World News Briefs


In this issue: Sharing donuts in Japan’s city of peace

  1. JAPAN: Of Donuts and Atom Bombs
  2. NORTHEAST AFRICA: Community Garden for the Zaila
  3. MALI: Kidnapped Swiss Missionary Still Alive
  4. CAMEROON: 5,000 Kapsiki Speakers Brave Danger to Welcome Bible
  5. IRAN: A Media Mogul Comes to Christ


I’ve seen sports, music, mountain climbing, and even surfing ministries that are designed to open doors for the gospel. Have we neglected the ministry of food? Nothing connects people like food!

Granted, it can also be divisive. Half of my household is now vegan, some of us have high blood sugar, and—shortly after buying 17 chickens—I discovered I have high cholesterol. So I’m a food pusher and a food cop, pushing eggs on my vegan kids while scolding my husband and mother-in-law for eating foods too high on the glycemic index.

My family’s spats are nothing compared to the war over hummus (see Give Chickpeas a Chance: Why Hummus Unites, and Divides, The Mideast), worse yet, the one over beef eating in North India. Perhaps our enemy knows the power of shared food?

I’m reading Tim Chester’s book A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table and watching Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Making to mobilize myself and my tribe for welcoming international students. For additional inspiration and ideas about reaching international students, check out the latest edition of Mission Frontiers.

Whether you make your own healthy delights at home, help plant a community garden, or hang out with seekers in a donut shop in Japan (see stories below), may God bless your efforts to invite people to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” After all, he is the Bread of Life!


NORTHEAST AFRICA: Community Garden for the Zaila

Source: Frontiers USA, June 16, 2016

In a remote corner of Northeast Africa live the Zaila people. They are living versions of the desert land where they reside—hard, austere, and seemingly impenetrable. For generations, these staunch Muslims have had no one reaching them with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

John and Rachel Miller had never heard of the Zaila when they first responded to God’s call to reach the nations for his glory.

But the Millers had heard of unengaged people groups—those who have no churches, no believers, and no messengers of the Kingdom trying to share the Gospel with them. They were convinced that even the most remote communities need a chance to hear about Jesus. John and Rachel decided they could be part of the solution and go to the Muslim world where the need for the Gospel is greatest.

As John and Rachel worked to recruit their team, they moved to a capital city in the region. They began looking for open doors to serve further afield where they could live among an unengaged people. At that time, the Zaila were one of Northeast Africa’s largest unengaged Muslim people groups. As they started meeting Zailas living in the capital, God stirred their hearts for this lost people.

Then they met a chief from Adaye, a remote Zaila village.

“Our people are hungry,” the chief told John, an agriculturalist, “and we don’t have a produce market in our town. Would you help us start a garden for the village?”

» See full story with pictures.

» You might also be interested in A Tale of Two Farmers, which brings together a man who grew up helping with the wheat harvest in Kansas and Oklahoma and a very different kind of farmer in Japan (SEND International).

MALI: Kidnapped Swiss Missionary Still Alive

Source: World Watch Monitor, June 17, 2016

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has released a video, purporting to show that a Swiss nun kidnapped in Mali in January is alive and in good health.

The three-minute video, posted on social media [on 16 June], shows a veiled Beatrice Stockly speaking in French, saying that she has been detained for 130 days but is in good health and has been treated well, although it has been very hot. She concludes by thanking her family and the Swiss government for all their efforts to secure her release.

» Read full story, which includes links to previous coverage, and see also a report from the International Business Times which refers to Stockly “the last Westerner living in Timbuktu.”

CAMEROON: 5,000 Kapsiki Speakers Brave Danger to Welcome Bible

Source: United Bible Societies, July 11, 2016

Usually, large gatherings are banned in Cameroon’s Far North region, due to high security risks—Boko Haram has carried out a number of deadly attacks there. But on June 4, the iconic mountains near Mogodé—a town very close to the Nigerian border—witnessed an unprecedented crowd of 5,000 Kapsiki people celebrating the launch of the first Bible in their language.

