- JORDAN: Refugee Memorized 87 Bible Chapters
- ARAB WORLD: Embracing the Truth
- NIGERIA: Muslim Imam Hid Christians From Attackers
- PHILIPPINES: The Juan Project
- NEPAL: How a Worship Song Brought a Buddhist Monk to Christ
Source: Leading the Way, via God Reports, June 26, 2018
After Leading The Way’s follow-up team distributed one of their solar-powered audio Bibles to a blind Iraqi refugee, they were astonished to discover that he used it to memorize 87 chapters from the Bible.
Every day in his modest home in Amman, Jordan, Fadhil holds this device in his hand and soaks up the scriptures.
Several Leading The Way partners found it extremely humbling to visit Fadhil in his home while he quoted scripture after scripture:
“It was convicting, because for us we memorize a couple of verses. But he memorized chapters. He just meditates on scriptures day in and day out,” said partner David Bottoms.
Partner Ron Hughes added: “Fadhil is someone who would seem unremarkable by the ways of the world. But God doesn’t choose to reveal himself through the mighty and the powerful and the rich. He reveals himself through the poor and the humble. Being in this small, modest home and being in the presence of greatness as God’s Word filled the room… was an amazing experience.”
Source: Arab World Media, June 1, 2018
“I was born a Muslim. I prayed and fasted during Ramadan, and I even went on pilgrimage. I am 54 years old and I always heard that Islam is a religion of truth. One day, I had a chance to watch a debate between a Muslim and a Christian. In spite of the fact that I am not educated, I watched the show until the end. My heart and my mind were telling me that everything the Christian said was true. So I decided to find out more about Christ. And I discovered that the Christian faith is the real true faith.
“One day I discovered a story of a lady from my country who was persecuted because she embraced the Christian faith. She was the reason for my full conviction about the truthfulness of the Christian faith. So I decided to give my life to Jesus. I believe in him as my Savior and the Savior of all humanity. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to declare my faith. And thanks to all the workers who provided me with all I need to know!”
After dialogue with the AWM response team, Hamza gave his life to Christ. But he wasn’t the only one in his family…
Source: Barnabas Fund, July 3, 2018
A village in Plateau State was attacked by around 300 armed men, reportedly Fulani cattle herders, on Sunday, June 24. The gang opened fire killing scores of Christians and set fire to people’s homes and the local church.
Some Christian families escaped from the gunmen to a mainly Muslim village nearby. A local imam took in around 262 people, hiding women and children in his home, and taking the men to the mosque.
The armed attackers stormed into the village in pursuit of the Christians, confronting the imam and threatening to burn down his house and mosque. The imam refused to allow the gunmen in, insisting everyone inside was Muslim. Other villagers joined him in pleading with the Fulani until they left the area.
The imam told the BBC he had wanted to help because, 40 years ago, Christians in the area had allowed Muslims to build the mosque. He said it was the first time he had experienced such “an ugly incident” in all the years of Muslims living in a neighboring village to the Christian farmers.
Around 200 people died in attacks on 11 villages over the weekend of June 23-24. Semi-nomadic Fulani cattle herders, who raid Christian villages and set fire to properties before taking over their land, have been blamed for the bloodshed.
» Read full story. Also watch a brief video of Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam commenting on this recent attack (World Watch Monitor) and read Over 200 Dead in Plateau State after Fulani Militant Attacks (Jubilee Campaign).
» Religious broadcasters in Mozambique are also seeking prayer in the midst of violence in their region, too (FEBC).
Source: One Mission Society, July 3, 2018
In its research, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) revealed that 90,500,000 Filipinos have never experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That represents 90.5% of the population.
Our Every Community for Christ (ECC) leadership team there knew that without some change, we would never make a significant dent in this statistic. We went to prayer. After four days, the Juan Project emerged.
The aim of the Juan Project is to reach every “Juan” (individual Filipinos) in five different provinces and two groups (students in the five provinces and overseas Filipino workers in 10 countries). We desire to plant a healthy, reproducing church in every sitio or purok (the smallest governing unit in the Philippines) in the five provinces [and] plant a healthy student ministry at each of the public college and university campuses in the five provinces.
We have completed the first year of the Juan Project. The first six months started slowly. In those months, we focused on building capacity, raising prayer support, building partnerships, [and] offering training. The fruit has come in the past six months.
One hundred and fourteen new prayers groups have formed. Prayer walks and overnight prayer meetings are common. We work with at least 30 partners. And, in the last year, we have held 54 trainings, involving 895 people from over 100 churches.
