World News Briefs

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  1. NIGERIA: Interviews in an IDP Camp
  2. BANGLADESH: A Faith that Makes the List
  3. BUDDHIST WORLD: A Spiritual Movement
  4. PAKISTAN: “You Reconnected Us with the Lord”

Greetings,

I’m wrapping up my work on this batch of news briefs on June 20, which the UNHCR has declared World Refugee Day. Today the world has more than 60 million displaced people, a number we have not seen since World War II.

Many churches and Christian groups are taking time to focus on prayer, awareness, and responding to the crisis by observing World Refugee Sunday June 19 or June 26, but how about making it World Refugee Week?

You may need to first introduce your group to Refugee Realities: Common Myths and Assumptions, a six-minute video put out by the International Association for Refugees. For mature audiences, see a powerful four-minute video created for World Refugee Sunday by We Welcome Refugees or a Pulitzer-prize winning collection of moving photos about the refugee crisis.

Several of the stories below put a human face on the situation and may stir you to pray.

We also recommend When the Story Becomes a Person, by World Relief, and the related video, Syria: The Search for Refuge, as well as their article Six Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees Today.

Overwhelmed? I also offer you this inspirational six-minute video, The Man Who Broke the Mountain Alone. It came to me via Joel News and tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi worked for 22 years to carve a path through a mountain for his poor Indian village.

blessings,
Pat

NIGERIA: Interviews in an IDP Camp

Source: Jubilee Campaign, June 8, 2016

Jubilee Campaign Netherlands traveled to Nigeria and interviewed people staying in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps. They have been displaced from their homes due to violence from Boko Haram, the deadliest terrorist group in the world. Another militant group that has become quite active in Nigeria are the Fulani militants. This group also violently attacks villagers and drives them out of their homes, contributing to the large-scale IDP problem in Nigeria.

» Learn more and watch interview videos (two videos, 19 minutes total).

» You may have heard about two Nigerian Christian leaders abducted for ransom last week. One of them, Mike Adegbile, heads the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association. We’re happy to say both were freed.

BANGLADESH: A Faith that Makes the List

Source: Voice of the Martyrs, June 10, 2016

[Fani] put his hands in his right pants pocket and pulled out some crumpled pieces of paper. Under the room’s single light bulb, he handed them to me.

I unfolded the papers to discover copies of newspaper articles. Although I couldn’t read Bangla, I knew why he was excited. His story was print-worthy. The articles discussed a top-ten list created by the Islamic extremist group Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. The list ranked the most-wanted Christians in the region—those who were working among Muslims. Fani was number eight on the list for living a bold Christian life, sharing the gospel, and baptizing former Muslims.

“Oh my goodness, I saw this news on TV, but I didn’t know he was one of them,” our translator said after Fani explained what he had just handed me. Fani’s inclusion on the list didn’t bother him. He was actually thrilled to see his name in the paper.

“I am very happy because my name is on the list,” he said. “How many people can get their name on the list?”

I then asked him if he was worried since his name—and Christian faith—were now in print, for potentially thousands of Muslims to see.

“No, I have no worry,” he said. “I am not nervous. If God wants me to die in this way, why not? It is up to God. What can I do?”

» See full story with picture.

BUDDHIST WORLD: A Spiritual Movement

Source: Asian Access via Mission Network News, June 17, 2016

Knowledge and logic may help you win an argument, but it’s not always the most effective way to lead people to Christ. Oftentimes, just showing God’s love has the greatest impact.

That was the case with one Tibetan priest. Last year, we told you about a Buddhist Lama from Tibet who came to Christ and had a vision to plant churches throughout the valleys of the Himalayas.

Joe Handley, President of Asian Access, says one of the major reasons why this man became a Christian was because of the love believers had shown him in providing relief efforts when a natural disaster struck a nearby country a year ago.

Now, Handley has an encouraging update:

“This priest had such an influence in his community, in his nation, that 62 other Buddhist monks have now decided to follow Christ,” Handley says. “It is really remarkable.”

That’s not all. “Just within the last year alone, [church leaders] are estimating that more than 200,000 people have come to Christ as a result of the labors of the Christian community there.”

» Read full story.

PAKISTAN: “You Reconnected Us with the Lord”

Source: Operation Mobilization, June 15, 2016

Sindh is Pakistan’s largest province and includes a diverse mixture of languages and faith traditions with the majority being Muslim, a small percentage Hindu, and a minority Christian. OM trained and sent out believers to proclaim the life-changing message of Jesus to [twelve Sindhi people groups] living in ten different cities across the province.

