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Powder Springs church prepares more than 5,000 Christmas boxes for children overseas

Margaret McMullen spearheaded the drive to send thousands of Christmas boxes to children around the world. (Photo/Macland Baptist Church)
POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — More than 200 years ago the Brothers Grimm published a collection of fairy tales about a poor shoemaker who was almost out of food to eat and leather to make shoes. However, during the night, little elves slipped into the shoemaker’s home and worked furiously to make incredibly beautiful and serviceable shoes that permitted the shoemaker to prosper. It is a beautiful Christmas story of goodness and grace.
Chris McDaniel, a founding member of the country music band Confederate Railroad, poses with an elk mount he displays when he preaches at church-sponsored wild game dinners. McDaniel has introduced some 2,700 people to Christ through his ministry so far this year. (Photo/Chris McDaniel Ministries)
Confederate Railroad founding member Chris McDaniel now working for the Lord, leads 2,700 people to Jesus so far this year
DALTON, Ga. — A Georgia man’s chance meeting with country music star Chris McDaniel in a Delaware store led to a life-changing encounter with someone far more famous. McDaniel, a founding member of the multi-platinum-selling band Confederate Railroad, had stopped at the store for a soft drink as he prepared to drive back to Georgia. When he walked to the counter to pay for it, a man he came to know simply as Pablo was there with a basket of groceries and no way to pay for them because he had left his wallet at home.
Members of the Armed Forces carry the casket after the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Plains, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Rosalynn Carter's intimate funeral is held in the town where she and her husband were born
PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — With her frail husband as a silent witness, Rosalynn Carter was celebrated by her family and closest friends Wednesday at her funeral in the same tiny town where she and Jimmy Carter were born, forever their home base as they climbed to the White House and traveled the world for humanitarian causes.
Former President Jimmy Carter arrives to attend a tribute service for his wife and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, at Glenn Memorial Church, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Rosalynn Carter honored by family, friends, first ladies and presidents, including husband Jimmy
ATLANTA (AP) — Rosalynn Carter was remembered Tuesday as a former U.S. first lady who leveraged her fierce intellect and political power to put her deep Christian faith into action by always helping others, especially those who needed it most. A gathering of first ladies and presidents — including her 99-year-old husband Jimmy Carter — joined other political figures in tribute. But a parade of speakers said her global stature wasn’t what defined her.
Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, in their trademark yellow shirts and caps, feed crowds in crisis situations across the state and nation, as was the case in this file photo from Kentucky last year. This week they're feeding the men and women providing security around former first lady Rosalynn Carter's memorial services. (Photo/Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, File)
Georgia Baptists serve free meals for security teams at Rosalynn Carter's memorials
PLAINS, Ga. — The chefs who prepared meals for hundreds of Secret Service agents, Georgia Highway Patrol troopers, National Guard troops, and others providing security during three days of memorials for former first lady Rosalynn Carter have vast experience feeding huge crowds, usually in disaster zones. In their trademark yellow shirts and caps, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will spend the next three days in the mobile kitchens where they will prepare tasty cuisine served at no charge.
Students watch as family members participate in a wreath laying ceremony to honor former first lady Rosalynn Carter at the Rosalynn Carter Health & Human Services complex on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, in Americus, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)
Rosalynn Carter tributes highlight her reach as first lady, humanitarian and Georgian
AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) — Hundreds turned out to salute Rosalynn Carter on Monday with the former U.S. first lady and global humanitarian's final journey from her rural hometown to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta as her family began three days of memorials following her death at age 96.
Baptist Life

Scenes from the mission field: The Brazilian Amazon's vast array of people and cultures

An Amazon river dolphin, known as a boto, plays in a nature preserve and tourist visitation area on the banks of the Tocantis River, in the municipality of Mocajuba, Para state, Brazil, Saturday, June 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Renowned for its stunning biodiversity, the Amazon rainforest region is also home to a vast array of people and cultures. “People usually think that the environment doesn’t contain and include people, but it does,” said soil scientist Judson Ferreira Valentim, who lives in Brazil’s Acre state. “There are many different Amazonias and many different Amazonians.”
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s former International Mission Board missionary Debbie Moore would gather a few Liberia Baptist Seminary students (to serve as camp staff), load up in an old Peugeot station wagon, traverse Liberia, and hold Girls in Action and Royal Ambassador camps, sharing the gospel with the young people of West Africa.  
A decades-old nearly life-sized Nativity set needed to be repainted.  I volunteered all the artsy people I knew to do it; I would help, too.  I’m no artist, but I thought it would be like a humungous paint by number: not too difficult, it would just take some time.
Last week at Thanksgiving we had our entire family together for the first time in a good while.  Our youngest daughter, who is disabled, at times chooses to not join.  It’s just a lot …
JACKSON, Miss. — Nurses and other medical staff from across the United States attended the Baptist Nursing Fellowship Summit 2023 at First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi, earlier this month. This year’s conference was unique because the 60 registered guests celebrated 40 years of encouraging, engaging, and equipping nurses to share God’s love and healing with others. 
A sticker saying

