Missions Catalyst News Briefs

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In This Issue: Lives that Inspire

Greetings!

Foreign Policy Magazine has just announced their choices for the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, in ten categories: agitators, decision-makers, challengers, naturals, innovators, advocates, chroniclers, healers, artists, and moguls. Interesting, but I found the story of Pema Tschering, told in film by a friend of his, more inspiring than them all. As a doer more than a thinker, he didn’t make the list. Against all odds, this young Bhutanese man lives with cerebral palsy and uses his feet to make beautiful wood carvings and live an independent life. Watch the five-minute film.

Good leaders inspire. Bad leaders, well, apparently they never step down. The Guardian offers to test your knowledge of some of Africa’s presidents for life. I scored 7 out of 10; slightly above average. Can you beat me? After this informative quiz, you might find this TED talk interesting: The Leaders Who Ruined Africa and the Generation that Can Fix It. You may find this young man more inspiring, too!

Blessed and challenged,
Pat

Fred-Swaniker

Ghanaian Fred Swaniker founded a leadership network to educate and support the next generation of Africa’s leaders. Watch his TED talk.

Pat

Pat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.

 

ASIA-PACIFIC: He Carried Her to Hear the Gospel

Source: New Tribes Mission, November 2, 2014

Finally, the time had come – the Bible lessons that Wapane longed to hear would be taught. She would be able to hear “the Talk” about the Creator and his Deliverer that had changed the lives of so many Moi people.

But the lessons would be in a village nearly two hours away by foot, and Wapane, the oldest Moi woman, was now too frail to walk the trail. Had she waited too long to hear this important Talk?

Ginogui, who had heard the talk and placed his faith in Jesus, knew he had to do something. This was more than just the concern of a believer for a lost woman; Wapane was a relative.

But what could he do? The trail to the village where they would teach was muddy and narrow and steep. Even if he could manage to carry her, could she cling to his back for that long? No, it was too far.

As Ginogui prepared for the trip – for he would not miss an opportunity to hear this Talk again – he could not get Wapane’s predicament out of his head.

He got out his largest string bag. The Talk started at Creation and went through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, so he would be gone a long time. He put a hammock in his bag, but then he stopped, and smiled. His largest string bag was just large enough for frail old Wapane!

He emptied the bag and used it to carry her to the village for the Talk. For two hours he focused on the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other as he struggled to bring Wapane safely to her destination.

When she arrived, Wapane said, “I’ve come because of the Creator’s Talk. I’m really excited to hear it, so I’ve come to listen.”

Would you carry someone up and down a rough, muddy trail for two hours so they could hear God’s Word? If you’ve chosen to take responsibility to pray fervently and regularly for missionaries and those they serve, you are carrying a burden no less precious than Wapane.

» Full story with picture. See also a missionary’s report on the results from this time of teaching.

UKRAINE: Year-long Training and Evangelism Campaign

Source: Crossfield News, November 16, 2014

Mission Ukraine, a year-long training and evangelism campaign for the entire nation, will launch on November 21 with a five-day kickoff event.

The launch will feature youth rallies plus plenary talks from Dr. Ravi Zacharias and a team of international evangelists.

Mission Ukraine has two main purposes: Communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ across Ukraine, and serve as a catalyst for discipleship and missionary service throughout the former Soviet Union.

Iliya Kozubovsky, a member of the Mission Ukraine leadership team, says that Ukraine’s recent political and social unrest has created a huge hunger for truth in his country.

“Our dream and hope is to see spiritual transformation of our nation,” Kozubovsky says. “We’d like to see as a result of this evangelistic project more and more non-believers reconciled with God. We really hope that Mission Ukraine is God’s hope for Ukraine; it is one more good chance for Ukrainian people to feel his love and accept it.”

[Mission Ukraine advisor Blair] Carlson is asking Christians worldwide to pray for the success of Mission Ukraine, which is being held at a time of high political and spiritual tension across the country.