The results: 216 groups started, 361 people equipped and mobilized, and 1,913 people who have entered into a relationship with Christ. A small but important turnaround.
Pastors now testify that their passion for church planting is rekindled, their perspective challenged, and their minds opened to church multiplication.
» More good news for overseas Filipino workers: radio host in Kuwait creates lifeline for abused Filipino domestic workers (Ethical Journalism Network).
Source: International Mission Board, July 2, 2018
Pavan, a Christian pastor I met on a recent trip to Nepal, shared with me about his past and the fear that once plagued him. He admitted that he had been afraid of dying. Persistent fear robbed him of peace. “There was no peace. There was no meaning in life,” Pavan confessed. “It compelled me to ask the question, ‘What am I here for? And how long? And what happens after I leave this earth?’”
He couldn’t answer these questions, so he turned to local religious leaders for guidance. When he voiced his concerns, Buddhist monks tried to assuage his fears by telling him that it was natural to go through storms. “You may have to go through lonely places,” they counseled. “You may have to go a very dangerous way. But do not be afraid. Just keep continuing. Carry on your journey.”
The turning point in Pavan’s story happened deep in the jungle when he went for a walk with a friend. As they walked, his friend starting singing and asked him to close his eyes and listen to the words…
Source: Asia Harvest
Most of us have heard about the phenomenal growth of the Church in China over the last century, and we may know that this growth came in the furnace of intense persecution. But how did it all happen?
The China Chronicles series is an ambitious project to document the advance of Christianity in each province of China, decade by decade, from the time the gospel was introduced there to the present day.
Author and friend of the Chinese church Paul Hattaway has spent hundreds of hours interviewing Chinese believers so their stories can be shared and remembered.
Volume One takes us to Shandong Province, home to almost 100 million people. It includes narratives about foreign missionaries (e.g., Lottie Moon) and Chinese movements (the Evangelistic Bands, the Jesus Family), as well as never-before-published testimonies from Chinese church leaders. So inspiring; I loved reading this book.
» Read an excerpt from Shandong: The Revival Province. Purchase from Asia Harvest, Amazon, or elsewhere. The Kindle edition is US$7.19. Also see an interview with Paul Hattaway (Christian Today).
Source: InterVarsity Press
“Cross-cultural encounters leave us with vivid memories, writing seemingly unforgettable stories on our brain with permanant ink.
“But as time progresses, memories and good intentions fade when they aren’t an active part of our life…
“So how do we move the memories from our head to our heart and finally to our feet and hands?”
Cory Trenda’s short book—just 128 pages—packs a punch. As the author admits, research suggests that mission trips, on their own, have virtually no measurable long-term effects on the lives of participants (despite our hopes and promises). What you do after, though, can make a difference.
I particularly liked chapter 6. It explores concrete ways you can learn from the disappointments and discoveries of your trip in order to make your next trip the best one yet.
» Learn more or purchase After the Trip for US$14.00 from Amazon (or elsewhere). Looks like it will be available as an ebook as well. The foreword is by Tim Dearborn, whose classic Short-Term Missions Workbook is scheduled to be revised and republished later this year.
Source: Global Frontiers Missions, Middle East Women’s Leadership Network
Worldview varies from one culture to the next and is one of the biggest obstacles in the presentation and understanding of the gospel. By increasing our understanding of each worldview, we will learn the most effective ways to share the gospel with people from different cultures.
» Watch the seven-minute video, 3D Gospel. It’s based on The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures by Jayson Georges. Could you use honor-shame resources or GFM 101 videos and teaching to mobilize or train others in your ministry context?
Here’s another video to help us see the world through different eyes. This one’s a drama. Caught in the middle of a terrorist plot in Los Angeles, a young Arab woman grapples with God’s will when she makes a surprising discovery.
» Watch the 10-minute film, Cellular, or its one-minute trailer. For more information or to screen it for a group, contact Middle East Women’s Leadership Network. See their website for more films or to learn about this interesting network.
Source: InterVarsity Press
From Operation World creator Patrick Johnstone and collaborator Dean Merrill come two new books on topics that demand our attention: the shifting dynamics of today’s global cities and the rise of the migrant crisis.
First published in 2015 and 2016, and now republished by InterVarsity Press, Serving God in Today’s Cities and Serving God in a Migrant Crisis are short, punchy books offering biblical perspective and practical advice. If I had to pick just one, I’d recommend the cities book. Use the preview feature on Amazon to get a taste.
