Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fighting Child Abuse in Charleston, S.C.

Charleston, S.C., with its pristine beaches, historic homes, fine dining and southern hospitality, is considered a top tourist spot in the United States. However, the city is fighting a grave problem: Child abuse is on the rise in Charleston and surrounding areas. Regent University doctoral student Troy Hall is working to change that.

Hall, chief operating officer of South Carolina Federal Credit Union, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Lowcountry Orphan Relief (LOR). Since many abused and neglected children are removed from their homes without clothing and basic necessities, this nonprofit organization steps in to provide toiletries and school supplies. In just six years, LOR has offered immediate, practical assistance to more than 9,200 children.

Hall became aware of LOR's work through a presentation at his job by LOR founder Lynn Young. Hall says he and his wife were immediately drawn to the organization's mission and have volunteered there for several years. Now, as a member of the Board of Directors he hopes to inspire others in his community to move from awareness of the problem to taking action.

"It is not about learning another statistic," Hall says. "You do not need any more information than for me to tell you that there are children in your midst who are battered, neglected and left alone. If that does not call you into action there is not one more thing I can teach you. I want that to be enough to compel you to do something."

He desires to develop leaders within his community by drawing on principles he is learning through his doctoral studies in Organizational Leadership. "I hope, through LOR, to raise up folks who will lead themselves and someone next to them, then lead the organization in ways that can rid us of the problem," this man of vision shares. "We will not stop what we are doing until we can say that 100 percent of our children are taken care of."
  Though he has pursued studies at Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business and Cornell University, Hall chose Regent for his doctoral studies because of the university's strong combination of rigorous academics and Christ-centered faith. He believes seeking higher education will put him a better place to make a difference.
"With my doctoral position, I will have a voice in the community that might be different than someone who just speaks up at a town meeting," Hall explains. "My intention is to be ready to use that voice when God calls me to use it."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Breaking the Chains of Bondage through Freedom Stones

Photo courtesy of Freedom Stones.
An estimated 27 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. * Wayne Hester ’10 (School of Business & Leadership) is working to break these chains of bondage through Freedom Stones International. This innovative organization fights human trafficking through income-generation projects in impoverished countries. Wayne is a founding executive board member and volunteer.

Freedom Stones partners with ministries in Ghana, Thailand and Cambodia to identify high-risk groups and teach them to make and sell handcrafted jewelry. In addition to earning short-term income from jewelry sales, the artisans also receive business and life-skills training.

Photo courtesy of Freedom Stones.
At the end of their training, the artisans obtain a micro-loan, with the help of Freedom Stones, or use their required savings account to start a small business. Wayne says this holistic approach equips individuals to move from dependency on the organization to establishing a sustainable livelihood and ending the cycle of poverty that is a significant factor in human trafficking.
As an executive board member, Wayne serves as an advisor to the organization’s founder and president, a role that continuously draws on skills he learned in his coaching and mentoring classes at Regent.
 “My studies at Regent are a vital part of my contribution to the development of this incredible organization,” Wayne shares. “My classes on all aspects of organizational leadership and organization development have allowed me to improve and use my God-given gifts to be a part of an amazing team that is now developing Freedom Stones into a high-impact organization.”
He has enjoyed seeing the impact of Freedom Stones firsthand during recent trips to Cambodia, including attending a graduation ceremony for artisans who had completed their training and were reintegrating to Cambodian society. Many of the graduates chose to use funds they had saved to pursue additional training in industries they enjoyed. 
“It was amazing to see young people who were once in danger of illegal hard labor or sex trafficking, now looking at the future with confidence, goals and life-skill building blocks for the future,” Wayne recalls. 
Another highlight of his trip was describing to the graduates how his wife gave him a huge kiss when he presented her with one of the necklaces they had made. 
“They were beaming with pride and confidence when they knew they had created something that someone else found beautiful and valuable,” Wayne explains, with a smile. “In that moment I could see they now saw a value not only in the jewelry they created, but in their own lives.”
Volunteering with the organization has had a significant impact on his life as well, he says.
Wayne Hester '10
Photo courtesy of Freedom Stones.
“I have realized we are all broken and in bondage to some degree. As we help others on the journey to freedom in Christ, we too will find healing and freedom.”
Wayne invites you to learn more about Freedom Stones International at
* U.S. State Department

