Missions Catalyst

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Resource Reviews

In This Issue: Assessing readiness and raising up new workers

  1. VIDEO: Am I Ready to Serve in Missions?
  2. INFOGRAPHIC: Mobilizing New Harvesters
  3. LESSON: Happy Birthday, Jesus!
  4. BOOKS: Charitable Giving Guides
  5. EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences and Training

Dear Readers,

A couple of cool resources have come our way this month. Looking for something to keep you praying for those you’ve sent to the ends of the earth? See How to Pray for Missionaries A–Z from the International Mission Board. Adapt the list for your own purposes, or just print the PDF of 26 simple prompts as is and put it somewhere you will see it often. You could even use it to help you teach your family or missionary team to pray for missionaries.

You may be one of those sent-out ones, yourself. Check out The Missionary’s Thanksgiving Prayer from Marv Newell at Missio Nexus. Some of the items may not apply to you, but perhaps more of them do than you have brought to mind recently. We all have much to be grateful for!

In times of trouble it may be hard to know how to pray. “Help!” may be a good place to start. As pastor and social media chaplain Jon Swanson points out, our Heavenly Father listens not only when we talk to him but also when we talk about how we should talk to him. Author Jack Hayford once wrote, “We worry about knowing exactly what to pray in some cases because we think we know what to pray in all others. We may, at times. But aren’t there many times that we have asked imperfectly? God was not befuddled. Our ignorance did not clog the wheels of the universe.”

Praying with you to the One who made the world,

PS: A warm welcome to nearly a hundred new subscribers from several Perspectives classes, Pioneers’ Church Partner Forum, and the Global Missions Health Conference. Thanks for signing up!

VIDEO: Am I Ready to Serve in Missions?

Source: SEND International

What can you tell those wondering if missions is for them—or who look in the mirror and wonder if they will ever measure up? A few quick words from Rob Magwood (“Mags”), Canadian Director of SEND International, provide a pithy and on-point perspective.

» Watch the video. See also other videos from Magwood on topics like excellence in short-term missions, using your career skills cross-culturally, and more. Mags also hosts the Global Missions Podcast for which he recently interviewed Ellen Livingood on mission strategy in the local church.

INFOGRAPHIC: Mobilizing New Harvesters

Source: GMI Missiographics, Center for Mission Mobilization

While most of the Church is aware of the Great Commission, mobilizing people for mission is still a great challenge. With the insecurity in the world, changing funding models (causing a drop in funding for many), and hurdles getting permissions to live in various countries, harvesters face great challenges. But in the midst of all of that, the global Church is seeing an amazing answer to prayer, with thousands of new missionaries being sent from everywhere to everywhere! Missiographics takes a closer look at the newer sending countries and calculates their “sending potential.”

» Learn more and download the infographic, the first in a series developed for the Center for Mission Mobilization. You might want to subscribe.

BOOKS: Charitable Giving Guides

Source: ECFA Press

Need help managing charitable donations? The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) provides oversight and accreditation for Christian non-profits and has published a series of short books which may help you understand and navigate the worlds of law and finance as they pertain to charitable giving (at least in the US). Two of their ebooks, coauthored by three ECFA leaders, are US$9.95 each:

» Learn more about these and other resources, including a series of free, downloadable pamphlets for churches, clergy, and charitable organizations in both Spanish and English.

EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences and Training

Source: Missions Events Calendar

December 1, Sending New Missionaries (Greenville, SC, USA). One-day workshop provided by Catalyst Services. Several more events like this one are planned for the new year in different cities.

December 2-3, Support Raising Bootcamp (Lombard, IL, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions. Offered regularly throughout the year in different locations.

December 2-4, Finishing the Task Conference 2015 (Lake Forest, CA, USA). Prioritizing the unreached and unengaged.

December 10, Understanding the Components to a Successful Mid-Career Assessment (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus, featuring Steve Hoke and Tom Wilkens of Church Resource Ministries.

December 27 to January 1, Urbana Student Missions Conference (St. Louis, MO, USA). Held every three years by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

December 28 to January 2, Mission-Net (Germany). European gathering of younger Christians passionate about serving God.

December 29 to January 2, Chinese Missions Convention (Houston, TX, USA). This annual five-day event exists for one purpose: to see people unleashed for God’s global glory.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item. We just posted 60+ items for 2016. Let us know if an event you care about is missing.

LESSON: Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Source: Weave Family

With Christmas just around the corner, you might be looking for something festive (but not too complicated) to do with the kiddos in your life or in your classroom.

Using a birthday party theme, this Christmas lesson shares Bible truths about why Jesus came to earth. Who sent the birthday invitations? Who were the first guests? Who gave the biggest gift? Who is still waiting to receive their invitation to the celebration? Two plans, 30 and 60 minutes, include a demonstration and Bible verse, plus optional snack and craft activities that encourage prayer for the unreached.

» Purchase lesson plan for US$5 from Weave Family (download only).

World News Briefs

Missions Catalyst News Briefs 11.18.15

  1. WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack
  2. ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders
  3. NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others
  4. KYRGYZSTAN: Couple Shares Gospel, Forced to Flee their Village
  5. MYANMAR: The Gospel Spreads Like Wildfire

Ms. Yamini Ravindran of the Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka speaks at Global Christian Forum meeting in Albania on standing together through discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom (see story below).

Credit: Global Christian Forum/Eero Antturi.


If you were a citizen of Heaven and your job was to be the bureau chief for the “Earthly Times,” what would be your choice for a headline story this week? Paris attacked? The historic gathering of Christian leaders reported below? The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church? Would it be a story of the gospel’s advance, or its decline? Would Heaven highlight bad news such as those so willing to “cast the first stone” in Afghanistan?

For Missions Catalyst I like to find the news that you might not find from major sources. It might look as if we ignore some big news, but if I can’t find a unique, kingdom take on it I may not put it in our line-up… not because it is unimportant, but because it has been well covered.

One thing is sure: Heaven is poised to invade Earth. Some people here call it Armageddon. Others speak simply of the end of the world, or focus more of the completion of the Great Commission. (You might be interested in mission strategist Steve Smith’s new novel, Hastening, offering his take on this.)

There’s no doubt that a heavenly invasion would be news both on Earth and in Heaven. Heaven surely has a better vantage point than Earth has; we get it wrong (a lot!) Check out the interactive Timeline of When the World Ended to see that religious folks are not the only ones making predictions. Be sure to peruse the “other” category. Interesting. Maybe it is weird to like this stuff, but I do, and it puts some things in perspective.

Watching and praying with you,

WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack

Source: INcontext Ministries, November 2015

The attacks in Paris [were] a message delivered to a global audience and packaged in the wrapping of terror.

The main message that the Islamic State (IS) conveyed with the acts of terror is that they are now pursuing the vision of expanding their borders beyond the edges of Iraq and Syria.

In a world where only pain that affects me directly counts, it becomes more and more critical that Christians will show solidarity with anybody who suffers, regardless of nation, race, or religion.

The declaration by French President François Hollande that “this is war” was not metaphorical nor was it symbolical. It came as a declaration that enough is enough and on Sunday night France launched massive air strikes on the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital in Syria.

Refugees will ultimately pay the price for the attacks: The prayer of every follower of Christ in these troubled times should therefore be that our hearts are not hardened by hatred and [suspicion].

Somali atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Foreign Policy [advocates] that Christians should redouble efforts to convert Muslims in order to reduce Islamist excesses. Changing the ideology at the heart of Islam is critical. Hirsi Ali intones that war alone will not do away with Islamist violence:

“We will not win by stamping out the Islamic State or Al Qaeda or Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab; a new radical group will just pop up somewhere else,” she said. “We will win only if we engage with the ideology of Islamist extremism, and counter the message of death, intolerance and the pursuit of the afterlife with our own far preferable message of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is an amazing confession by an atheist and should confirm what every Christian believes (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

» Read full story (a three-page PDF. We greatly condensed it!)

» Also read Three Problems in Islam and Two Consequences of Denial Revealed by Charlie Hebdo (Adopt-a-Terrorist-for-Prayer) and Nine Things You Should Know About Islamic State (The Gospel Coalition).

ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders

Source: World Evangelical Alliance, November 14, 2015

In response to increasing discrimination, persecution, and violence against Christian communities around the world, a historic consultation of Christian leaders has called on churches globally to pray, support and be in solidarity with those suffering persecution due to their faith. An initiative of the Global Christian Forum, the consultation that brought together 145 church leaders from 56 nations was supported by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican), the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and the World Council of Churches. Together, they represent more than two billion Christians.

The gathering, held in Tirana, Albania from November 2-4, was the first time in modern history that every stream of global Christianity had joined together to listen and learn from Christians who experience discrimination, persecution, and violence.

In its final message—another historic first for World Christianity—the consultation offered “repentance” for times when churches had “persecuted each other and other religious communities in history.” And it called on churches “to urgently strengthen the solidarity of all Christians” in the face of discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom in the 21st century.

It was co-hosted by the Albanian Evangelical Alliance in a country where communism sought to violently wipe out anything related to religion, destroying churches, mosques, and other places of worship. However, in the 1990s Albania returned to granting full religious freedom to all major and minor religions.

» Read full story.

NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others

Source: Christian Aid, November 5, 2015

Nepal has quietly enshrined a long-time ban on proselytizing in its new constitution. For an indigenous ministry in Nepal that has long found ways to quietly proclaim Christ as Lord, that means business as usual.

As did the interim constitution of the prior seven years, the new constitution signed by Nepal’s president on September 20 outlaws “any act to convert another person from one religion to another or any act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of another,” with violations punishable by prison and/or fines.

While the ban on proselytizing appears to contradict Nepal’s assertion of the right to profess and practice one’s faith, Christians were relieved that framers ultimately did away with a reported concession to Hindu groups to ban all religious conversions and rejected their demand to restore the Hindu monarchy.

The government instead approved a constitution defining the state as secular and thus neutral toward all religions. Nepal thus completed the transition it began in 2008 from the world’s only Hindu monarchy to a secular, multiparty, constitutional republic.

» Read full story.

» See also two stories about work in Nepal from Operation Mobilization: A New Testament in Every Household (which describes contemporary approaches to Bible distribution) and We Haven’t Eaten in Three Days (dealing with effects of the country’s current fuel shortage).

KYRGYZSTAN: Couple Shares Gospel, Forced to Flee their Village

Source: Open Doors, November 4, 2015

Pray for a situation which took place in a village in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim-dominated country in Central Asia.

Recently a group of Protestant believers from different parts of Kyrgyzstan visited a Christian family in their village. “Janysh and Laura” are the only Christian couple in the village [and] always share the gospel with their neighbors. The couple has an outreach ministry which includes showing the JESUS Film. Recently, they showed the film and presented the gospel to four families from their own village.

Three days after the gospel presentation, two intoxicated men started screaming in the middle of the night near [their] home. They shouted that Janysh and Laura were infidels who had disgraced Islam. They threw stones into the house. No one was injured.

The next day a group of 10 people came and asked Janysh to come out of the house. They told him that he had to confess he was following an “alien” religion. Otherwise, he would be forced to leave the village with his family.

The next day an imam (leader) of the local mosque came to talk with Janysh and Laura. He also tried to make them renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

With the situation escalating to possible severe violence, the couple decided to leave the village with their children. They hope to eventually return.

Please pray for the dangerous situation in the village to end so Janysh and Laura may return home. Thank the Lord for their boldness to present the gospel in their community.

» Read full story. For another picture of evangelism and backlash in the life of believers, read the story of Hem and Seema from India (Empart Australia).

MYANMAR: The Gospel Spreads Like Wildfire

Source: GodReports, August 4, 2015

The gospel is going forward in an unprecedented fashion—especially in the most restricted countries—driven by prayer, boldness, persecution, and the Holy Spirit, according to a recent report.

“What we are seeing around the world is really a gospel wildfire,” says Brother Jonathan, a Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) international ministries worker.

“We’re seeing the gospel go forward like never before in the history of the church,” he says. “There is nothing which says you have to live in Africa, China, or the Middle East to experience this,” he adds.

A strong commitment to prayer creates an atmosphere for the wildfire to burn. Brother Jonathan asked one indigenous leader in Burma about their strategy to send workers into unreached villages.

“The secret is Fridays.”

“What is it about Fridays?” Jonathan wanted to know.

“On Fridays we all come together and we fast and we pray—every Friday, all day.”

“What if you’re going into a hostile village?”

“If we think it’s going to be a really hostile area, we set aside seven days to fast and pray. When that’s over we go and let the chips fall where they may.”

Jonathan spoke to one 19-year-old worker in Burma starting in ministry who told him: “I’m going to move into a village where there are no churches and no Christians.” Then he planned to build a small lean-to in the forest to live in, work in the rice fields, and start sharing the gospel.

“I’m going to plant a church and appoint a leader and I’m going to move and do it again,” the young worker told him.

“How long do you think you’ll do this?” Jonathan asked.

“Until Jesus comes back.”

The fuel that Brother Jonathan sees in this gospel wildfire is a bold proclamation of the gospel.

» Read full story. It also describes the ministry efforts in Uttar Pradesh, India, which inspired Jonathan.

Practical Mobilization

Your Service Has Mattered:
Honoring the Faithful, Retiring Heroes of the International Mission Board

By Shane Bennett

The smoke and roar of the traffic were sufficient to beat back jet lag as our tuk tuk buzzed across Bangkok. My team leader and I, just a few days in the city, were on a quest to meet Bill Smith, destined-be-a-hall-of-fame missionary. After we found the right house, his wife Susan, also a hall-of-famer in the making, led us to Bill’s office. After cursory greetings and explanations, he sat on his roller chair in the middle of his file-cabinet kingdom and said, “Ask away.” For the next hour we pitched questions related to our church planting research. With each inquiry, Bill would kick off one cabinet, roll to another, and pull out a file with relevant documents.

We ran out of questions long before Bill ran out of information. But what he shared shaped the course of our team’s research for the next three months. The cashew chicken that Susan served following the interview remains the best I’ve ever had. And that was almost thirty years ago.

Bill and Susan were the first Southern Baptist missionaries I’d ever met. They set the bar pretty high. Over the intervening years I’ve become friends with dozens more around the planet. I tell classes and churches in the U.S., “I know almost nothing about Southern Baptists in America, but the ones you send overseas are amazing. In so many ways, they’re leading the rest of us.”

Changes at the IMB

I bring it up because you may have heard of the recent decision, at the same time both forward-thinking and gut-wrenching, made by the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, David Platt, to offer a voluntary retirement incentive to their missionaries over 50 years old in order to reduce their ranks by 600-800 staff. This is part of a multi-pronged effort to rectify an ongoing budget shortfall of multiple millions per year.

Platt writes, “For the sake of short-term financial responsibility and long-term organizational stability, we must put ourselves in a position in which we can operate within our budget, which necessarily means reducing the number of our personnel.”

“Words really can’t describe how much a sentence like that pains me to write. For ‘600’ and ‘800’ are not just figures on a page; they are people around the world. For many of you, they are your family, friends, and fellow church members. They are brothers and sisters whom I love, and brothers and sisters whom I want to serve and support. I not only want as many of them as possible to stay on the field; I want multitudes more to join them on the field. But in order to even have a conversation about how to mobilize more people in the future, IMB must get to a healthy financial place in the present.”

Let’s Raise a Glass

While this decision has been and will be discussed and debated ad nauseam, that is not my purpose here. Rather I want to raise a metaphorical glass to my sisters, brothers, colleagues, and heroes who have given long, good years to Kingdom service under the banner of the International Mission Board and now find themselves taking early, voluntary retirement.

My friends: There may not be a single reader of Missions Catalyst who has not been led, helped, or blessed by your collective labors, even if they do not know it. You have shown the way, not by simply pointing it out, but by sacrificially walking forward and calling us to follow in your steps. You have gone to the most challenging places and willingly raised your children there. You have embraced and implemented new ways of thinking and working. You have modeled the love of Jesus by deeply loving people who are deeply different from you.

We honor you. We are in your debt.

As you move into a new stage of life, I wish these things for you:

1. May you get the rest that you need.

I don’t know how this works out in reality, but I see you sitting on a porch on a winsome autumn afternoon, drinking coffee, enjoying a book you’ve long wanted to get to, sighing contentedly from time to time. May God help you know what you and your spouse need and how to get it. If it would help, you can come and stay for a few days for free in our garage apartment. We’ll feed you and give you some space.

2. May you have an accurate sense of your identity.

Your time has been well spent. Your value does not diminish even though your paycheck does. And you’re an ambassador of Christ regardless of who signs your check or even if you get paid for your ambassadorial service! You have mattered and you still do.

3. May you be able to maintain whatever ongoing connection to your work that you desire.

And by “work” I mean not only the job you did, but the people you’ve worked with, for, and among. Maybe it’s a relief to cut ties; I don’t know. But if you dread that, I pray God makes a way for bonds to remain.

4. May God appoint people to care for you in the way you need.

He appointed a fish to rescue Jonah, so there’s precedence! May he give you some people who know how to ask good questions then be quiet and let you answer. May he give you people who will help you re-adjust to American culture. (We’ve let some things slide while you were away!) May he bring people who will help you in all kinds of ways, particularly opening doors for the ministry God has ahead for you.

5. May hope and peace fill every molecule of your being.

Maybe you have financial concerns: I pray for abundant provision. Perhaps you’re concerned about relationships: I pray for friends and mentors, and for your marriage. If you’re concerned about what you’ll do with yourself, I ask God to fill you with a fiery, fresh sense of purpose.

Thank you for your work, your life, and your example. The world is better for your contribution. I am better. You have served your King well, and I look forward hopefully to serving shoulder to shoulder with you in future ventures.

Someday your race will be over, but today is not that day. May God grant you health, vitality, and opportunity commensurate with your skill and experience. May your long years of faithful service bear new fruit in the fresh soil of emerging work and workers. May you sense deeply the smile of Jesus as he puts his hands on your shoulders, looks deep in your eyes and says, “Well done my good and faithful servant… Now let’s take another lap!”


If you know an IMB worker, would you mind forwarding this to him or her? If you have connections to a Southern Baptist Church, please pass it along to them. Thank you.

If you would like to provide jobs, housing, vehicles, or other means of support to help returning missionaries, please email the Transition Team.

» Add your comments on our website or Facebook page.

World News Briefs

Missions Catalyst News Briefs 11.4.15

  1. WORLD: Global Appeal of Western Music
  2. ARAB WORLD: New Film for Arab Atheists
  3. CHINA: A Vision to Send 20,000 Chinese Missionaries
  4. NORTH AFRICA: Monsieur Mouton and MicroSD Cards
  5. WORLD: Responding to Syrian Refugees
  6. PAKISTAN: NGO Tackles Anti-Christian Prejudice

Who are these refugees, and why are they coming to Europe now? This issue includes a list of a dozen short videos, like this one from Samaritan’s Purse, about responding to the refugee crisis.


With so much of the news full of stories about lines being drawn to separate “us” from “them,” it’s refreshing to find stories where those lines are happily crossed. See Why Muslims Celebrate a Jewish Holiday (CNN, via COMMA) and A Woman Named Prayer, in which a Muslim woman shares the Christmas story (ActBeyond).

A great story about Muslim migrants meeting Christian Gypsies is only available to Wall Street Journal subscribers, unfortunately, but worth the read, and that story is all the more poignant if you read about the marginalization of the Roma in Hungary (Foreign Policy).

Did you know that the word Hebrew means “one who crosses over”? What man-made lines might you need to cross?


WORLD: Global Appeal of Western Music

Source: J.D. Payne, Missiologically Thinking, October 25, 2015

Music is one of the artifacts of Western civilization that continues to manifest itself in Majority World contexts. A conversation tonight with a South-Asian brother reminded me of this reality.

I have written about the internationalization of bluegrass music and [its] Kingdom potential. At that time, I drew attention to Canada, Europe, and Japan. Let’s now think for a moment about India and a few musical interests there. I read tonight about an Indo-Appalachian US fusion band, and the recent growth of electronic music and the burgeoning rock scene in India.

Pastors, if we are only encouraging our musicians to lead us on Sundays and write praise and worship music, then the Church is missing out on a great Kingdom opportunity. How about casting a vision of the gospel penetrating the local music scenes in countries home to many of the world’s unreached peoples? It is time for some musicians to step off the Sunday morning platform and step into the highways and hedges of India.

» Read full story.

» Also check out Singing Psalms Creates Christian-Muslim Bonds (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship).

ARAB WORLD: New Film for Arab Atheists

Source: AWM Breakthrough, November 2, 2015

A Muslim doesn’t choose lightly to become an atheist. To reject the Islamic faith for no faith is as significant as rejecting it for another religion. Doing it publicly brings the accusation of being an apostate and can result in ostracism, difficulty finding a job, imprisonment or even the death penalty. Doing it privately means living a double life.

With this in mind, please pray for us as we finish and publish a new video aimed at atheists in the Arab world. Last year, we worked with partners to produce a one-minute video for the same group, which you can watch with English subtitles. We received more than 120 personal messages, including this one from a young Tunisian woman:

“I’m like Samir [character in the video]; I don’t know the meaning of my life. I’m only 19 years old and I don’t have the desire to live. Could you please tell me, what is the true way to happiness? I don’t have friends and I feel lonely. Could you please help me?”

» Learn more about Arab World Media.

CHINA: A Vision to Send 20,000 Chinese Missionaries

Source: Lausanne Movement, October 26, 2015

The first Mission China 2030 Conference was convened in Hong Kong on September 28 to October 1 and attended by 900 participants from mainland China. The Mission China 2030 vision is for China to send out 20,000 missionaries by the year 2030. Two hundred missionary commitments were made as the first step toward fulfilling this vision.

The Mission China 2030 vision was catalyzed by two main gatherings, the Third Lausanne Congress (Cape Town, 2010) and the Asian Church Leaders Forum (Seoul, 2013). Two hundred Chinese Christian leaders were invited to the Third Lausanne Congress, but were unable to attend.

Plans were made to invite them to a separate gathering in 2013, the Asian Church Leaders Forum (ACLF). It was at the Asian Church Leaders Forum that Rev. Daniel Jin (Executive Director of Mission China Today magazine) urged the Chinese church to work and pray to see 20,000 missionaries sent out from China by 2030.

“Over the last 200 years, since the days of the earliest British pioneer Robert Morrison, some 20,000 missionaries have served in China.” There was, he said, “a gospel debt to pay off.”

» Read full story. Lausanne asks us to pray for  those who made these first 200 missionary commitments.

NORTH AFRICA: Monsieur Mouton and MicroSD Cards

Source: Scott A., Mobile Ministry Forum, October 30, 2015

I love farm animals. There are sheep, goats, horses, and cows in my area (North Africa), and quite a few of each in my neighborhood. I try to go jogging every day I can, and there are trees with big leaves along the way that the sheep and goats just love—these leaves are like candy to them. I’ll pull off a lot of big leaves and I know where all the sheep and goats live, and they anxiously await my arrival for their treats. I am known throughout our neighborhood to the locals as “Monsieur Mouton” (Mr. Sheep).

It is Tabaski season right now, when the locals celebrate Abraham’s supposed sacrifice of Ishmael. A ram without defect must be sacrificed during the holiday to purify and redeem the family. A partner organization here makes microSD audio cards with special messages for the local people that is appropriate for Tabaski but introduces them to Jesus. These little cards come with an adapter that allows them to be used in a radio and computer as well as a cell phone. I picked up a bunch of these from a missionary friend in three of the local languages here and handed them out to the guards, merchants, and others along my way.

There is a Malian carpenter with two rams tied up in the back that I visit regularly. I gave the Malian an SD card this past Thursday. When I stopped in Friday, he rushed up to me and said that he’d sat up until 1:00am listening to the messages. Later on that morning, he’d called all his friends in and they all listened to the gospel message over his radio! He then told me that he is anxious to take the radio to the village where he can share the message in the village.

» Read full story.

WORLD: Responding to Syrian Refugees

Source: various via Pat Noble

I was asked by leaders of my church to find a way for us to get involved helping the Syrian refugees. On my quest I found some resources you might find useful, too.

A Trickle of Syrian Refugees Settles Across the United States is an interactive article with maps and charts from the New York Times. A Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis in Europe  is a report from the International Association for Refugees. See also a dozen short videos compiled by a fellow member of the COMMA network:

  1. Little girl celebrating her birthday in Syria and then as a refugee (Save the Children, 1:33 minutes)
  2. Freezing and Fighting for Aid: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VICE News, 17:50 minutes)
  3. Syrian refugees: women fleeing domestic violence (Channel 4 News, 7:04 minutes)
  4. Refugee Crisis: The End of Innocence in Hungary, short documentary describing the refugee journey (Channel 4 News, 3:56 minutes)
  5. The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (Channel 4 News, 8:07 minutes)
  6. Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, about Syrian women and children living on the streets in Lebanon (MiraH, 6:11 minutes)
  7. Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: A Harsh Reality, promotional video for effort providing humanitarian aid to Syrian women and children (Caritas Lebanon, 7:16 minutes)
  8. Syrian Refugee Appeal Video for Churches, promotional video with prayer for the Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe (Viva Worldwide, 3:40 minutes)
  9. Hadath Baptist Church: Syrian Refugee Response, prayer video for Syrian refugees (Hadath Baptist Church in Lebanon, 3:55 minutes)
  10. Rescue For Refugees: A Christian Response, testimonies of Christians in the Middle East during the Syrian/Iraqi crisis (Samaritan’s Purse, 12:04 minutes)
  11. Escaping War: Refugees in Europe, highlighting humanitarian response (Samaritan’s Purse, 4:06 minutes)
  12. The Rising Tide: Europe Refugee Crisis, video showing the state of Syrian refugees taking boats to Greece (Samaritan’s Purse, 5:55 minutes)

» See also: Syrian Migrant Family in Limbo at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (BBC).

PAKISTAN: NGO Tackles Anti-Christian Prejudice

Source: World Watch Monitor, November 2, 2015

A program organized by Bargad, Pakistan’s biggest NGO for youth development, is attempting to tackle the social stigma Christians face from the word used in the Constitution for them.

The Urdu “Isai” (derived from the Arabic word for Jesus used in the Qur’an) now carries strong overtones—from colonial times—with the “unclean” demeaning occupations done by the lowest castes. [The word is also used for laborer and sweeper.] This use of language feeds the narrative which makes Christians feel like second-class citizens in today’s society.

On October 8 in Lahore, more than 500 Muslim students took an oath that they would not call Christians “Isai,” but would use the word “Masihi” (Messiah), which Pakistani Christians prefer as a positive identity for themselves.

The program is part of Bargad’s Green for White campaign. The green of the Pakistan flag represents the Muslim majority and the white, the non-Muslim minority. The campaign is thus to motivate Muslims to support religious minorities, who in recent years have become the target of religiously motivated discrimination, prejudice, stereotyping, and violence.

The students, from various parts of the country, also promised to carry this message to at least 100 other people.

» Full story with further background on this issue and pictures.