World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst News Briefs 11.18.15

  1. WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack
  2. ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders
  3. NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others
  4. KYRGYZSTAN: Couple Shares Gospel, Forced to Flee their Village
  5. MYANMAR: The Gospel Spreads Like Wildfire


Ms. Yamini Ravindran of the Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka speaks at Global Christian Forum meeting in Albania on standing together through discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom (see story below).

Credit: Global Christian Forum/Eero Antturi.


If you were a citizen of Heaven and your job was to be the bureau chief for the “Earthly Times,” what would be your choice for a headline story this week? Paris attacked? The historic gathering of Christian leaders reported below? The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church? Would it be a story of the gospel’s advance, or its decline? Would Heaven highlight bad news such as those so willing to “cast the first stone” in Afghanistan?

For Missions Catalyst I like to find the news that you might not find from major sources. It might look as if we ignore some big news, but if I can’t find a unique, kingdom take on it I may not put it in our line-up… not because it is unimportant, but because it has been well covered.

One thing is sure: Heaven is poised to invade Earth. Some people here call it Armageddon. Others speak simply of the end of the world, or focus more of the completion of the Great Commission. (You might be interested in mission strategist Steve Smith’s new novel, Hastening, offering his take on this.)

There’s no doubt that a heavenly invasion would be news both on Earth and in Heaven. Heaven surely has a better vantage point than Earth has; we get it wrong (a lot!) Check out the interactive Timeline of When the World Ended to see that religious folks are not the only ones making predictions. Be sure to peruse the “other” category. Interesting. Maybe it is weird to like this stuff, but I do, and it puts some things in perspective.

Watching and praying with you,

WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack

Source: INcontext Ministries, November 2015

The attacks in Paris [were] a message delivered to a global audience and packaged in the wrapping of terror.

The main message that the Islamic State (IS) conveyed with the acts of terror is that they are now pursuing the vision of expanding their borders beyond the edges of Iraq and Syria.

In a world where only pain that affects me directly counts, it becomes more and more critical that Christians will show solidarity with anybody who suffers, regardless of nation, race, or religion.

The declaration by French President François Hollande that “this is war” was not metaphorical nor was it symbolical. It came as a declaration that enough is enough and on Sunday night France launched massive air strikes on the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital in Syria.

Refugees will ultimately pay the price for the attacks: The prayer of every follower of Christ in these troubled times should therefore be that our hearts are not hardened by hatred and [suspicion].

Somali atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Foreign Policy [advocates] that Christians should redouble efforts to convert Muslims in order to reduce Islamist excesses. Changing the ideology at the heart of Islam is critical. Hirsi Ali intones that war alone will not do away with Islamist violence:

“We will not win by stamping out the Islamic State or Al Qaeda or Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab; a new radical group will just pop up somewhere else,” she said. “We will win only if we engage with the ideology of Islamist extremism, and counter the message of death, intolerance and the pursuit of the afterlife with our own far preferable message of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is an amazing confession by an atheist and should confirm what every Christian believes (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

» Read full story (a three-page PDF. We greatly condensed it!)

» Also read Three Problems in Islam and Two Consequences of Denial Revealed by Charlie Hebdo (Adopt-a-Terrorist-for-Prayer) and Nine Things You Should Know About Islamic State (The Gospel Coalition).

ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders

Source: World Evangelical Alliance, November 14, 2015

In response to increasing discrimination, persecution, and violence against Christian communities around the world, a historic consultation of Christian leaders has called on churches globally to pray, support and be in solidarity with those suffering persecution due to their faith. An initiative of the Global Christian Forum, the consultation that brought together 145 church leaders from 56 nations was supported by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican), the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and the World Council of Churches. Together, they represent more than two billion Christians.

The gathering, held in Tirana, Albania from November 2-4, was the first time in modern history that every stream of global Christianity had joined together to listen and learn from Christians who experience discrimination, persecution, and violence.

In its final message—another historic first for World Christianity—the consultation offered “repentance” for times when churches had “persecuted each other and other religious communities in history.” And it called on churches “to urgently strengthen the solidarity of all Christians” in the face of discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom in the 21st century.

It was co-hosted by the Albanian Evangelical Alliance in a country where communism sought to violently wipe out anything related to religion, destroying churches, mosques, and other places of worship. However, in the 1990s Albania returned to granting full religious freedom to all major and minor religions.

