Celebrating Ramadan in the United States
Posted: 18 Jun 2015 05:00 AM PDT
Ramadan is an Islamic holiday in which Muslims fast for a month. Learn more from international students in America who are observing the holiday. Ramadan is a month of the Islamic calendar, all Muslims observe this as a month of fasting. Ramadan started on June 18, 2015 and will end July 17. The dates may […]
The post Celebrating Ramadan in the United States appeared first on International Student Voice Magazine.
By: Eric Metaxas
Published: June 11, 2015 8:00 AM
In 1992, Bei Cun, considered to be one of China’s leading avant-garde writers, did something that really shocked his readers and admirers: He converted to Christianity.
But given the explosive growth of Christianity in China, it shouldn’t be all that surprising.
If you haven’t heard of Bei Cun, that’s okay. Neither had I, probably because his work hasn’t been translated into English. I only learned of his story because my BreakPoint colleague and friend Roberto Rivera recently read Philip Jenkins book, “The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South,” which tells Bei’s story.
After becoming a Christian, Bei wrote what Jenkins calls a “Kafkaesque story” entitled “The Marriage of Zhang Sheng.” In it, the protagonist, a scholar, opens a Chinese-language Bible and happens upon Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”
The passage leaves Zhang’s “intellectual assumptions in ruins.” Bei, just like his literary creation and hopefully his readers, interprets it as pointing out “the failure of relying upon mere human ideologies that neglect God.”
In an officially communist state, this is an “explosive” thing to say. The story ends with Zhang embracing Christianity just as Bei did.
In China, intellectuals and the avant-garde are running toward Christianity, while their Western counterparts tend to run away from it, if they’re not denouncing it.
It’s not just intellectuals and the avant-garde. In his award-winning book, “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China,” Evan Osnos writes that China is “in the midst of a full-fledged revival.”
While Osnos mentions Christianity mostly in passing, his mentions hint at a remarkable story. He says that there are “sixty to eighty million Christians.” It’s so large that “as [he] traveled around China, [he] stopped being surprised by [his] encounters with Christians.”
These numbers are even more astounding when you take recent Chinese history into account. At the time of the Communist takeover in 1949, there were an estimated five million Christians in China.
The Communists, as Osnos tells us, set out to destroy China’s old belief systems, including its small Christian community, and by the time of Mao’s death in 1976 had largely succeeded. Even after Mao’s death, Christians are still subject to harassment, arrest, and imprisonment for practicing their faith.
Yet there are now as many Christians as there are members of the Communist Party. By some estimates there’ll be more Christians in China than in the U.S. by 2030. And this doesn’t take into account the level of commitment required to be a Christian in China. Think about it: being a member of the Communist Party comes with real political and economic benefits. Being a Christian invites discrimination and even a knock on the door in the middle of the night.
So why the explosive growth of Christianity in China? While a change in economic policies and the individual pursuit of fortune could address China’s economic problems, it could not provide people or the nation with a “sense of purpose.”
So what emerged was a “spiritual void.” For many Chinese, that void is being filled by Jesus Christ.
This puts the Communist Party, however, in a bind. On one level, they know that Christianity is good for China, especially in the area of morals. On the other hand, they’re afraid of a movement they can’t control.
As I said on yesterday’s broadcast, Aslan is on the move. Extraordinary things are happening. I pray you find this as exciting and encouraging as I do.
Click here to find the article.
Brothers Molham and Mohammad Kayali spray-painted anti-government graffiti around Aleppo University in northern Syria in early 2012 and held up flags in protest against President Bashar al Assad's government. Worried that their lives were in danger, they gave up on school and fled to Turkey in September 2012.
They were reunited last year with their younger brother, Ebrahim, at Emporia State University, a small school in Kansas, joining among about 700 "academic refugees" now in the U.S. who either fled from the long-running violent conflict, attended universities that have closed or couldn't safely travel to schools in dangerous areas.
The Syrian conflict has displaced tens of thousands of students, and some schools in Syria were attacked, including in 2013 when at least 10 students were killed at an outdoor cafe at Damascus University.
It's a situation that has created an educational vacuum that universities around the world, including in the U.S., are seeking to fill in the hopes that the young Syrians will someday help rebuild their country.
"The main reason you learn is you learn to benefit your country, to protect your country," said 28-year-old Molham Kayali, who is looking for engineering jobs after graduating last month. "People in engineering, people in architecture can rebuild the country, can rebuild the construction, everything."
The New York-based Institute of International Education has helped organize a consortium of mostly U.S. and Portuguese schools and has provided 158 scholarships and 89 emergency grants to Syrian students, according to Daniela Kaisth, a vice president with the institute. Similar efforts were made to help Iraqi students after the U.S.-led invasion.
The latest data shows that the number of Syrian students attending U.S. universities swelled from 424 students in 2009-10 to 693 students in 2013-14, according to the institute's Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, published in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.
Read the entire article here.
Ancient Chinese pictographs have been around for thousands of years. Clues in the picture symbols show that the earliest Chinese words must have included basic historical facts from Genesis when the symbols were invented.
Click here to see the video.
The growth rate in the number of students from India heading to universities abroad has outpaced China for the first time, according to a new report on Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
These five destination countries account for nearly 85% of outbound student mobility from India.
Although overall student numbers from India heading abroad are still behind China – crossing the 300,000 mark in 2014, compared to more than 650,000 from China, big rises in Indian students going to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand point to a revival of interest from India after a four to five year drop, and a trend that will have implications on all receiving countries, according to the just-released report by New Delhi-based MM Advisory Services entitled Indian Students Mobility Report 2015: Latest trends from India and globally.
Read the entire article here.
If you (or a friend) register for Urbana 15 by June 30, you’ll get the lowest registration price, saving at least $70.
But more importantly, you'll get to spend five days focused—on Jesus’ life and resurrection, on the Father’s heart for reaching people of every nation, on where the Spirit is leading.
We are creating space at Urbana 15 for deep study of the Gospel of Matthew, multiethnic worship, prayer, conversation, and growth. There are also tracks for international students, pastors and church leaders, the business sector, tech students, and those interested in poverty and justice issues.
God uses Urbana in people's lives. Would you spend a few minutes praying about two questions?
Remember to register by June 30 to get the best rate.
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