- NIGERIA: Interviews in an IDP Camp
- BANGLADESH: A Faith that Makes the List
- BUDDHIST WORLD: A Spiritual Movement
- PAKISTAN: “You Reconnected Us with the Lord”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- CHINA: 31 Days of Prayer for the Silk Road Peoples
- CHAD: Mobile Ministry Spreads Gospel Media
- WALES: A House of Prayer for All Nations
- UNDISCLOSED COUNTRY: God Raised an Island from the Sea
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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).
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).
Source: Joel News International, June 2016
Tucked away in the hills of Pembrokeshire in southwest Wales is a house of prayer and retreat center called Ffald-y-Brenin (Welsh for “The King’s Sheepfold”). Gracefully led by Roy and Daphne Godwin, the center has become the hub of a unique work of God’s Spirit. Their remarkable story is described in the book The Grace Outpouring.
When God called Roy and Daphne to Ffald-y-Brenin, they came in utter helplessness and dependence, not knowing where to start and how to pray. “I cried out to God: “Why did you bring us here? We don’t know what to do with this place.’” Roy recalls. “The first thing he then said to us was: ‘It’s exactly because you don’t know what you’re doing, and you know that you don’t know, that I want you here. I want you to develop this as a house of prayer for all nations.’”
From that moment on, God led the Godwins step by step to develop Ffald-y-Brenin into a place where he could dwell, and it is God’s presence that draws people to the center on a daily basis.
» Full story available from Joel News International. You can also watch an inspiring 12-minute video about this ministry (YouTube/David C. Cook). Cook will be publishing The Way of Blessing, another book about this ministry, in August.
Source: Global Opportunities, May 2016
A man named Lucas had a vision of bringing employment and the gospel to a very closed country [and presented to the government his plan to build a medium-sized hotel]. Much to the regret of everyone involved, no suitable land was found. When he returned to this country some months later and met with the local government again, he was given great news:
“While you were away, the harbor was dredged to make room for larger ships, and the dredged sand has formed an island where you can build your hotel!”
The project moved ahead immediately but not without challenges.
This region happens to be a recruiting ground for a terrorist group, and many of the young local men had already headed off to the warzone. By hiring young men to work on his project, Lucas began indirectly reducing the number of potential recruits; he was offering these men a reason to live whereas the recruiters were only offering them a reason to die. As time went on, Lucas and the local religious leader became close friends, meeting regularly for coffee.
Lucas and his team soon noticed the environmental damage being done by the burning of garbage, and they took it upon themselves to launch recycling and waste management programs.
Today, some one dozen locals hold well-paying jobs, and many more will be hired once the hotel is completed. Their culture is being changed as the workers display a new work ethic; parents are happy that their sons are not going off to die but rather are quitting their drug habits and making something of their lives.
» Read full story.