Lent marks a 40-day period on the church calendar leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, Christians have traditionally engaged in practices of self-denial, like fasting, meant to orient their hearts and minds to the sufferings of Christ, who spent 40 days in the desert fasting and enduring temptations from Satan. While many evangelicals reject Lenten disciplines for their associations with Catholicism, in recent years a greater number have experimented with practices like giving up a favorite indulgence or abstaining from meat on Fridays.
August 3, 1492: Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain for the "Indies." Though the explorer was in part driven by a quest for gold and glory, he also saw himself as a missionary. He thought, if there were a shortcut to the East by sea, missionaries could be sent there faster, thus enabling Christians to meet the provision for world evangelization before the Lord could return (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).