» Visit the publisher’s website to learn more about both books and related titles. Looks like a long-awaited revised edition of the kid-friendly Operation World resource Window on the World is also in the works.
Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar
July 2 to November 4, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). Additional classes start August 6 and August 13.
July 8-27, Manarah (Detroit, MI, USA). Training for ministry to Muslims, from Christar.
July 9-13, Cubs to Lions (Boulder, CO, USA). Discipleship for Christians with a Muslim background.
July 10-15, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Debriefing and reentry help for returning missionaries.
July 20-27, New Wilmington Mission Conference (Western Pennsylvania, USA). Annual, week-long multi-generational mission conference; a tradition for more than 100 years.
July 23-25, Crisis Management Seminar (Auburn, AL, USA). Provided by Crisis Consulting International. Followed by one-day Security Orientation Workshop, July 26.
July 23 to August 3, Engaging Islam Institute (Boulder, CO, USA). Training program from Horizons International.
August 4-11, ReBoot Re-entry Program (Calgary, AB, Canada). For returning missionary kids, ages 17-20, transitioning to life in Canada.
August 5-10, Check-IT-Out Summer Conference (Charlotte, NC, USA). For IT and software professionals and students on using technology in missions, particularly Bible translation.
August 6-7, Support Raising Bootcamp (Plano, TX, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.
August 13-17, Cubs to Lions (Edmonton, AB, Canada). Discipleship for Christians with a Muslim background.
August 23-24, Support Raising Bootcamp (Edinburg, TX, USA). In Spanish.
» View the complete calendar. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. For more details, contact the event organizers.
- EUROPE: Assessment of Religious Conversions as Genuine or Asylum-motivated Dismissed as Naïve
- ISRAEL: From Tears of Grief to Tears of Joy
- ERITREA: Pastor Released From Prison After 11 Years
- ALGERIA: Woman’s Healing Brings Village to Christ
In northeast England, Rev. Mark Miller has had up to 100 Persian asylum-seekers in his congregation. See related story below. Photo: Jim Wright.
Source: World Watch Monitor, June 8, 2018
Attempts by Western politicians and media to judge whether Iranian migrants and asylum-seekers who ask to be baptized are either genuine or are doing so to boost their chances of being granted asylum are “naïve,” according to an academic who has carried out extensive research among Iranians who profess to have become Christians.
Dr. Sara Afshari, who has been helping the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark to devise a strategy for integrating Farsi-speaking migrants and refugees from Iran, Afghanistan, and Kurdistan into society and the Church, told World Watch Monitor: “I don’t like this naïve understanding of conversion by the politicians or the media saying they become Christian because their case will be strengthened. That might be one of the reasons for some—not for all.”
Her comments come as European governments look for ways to assess whether claims of conversions made by Iranians seeking asylum in their country are genuine. There are thought to be thousands of Iranians who have requested baptism in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands.
» Full story explores the range of meanings conversion may have in a Middle Eastern context and also looks at of the role of dreams.
» Whether you’re a dream skeptic or a dream enthusiast, you may find food for thought in When Muslims Dream of Jesus (The Gospel Coalition).
Source: Jews for Jesus, June 13, 2018
Gena Gelman reports, “As part of our outreach, we visited elderly Jewish Israelis, including a 94-year-old woman named Jael. ‘May I speak with you for a few minutes?’ I asked her. Jael was as grateful for the company as she was for the food I’d just shared with her. She was wrestling with some physical ailments, so I asked if she could hear and understand me well enough. With some difficulty, she nodded yes. Then she pointed to her left leg, her left hand and her tongue. ‘A stroke?’ I asked. She nodded again. Despite her limitations, we were able to communicate through brief words and simple gestures.
“After a few minutes, I began to tell Jael about God’s love, our sin and the forgiveness and reconciliation that He has made possible through the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Yeshua. Then I asked her a question: ‘Tell me, Jael, would you say you’re guilty of sin?’ Jael made a sign with her hand as if to say, ‘Well, maybe yes, maybe no.’ ‘Let me read you something,’ I offered.
“I opened to the Ten Commandments and started to read as I’d often done with people who either do not think they are sinners or are unsure. As soon as I came to the commandment, ‘Do not kill,’ Jael stiffened. I ventured a guess and gently said, ‘Many women have had abortions.’ Suddenly, tears filled her eyes. Through her gestures, I understood that long ago she’d ended three pregnancies. I did not judge or speak to her of the details. It was clear that she was filled with remorse all on her own.
