Photo by Tony Cece

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SPC Profs Travel to Lebanon

Dr. Benjamin Keyes and Dr. Merrill Reese
leading a trauma workshop. 

Photo courtesy of Dr. Benjamin Keyes.

By Brett Wilson | November 25, 2013

The trauma and terror overwhelming the nation of Syria has created a growing need for professionals trained in providing grief counsel to those suffering loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In late October, Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) professor Dr. Benjamin Keyes and associate professor Dr. Merrill Reese traveled to Lebanon to take part in leading a "power-packed" three-day training session for Syrian pastors, youth ministers, social workers and psychologists.

As an initiative of Regent's Center for Trauma Studies, and in cooperation with The Barnabas Group (TBG), Keyes and Reese led workshops on how to help families and children cope with PTSD, restore hope, deal with grief and loss, as well as helping volunteers work through difficult roadblocks such as compassion fatigue.

"These are the people who have bombs dropping through their rooftops, and many of them have lost loved ones themselves," said Keyes. "But they have a passionate faith in God and it's amazing the strength they have and true testimony to their faith that they press on."

Conditions are still very dangerous for those living in Syria. Reese explained that of the 40 participants of the trauma training, many don't expect to live longer than six months. But they keep pressing on to discover more ways to help coach others through their psychological difficulties because, according to Reese, "fear is not in their vocabulary."

"Here are a group of people who don't flinch, and who understand the power of a promise," said Reese. "They're risking life and limb, but they feel called to do that."

Reese also feels called to aid others through his expert knowledge on grief and loss counseling. To him, trauma training is a ministerial tool that he will continue to help others develop.

"The beauty of the kingdom of God, and what we try to do in these trainings, is that you go in and you equip the people to do the work so that they may continue when you're gone, said Reese. "To me, that is what ministry is all about."

Learn more about the School of Psychology & Counseling and the Center for Trauma Studies.

Center for Global Justice Hosts Summit

Photo courtesy of the Center for Global
Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett Wilson | November 14, 2013

Unfurling in the regime of North Korea are shocking events meeting at the intersection of a present-day Holocaust and Underground Railroad. Though the traumas evolving within the country are mostly unheard of by the rest of the world, the religious and political persecution taking place in North Korea affects nearly 200,000 people trapped in concentration camps.
Regent University School of Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law explored these human rights abuses during the North Korea Human Rights Summit early in November. Students obtained an inside glance into the tumultuous violations such as torture, starvation, forced abortions, beatings and assaults that take place in the nation every day.

"This is arguably the greatest human rights abuse that's taking place today," said Ernie Walton, administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The people are starving; they don't have rights—and the extent of the human rights abuse that is taking place there is absolutely astonishing."

The summit featured a showing of the Korean film, The Crossing, which delves into the hardships many North Koreans are facing as they struggle to flee the country, seeking refuge in South Korea by escaping through China.

The summit also featured expert panelists dedicated to informing the public about the outrageous abuses taking place today. Jae-Chun Won, professor from Handong International Law School in South Korea; Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK); and Myunghee Um, a North Korean refugee and pastor, shared their personal experiences with students.

Along with the panelists, the issues struck a chord for Regent students. Sarah Drury, School of Law 3L student and head student coordinator of the summit, explained that these human rights challenges spurred her decision to attend law school, so that she may someday advocate for the rights of those who are oppressed.

"I believe that God may enable some of us in the Regent community to actually advocate for North Korean human rights," said Drury. "While this is a very complicated situation that doesn't have an easy answer, the first step to finding a solution is being made aware of the problem's existence."

In addition to bringing awareness to the horrors unraveling in North Korea, the heart of the summit was, according to Walton, to encourage the Christian community to begin intervening, if only by prayer, for their brothers and sisters suffering overseas.

"I pray that they gain hope that God is still moving, and that there are Christians, and others, non-believers, who are fighting for these people," said Walton. "I hope that they were moved, at a minimum, to intercede for the nation of North Korea, for the people there and for our fellow brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith."

Learn more about the School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

Ambassador Aharoni Visits Regent

Ambassador Ido Aharoni.

