This Christmas Jonathan Roiz will be traveling to Guatemala to unite local churches, ministries, and community members together as one in a Hope Movement Alliance to conduct our annual Christmas Mission this December 2010 in the Colonia de Madrid and San Felipe in Escuintla, Guatemala, and possibly in Chiquimula. Over 80% of the population in these communities live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1 a day for an entire family. Most children can not even enjoy a piece of daily bread. The homes are constructed with aluminum sheets, and whatever they can find for shelter. Homes don’t have running water and operating bathrooms. Escuintla is the 3rd largest city in all of Guatemala, yet the Hope Movement is the only outreach program. In constructing our City of Hope, and implementing our Generation of Transformation and Adults of Purpose programs in local schools and churches, the Hope Movement will be able to reach thousands through Guatemala. For this reason it is important to unite and train local churches, ministries, and community members as one so that one can become a thousand, a thousand a movement of hope.
The Hope Movement will be delivering donated clothing and toys to the children and families. We will also be purchasing pinatas, food, and candies for our street celebration where Jonathan Roiz will be sharing a message about the process of purpose, music, family counseling, clowns and dramas, pinatas, and feeding over 300 children. If you would like to Adopt-A-Program and Give to this wonderful Christmas Mission please donate online or by sending your donation to the address below.
- Food: $250.00
- Pinatas: $25
- Candies: $25
- Travel to Chiquimula (5 hour Bus Trip): $100
- Purchase of Toys: $100
The Hope Movement
17000 North Bay Road, Suite 808
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida 33160
- More teenagers embracing watered-down Christianity, author argues in new book
- Teenagers see God as “divine therapist,” author says
- Teenager: “They don’t want to make sacrifices”
- Who’s responsible for inspiring teens? Parents and pastors are, author says
(CNN) — If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:
Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.
Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.
Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of “Almost Christian,” a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.
She says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.
“If this is the God they’re seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust,” Dean says. “Churches don’t give them enough to be passionate about.”
What traits passionate teens share
Dean drew her conclusions from what she calls one of the most depressing summers of her life. She interviewed teens about their faith after helping conduct research for a controversial study called the National Study of Youth and Religion.
The study included Christians of all stripes — from Catholics to Protestants of both conservative and liberal denominations. Though three out of four American teenagers claim to be Christian, fewer than half practice their faith, only half deem it important, and most can’t talk coherently about their beliefs, the study found.
Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good — what the study’s researchers called “moralistic therapeutic deism.”
Some critics told Dean that most teenagers can’t talk coherently about any deep subject, but Dean says abundant research shows that’s not true.
“They have a lot to say,” Dean says. “They can talk about money, sex and their family relationships with nuance. Most people who work with teenagers know that they are not naturally inarticulate.”
In “Almost Christian,” Dean talks to the teens who are articulate about their faith. Most come from Mormon and evangelical churches, which tend to do a better job of instilling religious passion in teens, she says.
No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.
“There are countless studies that show that religious teenagers do better in school, have better relationships with their parents and engage in less high-risk behavior,” she says. “They do a lot of things that parents pray for.”
Dean, a United Methodist Church minister who says parents are the most important influence on their children’s faith, places the ultimate blame for teens’ religious apathy on adults.
Some adults don’t expect much from youth pastors. They simply want them to keep their children off drugs and away from premarital sex.
Others practice a “gospel of niceness,” where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted, she says.
“If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation,” wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.
More teens may be drifting away from conventional Christianity. But their desire to help others has not diminished, another author says.
Barbara A. Lewis, author of “The Teen Guide to Global Action,” says Dean is right — more teens are embracing a nebulous belief in God.
Yet there’s been an “explosion” in youth service since 1995 that Lewis attributes to more schools emphasizing community service.
Teens that are less religious aren’t automatically less compassionate, she says.
“I see an increase in youth passion to make the world a better place,” she says. “I see young people reaching out to solve problems. They’re not waiting for adults.”
What religious teens say about their peers
Corrie, who once taught high school religion, now directs a program called YTI — the Youth Theological Initiative at Emory University in Georgia.
YTI operates like a theological boot camp for teens. At least 36 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the country gather for three weeks of Christian training. They worship together, take pilgrimages to varying religious communities and participate in community projects.
Corrie says she sees no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.”
Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on, she says.
“We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Corrie says.
David Wheaton, an Atlanta high school senior, says many of his peers aren’t excited about Christianity because they don’t see the payoff.
“If they can’t see benefits immediately, they stay away from it,” Wheaton says. “They don’t want to make sacrifices.”
How ‘radical’ parents instill religious passion in their children
Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy as well, says Corrie, the Emory professor.
She says pastors often preach a safe message that can bring in the largest number of congregants. The result: more people and yawning in the pews.
“If your church can’t survive without a certain number of members pledging, you might not want to preach a message that might make people mad,” Corrie says. “We can all agree that we should all be good and that God rewards those who are nice.”
Corrie, echoing the author of “Almost Christian,” says the gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy.
“It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”
What can a parent do then?
Get “radical,” Dean says.
She says parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.
A parent’s radical act of faith could involve something as simple as spending a summer in Bolivia working on an agricultural renewal project or turning down a more lucrative job offer to stay at a struggling church, Dean says.
But it’s not enough to be radical — parents must explain “this is how Christians live,” she says.
“If you don’t say you’re doing it because of your faith, kids are going to say my parents are really nice people,” Dean says. “It doesn’t register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots.”
‘They called when all the cards stopped’
Anne Havard, an Atlanta teenager, might be considered radical. She’s a teen whose faith appears to be on fire.
Havard, who participated in the Emory program, bubbles over with energy when she talks about possibly teaching theology in the future and quotes heavy-duty scholars such as theologian Karl Barth.
She’s so fired up about her faith that after one question, Havard goes on a five-minute tear before stopping and chuckling: “Sorry, I just talked a long time.”
Havard says her faith has been nurtured by what Dean, the “Almost Christian” author, would call a significant faith community.
In 2006, Havard lost her father to a rare form of cancer. Then she lost one of her best friends — a young woman in the prime of life — to cancer as well. Her church and her pastor stepped in, she says.
“They called when all the cards stopped,” she says.
When asked how her faith held up after losing her father and friend, Havard didn’t fumble for words like some of the teens in “Almost Christian.”
She says God spoke the most to her when she felt alone — as Jesus must have felt on the cross.
“When Jesus was on the cross crying out, ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus was part of God,” she says. “Then God knows what it means to doubt.
“It’s OK to be in a storm, to be in a doubt,” she says, “because God was there, too.”
The Uprise Of A Generation of Transformation
The Hope Movement is not an organization, or a one man show. It is a movement of destined individuals and organizations united as one, dedicating our lives to the rescue and care of children and adults living in desperate need, reaching out to those who are longing for love. A new day has arrived and the Hope Movement is the formation of a generation of transformation.
To start a Hope Movement in your school, church, or community contact email@example.com
As lives and houses shattered in quake, so did some religious differences
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
updated 4:02 a.m. ET, Sun., Jan. 17, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – At night, voices rise in the street. Sweet, joyful, musical voices in lyric Creole. A symphony of hope in a landscape of despair.
“It doesn’t mean anything if Satan hates me, because God loves me,” sing the women at Jeremy Square, their faces almost invisible in the darkness of this powerless, shattered downtown. “God has already paid my debt.”
Haiti is known as a society of devout Christians — Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, evangelicals — and followers of voodoo. Faith has long played a powerful role in this impoverished nation, giving hope to the poor and fulfilling social functions that the government is incapable of handling.
But in the days since the earth pitched and rolled here, pulverizing shanties and mansions alike, the religious differences that sometimes separated Haitians have come crashing down.
Port-au-Prince has become a kind of multidenominational, open-air church. Tens of thousands live in the street together, scraping for food and water, sharing their misery and blending their spirituality.
The women singing together in Jeremy Square might never have worshiped side by side before the disaster, but now their voices harmonize and soar well past 2 in the morning. Lionelle Masse, a stringy woman with a deep, sad voice, lost a child in the quake. She sings next to Rosena Roche, a fiery-eyed Catholic whose husband is buried under tons of rubble.
“I still have faith in God,” Roche says. “I want to give glory to God.”
Regardless of their faith, countless Haitians have similar questions: Why was I spared? Are we being punished for our sins? Is this a test of faith? What happens in the afterlife?
‘Not the will of the Lord’
Seekers stream into the parking lot of the ruined Sacre Coeur Catholic church, a 105-year-old brick gem that was turned into a grim, hollowed-out shell, its stunning stained-glass windows tossed to the ground in shards. There, the Catholics and the Protestants and others seek solace from Father Hans Alexander, a Haitian priest who took his decidedly un-Haitian first name from his German father. He doesn’t ask them about their religion; he asks them about their pain.