Source: Mission Network News, June 15, 2018
Pastor Oqbamichel Haiminot was wrongfully imprisoned in Eritrea for over a decade. Christians around the world prayed fervently for Pastor Oqbamichel’s release, but it seemed the Eritrean government would not budge.
Today, however, we rejoice to hear that Pastor Oqbamichel has been finally freed from prison, according to The Voice of the Martyrs Australia. He is currently in need of medical care.
Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “Many pastors [in Eritrea] have been arrested. Many Christians have been arrested. Typically, however, they’re not held as long as Pastor Oqbamichel was… We don’t know exactly why he was released at this time. Why not a year ago? Why not a year from now? We don’t know what the logic behind that is—or if there is any logic behind it.”
“Eritrea is a country that has gone through a real crackdown against the Church since 2002. The government actually closed all of the Evangelical churches in Eritrea. [They] basically called in the church leaders and said, ‘Your churches can’t meet anymore.’ Every Christian activity after that became illegal.”
» Read full story and from the same source, an encouraging report that Jeff Woodke, a US missionary kidnapped in Niger in 2016, is still alive.
Source: Partners International, June 9, 2018
A member of our community had been very sick for quite some time. Her husband had taken her to many doctors and specialists and had even tried witchcraft and sorcery, but she remained unchanged. Some Christians advised her to go to the local church for prayer. They took the advice and when they were there the elders laid hands on her and prayed for her healing. Not much happened on the spot, but gradually her health improved and she became totally healed and restored. Praise the Lord Jesus for healing her!
Her husband started to attend our church services. After each service, he would ask for copies of the Gospels and New Testaments to take back to his village. Nobody knew what he was doing with them. In January of this year, his whole family came to the church with him and asked to be baptized. There were fourteen of them!
In March of this year, the pastor came to see Youssef, our ministry leader, so that he could share more about what had been happening. Now they estimate that nearly everyone in this man’s small village has come to faith! That church has seen an incredible growth and are now planning now to start four new churches, all because of the actions of this one man. Praise God!
The senior pastor of the largest church in Algeria—nearly 1000 members—told us that in the last two years they had baptized nearly 370 more new believers. Many other churches are experiencing growth in their fellowships. Training, discipleship, and empowering of the church in Algeria has become an urgent need.
Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s summertime. I’m typing this after 8pm, and it’s still light enough to read. I don’t know about you, but for many of us, summer brings a shift in the basic schedule as well as in the heart: It’s an opportunity to try something new, go somewhere cool, kick back for a few minutes, and think about stuff.
Summer offers us some special ministry opportunities. Here’s a quick list of summer mobilization “to do’s” with a few “to don’ts” thrown in for fun.Do: Watch some World Cup matches.
If you’re reading Practical Mob when it launches, the FIFA World Cup starts tomorrow. If you’re getting to it later, the tournament is already underway. If you’re game, shoot me a note and tell me why I should root for someone other than Egypt and Senegal!
Bonus points: Watch a match with representatives of one of the six Muslim nations who are competing. Boss level: Show up with halal snacks.
Don’t: Go on endlessly with your friends about how you watch the World Cup and like football, what the whole rest of the world calls it, not soccer.Do: Keep praying.
Summer doesn’t mean the need for prayer takes a pause. If you haven’t yet, set a daily alarm for 10:02am. When it goes off, wake up and pray like Jesus said to in Luke 10:2… Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into his harvest.
Don’t: Forget to also pray for the laborers you know. Sometimes they feel like lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3).Do: Enjoy time with your family.
Eat a good meal and watch a sunset. If you’re an overachiever, make it a sunrise. This kind of advice is straight up from Ecclesiastes, so you’ve got solid biblical backing.
Don’t: Forget that much work remains and needs to happen during the summer, like promotion for that upcoming Perspectives class. If someone’s going to take a class that starts in August, they may need a kind person like you to invite them in July. If your church has a fall missions conference, book the speaker now before someone else snatches her up.Do: Discuss issues of global importance.
You may find that as you hang out with your friends and family around the campfire, something happens after the sun and some beers have gone down: People open up and talk about real stuff. Look for the conversational openings. This might be a great chance to dream and speak deeply of the purposes of God and his plan for your lives and maybe even the nations. Unless you’re Baptist, in which case you might skip the beers.