One team visited a remote village because the team’s host heard there were believers living in the area. After going from house to house, team members reached a small mud house, where an elderly man, Najeeb, invited them in.

“Our whole family came to Christ ten years ago,” Najeeb told them. “We were rejected and faced discrimination from society for this. We remained steadfast in our faith, but the pastor stopped visiting us after two years because of fear. Now for the last eight years we were out of Christian fellowship and we thought no one would come to us.”

Team members encouraged Najeeb and his whole family, worshiped together, and gave them Christian literature in their local language. The team’s host then committed to visit Najeeb regularly.

“We thank you and praise God for this arrangement,” Najeeb expressed. “You reconnected us with the Lord!”

» Read full story.

» See also an OM story from nearby Bangladesh on Crossing the Distance Online as well as a recent report on The Nomads of Our World.

Practical Mobilization

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Greetings!

We know you’re busy, maybe traveling this summer, or maybe getting some good catch-up time with the kids. We are, too. But we don’t want to stop getting helpful stuff in your hands.

For the June, July, and August editions of Practical Mobilization, Shane’s going to share three quick ideas you’ll want to think about and then pass along to your friends and family. So here’s a quick look at three issues (along with a hearty hope that God works in and through you this summer season!)

Blessings,
Marti

P.S.: If you missed it, be sure to check out last month’s Practical Mobilization, Warm Weather Welcome: Seven Ways You Can Make this Summer Soar for New Americans.

Triple Shot Summer Series: Three Quick Ideas You’ll Want to Talk About

Three more

By Shane Bennett

Gratitude for Luke 10:2 Answers

Can I tell you something really fun? I’m in Italy this week and ate dinner this evening in Catania, Sicily, one of my favorite cities on the planet. My dining companions were eight intrepid believers from all over the US, laborers for the harvest who have agreed to be our first “official” group, the real guinea pigs, for the Care for Catania vision.

I’ve asked you before to set a daily alarm on your phone at 10:02am to pray as Jesus told us in Luke 10:2, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.” That alarm went off this morning as I made my way to the airport to pick up my friends flying in. I had a moment of deep, profound gratitude: God has answered the prayer so many have prayed over the past years. Laborers have been sent to my town! And this prayer is not just being answered in my tiny corner of the world, nor with this group alone: God is sending ambassadors from all over to all over. But I sure am thankful for these guys. Will you join me in gratitude for the many ways God is answering this prayer?

Grieving For Orlando

While the young Italian hostess checked us into our AirBNB flat this afternoon, she asked what had brought us to Italy. I told her we wanted to learn about the migrant situation there and perhaps help people a bit. Even as I said that, it was hard to set aside the thought that it’s crazy for me as an American, a resident of a country that had so recently experienced the nightmare in Orlando, to think I could help other people in another country. On one level it feels absurd.

But what was true a week ago is true today: People who love Jesus need to try to follow him; not just believe what he said, but do it as well. One writer framed a Jesus-honoring, faith-over-fear response like this:

“First, look for practical ways to help. Many donated blood yesterday, but more will be needed in coming days, especially rarer blood types. CNN lists several organizations that have set up sites for financial donations to help cover the funeral and medical costs of the victims. Let us be ‘doers of the word, and not hearers only’ (James 1:22).

“Second, stand in solidarity with those who are suffering. Baptist ethicist Russell Moore was right when he tweeted: ‘Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.’ As Ted Cruz noted, ‘nobody has a right to murder someone who doesn’t share their faith or sexual orientation.’ If we claim to love God, we must love those he loves (1 John 4:20). And he loves us all (John 3:16).

“Third, turn your fears into faith. Be careful and vigilant, but live with bold passion and triumphant trust. Every time fear attacks, name it. Describe it specifically to God. Ask his Spirit to give you courage. And you will discover that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

“In coming days, as we learn the stories of lives ended and families shattered, we will be tempted by despair. As we face the threat of further terrorism, we will be tempted by dread. But as believers, we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Because no matter how bad things get, our Father is Lord. And he is love (1 John 4:8).”

Fundraising Feast

At dinner tonight, my friend Jenny shared this fundraising gem: “I figured if George Clooney could ask friends to pony up $300K for dinner with Hillary Clinton, I could ask $40 for a great dinner and a chance to hear me talk about God’s work among refugees.”

