to pursue neurosurgery was borne out of shadowing experiences in Ghana during her junior year winter break from Mount St. Mary’s University.

“I had an opportunity to spend some time in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. It was there that I experienced the uniqueness of neurosurgery as well as the general lack of access to care,” explained Abu-Bonsrah. “Not only was I impressed by the surgical skill and fascinated by the anatomy, I was also stunned by how overwhelmed the surgeons were. Ultimately, I felt that this field would help me marry a love for the field with a desire to serve. I cannot wait to go back and serve, not only in Ghana, but in other low resource settings.”

Excited for the future, Abu-Bonsrah told Johns Hopkins that she wants to be remembered for “serving my community, whether it is through providing quality surgical care or helping mentor the next generation of surgeons.”

Her Community Responds

Abu-Bonsrah, who has been involved in mentoring through her work at Johns Hopkins, is already an inspiration to some. Young adult Adaeze Okorie posted this comment on Facebook on March 26: “Congratulations, Nancy, on all your hard work paying off! You inspire young African-American girls like me to continue on my premed track despite the setbacks we may face, because someday we can get to where you are. You’re truly an inspiration and I pray for many more successes in your life. God Bless!”

According to a Ghana SDA News Facebook Post on March 19, Abu-Bonsrah’s friend’s tweet (Twitter name Mizpeh) announcing the news received more than 21,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 10,000 times on Twitter in less than two days. As of March 27, that number has grown to 57,000 likes and 23,000 retweets. Ghana SDA news reported that Maame Jane, who knows Abu-Bonsrah from Ghana, said, “She’s one of our finest. Very humble.”

 

Charter Day a reminder of where American greatness began

By Prof. Nicholas Miller

If we hope to make America great again, it would be good to know what made America great to begin with.

March 12 is a good time to reflect on this question, as it is Pennsylvania Charter Day, where we remember King Charles II’s Charter to William Penn in 1681, along with Pennsylvania’s Great Law of 1682.

Penn believed that the principles of these documents were foundational, not only for Pennsylvania, but would serve as “the seed of a nation” – and indeed as an example for many nations.

What were the principles that Penn found so important to the greatness of a state? The Charter and Great Law make provisions for: judicial fairness, rule of law, and due process; a representative, accountable legislature; and an executive committed to the civil rights and liberties of the people. Penn placed a special emphasis on the equal treatment of people of all religious beliefs, a conviction rooted in his dissenting Protestant biblical and philosophical conceptions of the rights of individual conscience given by a divine Creator.

These commitments to open, accountable government, the rule of law, and religious freedom and ethnic diversity, led to Pennsylvania becoming a magnet for immigrants from many nations of the world. English Quakers, German Moravians, French Huguenots, British Baptists, Dutch Anabaptists and Mennonites, European Jews, and Catholics – all outcasts somewhere – soon streamed into Philadelphia and its environs. There they found a new home of almost unparalleled inclusion and equality (Rhode Island offered similar legal standards but was far removed from the center of the colonies, both geographically, in commercial success, and in popular awareness.)

The results of this influx were startling. While Boston and New York had been founded decades earlier, Philadelphia soon passed them in population. It rapidly became the largest and most commercially successful city in the American colonies. By the 1720s, Philadelphia was considered the “Athens of North America” and the most cosmopolitan city on the continent.

What Penn had dreamt indeed came to pass – his commonwealth did become the model, “the seed,” for the new American nation, and eventually for many nations around the world. Some point to Roger Williams’ Rhode Island as the precursor to American pluralism, and others to the Virginia of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. These no doubt played a role. But the founders themselves, including Jefferson and Madison, more often pointed to Pennsylvania as the model for the new national American government.

The success and prosperity of Pennsylvania, located in the heart of the American colonies, showed that religious and ethnic diversity was not an obstacle to governmental and commercial success. Rather, it was seen that these qualities could be part of the engine to achieve such successes. This example was not lost on the founders. Not on Jefferson, who called Penn “the greatest lawgiver the world has produced.”

Neither was it lost on Philadelphia native Elias Boudinot, who later founded American Bible Society. As a member of the first Congress, Boudinot chaired the House Select Committee that drafted the First Amendment, which chartered religious freedom and pluralism on Pennsylvania’s progressive model of liberty.

I think it no coincidence that our national Constitution was written in Philadelphia, surrounded by the diversity and prosperity of Penn’s experiment in government. But the critical point is that Pennsylvania’s success, its greatness, was not based on business acumen or industrial might. Rather, that commercial skill and prosperity was itself a result of a commitment to underlying principles of open, accountable government, an evenhanded, independent judiciary, and a principled embrace of religious and ethnic diversity.

In seeking a return to American greatness, we would do well to keep these foundational values in mind.

The writer is a scholar adviser to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center coming to Independence Mall, a professor of church history at Andrews University in Michigan, and author of “The Religious Roots of the First Amendment” (Oxford, 2012). Contact: nicholas@andrews.edu.

 

When He Takes Over

When the Holy Spirit, takes over my life

I cease to be, I die to self and sin

My mind, my words, my actions, my motives

Becomes His: To think, to speak, to act, to live.

 

Oh! For the presence of God, I pray for

To receive heaven’s greatest gift, of all

And be filled with the Holy Spirit

To think, to speak, to act, to live like Jesus.

His Victory, My Victory

Time to pick flowers
And let the thorns alone.
Time to bask in sunshine
And repent the winters of darkness.
Flowers and sunshine
To tune my heart
As thorns and darkness
Breathe their last time
Of blood and suffering
Knowing their defeat is sealed
Signed on the Cross
Sealed with Sun of Righteousness,
Resurrection.
Of victory and glory
I sing
Thorns and darkness
Defeated eternally.
My lord’s victory, my victory
Of power and glory
Of flowers and sunshine
I sing, I live: I love.