Special authorization was granted to hold the gathering, and 250 soldiers were provided for protection by the general in charge of the region’s armed forces.

The day before the launch, the town organized a grand parade to welcome the new Bibles as special guests of honor as they arrived in the back of a military truck. In fact, the convoy carrying the new Bibles, Bible Society staff, and soldiers received a rapturous welcome in every Kapsiki village that it passed during its 120-kilometer journey from the Bible Society’s offices in Maroua to Mogodé.

As the truck pulled up outside the Catholic Church, a crowd of joyful Kapsiki Christians surrounded it. Their singing and dancing continued late into the night.

» See full story with pictures. Pray for the Kapsiki and their neighbors. (I was encouraged to read that one of the first things the Kapsiki did was take up a collection was taken to help other people in Cameroon who do not yet have the Bible in their language.)

IRAN: A Media Mogul Comes to Christ

Source: Iran Alive Ministries, July 1, 2016

The largest network of secular satellite channels in Iran is owned by a wealthy family that lives outside Iran. This network consists of over eighteen 24/7 channels that cover every interest from movies to sports and from channels dedicated to children to MTV-like music. Two years ago, we started praying for the salvation of this family. Last summer, Soleiman and his wife Sayeh, co-owners of this network, accepted Christ and contacted us. Sayeh explains:

“Having experienced the power of God’s transformation in our lives and being inspired by Pastor Hormoz [of Iran Alive Ministries], my husband and I decided to start a new Christian television station. We had the finances; we had the know-how.

“But as we prayed about starting this Christian TV station, God spoke to my heart: ‘Sayeh, do you want to glorify yourself or me? If you are looking to glorify me, you don’t need to start a new station. I already have one: Iran Alive (Network 7). I want you to work with my network.’”

» Read full story and pray for the continued transformation of Iranian leaders and others who hear the gospel.

» See also another story from this part of the world which describes the recent baptism and protection of 18 former Muslims (Bibles for Mideast, via GodReports).

Practical Mobilization


Three more

Triple Shot Summer Series

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. In this issue: Timely Travel Tips, Dopes Like Me, and the Value of a Second (or Third) Language.

Reading at (or on your way to) the Perspectives National Conference in Maryland? We’d love to meet you. The first five people who find Shane or Marti and mention seeing this edition can have a free book!

Timely Travel Tips, Dopes Like Me, and the Value of a Second (or Third) Language

By Shane Bennett

Eighty-two Steps and Other Travel Tips

It was eeeeiiiigghhty tttwwwoooooo steps from the street to the door of our flat in Catania, Sicily last month. That’s 82 steps hammering home a lesson: Bring less stuff! That pretty much sums up my go-to travel advice: Leave it at home. Granted, (A) I’m grateful I don’t have to travel with a CPAP machine, and (B) I don’t require all the accoutrements that some females do.

Honestly, though, I don’t remember the last time I thought, “Dang! I wish I had that thing I left at home.”

A full set of travel tips should go beyond “leave it,” though, so see my friend Carl’s Top 20 Medearis Family Travel Tips. While you’re there, snoop around the site; Carl has written some provocative and helpful words.

If you’re really into travel tips, check these (sometimes contradictory) lists as well: 61 Travel Tips to Make You the World’s Savviest Traveler (Nomadic Matt), a packing list for the traveling gal (A Beautiful Mess), and a list of really cool, I mean helpful, traveling gadgets (Rethink Modern).

What Dopes Like Me Can Do

It’s a perennial but pleasant surprise: God can and is apparently happy to use people like me. The most recent edition of the surprise came a couple of weeks ago and swirled around a series of Discovery Bible Studies I had with a young guy from Gambia in a piazza in Sicily. I’ve talked to around 6.3 gazillion Muslims in my day, but this may have been the first time we’d really dug into the Bible together. I walked away thinking, “It’s true what they say… pretty much anyone can do this.”

