Resource Reviews


In This Issue: When following Jesus doesn’t make sense

  1. FILM/EVENT: The Insanity of God
  2. DVD: Transformation of a Kentucky Mountain Town
  3. BOOK: Healing the Wounds of Trauma
  4. EVENT: Debriefing Retreat for Missionaries
  5. EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences, Courses, and More


Some months we have more books to review than you can possibly read (sorry… kind of!) This month, though, it’s films. One of the two documentaries mentioned in this edition is only in US theaters, and just for a one-night showing (so far), and the other one is only available for purchase on DVD, though you can watch an extended trailer online.

We also came across a few more videos you might be able to use, all of them new offerings from media ministries we’ve featured previously. They are online and include additional material you can use for group discussions. Take a look at these (and other films from these groups).

  • Lift Up Your Eyes, from Moving Works, is a short film that tells a story about church planting in Quebec; French with English subtitles.
  • The Ordinanance, from Deidox, is 32 minutes long and tells the story of some Texas churches and cities taking unprecedented action to protect those in need from the payday loan industry.
  • The Caribbean nation of Grenada and the young African country of South Sudan are the focus of two beautiful new short prayer videos from Prayercast.


FILM/EVENT: The Insanity of God

Insanity of GodThe film The Insanity of God, based on the book of the same name, is showing in theaters around the US in a special one-night event on Tuesday, August 30. Live in the US? Find a showing near you.

Source: LifeWay Films

The Insanity of God is the true story of missionaries Nik and Ruth Ripken [who served in the Horn of Africa and beyond]. After the death of their son, this ordinary couple journeys into the depths of the persecuted church, asking the question: Is Jesus worth it?

How does faith survive, let alone flourish in the places of the world that are overcome with the darkness of sin, despair, and hopelessness? Join the Ripkens as they tell the story of being taught by believers in persecution “how to follow Jesus, how to love Jesus, and how to walk with him day by day even when it doesn’t make sense.”

The film is based on the best-selling book The Insanity of God and is released in association with the [Southern Baptist] International Mission Board. The movie will be the first theatrical release from LifeWay Films when it opens in theaters across the United States on August 30 as a one-night event.

» Learn more or buy tickets. You might also want to check out the book and its sequel as well as a related six-session small group study. At this writing, the Kindle edition of The Insanity of God is just US$.99.

DVD: Transformation of a Kentucky Mountain Town

Source: The Sentinel Group

The vast majority of American Christians will go their entire lives without ever setting foot in a genuinely transformed community, says The Sentinel Group: They are able to apprehend revival intellectually, but they have never felt it.

It’s Only Cookie Dough focuses on the previously depressed town of Lynch, Kentucky and what happened there when people began to really pray. Like the other Transformations documentary-style videos, it tells an encouraging story about what God can do to change hearts, meet desperate needs, and even heal the land itself.

» Watch the trailer, learn more, or purchase the DVD from The Sentinel Group for US$19.99. It’s 85 minutes long. For another look at this region see their previous documentary, An Appalachian Dawn.

BOOK: Healing the Wounds of Trauma, How the Church Can Help

Source: American Bible Society

Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help, Expanded Edition 2016, by Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill, Dick Baggé, and Pat Miersma. American Bible Society, 2016. 144 pages.

This book was first published in 2004, adapted from a workbook developed by four members of Wycliffe Bible Translators and used in trauma healing seminars offered to African leaders (now all over the world). Revised several times since then, it offers a practical and field-tested approach to engaging the Bible and mental health principles to find God’s healing for wounds of the heart.

Leaders in churches and ministries caring for people who have suffered horrific events like war, civil unrest, ethnic conflict, rape, and natural disasters may find this a helpful resource. It can be used to help individuals struggling with suffering.

» Learn more or purchase for US$6.99 from the American Bible Society (or elsewhere). See also a related work, Healing Children’s Wounds of Trauma.

» Here’s another tried-and-true tool that may be useful for cross-cultural workers in over their heads: Where There Is No Doctor is now available in Haitian Kreyol in addition to English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Urdu.

EVENT: Debriefing Retreat for Missionaries

Source: Paracletos

Recalibrate! is a debriefing retreat for singles, couples, or families with children over 13 who have recently returned to the United States from the field, whether permanently or temporarily. They still have openings for this year’s event to be held November 6-12 near Cincinnati, Ohio. Hurry, though: registration closes August 31.

» Learn more or sign up. Also note that several of the events below relate to missionary debriefing, in case this one doesn’t fit your needs or schedule.

EVENTS: Conference, Training, and More

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar


September 1, Ministry Evaluation Toolbox (online). Webinar provided by Missio Nexus.

September 8, Rethinking the Question: “Who Is a Missionary?” (online). Webinar provided by Missio Nexus.

September 12 to December 11, Encountering the World of Islam (online). Regularly offered course on embracing Muslims with the love of Christ.

September 14, Missionary Debriefing, an Essential and Valuable Gift (online). Free webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen.

September 14-15, Support Raising Bootcamp (Lombard, IL, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

September 14-20, Traction Conference for Men (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Provided by Catalyst International.

September 15 to October 13, Foundations of Media Strategy (online). Mission Media U course to develop outreach strategy and effective content.

September 16-18, BAM Conference (Los Angeles, CA, USA). For anyone interested in business as mission. Provided by the BAM Resource Team.

September 21 to October 19, Story in Ministry (online) Mission Media U course takes you from theory to project.

September 29 to October 1, Mission Leaders Conference (Louisville, KY, USA). Provided by Missio Nexus. Pre-conference workshops on various topics also planned.