» Read full story.

NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others

Source: Christian Aid, November 5, 2015

Nepal has quietly enshrined a long-time ban on proselytizing in its new constitution. For an indigenous ministry in Nepal that has long found ways to quietly proclaim Christ as Lord, that means business as usual.

As did the interim constitution of the prior seven years, the new constitution signed by Nepal’s president on September 20 outlaws “any act to convert another person from one religion to another or any act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of another,” with violations punishable by prison and/or fines.

While the ban on proselytizing appears to contradict Nepal’s assertion of the right to profess and practice one’s faith, Christians were relieved that framers ultimately did away with a reported concession to Hindu groups to ban all religious conversions and rejected their demand to restore the Hindu monarchy.

The government instead approved a constitution defining the state as secular and thus neutral toward all religions. Nepal thus completed the transition it began in 2008 from the world’s only Hindu monarchy to a secular, multiparty, constitutional republic.

» Read full story.

» See also two stories about work in Nepal from Operation Mobilization: A New Testament in Every Household (which describes contemporary approaches to Bible distribution) and We Haven’t Eaten in Three Days (dealing with effects of the country’s current fuel shortage).

KYRGYZSTAN: Couple Shares Gospel, Forced to Flee their Village

Source: Open Doors, November 4, 2015

Pray for a situation which took place in a village in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim-dominated country in Central Asia.

Recently a group of Protestant believers from different parts of Kyrgyzstan visited a Christian family in their village. “Janysh and Laura” are the only Christian couple in the village [and] always share the gospel with their neighbors. The couple has an outreach ministry which includes showing the JESUS Film. Recently, they showed the film and presented the gospel to four families from their own village.

Three days after the gospel presentation, two intoxicated men started screaming in the middle of the night near [their] home. They shouted that Janysh and Laura were infidels who had disgraced Islam. They threw stones into the house. No one was injured.

The next day a group of 10 people came and asked Janysh to come out of the house. They told him that he had to confess he was following an “alien” religion. Otherwise, he would be forced to leave the village with his family.

The next day an imam (leader) of the local mosque came to talk with Janysh and Laura. He also tried to make them renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

With the situation escalating to possible severe violence, the couple decided to leave the village with their children. They hope to eventually return.

Please pray for the dangerous situation in the village to end so Janysh and Laura may return home. Thank the Lord for their boldness to present the gospel in their community.

» Read full story. For another picture of evangelism and backlash in the life of believers, read the story of Hem and Seema from India (Empart Australia).

MYANMAR: The Gospel Spreads Like Wildfire

Source: GodReports, August 4, 2015

The gospel is going forward in an unprecedented fashion—especially in the most restricted countries—driven by prayer, boldness, persecution, and the Holy Spirit, according to a recent report.

“What we are seeing around the world is really a gospel wildfire,” says Brother Jonathan, a Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) international ministries worker.

“We’re seeing the gospel go forward like never before in the history of the church,” he says. “There is nothing which says you have to live in Africa, China, or the Middle East to experience this,” he adds.

A strong commitment to prayer creates an atmosphere for the wildfire to burn. Brother Jonathan asked one indigenous leader in Burma about their strategy to send workers into unreached villages.

“The secret is Fridays.”

“What is it about Fridays?” Jonathan wanted to know.

“On Fridays we all come together and we fast and we pray—every Friday, all day.”

“What if you’re going into a hostile village?”

“If we think it’s going to be a really hostile area, we set aside seven days to fast and pray. When that’s over we go and let the chips fall where they may.”

Jonathan spoke to one 19-year-old worker in Burma starting in ministry who told him: “I’m going to move into a village where there are no churches and no Christians.” Then he planned to build a small lean-to in the forest to live in, work in the rice fields, and start sharing the gospel.

“I’m going to plant a church and appoint a leader and I’m going to move and do it again,” the young worker told him.

“How long do you think you’ll do this?” Jonathan asked.

“Until Jesus comes back.”

The fuel that Brother Jonathan sees in this gospel wildfire is a bold proclamation of the gospel.

» Read full story. It also describes the ministry efforts in Uttar Pradesh, India, which inspired Jonathan.

World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst News Briefs 11.4.15

  1. WORLD: Global Appeal of Western Music
  2. ARAB WORLD: New Film for Arab Atheists
  3. CHINA: A Vision to Send 20,000 Chinese Missionaries
  4. NORTH AFRICA: Monsieur Mouton and MicroSD Cards
  5. WORLD: Responding to Syrian Refugees
  6. PAKISTAN: NGO Tackles Anti-Christian Prejudice

Sam Purse Europe Refugee video

Who are these refugees, and why are they coming to Europe now? This issue includes a list of a dozen short videos, like this one from Samaritan’s Purse, about responding to the refugee crisis.


With so much of the news full of stories about lines being drawn to separate “us” from “them,” it’s refreshing to find stories where those lines are happily crossed. See Why Muslims Celebrate a Jewish Holiday (CNN, via COMMA) and A Woman Named Prayer, in which a Muslim woman shares the Christmas story (ActBeyond).

A great story about Muslim migrants meeting Christian Gypsies is only available to Wall Street Journal subscribers, unfortunately, but worth the read, and that story is all the more poignant if you read about the marginalization of the Roma in Hungary (Foreign Policy).

Did you know that the word Hebrew means “one who crosses over”? What man-made lines might you need to cross?


WORLD: Global Appeal of Western Music

Source: J.D. Payne, Missiologically Thinking, October 25, 2015

Music is one of the artifacts of Western civilization that continues to manifest itself in Majority World contexts. A conversation tonight with a South-Asian brother reminded me of this reality.

I have written about the internationalization of bluegrass music and [its] Kingdom potential. At that time, I drew attention to Canada, Europe, and Japan. Let’s now think for a moment about India and a few musical interests there. I read tonight about an Indo-Appalachian US fusion band, and the recent growth of electronic music and the burgeoning rock scene in India.

Pastors, if we are only encouraging our musicians to lead us on Sundays and write praise and worship music, then the Church is missing out on a great Kingdom opportunity. How about casting a vision of the gospel penetrating the local music scenes in countries home to many of the world’s unreached peoples? It is time for some musicians to step off the Sunday morning platform and step into the highways and hedges of India.

» Read full story.

» Also check out Singing Psalms Creates Christian-Muslim Bonds (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship).

ARAB WORLD: New Film for Arab Atheists

Source: AWM Breakthrough, November 2, 2015

A Muslim doesn’t choose lightly to become an atheist. To reject the Islamic faith for no faith is as significant as rejecting it for another religion. Doing it publicly brings the accusation of being an apostate and can result in ostracism, difficulty finding a job, imprisonment or even the death penalty. Doing it privately means living a double life.

With this in mind, please pray for us as we finish and publish a new video aimed at atheists in the Arab world. Last year, we worked with partners to produce a one-minute video for the same group, which you can watch with English subtitles. We received more than 120 personal messages, including this one from a young Tunisian woman:

“I’m like Samir [character in the video]; I don’t know the meaning of my life. I’m only 19 years old and I don’t have the desire to live. Could you please tell me, what is the true way to happiness? I don’t have friends and I feel lonely. Could you please help me?”

» Learn more about Arab World Media.

CHINA: A Vision to Send 20,000 Chinese Missionaries

Source: Lausanne Movement, October 26, 2015

The first Mission China 2030 Conference was convened in Hong Kong on September 28 to October 1 and attended by 900 participants from mainland China. The Mission China 2030 vision is for China to send out 20,000 missionaries by the year 2030. Two hundred missionary commitments were made as the first step toward fulfilling this vision.

The Mission China 2030 vision was catalyzed by two main gatherings, the Third Lausanne Congress (Cape Town, 2010) and the Asian Church Leaders Forum (Seoul, 2013). Two hundred Chinese Christian leaders were invited to the Third Lausanne Congress, but were unable to attend.

Plans were made to invite them to a separate gathering in 2013, the Asian Church Leaders Forum (ACLF). It was at the Asian Church Leaders Forum that Rev. Daniel Jin (Executive Director of Mission China Today magazine) urged the Chinese church to work and pray to see 20,000 missionaries sent out from China by 2030.

“Over the last 200 years, since the days of the earliest British pioneer Robert Morrison, some 20,000 missionaries have served in China.” There was, he said, “a gospel debt to pay off.”

» Read full story. Lausanne asks us to pray for  those who made these first 200 missionary commitments.