“Catholics and Protestants and other religions are praying together now,” Alexander says, as two tearful women slump over his thick, broad shoulders. “We are saying, ‘We love Jesus; we don’t care about religions. We just care about the Lord.’ ” He has tried to teach his followers this lesson for years but did not always succeed in changing the minds of parishioners who thought their religion was better or truer than others. The quake, he says, has done much to convince those he could not.
As it often can be with faith, there are doubts to overcome. Some parishioners want to blame the devil, or take responsibility themselves because they have sinned. Some think God has abandoned them.
“This is not the will of the Lord,” Alexander tells the two women, sisters who lost their mother and one of their children, a 1 1/2 -year-old, in the quake. “Don’t put this blame on the back of anyone. Don’t put it on yourself.”
Like almost everyone here, the woe is personal for Alexander, who is wearing sandals, almost as if to defy the dangerous pieces of glass, jagged metal and concrete that litter the sidewalk outside his church and befoul his courtyard. Beneath the broken remnants of his rectory are the bodies of at least 20 church members he must mourn alongside their friends and relatives.
A woman whose relative is now entombed there quietly prays, with arms spread out toward a statue of the Virgin Mary. Some of the grieving have wrestled with guilt about having survived while their loved ones died, but Alexander assures them that “it is not because God loves one person more than another.”
Alexander, 40, grew up in this church, first as a vicar and for the past seven months as its principal priest. He is himself pondering basic questions. He has spoken so many times of “original sin,” but the quake has led him to what he calls “a discovery,” reinforcing his belief that “God created us to be good.” The neighbors he sees helping one another — carting debris, digging for survivors, patching wounds both physical and psychological — confirmed it for him.
That sense of fundamental goodness is what rankles the priests gathered at Sacre Coeur about comments such as those by American televangelist Pat Robertson, who suggested that the earthquake was a punishment for Haitians aligning themselves, at times, with the devil. When Catholic priest Arsene Jasmin heard that, he was enraged. Jasmin, a Haitian who is a priest at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in the District, arrived in Port-au-Prince for a visit the day before the earthquake.
“I get mad when I hear that Haiti is somehow being punished,” he says. “It’s unacceptable and wrong.”
Jasmin gathered Friday night in a nearby building with 100 worshipers for three hours of prayer and song. His friend, Alexander, has no church anymore — the building that once received 3,000 worshipers for five Sunday services is a wreck. But Alexander says he will celebrate Mass outside a nearby house Sunday anyway, and he expects hundreds, if not thousands, to come.
Salvation under the skies
For others, especially those stuck in place because they have no way to travel around the city, places such as Jeremy Square will be their makeshift churches, as they have been each night. Roche, the Catholic woman who fears her husband is dead, sleeps and worships in the square, squeezed into a row of 25 men, women and children — one of at least 60 tightly packed rows along the slope pavement of the square.
Just a few steps from Roche’s thin, white blanket, Primrose Toussaint, a fervent Pentecostal believer drenched in sweat, waves her arms in the air.
“Even if I die, I die with Jesus,” she calls out to no one in particular. “God bless this country. God bless these people.”
She has no home, and almost all her meager possessions are gone, but she says, “I don’t feel like I am in trouble. Without Jesus, I would be in trouble.”
The children sleep while Roche and Toussaint sing in voices fast growing hoarse from hours of hymns. A chorus builds behind them.
“If you believe in God, salvation is sure,” the voices sing as one. “Oh God, open the way.”
- NEW: Death toll tops 100,000, hospitals gone, Haitian consul general to U.N. says
- Quake packed power of several nuclear bombs, says geophysicist
- Haiti’s first lady tells consul most of capital, Port-au-Prince, is destroyed
- Magnitude 7.0 quake struck near Port-au-Prince shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — “Port-au-Prince is flattened” after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian capital, Haiti’s consul general to the United Nations said Wednesday.
“More than 100,000 are dead,” Felix Augustin told reporters.
The hospitals are gone, he added, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed.
The Haitian prime minister said Wednesday several hundred thousand people may have died in the powerful earthquake.
“I hope that is not true, because I hope the people had the time to get out,” Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN.
“Because we have so [many] people on the streets right now, we don’t know exactly where they were living. But so many, so many buildings, so many neighborhoods totally destroyed, and some neighborhoods we don’t even see people.”