“Because Ukraine has the largest church base of any country in the region and supplies 70 percent of the church workers for the former countries of the Soviet Union, many believe that the current troubles relate to the spiritual powers of the world wanting to shut this all down,” Carlson says.

» Read full story and more details on specific events.

» Readers might also be interested in a fledgling volunteer military chaplain ministry in Ukraine (story from Operation Mobilization).

BURKINA FASO: Bible Teaching for the Mossi

Source: Global Recordings, November 2014

Frans Riphagen, of the ministry Guardian Angels in the Netherlands, writes:

“Sometimes you enter a village and think ‘How did I end up here?’ This happened during our missionary journey to Burkina Faso.

“Several times I had been invited by a local pastor from Soukola to visit his project. They had recently built a new school and he was very proud of it. Since the road did not go to his village and we needed to travel on sandy paths, I began to [wonder where it was].

“Eventually I saw a small village in the distance: Soukola, a village with about 300 inhabitants, a new school, and a well. I was given a tour around the village and wanted to speak to the children about life in the village.

“Regretfully, the children only spoke Moore, the tribal language of the Mossi. How to share the Bible and the gospel with these children?

“I was glad to know Gospel Recordings in the Netherlands. This organization has materials that give an explanation of the gospel and Bible stories in over 6000 different languages and dialects.

“At Opwekking (a yearly Christian event in the Netherlands), I had ordered a Saber (hand-cranked mp3 player) with booklets at their stand. I often take these materials along to Burkina Faso.

“Fortunately I had taken one with me with Moore on it! Coincidence? Once switched on, it played a song. All of the children recognized this and started to clap and sing along with it. Surprised they looked at the Saber and asked: ‘How can this speak Moore?’

“There were several booklets in the package, which explained the Bible by means of a series of simple pictures. I left these in the village. Now they use them for Bible lessons and even the Muslim children listened attentively!”

» Read full story.

» Also read Burkina Faso: A Sense of Hopefulness (Christian and Missionary Alliance). Please pray for Burkina Faso and its new interim president.

IRAQ: ISIS Crisis Creates Opportunity to Share Christ

Source: Christian Aid Mission, October 9, 2014

Working in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region day and night to help meet the needs of people displaced by the threats and violence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul and other areas, members of an Iraqi ministry team recently came into contact with a colonel from the Kurdish forces battling ISIS.

The colonel was serving as a division commander of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s armed forces, which have helped to slow the incursion of ISIS in its brutal push to establish a caliphate imposing a strict version of Sunni Islam. With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, the Peshmerga have also slowly retaken some territory. They are helping to secure the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the ministry team assisted by Christian Aid Mission is supplying displaced people with food, clothing, beds, and medicine.

The colonel had a few questions for the team members: What was the reason for offering all this aid? What was the motivation, what was the source of it?

“We spoke with him explicitly, explaining everything to him, saying that Christ taught us to love and express our love to the people in a practical way,” said the team director, who informed the officer that all relief items had been donated or purchased locally.

The Peshmerga colonel, whose name is withheld for security reasons, was quick to respond.

“You see the Arabs around you in the Gulf states, which claim to be religious Muslims, have not sent us anything but terrorists,” he told the ministry team members. “But you who follow Christ send love and peace and goodness to people every day.”

Tent churches are springing up in the makeshift camps. Under normal circumstances, mission strategies focus on how to proclaim Christ effectively, but the challenge now is keeping pace with the number who would receive him, the director said.

» Read full story.

» Also read Pastor Rescued by Jihadist (Window International Network, via GodReports). For more about the camps, listen to Norm in Erbil (Compassion Radio) and read Refugee or IDP: Does It Really Matter?” (IRIN).

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

In This Issue: Responses to intolerance and persecution

  1. SUDAN: Air Force Bombs Church Complex in Nuba Mountains
  2. INDIA: Christian Man Forced to Separate from Hindu Wife
  3. NEPAL: Prime Minister Pledges Religious Freedom
  4. UZBEKISTAN: Christian Home Raided
  5. VIETNAM: Evangelist Seeks to Extend Gospel to Unreached Tribes

Dear readers,

This edition of Missions Catalyst falls between the two Sundays (November 2 and 9) designated as the International Day(s) of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. You can find all the resources you might need from Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs and the World Evangelical Alliance. But I thought I’d also pass on some other types of religious intolerance stories.