November 11, 2013

Among ongoing chaos in the Middle East, Ambassador Ido Aharoni sees both challenges and opportunities for Israel today. Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, visited Regent University on Monday, Nov. 4, to meet with students, faculty and staff, members of the local Jewish community and representatives from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
During a large group presentation to about 300 students and guests, Aharoni began his remarks with some observations about the "Arab Spring."

"In our culture, 'spring' stands for something very distinct and very clear, something that is seasonal," Aharoni explained. "Are we looking at something seasonal that will be over soon? Or, are we looking at the disintegration of countries in our region and the boundaries that were determined by two powers at the time—France and England?

"Spring also stands for something positive, that is about growth, renewal. I'm not sure we're looking at something that will have a positive outcome on people in the region," he added.

The ambassador addressed "lessons learned" from the Arab Spring, specifically as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He noted that the "linkage argument" has suffered a major blow as a result of recent events. The "linkage argument" says the root cause of Middle East instability is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Today is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran, which had nothing to do the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, leading to the first Gulf War. That action had nothing to do with the Israel and Palestine," he said. "There are no fewer than 29 active tribal, religious and military conflicts in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of many conflicts. That's not to say it's not an important conflict to resolve—far from it—but it's much easier to deal with problems on the table if we're negotiating under the right atmosphere."

Aharoni also pointed out the difference between democratic elections and democracy as a value system using the example of Gaza elections in 2006, which led to a victory by the terrorist organization Hamas that now governs in an undemocratic fashion.

"The ability to conduct open, transparent elections is not the only expression of democracy," he said. "Democracy is about values and people's ability to live by those values."

On a positive note, Aharoni shared encouraging developments from Israel, including the ability to now negotiate with Palestinians "freely, professionally and discreetly"—a process he hopes will lead to more good news. He touted Israel's water self-sufficiency, which has been a priority issue since the nation's inception. Similarly, Israel has identified significant deposits of natural gas that may lead not only to Israel's energy-independence, but could also result in Israel exporting natural gas.

Aharoni also spoke passionately about creativity in Israel. He cited a book, The Rise of the Creative Class, which suggests that the presence of a "creative class"—the people who develop ideas that change the destiny of a society—is the one element that gives a society an edge.

"I'm happy to report, that according to any measurement, the creative class in Israel is perhaps the fastest-growing in the world," Aharoni said, listing top rankings for Israel, including the number of conceptual ideas produced, start-up companies, scientific papers, and three universities ranked among the top 100 in the world.

"Israel is only at the very beginning of introducing ideas that will impact positively everyone in the world," he said.
Besides this presentation, Aharoni met with Regent University leaders and faculty members from several schools. He also appeared on CBN's The 700 Club. His visit to Regent was part of the university's Ambassador Series, which brings international dignitaries to the university to interact with the campus community.

Since August 2010, Ambassador Aharoni has been the Consul General at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, serving the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He has been a member of Israel's Foreign Service since 1991. Aharoni has a bachelor's degree from Tel Aviv University with a joint-major in Film and Television, Sociology and Anthropology. He earned a master's degree in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston. Aharoni served in the Israel Defense Forces as a company commander in the infantry during the first Lebanon war. He retired from military reserves several years ago, at the age of 48, as a Major (Ret).

Trauma Team Aids Kenyan Mall Hostages

School of Psychology & Counseling 2013 trauma team.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Benjamin Keyes.

October 4, 2013
A volunteer group of 15 psychologists and professional counselors in Kenya is using trauma training materials developed by Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) professors in their work helping hostage survivors of the Kenyan mall attack and family members of deceased victims to cope with the tragedy.

Over the last two years, Regent's trauma team, led by SPC professor Dr. Benjamin Keyes, has traveled to Kenya each summer to provide counseling to villagers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the perpetual discord and violence in the Rift Valley. As part of these outreaches, the most recent of which took place in August 2013, the group offered a series of training workshops for local mental health professionals, community leaders, pastors, families and school children.

The training material addressed issues such as psychological first aid, how best to respond to violence, treating traumatized families, treating trauma in children and adolescents, conflict resolution and domestic violence.

Members of the local Kenyan volunteer team took part in this training by the Regent group. The Kenyan team is now, in turn, using that information to provide counseling to hostage survivors and families of the deceased victims of the mall attack.