Georgia county seeking to dismiss lawsuit by slave descendants over rezoning of their island homes

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — County commissioners in Georgia are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit by Black residents descended from slaves who fear new zoning changes will force them to sell their island homes in one of the South's last surviving Gullah-Geechee communities. Residents and landowners of the tiny Hogg Hummock community sued in October after McIntosh County commissioners voted to weaken zoning restrictions that for decades helped protect the enclave of modest homes along dirt roads on largely unspoiled Sapelo Island.

Texas man sentenced to 2 years in prison for threatening Georgia election workers after 2020 election

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas man who was the first arrest by a Justice Department task force that investigates threats to election workers has been sentenced to two years in prison over posts made following the 2020 election, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. Chad Christopher Stark, 55, was accused of posting threatening messages on Craigslist about killing government officials in Georgia. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of communicating interstate threats.

Kemp's chief of staff resigning to become senior VP at Georgia Power

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp’s chief of staff is resigning to become senior vice president over external affairs for Georgia Power, effective Jan. 15. Kilpatrick will lead the company’s strategy and engagement in economic development, legislative and regulatory affairs, region external affairs and corporate communication. 

Legislative study committee recommending quicker action on foster care cases

ATLANTA – A combination of legislation and spending increases are needed to improve Georgia’s foster care system, according to a report a legislative study committee adopted Monday. The state Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption unanimously recommended legislation to shorten the time it takes children entering the foster care system to reach a permanent status – either reunification with parents or adoption – and to provide free photo IDs to foster kids.
The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, home to the FBI headquarters, is seen June 9, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Inspector general launches probe examining decision to relocate FBI headquarters to Maryland

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal watchdog will investigate how the Biden administration chose a site for a new FBI headquarters following a contentious competition marked by allegations of conflict of interest. The Inspector General for the General Services Administration is probing the decision to locate the facility in Greenbelt, Maryland, over a site in Virginia., according to a letter released Thursday by Virginia lawmakers.

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the diplomat with the thick glasses and gravelly voice who dominated foreign policy as the United States extricated itself from Vietnam and broke down barriers with China, died Wednesday, his consulting firm said. He was 100.

3 dead, 1 hospitalized in explosion that sparked massive fire at Ohio auto repair shop

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) — An explosion at an auto repair shop in Ohio that killed three people and sent a fourth person to a hospital sparked a massive fire that burned for hours and spewed thick, black smoke into the air.

US life expectancy rose last year, but it remains below its pre-pandemic level

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy rose last year — by more than a year — but still isn't close to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 rise was mainly due to the waning pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said Wednesday. But even with the large increase, U.S. life expectancy is only back to 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago.
A helicopter carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas lands at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, early Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Truce in Gaza endures another day and more hostages are freed, but tougher talks ahead

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas began freeing Israeli hostages Thursday in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of a last-minute deal to extend their cease-fire in Gaza by another day. But any further renewal of the truce, now in its seventh day, could prove more daunting since Hamas is expected to set a higher price for many of the remaining hostages.

A friendship forged over 7 weeks of captivity by Hamas lives on as freed women are reunited

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — In the depths of captivity, they formed an unlikely but prized friendship. And reunited in a video call this week, the bond between a recently freed Israeli mother and daughter and a Thai woman who had been held hostage alongside them filled an Israeli hospital room with unbridled joy.

South Koreans want their own nukes, a move that could roil one of the world’s most dangerous regions

CHEORWON, South Korea (AP) — To the steady rat-tat-tat of machine guns and exploding bursts of smoke, amphibious tanks slice across a lake not far from the big green mountains that stand along the world’s most heavily armed border. Dozens of South Korean and U.S. combat engineers build a pontoon bridge to ferry tanks and armored vehicles across the water, all within easy range of North Korean artillery.