Don’t: Try to do this during a game of Watch Ya’ Mouth or, if you live in the Midwest, anywhere near a Euchre tournament (where table talk is discouraged). Also, don’t pout because I teased you in the last paragraph if you’re a Baptist. I know you all are taking some hits lately, but you’re still leading the way at many of the global frontiers of the gospel. I’d be honored to drink sweet tea around a campfire with you.Do: Learn some language.
Of course it’s better to learn from native speakers. But it’s less embarrassing to learn from an app. Drops is my current favorite. I’m getting a few minutes of Italian each day. Ever so slowly it’s adding up. I challenge you to beat my best streak, 29 days.
Don’t: Be obnoxious with your little bit of language, por favor (or as I might put it, per favore).Do: Venture into another culture.
Check out a local cultural festival or visit a mosque. Again, if you’re reading this soon after publication, you might be able to join in some end-of-Ramadan festivities. The fast wraps up on June 14th.
Don’t: Just do this on your own. You have friends who want summer fun. Take them along.Do: Take a newcomer on a field trip.
Take some international students or newly arrived refugees out into the wild. Depending on where the newcomers have come from, you might have the honor of taking them on their first canoe trip or giving them their first opportunity to venture into nature or a major league ball park.Do: Look for some local speaking opportunities.
If this is in your wheelhouse, now may be your chance. Pastors go to the lake sometimes. Offer to fill in and then knock it out of the park. If kids are more your gig, be a Sunday school sub or pitch in for VBS.Do: Stretch your mind as well as your body.
Read some things that are fun, helpful, and maybe a bit outside your standard fare. You could take a thoughtful stroll through the challenging and profound pages of Ecclesiastes. I’d love to have you check out my weekly email, Muslim Connect, which helps us make sense of the Muslim world. I’d also like you invite you to join me in reading John Eldredge’s recent book, All Things New.
If summer allows you to dip into fiction, let me recommend the profound and gut-wrenching journey of All the Light We Cannot See.Do: Take some time to listen.
Listen to someone who came back from a summer mission trip. Maybe they didn’t go where you would have gone or do what seems to be the most valuable work, but they may have had a profound or challenging experience. Hug them, ask good questions, and nudge them to consider how this summer fits in to all the summers ahead that God will give them.Finally, one more don’t:
Don’t forget that God loves and delights in you. I’m so grateful we get to share in this calling, this adventure of joining with Jesus in seeing his abundant life extended to all peoples.
Have a great summer (or winter, for our South African, Aussie, Kiwi, and other Southern hemisphere colleagues).
- WORLD: Meet Real People Caught Up in the Refugee Crisis
- MYANMAR: Trapped Christians Reach Safety in Dramatic Escape
- USA: A Look at Refugee Foster Care
- ASIA: First Believer in the Valley
- INDIA: Pastor Beaten and Left for Dead Survives to Keep on Serving
World Refugee Day is coming up this month (June 20). This edition of Missions Catalyst includes stories about people on the move, including refugees, internally displaced people, and even nomads starting to settle down.
Where will tomorrow’s refugees and immigrants come from? The Fragile States Index provides some clues. Wow, tons of data! Jordan is in the news this week, so I thought I’d see where it lands with some of the indicators. Use the site to look up countries that interest you. (Thanks to Brigada for the tip.)
Flowing Data has some maps of what the US would look like if Americans returned to the lands of their ancestors. Every dot represents one person.
Finally, even as we pray for those in messy and challenging situations, we can celebrate good things that are happening throughout our broken world. Consider the story of the young man in France whose daring deed was rewarded with the gratitude of his host nation (Muslim Connect).
Source: International Mission Board, May 21, 2018
Every day thirty-four thousand people flee their homes to escape famine, poverty, and war. Every day thousands of families become refugees. But those are just numbers. And numbers don’t move us. Real stories of real people do. That’s why Human Flow, an epic documentary by the provocative Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei, is so powerful and so important.
The scale and devastation of the global refugee crisis is expansive, but Weiwei is an able guide, taking viewers around the world and introducing us to real people—real image-bearers of God—along the way. He doesn’t focus on the causes of the crisis; rather, he offers a compelling and compassionate window into a world of deep suffering.
“Being a refugee is much more than a political status. It is the most perverse kind of cruelty that can be exercised against a human being.”
The film takes viewers through twenty-three countries, asking us to witness the suffering that forces people to flee their homelands.
» While a record number of the earth’s inhabitants are on the move, many former nomads are settling down to give their children a better life. Read about or watch a documentary on The Last Nomads of Morocco (Al Jazeera).