Joseph Njoroge, who is part of the Kenyan team and chairman of Family Life Healing Initiative (FALIHEIN), an organization that works with bereaved families in Kenya, said, "We are providing significant psychological help to those affected by the mall attack, as many people have been overwhelmed by it. The training material provided by the Regent trauma team has been most helpful and has added much value to what we are doing."

Dr. Keyes, who also serves as the director of Regent's Center for Trauma studies stated, "The people of this area have already seen a tremendous amount of suffering due to tribal violence over the last 15 years. This mall attack has only complicated matters for them. Trauma counseling such as this can have a great impact on one's life, and we take comfort knowing that local volunteers have stepped up to help those who are suffering."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling and the Center for Trauma Studies.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Law Students Make International Impact

Ra Hee Jeon participating in a
WHC fundraising event.
Photo courtesy of Ra Hee Jeon
By Brett Wilson
September 12, 2013

Though school was out of session for most Regent University School of Law students during summer break, serious issues such as assault and human tracking do not take a hiatus.

The Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law interns understood this as they traveled to different corners of the world, following the Biblical calling of "seeking justice" and "encouraging the oppressed."

One Global Justice intern, Kellisia Hazelwood, 3L, spent her summer interning at Dream Ghana, combatting the legal issues revolving around gender-based violence unfurling within many of the country's schools. Hazelwood, along with Dream Ghana, worked to support the efforts of the Human Rights Advocacy in Africa.

Hazelwood explained that in the nation of Ghana, many women attending schools are being abused, kidnapped and raped simply because of their gender. Her work with Dream Ghana entailed educating parents and students and giving presentations to raise awareness of this issue.

As the summer progressed, Hazelwood was encouraged by the number of people who would attend the trials of perpetrators of these particular crimes to see justice served.

"It was like a baseball game or something," said Hazelwood. "Everyone wanted to come out."

Along with her law degree, Hazelwood is also working toward her M.Div. And while she knows the two degrees together are not a traditional educational pursuit, Hazelwood is simply following her calling.

"It just came to me when I went on a mission trip last year to Ghana—I heard God say, 'international law,'" said Hazelwood. "I just wanted to help in a way that was different from a typical missionary, to protect people from a legal aspect."

Like Hazelwood, Ra Hee Jeon, 2L, spent her summer weaving together the threads of ministry and the law as she worked to combat human and domestic violence in her home nation. She interned with Women's Hope Center (WHC), an non-government organization (NGO), in Pohang, South Korea.

Jeon presented research projects regarding the rights of adolescents and single mothers in Korea. She also explored South Korea's social infrastructure to aid victims of sex trafficking. While she was thankful for the exposure to international law in South Korea, Jeon explained her ability to minister to those she worked with was what was most meaningful about her internship experience.

"I loved that I could share how God's grace and love changed my life when I was 20 years old," said Jeon. "Seeing the clients making conscious choices to learn about God's teaching and love, I was reminded of God's love for me as well."

Jeon explained that serving and learning about her home country's legal system was humbling. And though she is quite confident that God has plans for the nation where she was sent to complete her legal education, she also knows there is much work to be done in the nation that she calls home.

"Honestly it was heartbreaking to learn about the social reality of my home country and of the world," said Jeon. "However, I am hopeful this will change because the people of South Korea have a deep care for one another and that carries the power of unity and love."

Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

PR/NEWS CONTACT: Mindy Hughes, Public Relations Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888 E-mail:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Center for Global Missions Travels to China

Members of the Center for Global Missions team.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Pell
By Brett Wilson
September 6, 2013

"When you're in America, in a Christian school, you get this familiarity with the power of the Gospel," said Regent University associate professor Dr. Clifton Clarke. "You've grown up with it, you've seen it, and you've grown personally in its power."

Though he has a heart for seeing his students grow in Christ from an educative perspective, Clarke is also passionate about ministering to the unreached and unfamiliar. This summer, Clarke and a team of students spent two weeks in China, ministering to university students, some of whom had never even heard the name of Jesus Christ.

According to Clarke, in present-day China, the younger generations are rejecting communism as an ideological approach to life. However, the effects of the Communist Revolution—which replaced religious icons with ideals of the political party—has left gaping holes in the spirituality of the Chinese people.

"There is this vacuum where people tell you that they don't have a religion and that they have envy for people who do have that worldview," said Clarke.