Turns out she was right. The dinner she cooked was hosted by a current supporter who invited several friends, each of whom paid $40 to attend. Between the three courses Jenny told about her upcoming work. Over dessert she invited the guests to contribute further to her efforts. That dinner has netted Jenny over $800 so far and also initiated relationships with several new people. Of course it also blessed the diners with fresh, helpful information and full, happy tummies. Contact me for more details or the info flyer Jenny used to describe the strategy and recruit hosts.

I hope you have a great summer. Look forward to more quick, talk-worthy ideas and a report on God’s growing kingdom among refugees in Sicily.

» Please feel free to comment and share your ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our website.

World News Briefs

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  1. CHINA: 31 Days of Prayer for the Silk Road Peoples
  2. CHAD: Mobile Ministry Spreads Gospel Media
  3. WALES: A House of Prayer for All Nations
  4. UNDISCLOSED COUNTRY: God Raised an Island from the Sea

Greetings!

Ramadan is upon us and with it the month-long season when many of us pray for the Muslim world. Many other notable days are packed into this month, too. In the US, Father’s Day is June 19. World Refugee Day, June 20, is observed by many on World Refugee Sunday, June 26. Numerous ministries reaching out to Muslims are inviting us to pray for those they serve, including OMF which asks that we pray this month specifically for China’s Silk Road peoples (see story below).

Last Sunday at my church we sang the beautiful Chris Tomlin song, Good, Good Father, and I couldn’t help but think how this description of God does not resonate with many, especially Muslims. My heart longed for them to know him as their “good, good Father.”

What will it take for Muslims to change their view of God? In a word… prayer! That is why I am so excited about Frontiers’ Searching for a Father initiative. It coincides with Ramadan but the daily readings follow one refugee family’s story.

Here are some good articles on the topic of God as Father: Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), Islam Has No Father (Answering Islam), and, of course, the Bible’s Parable of the Loving Father.

Every day is our Father’s Day!
Pat

CHINA: 31 Days of Prayer for the Silk Road Peoples

Source: OMF International, May 2016

In the Islamic calendar, the special month of Ramadan can remind us to pray with urgency for Muslim peoples across China and other regions of East Asia. For many Muslims, this month is very important, both as a time to renew their commitment and anticipate the main holiday period of the year. Ask God to stir you to pray for the Silk Road people in China during the month of June and early July. Join with others praying for millions of Hui, Uyghurs, and Kazaks to experience Christ’s love.

To join with others in united prayer for the Silk Road people during June and early July:

  • Text PRAYSILKROAD to 24587 to receive short daily text messages (a series of prayer points distributed from June 6 to July 6).
  • Download the Silk Road 5x5x5 Prayer Guide (PDF) and invite your friends to pray with you at your church or in your small group.
  • Pray right now for Hui, Uyghurs, and Kazaks.
  • E-mail prayer@omf.org for more information. Get acquainted with and consider adopting workers who need your partnership.
  • Discover more at Pray for China’s Silk Road People.

More than 23 million people [are from these] ten ethnic groups, each person an exquisite detail in a living tapestry of cultures. We long to see China’s Silk Road people blessed by the abundant love of God.

» Full story here.

» Also read China’s Massive, Garish Theme Park for the Muslim World and China’s New Silk Road into Europe Is About More Than Money (Foreign Policy), and check out this infograph on China (INContext Ministries).

CHAD: Mobile Ministry Spreads Gospel Media

Source: Mobile Ministry Forum, May 19, 2016

Brother Tamdaji received microSD cards loaded with the French JESUS Film and began training people who would help spread the media. First, he trained 14 people at the local cell phone company how to put the media on other people’s phones.

Next, Brother Tamadji gave Jerry a crash course on how to spread gospel media on phones with microSD cards. Jerry took a microSD card to school and decided to be a witness for Christ and test this method out as people were waiting in a line.

He chose to share the segment of the JESUS Film where Jesus and his disciples are on the lake during a terrible storm. As they waited in line, Jerry showed this video to ten students. They loved the video! Right there in line, three people gave their lives to Jesus.

Jerry feels that mobile ministry is simple, very efficient, and is a strategy that works for today’s youth.

» Read full story and learn more about media ministry serving refugees (YouTube video of webinar).
» What do you make of this? European Churches Say Growing Flock of Muslim Refugees Are Converting (The Guardian).