Surely intolerance is not always persecution. But once we decide something is an act of persecution, how do we respond? Check out How to Read a Persecution News Story (Morning Star News) and Prayer: Taking Sides (Voice of the Martyrs).

Standing with you,
Pat

Pat

Pat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.

SUDAN: Air Force Bombs Church Complex in Nuba Mountains

Source: Morning Star News, October 14, 2014

The Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) complex in the Nuba Mountains on Friday (October 10), church leaders said.

“The bombs have completely destroyed our church compound in Tabolo,” the Rev. Youhana Yaqoub of the ECS in Al Atmor, near the Tabolo area in South Kordofan state, told Morning Star News. “A family living at the church compound miraculously escaped the attack, although their whole house and property were destroyed.”

Kamal Adam and his family thanked God for their safety as they watched their house burn from the bombing, he said.

» Read full story, which also includes reports of other incidents. See also Nuba Reports, featuring news and videos from Sudan’s frontlines.

INDIA: Christian Man Forced to Separate from Hindu Wife

Source: World Watch Monitor, October 3, 2014

An Indian couple who married September 26 had their marriage annulled five days later by police under pressure from Hindu nationalists.

The couple, Joseph Pawar and Ayushi Wani, were arrested in Gujarat after complaints that Pawar, a Christian, had lured his Hindu bride into marriage.

The forced dissolution of the marriage quickly drew protests from India’s Christian groups, who have attempted to put pressure on Narendra Modi, the new prime minister of India, for what they say is his persistent silence in the face of increased violence towards Christians and other religious minorities.

In a report issued in New Delhi on September 27, a group of Indian religious leaders accused Modi of remaining mute during 600 incidents targeting religious minorities since his landslide election victory in May.

» Read full story.

» Also read Buddhist Nationalist Group in Burma Calls for Restrictions on Interfaith Marriage (The Washington Post). And in another story from South Asia, Pakistan Mob Kills Christian Couple over Alleged Blasphemy (BBC).

NEPAL: Prime Minister Pledges Religious Freedom

Source: Barnabas Aid, October 15, 2014

In a welcome move for Christians, the Prime Minister of Nepal has made a public commitment that religious freedom will be upheld in the country’s long-awaited constitution.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala made the assurance on October 6 during an address to Muslims in the Hindu-majority country. During his speech, the Prime Minister praised the cordial relations that he said exist between Nepalis who follow different religions, cultures, and traditions, and said that Nepal is strengthened by this mutual tolerance.

The Prime Minister’s pledge may help to quell fears that religious repression in Nepal could intensify when the interim constitution becomes law. A proposed “anti-conversion” clause in the document, which has been under debate since 2008, currently states that “no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another.”

If the anti-conversion clause were to become law, this would undermine the Prime Minister’s promise to protect religious freedom. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been signed and ratified by Nepal, protects religious freedom and includes the right for every person to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

» Read full story. Readers might also be interested in Elizabeth Kendal’s recent analysis of global trends that affect religious liberty and persecution (Critical Prayer Requests blog).

UZBEKISTAN: Christian Home Raided

Source: Worthy Christian News, October 15, 2014

A Christian in Uzbekistan has been fined and threatened with further punishment after religious literature was seized from his home during a raid by Uzbek police in August, according to Barnabas Aid.

Artur Alpayev was fined 50 times Uzbekistan’s minimum monthly wage for storing religious literature at his home in Navoi. During sentencing, Judge Oltinbek Mansurov said, “We will continue fining you unless you stop storing religious literature in your home.”

The judge said that the literature should have been stored in a building belonging to a registered religious organization, but Alpayev is a member of a Christian denomination that refuses on principle to seek state registration.

» Read full story. For regular news and analysis of religious liberty issues in Central Asia, see Forum18 News Service.