September 30 to October 2, Entrepreneurial Readiness Workshop (Colorado Springs, CO, USA). Sponsored by The Navigators Global Enterprise Network.


October 3 to February 12, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided on a regular basis by the Perspectives Study Program.

October 5 to November 30, Mobilizer Equipping School (Chiang Mai, Thailand). Provided by Student Volunteer Movement 2.

October 7-8, Missions Fest Seattle (Bellevue, WA, USA). Annual community event.

October 8, Costly Call: Following Jesus in a Hostile World (Lynnfield, MA, USA). One-day event sponsored by New England Perspectives Study Program and the J. Christy Wilson, Jr. Center for World Missions.

October 10-11, Support Raising Bootcamp (Tulsa, OK, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

October 11-14, Support Raising Leaders Conference (Tulsa, OK, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions (and partners).

October 11 to November 8, Expand Your Mission Through Media (for Women) (online) Mission Media U course to develop a media project plan.

October 13, Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Identity and Gender Issues (online). Webinar provided by Missio Nexus.

October 13-15, Open B4T Expo (Chicago, IL, USA). Transforming nations through business.

October 14-15, People Raising Conference (Oak Brook, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

October 14-16, Evangelical Missiological Society (Dallas, TX, USA). Annual meeting.

October 16-21, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Re-entry and debriefing for singles, couples, and families provided by TRAIN International.

October 17-19, Excellerate Conference (Alpharetta, GA, USA). A mission conference for church leaders. Hosted by North Point Ministries.

» View the calendar or submit an addition or correction.

World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Glory Fleeting or Enduring

BRAZIL: The Olympic Dream and the Human Race
BRAZIL: Olympics Offer Rare Ministry Opportunity
ERITREA: Moving Testimony of a Refugee
BANGLADESH/WORLD: A New Bible for Muslims
KENYA: Why Are Churches and Mosques Being Painted Yellow?


Image: Lausanne Movement. This month more than a thousand younger leaders and mentors from more than 140 countries gathered in Jakarta to meet and collaborate for global mission. About two thirds of the participants were from the Majority World, and about one third were women. Learn more or watch the summary video.


Three global gatherings happened recently. The first, on July 23, was the global simulcast of an electronic music festival and may be cause for great concern. The second was Lausanne Movement’s Young Leaders Gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia, and that one fuels great hope. The third, still going on, is the Olympic Games in Rio. The Olympics inspire dreams of glory!

When sleuthing for news brief material, I could not find much unrelated to the Games. Many articles told stories of sportsmanship at its best. I’m also curious to see the remake of Ben Hur, with its tales of sportsmanship at its worst. That will be in theaters in the US this weekend; read this interview with the producer.

I’ve been watching some of the Olympics by catching whatever is on when I take a break from work. I read about Lopez Lomong, a former Lost Boy of Sudan who became an Olympian. I found a piece about how Saudi women are “changing the game.”  I also came across Usain Bolt vs. 100 Years of Olympic Sprinters, in which the authors concluded that repeat performances are rare and glory is fleeting.

Looking for enduring glory? Find clues in John 17.


BRAZIL: The Olympic Dream and the Human Race

GMI Olympics smallSource: GMI Missiographics, August 2016

The Olympics… an amazing opportunity to engage the entire globe in a powerful way. Few other global events have the same impact. Are you looking at the Olympics as a lens on the human race?

Dear God, as athletes compete and as citizens from every country cheer for their nation’s finest, will you show yourself to them in a powerful way? Be present in this truly global event and give us new insights into your Kingdom as we participate. May these games see many athletes come to know you and many more spectators get a glimpse of your grace.

» Read full story or view infographic.

BRAZIL: Olympics Offer Rare Ministry Opportunity

Source: Mission Network News, August 10, 2016

And in the midst of this athletic competition that gathers people from around the globe is a unique evangelism opportunity that only comes once every other year—one that Athletes in Action is fully engaged in.

Tim Pitcher is at the Rio Olympics right now with Athletes in Action. The Athletes in Action team has around 100 diverse and multilingual staff members engaging athletes and families and being a spiritual encouragement.

“They’re here to be able to minister to the athletes from their country or their language group and really try through some initiative evangelism to be able to meet with them, resource them, so if they go back home, they’re going to have copies of God’s Word that they can get through security and customs that a normal missionary might not,” shares Pitcher.

“[When] Rio finishes and they all start going home, the gospel seeds will be spread on all the various lives as they’re going home to their final destinations. It’s a very strategic opportunity to equip and spread the gospel.”

» Read full story.

» You may also be interested in a Brigada Today article which suggests the Olympics are a great time to help others catch a global vision.

ERITREA: Moving Testimony of a Refugee

Source: Jubilee Campaign, July 31, 2016

“Very recently I had a trying time in my life,” [explained Hanna Petros Solomon in a June 22 presentation]. “No, I didn’t have to dodge bullets to cross another border, I had to write my transfer essay to university. In order to understand who you are as a person, universities ask you to describe the journey that brought you to them. I wrote what I thought was an excellent essay about why I came to America, and handed it to my professor who was helping me with the process. He told me that the essay spoke more about my country and the state of dictatorship than it did my own experiences, it had to be personal.

“In an effort to apply his advice, I changed every ‘we’ pronoun to ‘I,’ and suddenly the words on paper became too personal, painful even.”

» Read Hanna Petros Solomon’s story to learn more about the situation in Eritrea and how it has affected lives, or watch this recording of her testimony. Another version (a bit more polished) is from 2015.