I often think my mobilization cachet is to leave people with this realization: “If he can do it, I probably can too!” I mean, really, I’m no Lottie Moon or Gladys Aylward. I couldn’t even carry lunch for the Dons (McGavran, McCurry, and Richardson, for those keeping score!). But sometimes God uses me. If you don’t want to hear this, run away now. Otherwise I’m looping you into the group of people that God can use. Yes, you!

Certainly many Missions Catalyst readers, humble though you are, know that God uses you. You don’t need me to remind you. Great. But most of the people we know? They don’t know it! A cursory look at the Bible, history, and our lives says it’s true, though. God delights in using the least likely characters. Yay for us, for God, and for the world who waits to know him.

Check out You’ve Got Libya for the story of one of my heroes who was surprised that God would use the likes of him.

Language Learning Is Worth It!

I say this more from observation than experience. Our first group in Catania, Sicily in June interacted almost exclusively in English. They spoke some other languages, but none that were in play locally. And they did amazing things with their English.

The second team, however had some ringers: a woman whose mother tongue was French, a young lady with good Arabic, even though it was Chadian, and a young man who could stumble along in both French and Arabic. The doors these guys opened! We were able to converse with Wolof women from Senegal, extend welcome to 14- and 15-year-old boys fresh off the boat from Egypt, and even score points with a friend who was an imam from Morocco and reluctant to use his English.

Are you working on a second or third language right now? Press on! It’s worth it. Are you considering downloading Duolingo and diving in? Yes! I’m behind you 100 percent. Are you in a position to encourage some young bucks to get another language? Grace to you as you do so. They’ll be annoyed now, but grateful as God opens cool, unexpected doors. (Are you a non-American who’s grown up speaking several languages? Good on you. Thanks for the grace. We’re working on it.)

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



Missions Catalyst News Briefs 7.6.16

  1. BRAZIL: Refugee Olympic Team, Symbol of Triumph and Belonging
  2. RUSSIA: Law Would Curtail Evangelism
  3. NEPAL: Influential Buddhist Monk Receives Jesus
  4. CAMBODIA: Journey of a New Testament Begins with Vietnam War Refugees

Pray for ISIS Prayercast Image

This Prayercast video asks, “Does God love even them?” Join us in praying for Islamic State and those they target or endanger.

Dear Readers,

May the recent suicide attacks in Orlando, Bangladesh, Baghdad, and Saudi Arabia serve as a call to press in on praying for our enemies and those they target. At least 250 people were killed in the July 3 attack on Baghdad; drone images capture the devastation (CNN). Pray also for those going to dangerous places to love and serve those in some of the places of greatest need. A team serving in Fallujah barely escaped harm when a coalition airstrike hit (Preemptive Love Coalition).

Prayercast reminds us, “Despite these gruesome realities, ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). This is a spiritual battle against our adversary, the devil, who ‘prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8).

“We hate the darkness and underlying evil, and we grieve the resulting bloodshed and pain. Yet Jesus still says, ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44). God’s love reaches not only those suffering under this oppression, but it reaches even into the ranks of Islamic State. Just as God transformed Saul into Paul through an encounter with Jesus, so can he transform today’s persecutors into tomorrow’s evangelists. And he is doing just that.”

Pray for the Islamic State using Prayercast’s short, powerful video (contains graphic images). See also In Harm’s Way: Reflections on Missionaries and Risk (Evangelical Missions Quarterly).


BRAZIL: Refugee Olympic Team a Symbol of Triumph and Belonging

Source: Mission Network News, July 4, 2016

We’re about a month away now from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and ten refugee athletes will be participating in the newly formed Refugee Olympic Team.

The athletes will compete in swimming, track, and judo. Their countries of origin include Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their team represents to refugees worldwide that although they don’t have a country, they still have a voice.

Open Doors USA’s Emily Fuentes says it also puts faces to the refugee crisis. “I think representation truly does matter in situations like this and brings attention to this unprecedented refugee crisis that we’re having in our world right now. It’s not just Syria, it’s not just Iraq, but it’s several other countries where there’s violence against people of different faiths, of different backgrounds.”

» Read full story and read the athletes’ biographies.

» See also Fran Pratt’s litany for refugees.