Monday, March 12, 2012

Airborne and on Mission in Indonesia

M.A. in Organizational Leadership student Brad Hopkins loves to fly, and with good reason. As a pilot and maintenance technician with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Indonesia, Brad provides a vital service for people in the remote villages of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. Whether he is transporting people, equipment or supplies, his plane offers a critical link to surrounding areas.
In a typical day, Brad may deliver a pineapple processor for a local business, pipes to help establish a village water system, generators, motorcycles, boat motors, food or medical supplies. He could also fly a government official, a pastor on his way home from a training conference, a woman in labor, or a child with a high fever or other medical emergency.
“These villagers rely on the airplane due to the remoteness of this jungle area,” he explains. “There are no roads and few medical facilities. Without the airplane, they would have to walk for weeks or months through dense jungle to get medical care.”
Brad grew up wanting to be a pilot. He joined the Army immediately after high school and planned to become a military pilot. While stationed in Germany he went on a mission trip to Romania and worked at an orphanage. The experience left him torn between wanting to go into full-time ministry and wanting to pursue aviation. When he discussed it with his pastor, he learned about mission aviation and knew it was a perfect fit. After earning a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science and gaining some flying experience, he and his wife were accepted with MAF.
“We told them we’d go wherever there was a need,” Brad recalls, “and they needed pilots in Borneo, Indonesia. It’s been exciting to see God’s hand and provision throughout this process. We like MAF’s vision of holistic ministry to both preach the gospel and do the gospel as Jesus did.”
Brad says his studies in SBL’s M.A. in Organizational Leadership program have been instrumental in his ministry.

“I’ve enjoyed the leadership training, particularly in regards to working in a cross-cultural environment, so that I can learn how to be a servant leader in my various roles,” he explains. “The SBL studies have impacted every area of my life: as a missionary, a pilot, a maintenance technician, a manager, and a ministry leader.”

In addition to serving remote villagers with his airplane, Brad and his wife are raising their family in the small city of Tarakan and have begun a relational ministry with Muslims there.
“I love getting to be part of a holistic ministry with unique opportunities,” he says. “The foundation of why I enjoy being here is the satisfaction of knowing I’m in the middle of God’s will, and out of God’s love for me, I can serve the people.”
To see more pictures and learn more about Brad’s family and their ministry, visit their website,, or his wife’s blog,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bringing Hope and Joy to Orphans in Haiti

More than 24,000 children under the age of 5 die every day, mainly from preventable causes.* Charity Remington, a doctoral student in Regent’s School of Business & Leadership, is working to change that.
Charity has been helping with service projects in rural Haiti for eight years. As part of a nonprofit organization, The Mission Haiti, she has been able to connect with many Haitian orphanages that struggle to meet the needs of their children.
“Some have more than 100 kids, as well as lists of children waiting to get in,” Charity explains. “We help connect them with food, medical, and school support and train Haitian orphanage directors in effective stewardship and management.”
In addition to local orphanages, the organization partners with Haitian pastors and ministries like Samaritan’s Purse to complete both long-term and short-term projects. The Mission Haiti also routinely conducts medical clinics in rural parts of Haiti.
Charity says all that she is learning in Regent’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership program has equipped her well to serve in a foreign country.
“In a place like Haiti it can be hard to find the balance between respecting cultural leadership differences and the non-negotiables of Christian leadership. My SBL studies have helped me learn how to discern the differences in cross-cultural situations, along with assisting me in leading teams more effectively.”
Her studies have also allowed her to help design and implement new strategies within the ministry to encourage community development through education. “Where we work in rural Haiti, education is often just a luxury for a few privileged children and it is estimated that only 50 percent of Haitians can truly be deemed literate,” she explains.
Without access to education, families become trapped in poverty unable to own land, find a career or participate in political processes.
To foster education, the organization established a scholarship program that matches severely impoverished children with willing partners in the Americas who provide money for a child’s tuition, uniforms, books, shoes, tutoring and a daily meal for an entire year.
“For many children, their daily school lunch is the only meal they will have all day!” Charity explains.
Helping meet the needs of orphans has been life changing for Charity. On a trip to deliver donated toys to a small group of kindergarten students in the tiny village of Labadri, Carabret, she was reminded again of the impact Christians can have in the world once they get involved.
“Not a person in Labadri had ever been to school, and most of the children spent their days without clothes or food,” Charity recalls. “Thanks to the vision of a local Haitian pastor and the kindness of our partners in the United States, we were able to erect two small kindergarten classrooms, hire three teachers, and provide clothes, supplies, and daily meals for the children. Seeing such progress in such an impoverished community was very moving and encouraging. It made me so grateful for God’s kindness in my life and for His willingness to use even someone like me to work with His precious people.”
* Source: UNICEF