Japan suspends its Osprey flights after the fatal crash of a US Air Force aircraft

TOKYO (AP) — Japan suspended flights by its Osprey aircraft Thursday, officials said, the day after a U.S. Air Force Osprey based in Japan crashed into the sea during a training mission. Tokyo says it has also asked the U.S. military to ground all Ospreys operating in Japan except for those searching for victims of the crash.
The Christmas rush is in full throttle and the pressure is on to get it all done before December 25. I admire those wise folks who make Christmas purchases all year long. Of course, if I was smart enough to purchase gifts ahead of time, I’d probably forget where I hid them.
Giving Tuesday isn't about giving, it's about supporting ministry efforts like Camp Pinnacle, that witness to young women around the state, by improving the quality of their facilities. By giving, you can help provide a new bunk bed for someone to experience rest and hear the Gospel during camps and retreats.
PLAINS, Ga. – While I have had the privilege of meeting several presidents and attending the inauguration of one president, I only met one first lady, Rosalynn Smith Carter. I met Jimmy Carter when he was governor of Georgia. In fact, I brought a church group to Atlanta from North Carolina in 1971, and he was coming down the steps in the rotunda of the state Capitol as our group was ascending the stairs. I introduced myself and told him that we had 45 senior adults visiting Atlanta and the surrounding area on a three-day excursion. He stopped and spoke to our group for at least 5 minutes and told us about his Baptist background.
As we enter into the holiday season, I’d like to share with you a story. I can hardly believe it myself, but every bit of it is true, “so help me God.” Admittedly, I’m no Charles Dickens and the prisoner next to me is not exactly Tiny Tim but I’ll try my best to tell it. His name is Milton and he walks with a permanent limp now because of an exchange of bullets he had with someone in the streets.
In reflecting on the life of Rosalynn Carter, Americans should note her civility, a character trait that seems to be in short supply in today’s political world. She was a genuinely good woman, a wonderful example of a Christian lady, and a tireless humanitarian. Mrs. Carter didn’t tear others down. Instead, she built them up.
The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, file)

Saudi Arabia extends cut in oil it sends to the world in bid to boost prices

LONDON (AP) — Saudi Arabia will extend a cut in the amount of oil it sends to the world after a series of previous reductions by members of the OPEC+ alliance of major producing countries failed to prop up prices. That’s been a good thing for U.S. drivers, who have been able to fill their gas tanks for less money in recent months.

UAW will try to organize workers at all US nonunion factories after winning new contracts in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Less than two weeks after ratifying new contracts with Detroit automakers, the United Auto Workers union announced plans Wednesday to try to simultaneously organize workers at more than a dozen nonunion auto factories. The UAW says the drive will cover nearly 150,000 workers at factories largely in the South, where the union has had little success in recruiting new members.

Consumer Reports: Electric vehicles less reliable, on average, than conventional cars and trucks

DETROIT (AP) — Electric vehicles have proved far less reliable, on average, than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, according to the latest survey by Consumer Reports, which found that EVs from the 2021 through 2023 model years encountered nearly 80% more problems than did vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines.

US economic growth for last quarter is revised up to a 5.2% annual rate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shrugging off higher interest rates, America's consumers spent enough to help drive the economy to a brisk 5.2% annual pace from July through September, the government reported Wednesday in an upgrade from its previous estimate. The government had previously estimated that the economy grew at a 4.9% annual rate last quarter.

Georgians to begin paying tax on gasoline again beginning Thursday when tax rollback expires

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia drivers are likely to begin paying higher prices for gasoline and diesel as state motor fuel taxes return on Thursday. Gov. Brian Kemp's rollback of the state taxes of 31.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 35 cents per gallon of diesel ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

SEC extends agreement to keep football championship in Atlanta at least through 2031

ATLANTA (AP) — The Southeastern Conference championship game will remain at Mercedes-Benz Stadium through at least 2031 under a contract extension announced Thursday. The SEC joined stadium operator AMB Sports and Entertainment and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in announcing the agreement ahead of the 32nd annual title game Saturday, matching No. 1 Georgia — the two-time defending national champion — against No. 8 Alabama.

No. 1 Georgia is top dog and looking to stay there as it faces No. 8 Alabama for SEC title

ATLANTA (AP) — When Kirby Smart returned to his alma mater as head coach, Alabama was the top dog. Now, the roles are reversed. The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs are the two-time defending national champions and haven't lost a game in nearly two years. Everyone is chasing them. Alabama included.

Justin Hill makes late bucket as Georgia rallies from 17-point deficit to beat Florida State 68-66

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Justin Hill hit a jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining as Georgia rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Florida State 68-66 on Wednesday night in the ACC/SEC Challenge. De’Ante Green split a pair of free throws for Florida State that tied the game 66-all with 27 seconds remaining.

Poteat scores 31, Albany State (Ga.) knocks off Florida A&M 92-85 in double overtime

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Shakur Poteat's 31 points led Albany State (Ga.) over Florida A&M 92-85 in double overtime on Wednesday night. Poteat also had five assists for the Golden Rams. Reggie James scored 14 points while shooting 5 for 9 (2 for 3 from 3-point range) and 2 of 3 from the free-throw line.