This curiosity about faith was, according to Clarke, the greatest advantage his team had while sharing the Gospel. One young man in particular, a young student named David, stands out. Clarke ministered to him one year ago, and invited him to accept Christ into his heart. David did, and invited his friends to do the same.

"It was the most powerful conversion I've ever seen," said Clarke. "You've got this guy who was saved thirty minutes ago and he was sharing the Gospel—not just sharing, but sharing in a way that was integrated in the Chinese culture."

A year later, Clarke was able to reconnect with this same "dynamic" young man. Clarke continues to share this story with the students who accompany him on these trips.

"It was life-changing, it was eye-opening and it was daunting in many respects, but our students were amazed by how God used them to win people to Christ," said Clarke.

One such student was Lauren Pell, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). Pell said that though she was timid at first about sharing her faith with others, fearful that her efforts would be "awkward" or "ineffective."

"God proved me wrong, and I loved having deep conversations about Him with people who have been told He wasn't real," said Pell. "They asked such genuine questions and were so interested in hearing about Jesus."

Pell explained that she was strengthened in her faith, and appreciated the chance to become bold as she evangelized with her team members this summer. However, she also had the opportunity to grow scholastically, as she learned to collaborate with the other members of the team, and communicate with people from different parts of the world.

"This trip gave me opportunities to work with and learn from a lot of different types of people," said Pell. "And working on a team of both graduate and undergraduate students from different parts of the country and walks of life really helped me grow as a person."

Learn more about the School of Divinity and the Center for Global Missions.

PR/NEWS CONTACT: Mindy Hughes, Public Relations Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888 E-mail:

Alumni Help Engage Current Center for Global Justice Interns

Jaclyn Walliser supporting the Jubilee Campaign.
Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Walliser
By Brett Wilson
August 29, 2013

As the summer draws to a close, Regent University School of Law students are opening their Black's Law dictionaries once again. But some Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law interns spent their summers continuing to learn under the supervision and training of Regent alumni now submerged in their own legal careers.

"It was great to work with someone who understands the laws, but also understands my values," said Kyle Carter, 3L, who worked alongside Evan Henck '08 (Law), director of Freedom Firm. "He was incredibly open and willing to talk about everything."

Freedom Firm, a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) in India, is dedicated to rescuing young females from child prostitution by giving them an opportunity to sell a commodity other than themselves: jewelry.

Carter's work involved researching business decisions for the organization as it seeks to expand operations outside of India.

"One of the things that makes a big difference when you're reading through things like corporate tax law is when you realize that it's companies like [Freedom Firm] that will make a world of a difference," said Carter. "And that gives your work a lot of purpose."

Erica Weston, 2L, also found purpose in interning with the general counsel's office for Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) in Orlando, Fla. Though her primary passion is fighting against slave trading and human trafficking, Weston explained that her internship experience this summer opened her eyes to a different area of law she enjoys.

"I have a passion for Cru and the work God is doing through their ministry," said Weston. "This internship experience was a great combination of my passions and a great eye-opener to the field of law in general."

Weston worked alongside Tara Powell '09 (Law), an attorney with the organization. Weston explained that working with Powell encouraged her to look into working with non-profit organizations upon her own departure from Regent.

"She had some great insight into how God leads people who are willing to listen and follow Him," said Weston.

Jaclyn Walliser, 2L, spent her summer working with the Jubilee Campaign in Fairfax, Va., an international organization dedicated to promoting religious freedom of minority peoples around the world. During her internship, Walliser worked alongside Ann Buwalda '91 (Law).

"She gave me a lot of real world advice for being a lawyer," said Walliser. "And all of my experiences reaffirmed the calling I believe God has placed on my life."

To Walliser, her summer spent interning ignited her desire to stand up for the persecuted people of oppressed nations. She recalled witnessing a specific trial where a young woman from Eritrea was seeking asylum from the religious persecution she was facing there.

"The tears of joy that came to her eyes when the judge announced that he was granting her asylum brought tears to my own eyes, and I thought of how blessed I am to live in this country," said Walliser. "And how blessed I was to be able to be a part of her journey."

Learn more about the School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Right, and the Rule of Law.

PR/NEWS CONTACT: Mindy Hughes, Public Relations Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888 E-mail: