Missions Catalyst News Feature

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Move of God in the Middle East

Dear readers,

As our recent edition of news stories with happy endings was quite well received, we thought we would also pass on this encouraging feature just out from God Reports.

This special edition also includes an infographic from GMI calling us to prayer for the Middle East. Very timely in light of the upcoming International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church to be observed November 2 and 9. If you’re interested, check out a November 1 and 2 live webcast from Open Doors featuring special guests David Platt and Nik Ripkin and a November 2 radio broadcast from Mission Network News featuring Voice of the Martyr’s Todd Nettleton.

Thanks for reading and for praying. May God be glorified in the Middle East… and, indeed, among all the nations!

Marti Wade
Managing Editor

The Extraordinary Move of God in the Middle East

By Mark Ellis, God Reports, October 28, 2014

The nightly news may present disturbing images and a bleak outlook for the Middle East. Yet behind the horror of war, God is touching hearts in powerful ways, unleashing his Spirit among refugees, their families, and into surrounding communities and nations.

“There is something happening right now that is unprecedented,” says Brother Thomas (pseudonym), a Middle East coordinator for All Nations. “The spiritual openness is incredible.”

On a recent trip into a refugee camp he met with a Muslim family inside their tent. The father—the patriarch of the family—started to tell him about his son Yusuf, who sat next to him. (Yusuf is the Arabic equivalent of the biblical name Joseph)

“Do you know about the prophet Joseph?” Thomas inquired.

“Yes, he’s one of my favorites; he’s the dreamer,” the man replied.

“Have you had any dreams of significance?” Thomas asked the son.

“No, but my mother has…”

His mother excitedly broke in: “Ever since he was a child I’ve had dreams of a man in glowing white hugging my son. In the last dream he was crying, and his tears were coming down his beard and on to my son’s head.

“I have such a warmth for this prophet,” she continued. “I know he is a prophet.”

“I know who that person is in your dream,” Thomas said with assurance.

The woman’s eyes widened with intense interest. “Who is it?”

“It is Jesus.”

Then Brother Thomas told them the story of Jesus’ love for children, when He said, “Let the little children come to me.”

The woman began to cry. “It was so moving for her to hear someone loves her family so much he would give her dreams demonstrating his love.”

As he toured the ramshackle refugee camp with structures composed of cardboard, wood slats, and plastic tarps, he found many who had similar encounters with God. “Almost every family we visited had some kind of experience, either through dreams or someone had given them a New Testament in the medical clinic or prayed for them,” he noted.

Brother Thomas observed a feeling of desperation that pervaded the camps. “There was a lot of fear and uncertainty about the future,” he discovered. “Every family has lost people through warfare or has a story of pain. Because the war is Muslim against Muslim they have a feeling there has to be something better. They are looking for answers.”

“Over and over we saw people who have questions, who want to know more about Jesus.”

Brother Thomas knows other Christian workers equally amazed. “I have friends who have been here 17-20 years and it’s mind boggling for them,” he says. “Previously they shared with someone for seven or eight years before they came to know Jesus. Now it happens in two or three months and they bring others with them.”

While this move of God seems to have originated in the refugee camps, it is not contained there. “It’s happening everywhere, but mostly around the refugees,” Thomas notes. “There is something happening in the spiritual atmosphere because these refugees are so open and so hungry.

“As they respond, the neighboring countries are responding in the same way. Something is being stirred up. People are coming into the kingdom practically without us—we get to be the midwives.”

Brother Thomas is struck by the contrast between the grim news portrayed on television and the reality of God’s work behind the scenes. “When I watch the news, it seems like things are getting worse,” he observes. “But when I talk to my friends in the area I see the Kingdom is coming—people are coming to the Lord. Whole families are coming to Christ, communities are changing, I can see the Kingdom expanding.”

» Full story with pictures.

Middle East Call to Prayer

Middle East Missiographic 2Source: GMI Missiographics, October 28, 2014

How did the area of the world known as the birthplace of civilization and later Christianity become a place so hostile to the followers of Jesus? Explore some of the history of Christianity in the Middle East, the current decline in Christian population and the glimmers of hope that are visible if you know where to look.

» View or download infographic and commentary.

Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Stories of hope, spiritual equipping, and more


See how a devastating tsunami changed the work of Bible translation in this new documentary from Wycliffe Bible Translators.

BOOK: The Finish Line, Stories of Hope through Bible Translation

Source: Wycliffe Bible Translators

The Finish Line: Stories of Hope through Bible Translation, by Bob Creson (with Carol Schatz). Wycliffe Bible Translators, 2014. 148 pages.

Until the year 2000, the number of languages researchers believed would need their own translation of the Bible was growing. It topped out at around 3,000, and then, for the first time, began to drop. Today, due to new technologies, strategic alliances, and the sacrificial service of translators worldwide, the number keeps dropping. “We are participating in the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation ever witnessed by the Church,” says Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. “In light of the current pace, we know that the last translator—the translator for the last language needing Bible translation—is alive somewhere in the world today!”

The Finish Line is a book about the task of Bible translation and includes stories from the experiences of Creson and his family as well as many others. It’s an inspiring and easy read and of course includes suggestions for how we can be part of this work. At points this feels a bit like a Wycliffe infomercial, though a winsome one, but the ministry’s commitment to celebrating partnership with other organizations lessens that effect.

» Purchase the Kindle edition, currently priced at US$.99; US$10 for the paperback. Watch an author interview (CBN).

» You might also be interested in Arop, a recently released 30-minute video from Wycliffe. It beautifully tells the story of what God did through a translation effort in Papua New Guinea and can be watched online or downloaded for use with groups.

VIDEOS: Pray for Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and More

Source: Prayercast

Prayercast, producers of high-quality, free videos that encourage prayer for the nations of the world, are now working on materials to inform and inspire prayer for the followers of various world religions. As with the “nations” videos, each one is narrated by the prayers of someone from the same background as those for whom they are praying.

Be sure to check out some great related materials, including succinct summaries of each religious group’s background, beliefs, what God is doing among them today, and how we can pray, as well as audio files in which the narrators tell their own stories of coming to know Jesus Christ. These and the videos could be good resources to use with groups and classes.

So far, there are pages about Atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, and Occultism, and more are to come. I found the material about praying for atheists particularly insightful.

» Watch videos and learn more. Note that the world religions map is interactive: scroll over the name of a religion to see where followers are concentrated. See also a new video about praying for the Ebola crisis.

CURRICULUM: Helping without Hurting in Short-term Missions

Source: Moody Publishers

Helping without Hurting in Short-term Missions, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, with Katie Casselberry. Moody Publishers, 2014. 128 pages. Leader’s guide sold separately.

Are you a fan of Corbett and Fikkert’s When Helping Hurts? This new curriculum for training and debriefing mission teams applies to short-term missions the key ideas of the widely read book. It includes teaching and examples with questions and journaling assignments, all designed to prepare short-termers for service that doesn’t hurt the poor they are trying to serve. Six of the eight lessons are built around free, online video content.

» Learn more or purchase from Moody for US$12.99 (slightly cheaper on Amazon). See also the Leader’s Guide.

» Also see another new curriculum for training short-term mission teams, Mission Launch Team Training.

CHILDREN’S BOOK: Hudson on a Mission

Source: Center for Mission Mobilization

Hudson on a Mission, by Jim Jobe. Center for Mission Mobilization, 2013. 32 pages (full-color, staple-bound paperback).

Are you in ministry and looking for a gift for donors who support your work? Check out the kids’ book, Hudson on a Mission. It tells the story of Hudson, a young raccoon, and his family, as they move into a remote village of turtles to bring them the Good News of Jesus. The book illustrates cross-cultural ministry, church planting, and multiplication (particularly in a tribal context) in a way that kids can grasp. This would be a good resource for families, donors working with children, and supporting churches. Jobe wrote it to help his young son prepare for their family’s relocation to Asia Pacific with New Tribes Mission.

Center for Mission Mobilization is selling the books at $US4 a copy if you buy ten or more. The normal price is US$6.95.

» Preview the book, learn more, or purchase from Center for Mission Mobilization (coupon code: HudsonChristmas). Thanks to Karen from Weave family ministry for telling us about it. Find lots of other great mission resources for kids and families at WeaveFamily.org.

BOOK: Spiritual Equipping for Mission

Source: InterVarsity Press

Spiritual Equipping for Mission: Thriving as God’s Message Bearers, by Ryan Shaw. InterVarsity Press, 2014. 208 pages.

Spiritual formation and discipleship are at the core of effective and fruitful mission, says Shaw, president of Student Volunteer Movement 2. Our methods and strategies for reaching others are useless if we are unable to live the holy, faithful lives God intends for us.

In this book the author describes—from scripture, research, and his own experiences—ten spiritual keys essential to the life of cross-cultural workers (whom he calls “message bearers”). The book has a strong emphasis on hearing from God and discerning his guidance. It also explores disciplines like Bible study, prayer and fasting, humility, perseverance, and focus.

» Learn more or purchase the paperback for US$12 from InterVarsity; available for less from online retailers and in electronic editions.

» Another book written to address a common blind spot for global workers is coming out soon, and has steep discounts for advance purchases. See Werner Mischke’s The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in our Multicultural World and the recent review in Brigada Today.

EVENTS: November Calendar

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

November 2 or 9, International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (global).

November 6-8, Oasis Conference (San Diego, CA, USA). Annual event from Crescent Project.

November 6-8, Open Expo (Raleigh, NC, USA). Business as mission event for BAM/B4T practitioners.

November 6-8, Global Missions Health Conference (Louisville, KY, USA). An annual event.

November 6-8, Canadian Network of Ministry to Muslims Annual Conference (Richmond Hill, ON, Canada). Creating a welcoming community.

November 7-8, Southeast Michigan MissionNext Forum (Brighton, MI, USA). Find insights into options in missions suited to your skills and passions.

November 13-16, International Conference on Missions (Columbus, OH, USA). Conference of the Christian Church / Churches of Christ.

November 15, Bridges Seminar (Spokane, WA, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

November 16, Global Mission Sunday (international). Marking the 40th anniversary of the Lausanne Movement.

November 20, Extreme Poverty: What it is, and What To Do About It (online). Missio Nexus webinar.

November 26-30, TENTmaking Course (Terkicko, Czech Republic). Provided by Tent Norway and Global Opportunities.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item. We could use some help finding events planned for 2015!