Bellerive told CNN’s Gary Tuchman all of Port-au-Prince is either damaged or destroyed. He said the population is calm, and authorities are working to determine the scope of the destruction and reach a better conclusion on how many people were killed or injured.
“With maturity, people are trying to take care of themselves in some quiet places. People are trying to help each other on the streets,” he said.
U.S. Gen. Douglas Fraser said he expects “there will be a significant loss of life.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said “there’s every reason to fear that this earthquake has caused a large number of casualties.”
Earlier, Haiti’s first lady, Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour, reported that “most of Port-au-Prince is destroyed,” the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, said. He called the quake a “major catastrophe.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke of the collapse of “basic services such as water and electricity.”
About 3 million people — one-third of Haiti’s population — were affected by the quake, the Red Cross estimated. About 10 million people felt shaking from the earthquake, including 2 million who felt severe trembling, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated.
President Obama announced a “swift, coordinated and aggressive” U.S. response.
“The reports and images that we’ve seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching,” Obama said.
Aid groups scrambled to help.
None of the three aid centers run by Doctors Without Borders is operable, the group said, and the organization is focusing on re-establishing surgical capacity so it can deal with the crushed limbs and head wounds it is seeing.
Authorities braced for civil disturbances.
Edmond Mulet, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told CNN that the National Penitentiary collapsed and the inmates escaped, prompting worries about looting by escapees.
Built in 1915, the prison was overcrowded. Enlarged to a total capacity of 1,200, it held 3,908 inmates in December, the U.S. State Department has said.
The powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It could be felt strongly in eastern Cuba, more than 200 miles away.
The earthquake’s power matched that of several nuclear bombs, said Roger Searle, a professor of geophysics in the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University in England. He said the combination of its magnitude and geographical shallowness made it particularly dangerous.
The earthquake sheared huge slabs of concrete off structures and pancaked scores of them, trapping people inside those buildings, and knocking down phone and power lines.
Many buildings that remained standing were left open to the elements, pictures from the scene showed, and citizens were dusty from the concrete and in some cases bloody from their injuries.
“One woman, I could only see her head and the rest of her body was trapped under a block wall,” said Jonathan de la Durantaye, who drove through Port-au-Prince after the quake. “I think she was dead. She had blood coming out of her eyes and nose and ears.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, viewing Port-au-Prince from a helicopter, called the sight of the destroyed buildings in the quake-devastated city “incredibly shocking” and “eerie.”
He said many people are “just kind of standing around on the streets, not really sure what to do or where to go. And for many, there is nowhere to go.”
Ban said the U.N. headquarters at the Christopher Hotel collapsed in the quake, and that people were still trapped inside. He said possibly 100 or 150 people were in the building around the time the quake struck. He said the chief of the U.N. mission in Haiti and a deputy special representative had not been accounted for.
At least 15 peacekeepers were reported to have died. The Brazilian Army said 11 of its soldiers were killed, while state-run media in Jordan reported the deaths of three Jordanian peacekeepers. The Argentine military confirmed the death of one peacekeeper from Argentina.
Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, died in the quake, according to the official Vatican newspaper
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the Naval Station Guantanamo, Cuba, hospital for further treatment.
Cheryl Mills, counselor to the secretary of state and an expert on Haiti policy at the U.S. State Department, said about 80 embassy spouses, children and non-essential personnel planned to leave Wednesday afternoon.
Obama urged Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti to telephone the State Department at 888-407-4747.
Haiti’s main airport appeared to be operable, which should enable foreign aid to start flowing into the country, and U.S. Embassy staff at the airport said the tower and the lights were working, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday.
Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will be the U.S. government’s unified disaster coordinator, Obama said. Shah told CNN that teams have been working around the clock “to make sure the U.S. mounts an effective response in supporting saving lives, which is the president’s absolute top priority for this first period of 72 hours when we search and save as many lives as we can.”
Many countries and agencies across the globe geared up to help Haiti. A 50-member Chinese rescue team planned to deploy, Xinhua news agency said, and Ban said the U.N. plans to release $10 million in aid immediately.
The U.S. military is working to get ground and air assessments of the damage.
U.S. officials say the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship in port in Baltimore, has begun to recall its crew and is standing by for orders to head to Haiti. All East-coast based Navy ships have been alerted for standby, the officials said.
Two Coast Guard C-130 airplanes were doing damage assessments and searches, and helicopters were deployed to the scene.