Source: Christian Aid Mission, October 1, 2015
At several steps on their path to death by beheading and crucifixion last month, 11 indigenous Christian workers near Aleppo, Syria had the option to leave the area and live. The 12-year-old son of a ministry team leader also could have spared his life by denying Christ.
They stayed because they believed they were called to share Christ with those caught in the crossfire, [the leader] said.
The 41-year-old team leader, his young son, and two ministry members in their twenties were questioned at one village site where ISIS militants had summoned a crowd. The team leader presided over nine house churches he had helped to establish. His son was two months away from his thirteenth birthday.
In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam. When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.
» Read full story, details of which are also included in a larger story, Christians in Syria Struggle to Survive amid Terrors (Morning Star News).
» See also Egyptian Land Dispute Threatens Inter-religious Flashpoint (World Watch Monitor).
Do you know about Brigada Today?
Founded in 1995 in the same initiative that birthed Missions Catalyst, this free, weekly web-and-email journal offers resources, mission trends, motivation, strategy tips, and tools for Great Commission Christians. I use it to keep up with new resources and upcoming events. Maybe you do, too.
This month, editors Doug and Tina are asking us to pray for Brigada. Among other things, they ask us to pray that during these last months of 2015, the Brigada community would grow from 6,000 participants to 7,000.
So I prayed. I also started to wonder if we could help them reach that goal. That’s why I’m writing. If you haven’t seen it—or haven’t seen it lately—I’d encourage you to check out Brigada.
- Browse through recent editions. Troll the archives.
- If you like what you see, subscribe.
- Tell your friends. Share it with others!
Thanks for reading and considering this request. Next week we’ll be back with the September edition of Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews.
For the Missions Catalyst team
Source: INContext Ministries, August 5, 2015
On July 14, 2015, Iran and six world powers (America, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) agreed on a historic deal to limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons.
But the conflict in the Middle East is far deeper and wider than just the nuclear threat. Four Arab civil wars are currently being fought—in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen—with Iran, America, and Saudi Arabia supporting a complex mix of warring parties.
These charts show the complexity of the conflicts that stretch over religion, ideology, ethnicity, and class. What is evident is that the Sunni-Shia rift has become more acute, with Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia playing leading roles on either side of the divide.
» Editor’s note: Let’s keep praying for all these powers in the Middle East, and note that September 23 is a global day of prayer for Saudi Arabia.
- BIBLE STUDY: God’s Heart for the Nations
- FOR USE WITH CHILDREN: Fabric Map and Lesson Plans
- BOOK: Missiographics 1.0
- BOOK: Mission Mobilization Fiction?
- EVENTS: May Calendar
In this issue we highlight a new edition of the Bible study God’s Heart for the Nations. I should let you know: I worked on that one! So I hope you’ll let me know if you have any comments or questions about it.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us about resources you’d like to see featured in future editions. We don’t have space to write about all the new books that come out or describe upcoming events in detail, but we can always use your tips about new videos, websites, online tools, and other resources that are accessible and would be interesting to other readers. We’d also welcome your comments on our website or Facebook.
- WORLD: Growth Projections of World Religions
- KENYA: “I Need God to Help Me Forget”
- SOUTH AFRICA: Young Man Forgives His Father’s Murderers
- BURMA: God at Work Among Soldiers
- NIGER: She Found Jesus, Faced Rejection and Violence
- INDONESIA: Muslims Make Marketing Push
As I was working on this edition of Missions Catalyst I came across a Steve Saint talk which includes thought-provoking observations, statistics, and inspiration. See Let God Write Your Story (But What If We Don’t Like the Next Chapter?).
After watching that, I searched for more of his talks and found Sovereignty, Suffering and the Work of Missions, given long before his accident that paralyzed much of his body. Each of the talks is just under an hour long.
- INDIA: Dreams from God
- WORLD: Migrant “Ghost Ships” Abandoned at Sea
- PAKISTAN: Son of Imam Follows Christ
- LIBYA: 21 Egyptian Christians Beheaded
- THAILAND: Bangkok Church Has Big Vision
Holidays and festivals are on my mind once again. I learned that Hindu festivals take place somewhere in India 255 days of the year! This does not include secular/national or cultural holidays like Punjab’s “rural Olympics” (don’t miss it!). I was privileged to witness the Magh Mela and Sankranti in India last month. I believe Indians know how to celebrate like no other culture.
Though Hindu extremists warn couples not to celebrate Hindu extremists warn couples not to celebrate Valentine’s Day with all of its Western trappings, some apparently celebrate a whole Valentine’s WEEK!
Mardi Gras and Lent have come while I’ve been wrapping up this edition of Newsbriefs, and the Chinese are beginning the year of the sheep/goat.
Holidays and festivals say a lot about a people. What do they value? What are the stories behind these “feast days?”
If any of this stirs your interest, check out this website. Or if you’re a little less adventurous, check out using the Christian calendar as an opportunity to throw parties. However and where ever you celebrate, though, know that the best party is yet to come!
Interested in what’s coming up for 2013?
As a service to readers, Missions Catalyst compiles and maintains an online calendar of mission-related events across the US and around the world.
Maybe you’d like to attend some of these events or tell a friend about them. Perhaps you’re planning an event of your own and wonder what else might be going on that weekend. Or it could be that you know about an event that would interest other reader and should be added to our calendar! Let us know.
Do you find Missions Catalyst inspiring, informative, or useful for your ministry? We sure hope so! If you do, maybe you can give us a hand.
Our publication is created and distributed by a small team of volunteers using affordable tools. This keeps production costs very low. We’ve been able to stay afloat since the mid-1990s, despite the economic and organizational storms.
We do, however, need to cover our direct expenses (primarily web hosting, mailing service, and promotion). Those costs add up to about US$1000 a year.
Rather than selling ads, recruiting sponsors, or charging fees, we’re trusting God to supply the funds through (tax-deductible) donations from readers.
If you find yourself able to give, please consider a donation to the Missions Catalyst account with Pioneers. We have a few bills due at the end of this month, so a gift right now would be particularly helpful. Questions? We’d be glad to hear from you.
Marti Wade | publisher and managing editor